The Best Compact and Midsize Pickups of 2023

Published on March 24, 2023 in News by The Car Guide

Not every pickup customer needs a full-size model, especially at today’s prices, which is why smaller trucks are quite popular in the country. While performance and capability may not be on the same level, there’s still plenty you can do with them.

Which one is the best money can buy? The Car Guide has gathered its team of experts to identify the top compact and midsize pickups on the market in 2023. Check them out right here!

1. Honda Ridgeline

Photo: Antony Lajoie-Beaudoin

Our No. 1 pick continues to be the Ridgeline, even though this unibody pickup is more road-oriented than conventional rivals. It essentially drives like a Honda Pilot but happens to have an open cargo bed. Many convenient features are part of the mix, too, such as an in-bed trunk or dual-action tailgate.

The 3.5-litre V6 is another reason to like the Ridgeline as it delivers generous high-end power and torque. The nine-speed automatic transmission, meanwhile, does a good job most of the time. Unless you need a real work truck, you should be more than pleased by Honda’s offering.

2. Ford Maverick

Photo: Antony Lajoie-Beaudoin

Introduced a year ago, the Maverick is back for 2023 with new body colours and a Tremor package increasing its off-road capability. Nothing too fancy, but that’s okay since Ford’s small pickup already has plenty going for it.

Despite its entry-level status, the affordable Maverick gets the job done for a lot of folks. It can be specified with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The available 2.0-litre EcoBoost is a pleasant performer, but don’t sleep on the base hybrid powertrain which achieves a remarkable 6.3 L/100 km in combined city-highway driving.

The cabin is straightforward and functional, although fit and finish could be improved. Our main complaint is the lack of an AWD option with the hybrid variant, which also happens to come in very limited numbers in Canada.

3. Nissan Frontier

Photo: Antoine Joubert

The complete overhaul for 2022 was more than welcome. The Frontier may not revolutionize the midsize pickup segment, but it still proves an attractive proposition for those after a practical, fairly capable and hard-working truck. And if you like adventure, don’t miss the PRO-4X model featuring some off-road equipment.

Performance is not a problem with the 3.8-litre V6 under the hood. On the flip side, average fuel consumption is a disappointing 12.3 L/100 km.

What about the new-for-2023 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon? We had yet to try these ones when we did our ranking, but both have what it takes to challenge the three contenders above.

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