size trucks are getting super massive
and super expensive, so it’s great to see a
resurgence in midsize trucks. Midsize trucks are
plenty capable. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah. CARLOS LAGO: They can
tow, they can go off road, they can have a ton of
benefits that you may not realize in contrast to where
light-duty full size trucks are at now. DAN EDMUNDS: Absolutely. CARLOS LAGO: And
they’re a lot cheaper. DAN EDMUNDS: Oh, yeah. CARLOS LAGO: We’ve put every
midsize truck on the market through our rigorous,
standardized testing process. And have done plenty of
truck-specific tests as well. We’ve commuted with them,
we’ve driven long distances, we’ve towed. We’ve gone off road, even
with the trucks that aren’t necessarily optimized for it. So this ranking list
covers all the trucks that you will find at
dealer lots currently. And you can find more
details about our ratings and rankings process
at Edmunds.com. Our number one ranked
midsize truck– DAN EDMUNDS: Numero uno. CARLOS LAGO: Is the
Honda Ridgeline. So we just lost all
our credibility, right? DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, absolutely. CARLOS LAGO: So we
understand how this looks to truck dudes, quote unquote. But why do we like it so much? DAN EDMUNDS: Because when
it comes right down to it, if you’re really coldly
logical about it, off-road performance
isn’t something that very many
people actually need. And if you just
look at how nice it is to drive every day, the
bed, the cargo options. The Ridgeline’s bed is amazing
with a trunk that’s lockable, you can put stuff in there and
it could be raining outside and it won’t care. CARLOS LAGO: It’s a
pretty sizable bed, you can fit four by
eight sheets in there. DAN EDMUNDS: It is. It’s the only one where they
will lay flat on the deck because the wheel wells
are far enough apart. And it’s a composite bed so
you don’t need a bed liner. The tailgate opens two ways. And that’s the
bed, and it’s even a longer bed than any of the
other crew cabs have, you know, the crew cab short
bag configuration. It’s a little bit
longer than those. CARLOS LAGO: Also you
can reach into the bed– DAN EDMUNDS: Easily. CARLOS LAGO: Without
needing a stool. DAN EDMUNDS: Yep. And then when you get in the
cab the rear seat is huge. And four of me will
fit in the cab. I’m 6’2”. CARLOS LAGO: You’ve got the
trunk underneath bed is great. DAN EDMUNDS: Right. CARLOS LAGO: Interior
storage is great as well. DAN EDMUNDS: Yep. CARLOS LAGO: And this
thing is just a nice truck to drive around town. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah,
and it’s the only one that has independent
suspension in the rear. And that really
smooths out the ride. I mean, the tow rating
is only 5,000 pounds with the all-wheel drive
version, which isn’t terribly high compared to the others. But for my mind
in a midsize truck if you’re towing a lot more
than 5,000 pounds anyway, a full size truck might
be a better choice. CARLOS LAGO: But it also
brings some benefits on, like, washboard roads. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah,
this thing really excels because with an
independent suspension you don’t have very
much unsprung mass. And so what that means
is it rides smoother but it also puts less
stress on the components, like the shock absorbers. CARLOS LAGO: We’re
talking specifically about a test we did with
the Nissan Titan XD PRO 4X and the Toyota
Tacoma TRD Off Road 4×4 where we drove them quite a
distance on washboard road. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, we
went to a place called the Racetrack in Death Valley. And it’s 27 miles of
washboard in, U-turn, 27 miles of washboard out. And the point of the test was
to see if the Ridgeline would– CARLOS LAGO: Survive. DAN EDMUNDS: Fall on its knees. And the other trucks were
just there to support. And it turned out
that the Ridgeline out did the other two trucks. CARLOS LAGO: Well, just out did. Like, the Titan and the Tacoma
blew up their rear shocks. And when we say blew up,
