Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado 1500, and Ram 1500 are half-ton trucks that offer the best working machines in the market. Their sales are showing that buyers have a lot of trust in these pickups. On the other hand, their smaller siblings are not achieving such great market results. The mid-size segment or the 2021 small pickup trucks still have some advantages over the more capable sibling. For example, truckers are getting a better fuel economy and handling.
Most of the 2021 small pickup trucks will have at least 7,000 pounds of towing capacity. There are only a few models available with a diesel engine. But, it could change next season. On the other hand, hybrid units are still not in sight, at least for the mid-size segment. Definitely, the segment is reviving, and more models and new debuts are showing that buyers are coming back after these vehicles.
2021 Chevy Colorado: The Best Of All 2021 Small Pickup Trucks
Towing capacity: 7,700 lbs
Price: $21,500 (4-cyl); $26,500 (V6); $42,000 (diesel)
Sales won’t lie. Chevrolet might be beaten in the full-size segment last year, but mid-size Colorado is still a class leader in sales charts. There are a lot of reasons. The first one is that pickup is leading the maximum towing capacity hierarchy with 7,700 pounds thanks to the Duramax turbodiesel engine. Nevertheless, the 2021 Chevy Colorado won’t be the only truck with an oil burner under the hood next season.
The Colorado ZR2 package is a mean off-road machine that will take you and the cargo almost anywhere. Unique shocks and suspension, in combination with other upgrades, will make the pickup unstoppable. Still, Chevrolet is also offering a four-cylinder engine as the base one, and a V6 petrol mill with more power. The versatility and so many options are enough to put the Chevy Colorado at top of the best 2021 small pickup trucks list.
2021 Toyota Tacoma: Hybrid Over Diesel
Towing capacity: 7,000 pounds
Price: $26,000 (4-cyl); $28,500 (V6)
For a long time, Tacoma is one of the best mid-size trucks in the market. The performance is not what makes it special. The pickup is safe and reliable. Plus, the company is offering a mean TRD Pro off-road package that can compete against Chevy Colorado Diesel. On the other hand, the 2021 Toyota Tacoma is not so likely to happen. Instead, the Japanese company might be the first one to introduce a hybrid unit, the only such option among 2021 small pickup trucks.
The base drivetrain for the 2021 Toyota Tacoma is a weak 2.7-liter four-cylinder unit. That is why most of the truckers opt for a V6. A 3.5-liter displacement is a base for hybrid configuration on some SUVs. We were hoping the carmaker will bring it over to the truck segment, but it is still unlikely to happen due to the current situation. Some fans still believe in the Tacoma Diesel, but the odds for this one are even higher.
2021 Ford Ranger: Plenty Of Possibilities – Raptor, V6, Diesel Engine
Towing capacity: 7,500 lbs (with Trailer Tow Package)
Ford surprised us again. We knew that Ranger is coming back, but the company made a four-cylinder engine an only option. Still, the 2.3-liter turbo-four is good for 270 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. Nevertheless, to become one of the best 2021 small pickup trucks, the vehicle will need more options. And the Blue Oval has plenty of potentials.
Right after the debut, we could hear that truck is getting another engine. The 2021 Ford Ranger could introduce a turbodiesel unit, available for the European market. A 2.2-liter oil-burner would compete against Chevrolet Colorado. Plus, a V6 petrol unit is in the mix. Either of these two could be a part of the 2021 Ford Ranger Raptor package. The bad thing is that company is silent about future upgrades.
2021 Jeep Gladiator: The New Player In the 2021 Small Pickup Trucks Market
Towing capacity: 7,650 lbs (diesel)
Price: $35,000 (petrol); $41,000 (diesel)
The 2021 Jeep Gladiator will be the most expensive model in the segment. Well, it belongs to the mid-size class, but the truck uses a large 3.0-liter turbodiesel displacement, available for the full-size Ram 1500. The base configuration is coming with a 3.6-liter V6 petrol engine and 285 hp. Nevertheless, the starting price of $35,000 is not going to make Gladiator very popular.
One of the things that could lure buyers is the abovementioned diesel engine. A 3.0-liter is very capable. It is confirmed and Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel joins Colorado as only two 2021 small pickup trucks with oil-burners under the hood. Again, the price goes up, starting at $41,000. If you are about to purchase a Rubicon off-road package, the cost of the order will exceed $50,000.
2021 Honda Ridgeline: Unique Model in 2021 Small Pickup Trucks Segment
Towing capacity: 5,000 pounds
The 2021 Honda Ridgeline is a unique truck in the market. It is one of the rare models you will find with a unibody architecture. It makes Ridgeline less capable of towing, but the handling is sportier. On the other hand, the V6 returns 5,000 pounds of towing capacity and enough power for highway runs. Plus, the unibody platform increases the safety, since the entire body soaks the crash energy, while for the BoF architecture one piece will always take more.
The new 2021 Honda Ridgeline might bring the Type R performance edition. Fans are waiting for this one for a long time. Well, the truck sells slowly, so something needs to happen. The base price is pretty high, which might be another reason why it is at the bottom of the charts. But, the number one motive is the unibody platform. Truckers are looking for durability and towing capacity over everything else.
2021 GMC Canyon: Colorado’s Twin
Towing capacity: 7,700 lbs (diesel)
GM Twins – that is how fans call Chevy and GMC models from the same segment. Well, all of these are sharing many things in common. Engines are in the first place. The 2021 GMC Canyon will use the same drivetrains as its Chevrolet sibling, meaning the ute is the most capable in the 2021 small pickup trucks segment with 7,700 pounds of towing capacity. There are also both petrol displacements available.
The 2021 GMC Canyon will also combine utility and luxury packages. For the upcoming season, the GMC introduces the AT4 off-road package. It will start around $40,000, which is close to other similar models in the segment. On the other end is the premium Canyon Denali. In this case, performance upgrades are not the priority, but the interior enhancement. Luxury upgrades can make the price go up to $50,000.
2021 Nissan Frontier: Skip This Version, the Next-Gen Truck is Coming
Towing Capacity: 6,720 lbs
Price: under $27,000 (V6)
Frontier used to be the most affordable pickup in the market. Since a four-cylinder engine is dropped, the truck will use only a V6 power for now. The new generation should arrive in 2022. Nissan is going strong into the next period, but the Frontier is not on the priority list for the 2021 update. Still, it is good to hear that the new styling is finally coming.
The aging look was one of the biggest downsides of the pickup. Well, it will be carried over to the 2021 Nissan Frontier. Since the company is building a new generation, we believe that buyers are going to skip the version for next season and wait for the 2022 YM. That is one of the reasons why we position the Frontier so low on our 2021 small pickup trucks list. Diesel is also unlikely for next season but could happen in the following year.
2021 Ford Courier: The Only Subcompact Truck
Towing capacity: 3,500 lbs
The 2021 Ford Courier is spied and the company was ready to launch the production of the subcompact truck. Nevertheless, the COVID-19 outburst could change plans and postpone the debut for 2022. We still don’t have an official statement about the new Courier. The truck is a surprise for everyone. The mid-size class is struggling in the market since SUVs are taking away a lot of buyers. Ford is making a strange move by launching the mini truck.
Still, there are a lot of things to be learned about the 2021 Ford Courier. The pickup will share the platform with the Escape crossover and one of the options could be a hybrid drivetrain. With an excellent fuel economy and better handling because of the smaller size, Courier would be a perfect delivery truck for urban areas. But, it is hard to offer something compact SUVs and crossovers can’t do already.