Winner: Dodge Dakota Club Cab
Although the Nissan and Toyota are probably the best bang-for-the-buck models in stripped, raw configurations, we've chosen the Dodge Dakota--it offers the only V-8 option for less than $1000. And the overall price is still a hair's breadth above $20,000. Likewise, the V-8 option gives the most torque of the group, the highest GVWR, and the highest towing capacity.

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Vehicle Chevy/GMC Colorado/Canyon Dodge Dakota Club Cab Ford Ranger SuperCab Isuzu i-280 Extended Cab Mazda B-Series Cab Plus Mitsubishi Raider Extended Cab Nissan Frontier King Cab Toyota Tacoma Access Cab
Base price $18,365/$18,365 $20,735 $19,850 $17,649 $19,510 $19,825 $16,380 $17,825
Wheelbase 125.9 131 126 125.9 126 131.3 125.9 127.2
Base engine (opt) 2.8L DOHC I-4 (3.5L I-5 $1000) 3.7L SOHC V-6 (4.7L V-8 $785) 3.0L OHV V-6 (4.0L V-6 $800) 2.8L DOHC I-4 (no V-6 option) 3.0L OHV V-6 (4.0L V-6 $2995) 3.7L SOHC V-6 (4.7L V-8 $4260) 2.5L DOHC I-4 (4.0L V-6 $3200) 2.7L DOHC I-4 (4.0L V-6 $2900)
Hp, SAE 175 (220) 210 (250) 148 (207) 175 154 (207) 210 (230) 154 (265) 159 (230)
Torque, SAE 185 (225) 235 (300) 180 (238) 185 180 (238) 235 (290) 173 (284) 180 (266)
Airbags Dual Dual Dual Dual Dual Dual Dual Dual
Brakes, f/r Disc/drum 4WAL Disc/drum RWAL Disc/drum 4WAL Disc/disc 4WAL Disc/drum 4WAL Disc/disc 4WAL Disc/disc 4WAL Disc/drum 4WAL
Tires 205/75R15 245/70R16 225/70R15 225/75R15 225/70R15 245/70R16 225/70R15 205/75R15
Fuel cap, gal 19.6 22 19.5 19.6 19.5 22 21.1 21
EPA fuel econ, city/hwy 20/27 (19/24) 16/22 (14/18) 18/23 (17/23) 20/27 18/23 (16/19) 16/22 (15/20) 22/25 (17/21) 20/27 (16/21)
Max pass 5 6 5 5 5 6 5 5
Base curb weight, lb 3839 4261 3193 3346 3305 4310 3675 3460
GVWR, lb 5300 6010 5060 4600 5020 6010 5178 5350
Max cargo cap, lb 1500 1800 1640 1300 1660 1700 1400 1800
Max towing cap, lb 4000 7150 5860 3200 5760 6200 6500 6500