Winner: Toyota Tacoma
Runner-Up: Dodge Dakota

Not a lot has happened in this segment lately. We wonder if the economy and the price of fuel will eventually bring more attention to compact trucks. For now, though, the versatile Tacoma is still king. There are two engine choices--the frugal 2.7-liter four or the 236-horse six--a supercharger option, two transmissions, and a towing capacity that's only second to the V-8 Dakota in this class. For runner-up, we selected the Dodge Dakota, as it provides full-size capability in a smaller package.


Compact Pickup, 4WD ext cab
Vehicle Chevy/GMC Colorado/Canyon Dodge Dakota Extended Cab Ford Ranger SuperCab
Base price $22,975/$22,975 $26,065 $24,295
Wheelbase 126.0 in 131.3 in 126.0 in
Base engine 2.9L DOHC I-4 3.7L OHV V-6 4.0L SOHC V-6
Opt engine 3.7L I-5 $1000, 5.3L V-8 $3555 4.7L V-8 $3270 ------
Power, SAE 185 hp (242, 300) 210 hp (290) 207 hp
Torque, SAE 190 lb-ft (242, 320) 235 lb-ft (320) 238 lb-ft
Tires 235/75R16 245/70R16 235/75R15
Fuel cap 19.0 gal 22.0 gal 19.5 gal
EPA fuel econ, city/hwy 16/22 mpg (17/23, 14/19) 15/19 mpg (14/19) 15/19 mpg
Seating cap 5 6 5
Curb weight 3781 lb 4376 lb 3713 lb
GVWR 5300 lb 6010 lb 5150 lb
Payload 1519 lb 1634 lb 1437 lb
Max towing cap 6000 lb 7200 lb 5600 lb
Vehicle Mazda B-Series Cab Plus Nissan Frontier King Cab Toyota Tacoma Access Cab
Base price $22,870 $23,840 $23,785
Wheelbase 125.9 in 125.9 in 127.8 in
Base engine 4.0L SOHC V-6 4.0L DOHC V-6 2.7L DOHC I-4
Opt engine ------ ------ 4.0L V-6 $1555
Power, SAE 207 hp 261 hp 159 hp (236)
Torque, SAE 238 lb-ft 281 lb-ft 180 lb-ft (266)
Tires 235/75R15 265/70R16 245/75R16
Fuel cap 19.5 gal 21.1 gal 21.0 gal
EPA fuel econ, city/hwy 15/19 mpg 15/19 mpg 17/22 mpg (14/19)
Seating cap 5 4 4
Curb weight 3662 lb 4302 lb 3905 lb
GVWR 5120 lb 5690 lb 5350 lb
Payload 1458 lb 1388 lb 1445 lb
Max towing cap 5600 lb 6300 lb 6500 lb