The midsize pickup market is the hottest it has been in decades. Every truck in the segment is new in the last couple of years — many with next-gen models debuting just this month — making it extremely competitive. We’re here to help you sort out which one is right for you.
Below, we cover which midsize truck is tops for all the major specs, along with a recap of the ever-growing list of off-road special editions.
Power isn’t the most important truck spec, but it is the one you’ll brag about — and that makes it the best place to start.
The weakest truck is also the strongest. The 2024 Toyota Tacoma has a 228 horsepower (243 pound-feet) 2.4L turbo-four in the SR version of its trucks. Not many buyers are going to pick that work-truck spec, though, and most will probably get the 278-horse (317 pound-feet) version of that engine or the top in the class 326 horsepower and 465 pound-feet i-Force Max hybrid.
Ford has two engines in the Ranger this time around (not counting the Raptor), a 2.3L four-cylinder and a 2.7L V6. Both are turbocharged engines, with the former making 270 horsepower (310 pound-feet) and the latter 315 (400 pound-feet). Chevrolet’s Colorado and the GMC Canyon have two versions of a 2.7L turbo-four that make 237 (259 pound-feet) and 310 horsepower (390 pound-feet). All three of these trucks have an even beefier engine reserved for the off-road trim that we’ll cover in a minute.
The Jeep Gladiator offers the only diesel engine in the segment. Its 3L EcoDiesel V6 offers 260 horsepower with 442 pound-feet of torque. If you want a gas engine, Gladiator’s delivers 285 horses with 260 pound-feet of torque. Jeep offers a manual gearbox with the Gladiator, and Toyota will have one with its turbo-four. Otherwise, these are all automatic-equipped pickups.
Nissan has just one engine offering to simplify the lineup. The latest Nissan Frontier gets a 3.8L V6 that makes 310 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque. That choice means most Frontiers will have the most power, and that you don’t need more comfort options to get the most shove from your right foot.
Payload & Towing Get the Work Done
The point of all of that power is about more than just acceleration. It is to help you tow and haul.
Towing and payload vary greatly depending on how you spec your truck. Crew cabs and high-spec trims generally have less capacity for both; extended cabs have more.
Nissan Frontier can tow up to 6,720 pounds in King Cab spec. A Crew Cab can tow up to 6,570 or 6,470 for 4×4 trucks.
The 2024 Ford Ranger can tow up to 7,500 pounds with both two- and four-wheel drive. The Tacoma can tow 6,500 pounds with the turbo-four or 6,000 with hybrid drive.
GM’s twins, the Colorado and Canyon, can tow up to 3,500 pounds with the 237 horsepower engine but can tow up to 7,700 pounds with the 310-horse version. Jeep matches that figure for tops in towing, with the right gas model able to tow 7,700 pounds. But watch the spec closely, as picking the wrong grade can quickly drop that as low as 4,000 pounds.
Load up the cab and bed, and the GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado can handle up to 1,720 pounds of payload. Ford’s Ranger manages 1,711 pounds in 4×4 form or a top-in segment 1,805 with two-wheel drive. A Jeep Gladiator tops out at 1,710 pounds, but, again, quickly drops to as low as 1,075.
Nissan Frontier maxes out at 1,610 pounds with a 4×2 King Cab, and the 4×4’s best is 1,440 pounds.
So far, Toyota has only announced payload for the 2024 hybrid Tacoma, which maxes out at 1,709 pounds.
Parked at the Pumps
Fuel economy isn’t the first priority for these trucks, but it is important for buyers. However, Ford and Toyota haven’t announced figures for their latest pickup trucks just yet.
Nissan Frontier gets an EPA-estimated 17 mpg city, 22 highway with 4×4. Colorado and Canyon should see 19/23. The 4×2 Nissan gets 18/24, and the 4×2 GMs 20/25. A gas Gladiator is rated at 17/22 with the automatic (16/23 for manual) with the diesel able to manage 22 city, 28 highway, or 20/25 for a Rubicon trim.
Standard Ride Height & Off-Road Angles
Off-road capability is important for these midsize pickups even if they aren’t the flashiest grade. Many are more capable than their bigger siblings thanks to smaller dimensions and lighter weight, but how do they stack up? If there is a dedicated off-road trim (Raptor, ZR2, etc) with numbers far beyond the rest of the lineup, we’ve left those figures out of this section. Check out the extreme off-road section for those king-of-the-hill numbers.
The 2024 Toyota Tacoma offers a maximum of 9.5 inches of ground clearance, along with 33.8-degree approach, 23.5 breakover, and 25.7-degree departure angles. Tire sizes aren’t yet available for most, but TRD Pro and Trailhunter get 33-inch tall Goodyear Territory tires.
Nissan offers up to 9.5 inches of ground clearance, though some trims have as little as 8.6. Its approach angles max out at 32.3 degrees (all trims are above 29), departure at 23 (all above 21.9), and breakover angle is up to 20.6 degrees (all over 19.2). All have 265-wide tires and 70-series sidewalls on the 16s or 65 on the 17s.