like, they actually melted. There was smoke. DAN EDMUNDS: All the oil
came out, there was smoke. The yellow shocks looked
like burnt French fries. CARLOS LAGO: If you’re
serious about off roading, if you’re serious about
towing, this is definitely not the truck for you. But if you’re realistic
about your needs, this is a really solid,
well-executed truck. DAN EDMUNDS: It’s a solid truck. CARLOS LAGO: So our number
two ranked midsize truck is the Jeep Gladiator. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah. CARLOS LAGO: And if
the Ridgeline is here– DAN EDMUNDS: Couldn’t
be more different. CARLOS LAGO: The
Gladiator’s, like, over there somewhere
in terms of– DAN EDMUNDS: In a
different county. CARLOS LAGO: It’s quite
different, the Gladiator. But we like the Gladiator a lot. DAN EDMUNDS: Oh, yeah. I mean, it’s got personality
by the train load. I mean, it really
is like a Wrangler with a bed that’s
very functional. CARLOS LAGO: Yeah. DAN EDMUNDS: It’s not just
a glued-on little shorty that doesn’t do anything. It’s as big as the
other beds out there. CARLOS LAGO: Yeah. DAN EDMUNDS: And it has
a payload and tow rating to match that really
makes it a useful truck. But when you look
at the cab part, it’s got the doors that come
off, the roof that comes off– CARLOS LAGO: The windshield
the flips down, right? DAN EDMUNDS:
Windshield flips down. Back seat has the second-most
leg room after the Ridgeline as far as passenger comfort. And the seat flips and
folds in a nice way so you can store stuff. And the bed– CARLOS LAGO: It’s
pretty low, right? DAN EDMUNDS: The
sides aren’t very tall so it’s actually
really nice because you can reach in and grab a
motorcycle tie down strap, give it a cinch. CARLOS LAGO: It actually
has some advantages over the Wrangler, too. It rides better. DAN EDMUNDS: Oh, yeah. Because it’s got
the same solid axle, front suspension that a
Wrangler has and recirculating, ball steering, all that. But in the back it’s got the
same suspension, or nearly the same, as the Ram 1500. And that’s a truck
that we really like because it rides so
much nicer than trucks that have leaf springs. And the same is true here. CARLOS LAGO: The
Gladiator’s a Jeep, so you expect some
off-road capability. DAN EDMUNDS: Unquestionably . And you won’t be disappointed. I mean, the approach
angle is insane. It’s got a pretty
good departure angle despite the bed
hanging off the back. But it does have one problem. CARLOS LAGO: It’s really long. DAN EDMUNDS: It’s really long. CARLOS LAGO: It’s a
really long truck. DAN EDMUNDS: It’s
the wheelbase that’s really the issue because
the wheelbase is almost a foot longer than
the other trucks. And that really gets you
maybe hung up on some rocks. But you can solve that
because in the Jeep world aftermarket parts and
lift kits are just, like, almost a requirement. People will spend
a ton on their Jeep and then they’ll spend a
ton more on accessories. CARLOS LAGO: That’s
the downside. You already pay a lot
for a Gladiator Rubicon. And then you think that
you have to pay more– DAN EDMUNDS: It’s
not a cheap choice. CARLOS LAGO: To lift it and
put on bigger tires and stuff. DAN EDMUNDS: And
you don’t have to do that unless you want to go off
road, or look like you go off road. CARLOS LAGO: So it has
some small downsides. But if you’re looking for,
like, unparalleled character, strong towing, and really
strong off-road capability, the Gladiator is the solution. DAN EDMUNDS: Oh, absolutely. It’s a great truck. CARLOS LAGO: Yeah, if
the Honda’s over here, and the Jeep’s over
here, the Toyota Tacoma– DAN EDMUNDS: Right
down the middle. CARLOS LAGO: Bridges
the gap, right? And it’s really strong. It’s really good,
especially for 2020. DAN EDMUNDS: Tacoma’s
always really been the most
well-rounded choice. CARLOS LAGO: Yeah. DAN EDMUNDS: You know,
it’s great as a truck. It’s got attitude. It’s really good off
road, surprisingly good. And it’s reliable
and people love it. CARLOS LAGO: What brought it
down last year, up to 2019, was basically where
the driver would sit and the lack of adjustability
