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The Top Small Pickup Trucks in Canada

The Top Small Pickup Trucks in Canada

Small pickup trucks, also known as compact or midsize trucks, have surged in popularity with Canadian drivers in recent years. With excellent fuel efficiency, practical size and lower price points compared to full-size alternatives, these nimble trucks offer the perfect blend of utility, value and capability for many motorists. This guide will explore the top small truck models available to Canadian buyers. We’ll look at key factors like fuel economy, performance, comfort, technology and ownership costs to help you choose the best compact pickup for your needs.


Small trucks can haul modest loads, traverse off-road terrain when equipped with 4WD and fit in tight urban spaces, all while sipping fuel. The versatile cargo bed allows owners to haul gear, building materials and other cargo. Modern compact pickups have shed the old reputation of being noisy, uncomfortable and underpowered. Today’s models rival midsize SUVs and crossovers for comfort, refinement, available tech and safety features. Read on to see our top recommendations for Canadians seeking the advantages of a small pickup.

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Fuel Efficiency

When it comes to saving money at the pump, today’s top small trucks deliver excellent fuel economy while still providing ample capability. The undisputed fuel economy leader in the compact pickup segment is the Ford Maverick Hybrid. Thanks to its hybrid powertrain, the Maverick Hybrid achieves city fuel economy of 6.4L/100km and highway mileage of 6.9L/100km, according to Natural Resources Canada estimates.

Other fuel-sipping options include the Hyundai Santa Cruz, which achieves 8.6L/100km city and 7.2L/100km highway in its most efficient configuration. The Chevrolet Colorado with the 2.5L 4-cylinder engine achieves city mileage of 9.5L/100km. These numbers are far better than what full-size pickups like the Ford F-150 or Ram 1500 can manage. For example, the most efficient F-150 still only achieves 12.2L/100km city and 9.8L/100km highway.

Choosing a small pickup over a full-sizer can save hundreds if not thousands of dollars per year in fuel costs, making trucks like the Maverick Hybrid and Santa Cruz very appealing for budget-conscious shoppers or those with long commutes.

 

Utility and Performance

One of the main reasons buyers consider a small pickup is for its excellent utility while still being easy to maneuver. While full-size trucks can haul and tow more, their larger size comes with drawbacks. Small pickups offer shorter bed lengths, usually between 4′ – 5′, which provides ample space for hauling cargo or toys while still allowing the truck to fit in a standard parking spot. The shorter wheelbase also makes small trucks more agile off-road.

Small trucks are very capable when it comes to towing as well. Most models can tow between 3,500 – 7,700 pounds, which is plenty for a camper, boat, ATVs or snowmobiles. The Toyota Tacoma can tow up to 6,800 pounds, while the diesel Colorado can pull 7,700 pounds. Payload capacities range from 1,000 – 1,600 pounds. While not as high as full-size trucks, this allows you to haul building materials, dirt bikes or other gear.

For driving off-road or in Canadian winters, most small trucks offer optional 4WD or AWD systems. These provide extra traction and control when driving in slippery conditions like mud, snow or gravel. Systems like Toyota’s 4WDemand provide excellent off-road capability for exploring backcountry trails. Ground clearance is also higher than regular cars to clear obstacles.

 

Comfort and Convenience

While small trucks may be more utilitarian by nature, today’s compact pickups offer impressive comfort and convenience features to make everyday driving and longer trips enjoyable. Crew cab configurations with 4 full doors provide ample rear seat legroom and interior space to comfortably fit adults and families. The latest amenities and technology offered in many small truck trim levels transform these from basic workhorses into well-appointed daily drivers.

Upper trim options on models like the Ford Maverick Lariat and Hyundai Santa Cruz Limited come equipped with premium interiors featuring leather seating, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats and steering wheel, premium audio systems, power adjustable driver’s seats, and large touchscreen infotainment systems with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Safety technology like blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alerts, and parking sensors take the stress out of driving and parking these smaller trucks in tight spaces.

Thanks to their smaller and lighter footprint compared to full-size pickups, small trucks offer a much smoother and quieter ride quality. Responsive steering and maneuverability make them easy to drive and park daily, with a more car-like driving experience that many find appealing over larger trucks. The available features transform these affordable workhorses into comfortable daily drivers for everything from commuting to family hauling.

 

Reliability and Ownership Value

Small pickup trucks tend to be very reliable and have lower ownership costs compared to their full-size counterparts. This makes them excellent long-term value purchases for buyers looking to get the most out of their truck.

In terms of predicted reliability, the Toyota Tacoma consistently tops the class. Toyota’s reputation for building tough and dependable trucks shines through with the Tacoma, which sees very few issues reported by owners even after years of use.

