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Mid-size pickup trucks are the new 'smaller' pickup trucks

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They used to be called compact trucks, but smaller pickup trucks offered by manufacturers these days are actually mid-size. (KABC)

They used to be called compact trucks, but smaller pickup trucks offered by manufacturers these days are actually mid-size.

Take for example, the Chevrolet Colorado pickup. For the second year in a row, it picked up the Motor Trend truck of the year award. So why the repeat win?

It now has a diesel engine option, which is a plus, and it's been seen as superior to its competitors by the judging panel.

Among those competitors is the 2016 Toyota Tacoma. It's probably safe to say that Toyota's entry into the mid-size truck arena won't need awards to sell well as it's been a favorite for many years. The all new design should keep it popular for years to come.

But drivers may notice that Toyota's formerly small truck is not really very small anymore. That's why it's referred to as a mid-size, and the same goes for the Chevy Colorado and its twin from GMC, the Canyon.

In fact, drivers really can't buy a truly small pickup truck anymore in the U.S. Like it or not, these mid-size ones are the small ones compared to the full-size pickups out there.

As for the diesel Colorado, it's got some impressive stats with regard to capability as well. The engine produces the torque of a V-8 engine, even though it's only a four cylinder. As a result, the tow rating for the mid-sizer is a healthy 7,700 pounds. There's even an exhaust brake to slow it down on hills - just like big rigs.

Of course, drivers will have to pay for the capability. The diesel engine is a $4,000 option. The four-wheel drive crew cab Colorado checks in at about $40,000.

For a loaded up Toyota Tacoma, buyers can expect to shell out a decent chunk of money - about $37,000. To be fair, base prices for both the Colorado and Tacoma start between $20,000 and $25,000, but that's for a smaller cab with no add-ons.

The bad news is that the days of the small, inexpensive pickups are long gone. The good news? The mid-size pickups have stepped up their game and can often take the place of a larger one.

Related Topics:
automotivecar tipsauto newstruckstoyotaauto industry
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