in the seat and the steering wheel. And also the in-car
entertainment, infotainment, whatever you want to call it,
was poor by industry standards. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, exactly. You know, the Tacoma
has always been designed with off road in mind. And so the frame’s kind of high
so it has better clearance. But that means getting into
the cab is a little bit more of a step up. And that also led to kind of
a legs-out driving position that some people didn’t like. CARLOS LAGO: Yeah. DAN EDMUNDS: This
year though, they’ve added a power driver’s seat. This truck’s now
comfortable to sit in, a lot more than it
has been in the past. CARLOS LAGO: And with
regard to entertainment, you now have Apple CarPlay
and Android Auto support. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah. CARLOS LAGO: Praise the lord. DAN EDMUNDS: Yes, absolutely. And this just is
very transformative because it’s a nicer
screen, easier to use, the map graphics are better. And, like you say,
the smartphones, boom, they’re in there. The Ridgeline has
tailgate in the trunk. But the bed in the Tacoma,
it’s got everything it needs and nothing it doesn’t. It’s a composite bed so
you don’t need a bed liner. It’s got hooks in the corners
but also sliding rails with cleats that you can move. You can get a power
outlet back there, there’s a couple
of little cubbies. It’s the best bed out there. It’s not very tall either,
so it’s easy to reach in. It’s kind of, like,
pretty nicely packaged. CARLOS LAGO: And you get a nice
range of models to choose from, too, from standard
Tocomas all of up to the TRD Pros of the world. And everything in between. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, and the
one in between that I like the most is the TRD Off Road. It’s kind of got
everything you need and the price isn’t that high. CARLOS LAGO: It’s
pretty reasonable. DAN EDMUNDS: And if you want
to, like, build an off roader, that’s the one to start with. CARLOS LAGO: Yeah. DAN EDMUNDS: And then you
can put your bigger tires or whatever on that one. CARLOS LAGO: The few downsides
it has, one, powertrain. DAN EDMUNDS: The V6 doesn’t
have as much torque as I’d like. But again, in 2020
they’ve helped themselves by recalibrating
the transmission so it shifts differently. And that really has
kind of smoothed over some of the problems. But the same powertrain
that’s kind of lackluster on the pavement
has really good off road. The throttle control is stellar. CARLOS LAGO: Yeah, this is
a great truck for anybody. Easy recommendation. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, you’ve
got an off-road lifestyle, if you want to work, you
can do both of those things. CARLOS LAGO: Yeah, the
Colorado, likewise, is a solid all-around truck. Which we should
point out is a tenth it’s behind the Tacoma
in our rankings scale. DAN EDMUNDS: Right, and
it was ahead of the Tacoma until the Tacoma made
these changes for 2020. CARLOS LAGO: What are its
shortcomings versus the Tacoma? DAN EDMUNDS: It’s bed
has kind of got really comically tall sides. CARLOS LAGO: Yeah, yes. DAN EDMUNDS: So, I
mean, it’s great. But loading and unloading
isn’t really that easy. CARLOS LAGO: Right. DAN EDMUNDS: It’s just
kind of a styling thing. And it doesn’t really help
with the functionality. CARLOS LAGO: It
looks cool but it is kind of more difficult to
use on a day-to-day basis. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, and
then the other thing is it’s kind of just a
shrunken full size truck. And by that I mean
it’s not really taking advantage of
its smaller dimensions except beyond parking. The Tacoma, as I mentioned,
has kind of got off road as a design principle. You can see that it’s not
such with the Colorado. If you look at the rear axle
the shocks are kind of– CARLOS LAGO: They’re
pretty centered, right? DAN EDMUNDS: They’re
in the middle where they’re kind of vulnerable. CARLOS LAGO: The Tacoma,
they’re way more outboard. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, exactly. CARLOS LAGO: We like
