“Your truck looks so tiny!” I poked my head out the door to see why my friend was laughing. She had arrived in her 2020 Ford Ranger rental car and parked it next to my 1988 F-150. I had to admit that the new Ranger was bigger in almost every dimension. But as much as I was impressed by the Ranger that weekend, he didn’t drive or park like the compact trucks of the 1980s that I grew up with. So I wasn’t surprised when Ford installed the Maverick under the Ranger: compact trucks are the perfect tool for a lot of jobs. Here are four of the best new true compact trucks.

The 2022 Ford Maverick: the perfect compact truck for commuters

2022 Ford Maverick 2L-EcoBoost AWD Lariat | ford

The base Ford Maverick is a hybrid that can reach an estimated 40 mph and can travel 500 miles between refuelings. This will enable a truck lifestyle for many people who otherwise could not afford it. The Ford Maverick’s bed is only 54.4 inches long, but its four lashing straps double as a bottle opener so your friends won’t tease you for long. This bed is also wired for 12-volt electricity and is optionally available with 100-volt sockets.

If you need to tow your Maverick, you can upgrade to the turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4, AWD, and the tow package. The turbo engine makes 250 hp and 277 lb-ft. Torque, and an equipped Maverick can tow 4,000 lbs.

The Honda Ridgeline 2021 was named Truck of the Year in the Consumer Report

2021 Ridgeline Sport with HPD package | Honda

If you haven’t looked at a Honda Ridgeline recently, look again. Honda completely redesigned its unibody truck for 2021. The styling is aggressive at the front and comes with a dual exhaust at the rear. Also, the bed is now 63.6 inches long.

The Ridgeline’s 3.5-liter V6 engine develops 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft. of the torque. That’s enough to embarrass a Tacoma. Each Ridgeline has a nine-speed automatic transmission and AWD. The EPA rated this truck at 18 city / 24 highway mpg (21 combined). Base-trimmed ridgelines can only tow 3,500 pounds. But equipped ridgelines are valued at £ 5,000.

This is a promotional photo of a 2022 sand-colored Hyundai Santa Cruz parked in Santa Cruz, California.  This is one of the really compact trucks to hit the market. 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

Hyundai will hit the market with its Santa Cruz in 2022. It seems like the automaker has thought of everything: the loading area is only 52.1 inches long, making it the smallest loading area available. But it also has an underfloor storage space that doubles as a cooler. Cool. It also has two side shelves (roughly the size of a truck battery) on either side of the truck bed. This bed comes with a lockable cover, and Hyundai designed it to hold a homemade 2 × 4 rack should you want to put it down. This bed has LED lights, available sockets and a C-channel rail system for adjustable lashing straps.

The base engine, a 2.5-liter I4 with a naturally aspirated engine, only develops 191 hp. But the turbocharged 2.5-liter option can produce 281 hp and 311 lb-ft. of the torque. The larger motor can pull up to 4,000 pounds. Even equipped with the turbo and optional AWD, the Santa Cruz is rated for 19 city / 27 highway mpg (22 combined).

Alpha Motor’s WOLF is an electric truck

This is a prototype of the new Alpha Motor WOLF EV, a true compact truck, EV. Alpha Motors WOLF EV | Alpha engines

The prototype for the WOLF from Alpha Motor is one of the latest retro trucks ever. Alpha Motors also intends to make their vehicles easy to edit, to standardize components across models and even to align the electronics in the cabin with “interchangeability”. Every truck manufacturer should take a page from their book.

In addition to a lockable front trunk, the WOLF has a 65-inch bed. One of the most compact things about the WOLF is its height. A skateboard chassis, this truck is low and 4 inches shorter than 2WD “compact cars” like the Ranger and Tacoma.

With maximum torque at 0 rpm, electric drivetrains are perfect for pulling. The WOLF is no exception. Alpha engineered it to tow 6,724 pounds. If not towed, its maximum range is 275 miles.


Compact trucks are one of the most versatile and useful vehicles there is. It’s nice to see the true compact truck return. It’s nice to see that this class of vehicle is getting stronger than ever despite an electric future ahead.

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