Other models like the Honda Ridgeline, Ford Ranger and Chevrolet Colorado also achieve strong reliability scores. Repair costs remain reasonable across compact trucks, without the high price of maintenance and repairs often associated with full-size pickups.

Resale value is another area where small trucks excel. The Toyota Tacoma is known to retain its value better than any other vehicle in its class. After 5 years of ownership, you can expect a Tacoma to retain around 60% of its original purchase price. Other top performers for resale include the Honda Ridgeline and the recently re-introduced Ford Ranger.

Between their durability, lower operating costs and strength in the used market, small pickup trucks are an excellent value in the long run. You’ll spend less keeping one running over the years, while also recovering more money when it comes time to sell or trade-in.

 

Top Recommended Small Truck Models in Canada

With so many great options for small trucks available, we’ve highlighted 3 of our top picks to help you narrow down your search.

 

1. Ford Maverick

The Maverick is our top choice for best value and fuel efficiency. With a starting price under $25,000 and stellar fuel economy from the optional hybrid powertrain, the Maverick offers unbeatable value. It comes well-equipped in the base XL trim and still provides a 4.5 foot bed for versatility. The small turbocharged engine delivers ample power while keeping running costs low.

 

2. Toyota Tacoma

No list of top small trucks is complete without the legendary Toyota Tacoma. Its off-road performance and long-term reliability are second to none. Toyota offers the Tacoma in multiple configurations including extended cab and crew cab options to suit any need. The available V6 engine and sturdy suspension allow you to tackle any terrain while enjoying Toyota’s reputation for durability.

 

3. Hyundai Santa Cruz

The Santa Cruz stands out with its bold, unique styling and car-like manners. It feels more nimble and refined than traditional small trucks. The turbocharged engine provides a spirited driving experience and it has one of the most comfortable cabins in its class. If you want a small truck that stands out from the crowd, the Santa Cruz is a top pick.

 

Ford Maverick

The Ford Maverick has quickly become one of the most popular options in the small truck segment thanks to its winning combination of value, practicality and fuel efficiency. As the first-ever hybrid pickup, the Maverick offers unbeatable MPG for a truck starting at just 6.4L/100km in the city when equipped with the optional hybrid powertrain. Pricing starts at an incredibly affordable $25,900, making the Maverick Canada’s most affordable new pickup truck.

Under the hood, the Maverick offers a choice of two efficient powertrains. The standard 2.5L Atkinson-cycle four cylinder engine produces 191 horsepower and is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Opting for the 2.5L hybrid adds an electric motor for a combined output of 191 hp. The hybrid powertrain delivers an EPA-estimated 40 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. That’s far better than any other pickup on the market.

With a wheelbase of 121.1 inches and a length of 199.7 inches, the Maverick slots right in the compact pickup segment while offering seating for up to five passengers in the SuperCrew cab configuration. The 4.5 foot steel bed allows you to haul building materials, camping gear or other cargo with ease. Towing capacity is an ample 4,000 pounds when properly equipped, while payload tops out at 1,500 pounds.

 

Toyota Tacoma

The Toyota Tacoma has earned a legendary reputation for its rugged capability and renowned reliability. This midsize truck offers true off-road credentials thanks to available features like a rear locking differential, crawl control, and Bilstein shocks. Tacoma continues to be popular with overlanding enthusiasts and those who need to traverse rough terrain on a regular basis.

All Tacoma models come standard with Toyota’s proven 2.7L 4-cylinder engine, which provides ample power while maximizing fuel economy. For those who need more capability, a 3.5L V6 is available on higher trims, generating 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque. You can pair the V6 with either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission.

In addition to excellent off-road performance, Tacomas are known for their durability and reliability. They consistently rank among the longest-lasting vehicles on the road, and demand a premium when it comes time to sell thanks to Toyota’s reputation. The Tacoma is a great choice for buyers prioritizing reliability and resale value.

 

Hyundai Santa Cruz

The Hyundai Santa Cruz is one of the newest and most unique entries in the small truck segment. This crossover-truck blends car-like design and refinement with the utility of an open bed pickup. It features a distinctive coupe-like body style that stands out from the traditional truck styling of competitors.

Under the hood, the Santa Cruz packs a punch thanks to its available 2.5L turbocharged engine that makes 275 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. This allows for spirited acceleration and strong towing capacity up to 5,000 pounds. The turbo engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission for smooth, responsive shifting.

Inside, the Santa Cruz delivers a modern, upscale interior packed with the latest tech and convenience features. Available amenities include a 10.25 inch touchscreen, digital gauge cluster, wireless device charging, ventilated front seats, a premium Bose audio system and more. There’s ample passenger room in both rows, with rear seats that flip up to allow for expanded cargo capacity when needed.

The Santa Cruz combines style, performance and utility into one unique package. For buyers wanting something different than the typical pickup truck, the Santa Cruz is definitely one to consider.

