What Is a Midsize Truck?

When a half-ton is just too much and a compact is not enough, the midsize pickup comes to the rescue with an affordable price and decent capability.


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As the name suggests, midsize trucks fall between full-sizers like the Ford F-150 and compact models like the new Ford Maverick. While they can’t match the big trucks’ towing and payload capacities, most midsizers can still tug more than 5,000 pounds and haul 1,500-plus pounds’ worth of stuff in their beds. Several even offer special trims with heavier-duty, all-terrain-conquering equipment, giving these trucks strong off-road credentials.


Which Brands Sell Midsize Trucks?

There are a handful of midsize trucks on the market, all from mainstream brands. The Toyota Tacoma leads the segment in terms of sales, followed by the Ford Ranger, and Jeep Gladiator. The Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Honda Ridgeline, and Nissan Frontier also fall into this group.


How Much Does a Midsize Truck Cost?

Many midsize trucks start at about $27,000, though those base models are all relatively spartan in terms of features and amenities. The Gladiator and Ridgeline open around $38,000, which is about what you’ll pay for a decently equipped midsize truck from the other brands. Examples with superior off-road capabilities or luxury trimmings range from $39K to $50K.


How Big Is a Midsize Truck?

Currently, all midsize trucks are at least 210.0 inches in overall length and 73.0 inches in width, making them reasonably smaller than full-size trucks like the Ford F-150, Ram 1500, and Chevrolet Silverado 1500. The Gladiator and Ridgeline both come in only one configuration—a four-door cab with a five-plus-foot bed. Shoppers can spec the Tacoma, Ranger, Frontier, Colorado, and Canyon with an extended or crew cab and one of two different bed lengths (though, sometimes the cab type specifies the bed length). The short-box option of most midsize trucks is around five feet long, while the long one is typically six feet. Crew-cab models seat five, with a reasonable amount of legroom in both rows. Extended cabs can fit four people, though long-legged adults may have to tuck their knees when sitting in the back.


What Kind of Fuel Economy Does a Midsize Truck Get?

Most models hover around the 20-mpg mark in combined driving. The four-wheel-drive-only Gladiator returns 19 mpg when equipped with a gas engine and 24 with a diesel, whereas the Ridgeline, which comes standard with all-wheel drive, delivers 21 mpg.


The Frontier returns 20 mpg with two drive wheels and 19 mpg with four.

The Tacoma is available with a four-cylinder or V-6. With either engine, the two-wheel-drive Toyota sees 21 mpg combined, while 4x4 models manage 20. Those with a manual transmission return 18 mpg.

The Canyon and Colorado twins offer three engines: a gas-powered four-cylinder and V-6 as well as a turbo-diesel. Both trucks perform best with the diesel, seeing up to 23 mpg combined, and worst with the V-6, achieving 19 mpg with four-wheel drive and as low as 17 in the off-road-oriented Colorado ZR2.

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Sami Haj-Assaad
Sami Haj-Assaad is an award-winning automotive journalist who has contributed to several automotive, electric vehicle, luxury lifestyle, and technology publications. His work isn't just limited to the written word, as he's also hosted YouTube videos and podcasts. Having grown up in the '90s, he has a strong sense of attachment to that era's style, though he also loves to geek out about the modern, futuristic tech and powertrains rolling out today.