We've been doing our Best In Class Awards for six years now and based on the positive feedback, it has a lot of good buying information. Where else can you get such a comprehensive set of specifications all in one place, where you can instantly compare those specs, head-to-head, with their direct competitors? We've tapped into our vast driving experience with each one of these vehicles and made our selection based on the most significant criteria. Admittedly, we tend to lean toward bigger engines, larger towing capacities, and stronger bang-for-the-buck readings, so we don't expect our priorities to be an identical match to yours. That's why (in the past) we've listed all available chart information--fuel economy, passenger seating, and optional engine costs--on every vehicle.

Of course, getting that information often changes as fast as the information itself.

All pricing information presented here is from the most current edition of the 2007 Edition of the "Kelley Blue Book New Car Price Manual."

Best Little Pickup


Toyota Tacoma
A competitive segment every year and a choice that's usually full of spirited debate, the Tacoma probably offers the greatest bandwidth of the group and perhaps of any pickup truck--and it offers so many good flavors. The base four-cylinder engine is strong, and the 24-valve all aluminum 4.0-liter V-6 is something of a hidden power secret. The X-Runner rides like a modified (read stiffer frame) performance truck ready for race action, while the PreRunner is a 4x4-looking option package that saves the added cost of four-wheel drive. Don't even get us started on how solid and rugged the 4x4s are. No, it doesn't offer a V-8, but you can always get a dealer-installed supercharger from TRD and roll it into the monthly payments.

Little-Guy Pickup Extended-Cab Four-Door 4x4
Vehicle Chevrolet Colorado/ GMC Canyon Dodge Dakota Club Cab Ford Ranger SuperCab Isuzu i-280
Base price $20,195/$20,605 $23,930 $20,020 $17,674 (4x2 only)
Wheelbase, in 126 131.3 126 125.9
Base engine 2.9L DOHC I-4 3.7L SOHC V-6 3.0L OHV V-6 2.8L DOHC I-4
Opt engine 3.7L I-5 ($1000) 4.7L H.O. V-8 ($1615) 4.0L V-6 ($800) 3.7L I-5 $4089
Horsepower, SAE 185 (242) 210 (260) 148 (207) 175 (242)
Torque, SAE 190 (242) 235 (310) 180 (238) 185 (242)
Tires 205/75R15 245/75R16 225/70R15 225/75R15
Fuel cap, gal 19 22 19.5 19.6
EPA fuel econ, city/hwy 20/27 (17/23) 16/22 (15/20) 18/23 (17/23) 20/27 (17/23)
Max pass 5 6 5 5
Base curb weight, lb 3777 4261 3193 3346
GVWR, lb 5300 6010 5060 4600
Max payload capacity, lb 1500 1800 1640 1300
Max towing capacity, lb 4000 7150 5860 3200
Little-Guy Pickup Extended-Cab Four-Door 4x4
Vehicle Mazda B-Series Cab Plus Mitsubishi Raider Ext Cab Nissan Frontier King Cab Toyota Tacoma Access Cab
Base price $19,675 $20,535 (4x2 only) $22,300 $22,000
Wheelbase, in 126 131.3 125.9 127.2
Base engine 3.0L OHV V-6 3.7L SOHC V-6 4.0L DOHC V-6 2.7L DOHC I-4
Opt engine 4.0L V-6 ($2390) NA NA 4.0L V-6 ($1555)
Horsepower, SAE 148 (207) 210 261 159 (236)
Torque, SAE 180 (238) 235 261 180 (266)
Tires 225/70R15 245/70R16 225/70R15 205/75R15
Fuel cap, gal 19.5 22 21.1 21
EPA fuel econ, city/hwy 18/23 (17/20) 16/22 17/21 19/23 (16/20)
Max pass 5 6 5 5
Base curb weight, lb 3305 4310 3675 3460
GVWR, lb 5020 6010 5178 5350
Max payload capacity, lb 1660 1700 1400 1800
Max towing capacity, lb 5760 4150 6300 6500