Looking to get a new small truck in 2009? Or just curious about what is out there? Here are the top 10 small pickups currently available for sale in North America; with a brief review on each including important specifications, pricing, and both positive and negative points!
Toyota Tacoma – Has been a top small pickup for years now. It has even earned top safety ratings since 2005, the first of all small trucks to do so! In 2009 the Tacoma comes with either a 159hp 4 cylinder or powerful 236hp V6 engine. Options include either a 5 speed manual or automatic transmission, four wheel drive, and several different extended cabs and bed sizes. One drawback of the Tacoma is that the interior remains rather drab and cheap looking. The base MSRP starts at a low $15,170 but will quickly rack up into the twenties as you begin adding all the options that you’ll likely want!
Honda Ridgeline – This little unibody pickup is a bit of a throwback to the days of the Subaru Brat! Out of all of the pickups on this list, the Honda Ridgeline offers one of the nicest interiors, especially when complimented with the available leather seats option. This pickup is also amongst the safest in its class, being the first four door pickup to earn a 5 star rating crash rating for both front and side impacts. And the power train is no slouch by any means, as all 2009 models come with the 3.5 liter VTEC V6 that produces a whopping 250hp; ranking the Ridgeline near the top spot in the entire small pickup class! This pickup come stock with all sorts of neat features, such as an in bed lockable trunk, front and rear 12 volt power outlets, and automatic 4 wheel drive! This is really a great little pickup that is only possibly hindered by it’s smaller than average pickup bed capacity. It is also however one of the higher prices small pickups on the market! Available in three different trim levels, the base RT model starts at an MSRP of $28,200.
Nissan Frontier – This small truck is the main competitor to the popular Tacoma. And for good reason in 2009! Safety has become a big deal with the Frontier, as Nissan has beefed up the truck’s structural integrity with a “box” frame fabricated from super high tensile steel, which is a significant upgrade to the previous “C” conventional steel frame still found on most other cars and pickups! The interior also has full driver and passenger airbags, including side airbags. The 261hp V6 engine produces considerably more power than any other foreign made pickup in its class! The Frontier is available with a variety of options and trim levels including a King Cab and Crew Cab. If you plan on doing some recreational off-roading, then also be sure to check out the 4×4 Pro package which includes Blistein shocks and an ABLS system! The only drawbacks often associated with the Nissan Frontier are a drab and cheap looking interior (But it is a bit sportier than others!), and of stiff handling! The prices on Frontier models are very reasonable for what you get in the 2009 model year, with the MSRP ranging from $17,460-$24,930!
Mazda B-Series – Offered for the 2009 model year are two distinct trim levels from this Mazda line of pickups. The B32300 is a more standard pickup with a regular cab and 2 wheel drive. While the B4000 is stocked with 4 wheel drive and a “Four Door” extended cab. Both models can come equipped with either a 143 DOHC 16v 4 cylinder, or the beefier 4.0 liter V6 engine that produces 207hp, both of which are a little underpowered when compared to most other small pickup power train offerings. Mazda is a company known for producing extremely reliable vehicles, and these B-Series pickups are no exception as they have rated top of the charts in extended drive maintenance tests! MSRP for the B2300 starts at $16,780 and jumps up to $22,870 for the B4000.
Chevrolet Colorado – The Colorado has become the replacement to the long running and popular “S” brand small trucks put out by GMC and Chevrolet. And it is a welcome change! In 2009 the Chevy Colorado is available with three cab configurations including regular, extended, and the four door crew. The base engine is a VORTEC 2.9 L-4 engine that is more powerful than the 3.0 liter Ford V6! But perhaps most impressive for 2009 Colorado trucks is the now available 5.3 liter V8 that chugs out 300hp on the Z71 package! The MSRP on available models is priced from $18,555-$23,750.
GMC Canyon – The GMC Canyon is in many ways the virtual twin of the Chevy Colorado, however there are some differences that you should be aware of besides the different badges! Most notably absent on the Canyon is the attractive and functional Z71 package! Also some of the trim level packages differ from what’s offered on the Colorado! You could get more of what you want for less money by comparing what’s offered between both models as evident by the difference in the MSRP range of $16,905-$27,275! So see! It pays to shop!
Dodge Dakota – Truetruck enthusiasts really appreciate Dodge! Since the company started offering Magnum class engines available in the early 90’s, Dodge trucks have consistently been at the top of the charts when it comes to power! And that hasn’t changed in 2009 year model Dakotas, as a 4.7 liter V8 Flex Fuel engine is being offered that delivers up to 302hp and improved fuel economy! One drawback with the Dodge Dakota could lie in the standard 3.7 liter V6 engine, as it is a bit sluggish in the acceleration department. $21,815
Ford Ranger – Starting from $15,835 the Ford Ranger has been a bit of an icon when it comes to the small truck class. And with many truly compact base model trucks being retired to pasture to make room for 4 door crew cabs at the cost of pickup bed storage capacity, the Ford Ranger is still definitely worth a look if you really just need a work truck or the occasional weekend hauler. In 2009 the Ranger will be available with a regular cab, or super cab (2 doors or 4!), with the option of a 6 of 7 foot bed to make up for that extra cab space used. When stocked with the 4 cylinder engine, gas mileage is amongst the best in its class with an estimated 21 city / 26 highway mpg rating. The only downside has been a number of reported reliability issues that have plagued the Ranger line since its inception.
Ford Explorer Sport Trac – The Sport Trac was the first small trucks of its kind when it rolled into showrooms with its four door crew cab design… Something previously reserved for its much larger siblings! It became a popular model from its start, and has enjoyed an enduring existence because of it. It is definitely one of the most attractive small trucks currently available, both inside and out! Unfortunately the pickup bed is considerably smaller than its competitors, and there is no option for a longer bed! Also the stock 3.0 liter V6 is feels considerably underpowered. However, a nice powerful 292hp V8 is available as an option on some models, and I highly recommend that you test drive both engine options so you’ll see just how notable that difference is! Still after you add everything up and compare it to other makes and models, the Sport Trac seems a little over priced in the end! There are three different trim levels available starting at $25,985!
Mitsubishi Raider – The only pickup option from Mitsubishi is this attractive small pickup! For this model year the Raider comes available with only one trim level (LS), but does have the option of having either a four door crew cab or an extended cab with a lightly longer pickup bed. The truck is considered to be amongst the best handling pickups in its class, but the previously available and powerful V8 power train is gone! Now all Raider models are stocked with a 3.7 V6 engine which produces 210hp and 236 lbs of torque. However, due to the MSRP range of $21,135-$29,425; this model has earned a few criticisms in the safety and power train departments when being compared to other similar pickup models from manufacturers such as Toyota and Nissan