 

Other Notable Options

In addition to the top 3 models highlighted earlier, there are a couple other compelling options in the small truck segment worth a look for Canadian buyers:

 

Honda Ridgeline

The Honda Ridgeline blurs the line between pickup and SUV, with car-like handling and a spacious, comfortable cabin. Unique features like an in-bed trunk add practicality. The Ridgeline delivers a smooth, quiet ride on the road, though isn’t designed for serious off-roading. The 3.5L V6 provides decent pep and towing ability up to 5,000 lbs.

 

Jeep Gladiator

For buyers who prioritize off-road performance, the Jeep Gladiator is in a class of its own. With its rugged body-on-frame design and solid front and rear axles, the Gladiator can traverse terrain few other trucks dare. The removable top and doors add open-air fun. On-road comfort lags rivals, but the Gladiator delivers unmatched adventure capability.

 

What to Consider When Choosing

Picking the right small pickup truck for your needs requires looking at a few key factors:

 

Intended Use

How do you plan to use your truck? Off-roading and overlanding require greater ground clearance, skid plates, 4WD and sometimes a locking rear differential. For daily commuting and errands, fuel efficiency and comfort may be more important.

 

Cab Size

Small trucks come in extended, crew and quad cabs. Make sure to choose a cab size that fits your passengers and storage needs. Crew cabs offer the most rear seat legroom.

 

Bed Length

While small truck beds max out around 5 feet, you can still haul motorcycles, ATVs, construction materials and furniture. Measure bulky items you’ll regularly carry.

 

Budget

Today’s small trucks range from the mid $20,000s up to the $40,000+ range for fully loaded models. Consider fuel, insurance, maintenance and resale value over your ownership period.

 

Features

Higher trims add amenities like leather, navigation, parking sensors and advanced safety equipment. Evaluate which features suit your needs and budget.

 

The Future of Small Trucks

The small truck segment is poised for even more growth and improvement in the coming years. With trucks continuing to dominate vehicle sales in Canada, manufacturers are expanding their compact pickup offerings to meet demand from buyers who want truck capability without the bulk and fuel costs of full-size models.

We will see more truck nameplates enter the small truck category, as automakers seek to carve out a piece of this lucrative market. The Hyundai Santa Cruz and Ford Maverick are just the start of a new generation of innovative, car-based compact pickups. Brands like Volkswagen, Dodge and Subaru have all hinted at introducing small trucks geared for lifestyle buyers in the near future.

Electrification will also start making inroads into the compact truck segment, with many brands planning hybrid and electric options. Ford already sets the benchmark with the Maverick Hybrid, and rivals will follow suit. EV trucks promise torquey performance with maximum efficiency for daily commuting. We will see small trucks emerge as a popular eco-friendly choice.

With excellent value, functionality and efficiency, small pickup trucks are ideally suited for the needs of many Canadian drivers. Automakers will continue expanding and improving their compact truck lineups to draw in new buyers. The small truck segment is set to grow even stronger in meeting consumer demand for the right-sized truck.

 

Conclusion

In summary, small pickup trucks provide an excellent combination of utility, efficiency, performance and value for Canadian drivers. With spacious cabs, short beds, excellent fuel economy and the latest features, today’s compact trucks are extremely versatile. They allow you to haul cargo, tow toys, go off-roading and commute economically without the bulk and higher costs of a full-size truck.

If you’re in the market for a pickup but don’t need the size of a half-ton truck, strongly consider one of the top compact options covered in this guide. Test drive the Ford Maverick, Toyota Tacoma, Hyundai Santa Cruz and others to find the right blend of capabilities and price for your needs. With so many great small trucks to choose from, you’re sure to find one that exceeds your expectations.

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Questions About Small Pickup Trucks in Canada

The best small pickup trucks in Canada are the Ford Maverick, Hyundai Santa Cruz, and Honda Ridgeline. The Maverick stands out for its fuel efficiency thanks to an available hybrid powertrain. The Santa Cruz is praised for its unique sport adventure design. And the Ridgeline offers car-like comfort and handling along with innovative features like an in-bed trunk.

The top-rated small or compact pickup trucks in Canada for 2023 are:

 

  1. Ford Maverick – With a turbocharged 2.0L EcoBoost or 2.5L hybrid powertrain, clever interior storage solutions and a low starting price, the Maverick scores top compact truck ratings.

 

  1. Hyundai Santa Cruz – Lauded for its bold, adventurous styling and ample passenger space, the Santa Cruz impresses reviewers as a capable daily driver and weekend getaway rig.

 

  1. Honda Ridgeline – The Ridgeline stands out with car-like handling and ride comfort along with unique features like an in-bed trunk and available AWD performance.