The Ford Ranger offers up to 9.3 inches of ground clearance, with 4×2 models getting 8.8. The approach angle is 30.2, departure is 25.8, and the breakover angle is 23 degrees. The 4×2 models are all about one degree lower. Tire sizes are 255-wide with 70-series sidewalls on the 17-inch wheels and 65 on the optional 18s.
Colorado and Canyon offer up to 9.5 inches of ground clearance. The maximum approach angle is 30.5 degrees, departure is 22.4, and breakover is 21 degrees. Lower-trim trucks get 255/65R17 tires, and higher-spec trucks 265/70R17s; 265/65R18 tires are also available, or 275/50R22 all-season tires, as are 275/60R20 A/T tires.
Sport and Overland trims of the Gladiator get 10 inches of ground clearance along with approach angles of 40.8 degrees, and 18.4-degree breakover and 25-degree departure angles. Sport trim gets 245/75R17 all-terrain tires with Overland upping it to 255/70R18. Rubicon and Mojave are covered in the extreme section below.
The Price of Trucking
The cheapest of the new trucks is the Chevrolet Colorado. A WT (Work Truck) spec 4×2 starts from $29,200. The 4×4 is $32,500 while a top-spec Z71 starts from $39,900. The Nissan Frontier isn’t far off, and a King Cab 4×2 starts from $29,370 before destination. Adding 4×4 starts from $32,570 and a Crew Cab SV is $39,300. Jeep’s Gladiator starts from $38,775 for a base sport 4×4 trim. A top-of-the-range luxury High Altitude is $54,080.
GMC drops the entry-spec trims, so its Canyon pickup starts from $36,900 for a 4×2 Elevation. For 4×4, pricing starts from $40,200, and the high-zoot Denali trim starts from $51,000.
Toyota and Ford haven’t priced their new trucks. Expect an update when those figures become available.
Extreme Off-Road Midsize Trucks
Each of these truck builders offers buyers a midsize model designed for extreme off-roading. The capability of these trucks is so far beyond the rest of their lineup that they deserve their own section. Unless otherwise mentioned, the specs for these off-roaders aren’t included with the rest of the trucks.
The 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor is the ultimate version of the Ranger. It gets a 3.0L twin-turbo V6 with 405 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque. There are Fox Live Valve 2.5-inch shocks at all four corners, 33-inch BFG KO3 tires, and steel plates under the engine, transfer case, and fuel tank.
Ranger Raptor has 10.7 inches of ground clearance, an approach angle of 33 degrees, and breakover and departure angles of 26.4 and 24.2 degrees, respectively. Max payload is 1,411 pounds; max towing is 5,510.
Jeep Gladiator Rubicon & Mojave
The Gladiator Rubicon starts with a two-speed transfer case with 4.0:1 low range and front and rear electronic locking differentials. This truck gets a front sway bar disconnect, winch-capable bumpers, and 33-inch tires. Rubicon has 11.1 inches of ground clearance and 43.3-, 20.3-, and 26-degree approach, breakover, and departure angles, respectively.
Gladiator Mojave is aimed at desert running instead of the Rubicon’s rock-crawl focus. So, it has Fox 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks and Fox hydraulic jounce dampers. It gets a locking rear diff and 33-inch tires as well as 11.6 inches of ground clearance. The Mojave has an approach angle of 44.7 degrees, a breakover angle of 20.9 degrees, and a departure angle of 26 degrees.
Colorado ZR2 & Canyon AT4X
Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 and GMC Canyon AT4X get Multimatic DSSV dampers with a 3-inch lift. They have 10.7 inches of ground clearance and 38.3-degree approach angles thanks to special clearance-cut front bumpers. The departure angle is 25.1 degrees and breakover is 24.6.
These trucks have 33-inch tires, cast-iron control arms, locking front and rear differentials, underbody skid plates, and rocker panel protection. Thanks to a high-output 2.7L engine, they make 430 pound-feet of torque in place of the 390 of lower models. They can tow up to 6,000 pounds and max payload is 1,151 pounds.
Nissan Frontier’s Pro-4X model isn’t the most extreme, but it does have plenty of upgrades. This includes an electronic locking rear differential and underbody skid plates as well as Bilstein off-road dampers.
Max ground clearance for Frontier Pro-4X is 9.8 inches, with approach, departure, and breakover angles of 32.3, 23.0, and 19.6 degrees, respectively. Frontier Pro-4X can tow 6,270 pounds and haul 1,230 pounds.
Tacoma TRD Pro
TRD Pro is Toyota Tacoma’s top off-road trim and comes only with its hybrid driveline. For 2024, the truck gets 2.5-inch Fox QS3 internal-bypass shocks, along with its forged aluminum control arms. There is a locking rear differential, front sway bar disconnect, and 33-inch Goodyear R/T tires. TRD Pro has up to 11 inches of ground clearance, 33.8-degree approach, 25.7 departure, and 23.5-degree breakover angles.
Even more extreme trucks from Chevrolet and GMC are coming in the form of ZR2 Bison and AT4X AEV Edition models. Those trucks, developed with American Expedition Vehicles, are expected to get segment-first 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires, a lift, AEV bumpers, more skid plates, an optional in-bed spare tire carrier, and an available factory winch.