the availability of the ZR2, which is the very
cool-looking off-road version of the Colorado. We have one in our
long-term fleet. It’s a really nice truck
to drive around town. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, but
when you get off road, the powertrain isn’t quite as
easy to control at low speeds and low range. And those trick shocks
don’t feel as well-tuned on a washboard dirt road. CARLOS LAGO: Yeah. DAN EDMUNDS: It seems like it’s
really good as a street truck and it looks like an off-road
truck, and it works off road. Let’s face it, it’s got
a front and rear locker. CARLOS LAGO: But we generally
like the truck on the road. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah. CARLOS LAGO: And when we did
our three truck comparison with the Ranger,
Tacoma, and Colorado we preferred the Colorado on
road and the Tacoma off road. That’s was kind of
the distinction there. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, and
really that’s where you’re going to spend
most of your time if you’re an average person. CARLOS LAGO: Yeah. DAN EDMUNDS: So that’s why the
ratings are so close together. CARLOS LAGO: So close. The other downside
of the Colorado is just the interior
look and feel. It’s a small thing to complain
about but the plastics just don’t have that
feeling of quality. DAN EDMUNDS: But for me the
backseat is also an issue. It’s got space,
about, like, Tacoma, maybe a little smidge more. But when you fold the
seats it’s not totally flat and it’s higher off the ground. So it’s not as good for like
putting something in there. CARLOS LAGO: We should
also highlight too, along with a turbo
diesel which you can’t get in any other
truck in this segment, you can also get a integrated
trailer brake controller. DAN EDMUNDS: Yes. CARLOS LAGO: Which is not
available in any other truck in the segment so far. DAN EDMUNDS: Right. CARLOS LAGO: Because we know
one’s coming to the Gladiator but it’s not available yet. DAN EDMUNDS: And
the diesel’s great. It really has the torque
that you want in a truck. And the fuel
economy’s outstanding. And we’ve been able to actually
meet the EPA rating on that. CARLOS LAGO: You
know, the Colorado doesn’t excel in
any single category. But it is a solid
all-around truck and we wouldn’t
think less of you if you bought one over a Tacoma. DAN EDMUNDS: No, not at all. CARLOS LAGO: Not at all. DAN EDMUNDS: Not at all. CARLOS LAGO: Number
five is the GMC Canyon which has the same
score as the Colorado, unsurprisingly, because
it’s the same truck. So why get a Canyon? DAN EDMUNDS: It’s a
little bit nicer looking. And it feels a
little more upscale. And also you can get a Denali. You can’t get a ZR2,
but you can get a Denali which is the high-end model. CARLOS LAGO: Everything
we’ve said about the Colorado applies to the Canyon
excluding the ZR2. DAN EDMUNDS: Exactly. CARLOS LAGO: And so, let’s
move on to number six. DAN EDMUNDS: OK. CARLOS LAGO: As a former
Ford Ranger owner, it landing in number six hurts. It’s fair to say that we
had some disappointments with this truck. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah,
but not everything. A 2.3 liter turbo– CARLOS LAGO: Yes, let’s
start with the good. DAN EDMUNDS: 10 speed
automatic, they’re stellar. And the fuel economy
rating is good. CARLOS LAGO: That engine rocks. DAN EDMUNDS: Power, it’s
got a good tow rating, payload, all those
kinds of truck specs are right where they need to be. CARLOS LAGO: We like
the drive train a lot. We like the
touchscreen interface. DAN EDMUNDS: It’s time for a
refresh, but it does work well. CARLOS LAGO: It’s quick, yeah. DAN EDMUNDS: I’d like to see
a couple of shortcut buttons, everything has to
happen on a touchscreen. CARLOS LAGO: That
is the downside. DAN EDMUNDS: And that feels
a couple of years old. CARLOS LAGO: Let’s
talk downsides. DAN EDMUNDS: When we
did our comparison test, nobody really
wanted to ride in it very long because they
started to get queasy. And we had the FX4, which
should have had better dampers. It just doesn’t