The most fuel efficient small pickup truck in Canada is the Ford Maverick. With the optional 2.5L Atkinson-cycle hybrid powertrain, fuel economy ratings for the Maverick reach 6.9 L/100 km city and 7.0 highway. That’s the best of any new pickup sold in Canada.

The most affordable small pickup in Canada is the base model Ford Maverick XL with front-wheel drive. It starts at just $34,795 CAD including destination fees. Adding all-wheel drive only increases the MSRP to $37,195. It offers great value with lots of standard features.

 

Some excellent used small pickup options in Canada include:

 

– Toyota Tacoma – Reliable and rugged with good resale value

– Nissan Frontier – Proven durability at affordable used prices

– Ford Ranger – Capable truck with plenty of parts and service

– Chevrolet Colorado – Daily driver comfort with trail readiness

– GMC Canyon – Upscale interior trim for used truck buyers

 

Today’s small pickup trucks offer many features both inside and out. Exterior features can include cargo beds with storage compartments, moveable tie-down cleats, 120V power outlets and task lighting. Cabs provide amenities like heated seats, dual zone climate control, large touchscreens with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, multiple USB ports and premium audio. Safety tech like lane keep assist, forward collision warning, blindspot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert is also available.

 

The Hyundai Santa Cruz technically has the longest bed in the small pickup class at just over 4 feet long. The Ford Maverick offers a 4.5 foot bed. Though shorter, the Maverick’s bed is deeper and can carry more cubic feet of cargo overall. The Honda Ridgeline includes a trunk compartment under its shorter, 5-foot bed.

The 2023 Honda Ridgeline leads the small pickup class in Canada with a max tow rating of 3,500 kg (7,716 pounds) when properly equipped. The Hyundai Santa Cruz can tow up to 3,500 lbs. Ford rates the Maverick to tow up to 4,000 lbs in its most capable configuration.

The best small 4×4 pickup in Canada is the Toyota Tacoma TRD Offroad. It features upgraded suspension, all-terrain tires, a rear locking differential and Multi Terrain Select driving modes to excel when going off the beaten path while still comfortable on pavement.

The small pickup with the most comfortable ride quality in Canada is the Honda Ridgeline. Its unibody car-based design gives it sedan-like comfort and refinement. Test drivers praise the Ridgeline for the best on-road manners thanks to its smooth powertrain, supportive seats and independent rear suspension.

The most fuel efficient pickup truck in Canada is the Ford Maverick compact pickup with the optional 2.5L Atkinson-cycle hybrid engine and front-wheel drive. It achieves city and highwa

The Ford Series F-150 has been Canada’s top selling pickup truck since 1966. Nearly 100,000 units were sold in 2022, making up 29% of the Canadian pickup market according to Ford sales data. The F-Series continues its 50+ year reign thanks to constant innovation.

Toyota trucks consistently rank as the most reliable pickup trucks in Canada according to consumer surveys by J.D. Power & Associates and Consumer Reports. Toyota models like the Tacoma, Tundra and previous generation Hilux have built a reputation for durability, dependability and retaining more vehicle value than competitors.

The Jeep Gladiator Rubicon is considered the top off-road pickup thanks to its rugged body-on-frame design, Rock-Trac 4×4 system with locking differentials, disconnecting front sway bar, high clearance, skid plates and impressive approach/departure angles allow it to crawl over obstacles that stop other pickups.

 

The most fuel efficient midsize pickup truck sold in Canada is the 2023 Chevrolet Colorado 2WD with the available 2.7L turbocharged diesel 4-cylinder engine. It offers highway fuel efficiency as good as 7.4 L/100 kilometres. Going diesel gives the Colorado a significant mpg advantage over gasoline-powered midsize pickups.

The Honda Ridgeline is arguably the best pickup truck for carrying families thanks to its spacious crew cab, comfortable rear seat, smooth ride and easy access. Unique features like an in-bed trunk also make the Ridgeline tailor-made for active families who need both cargo and passenger room.

The Ford F-Series Super Duty pickup trucks have the largest cabs among new trucks sold in Canada. Super Duty models offer a cavernous 172.2 cubic feet of total interior volume in their crew cab configurations – the most spacious cabins in the pickup world.

 

The Ram 1500 pickup leads the way when it comes to high tech features. Options include a 12-inch touchscreen with Uconnect 5, digital rear view mirror, head-up display, surround view camera, adaptive cruise control, parallel park assist, a 19-speaker Harman Kardon premium sound system and built-in Amazon Alexa.

The most affordable new pickup truck in Canada is the 2023 Chevrolet Colorado WT. With a starting MSRP of $29,795, it narrowly beats the smaller 2023 Ford Maverick XL pickup that begins at $34,795. Cost-conscious truck shoppers who want capability on a budget will find value in the Colorado WT.

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