feel settled down. CARLOS LAGO: Yeah, that
is a real big turnoff for people who are sensitive
to motion sickness like myself. DAN EDMUNDS: The bed
has the same issues that the Colorado has. It’s big. CARLOS LAGO: Real tall. DAN EDMUNDS: It’s got
really tall sides. And the tailgate’s
high when you open it. It doesn’t have
any of the features that the Ridgeline, or the
Tacoma, or even the Gladiator has a couple that
are missing here. Everything’s an accessory. This truck doesn’t have a split
rear seat, everybody else does. This is not a 60-40 or
a 50-50, it’s 100-0. it’s just one piece and it
only folds about that far down. So you can’t even make a
loading platform out of it. CARLOS LAGO: And that
may be due to the fact that though the Ranger
is new to the US it’s been for sale
worldwide for a long time. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, it’s been
in Thailand and Australia for, I don’t know,
six or seven years. It’s an update with
a new motor for us. CARLOS LAGO: Yeah, and
a good one at that. And lastly, off road we
had some trouble with it during our three truck test
that we did earlier this year. DAN EDMUNDS: It doesn’t have
the suspension articulation of Tacoma, certainly, but
also even the Chevrolet. CARLOS LAGO: So overall, there
are some decent attributes in the Ranger. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, absolutely. CARLOS LAGO: But I think it’s
safe to say we just expected more from it in comparison
to some of the other trucks that you can get
for the same money. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, it’s new
to us but it doesn’t feel new. CARLOS LAGO: Yeah. Nissan Frontier ranked
last in our rankings. But the score is tied with
the Ranger, I’ll point out. Because the Frontier
still has some attributes. This is an old truck. In your words, you
said it survived three presidential administrations. DAN EDMUNDS: That’s right. CARLOS LAGO: If
this were a human it’d be legally able to drive. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, pretty much. CARLOS LAGO: This
generation was on sale when the last generation of the
Ford Ranger left the market. DAN EDMUNDS: And
then went into exile. CARLOS LAGO: Yes. DAN EDMUNDS: And then came back. CARLOS LAGO: And it’s
the same Frontier. DAN EDMUNDS: I know. Well, there’s an
advantage there, although we’re
digging to find it. CARLOS LAGO: Yeah. DAN EDMUNDS: And that is
they’ve paid for the tooling, like, I don’t know
how many times over. So the price is low. CARLOS LAGO: The
price is very low. DAN EDMUNDS: It’s a
pretty good value. CARLOS LAGO: Yeah, that’s the
Frontier’s biggest advantage, is they’re fairly inexpensive. And let’s face it, it
does what you would expect from a truck from that time. DAN EDMUNDS: But it also has
an old engine and transmission setup, four liter V6. CARLOS LAGO: And a
five-speed automatic. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah,
right, exactly. CARLOS LAGO: That’s,
what, half the Ford has. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, exactly. So half the gears and almost
twice the displacement. CARLOS LAGO: Yeah. DAN EDMUNDS: And it
uses a lot of fuel. It’s the least
fuel-efficient truck here. But you’re saving so much
on the purchase price that maybe that’s
not a big deal. CARLOS LAGO: Maybe
it’ll work out. And we don’t factor this
into our ranking process significantly, but it does
have some charm, right? DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah. CARLOS LAGO: Just kind of
being old school, old tech. Ah, it’s just an old
truck kind of feel. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah driving
around a manual is kind of fun. CARLOS LAGO: Yeah. That concludes our rankings of
midsize trucks, all of them. Check with Edmunds.com for
the latest info and updates. We’re continually updating
these rankings and ratings in real time. So all changes will
be reflected there. Try this again next year. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, absolutely. Maybe there’ll be a
new Frontier by then. [MUSIC PLAYING]