Ram 1500 Tradesman: MSRP $26,493

The only full-size truck priced less than the F-150, the Ram 1500 has a lot going for it. For starters, even the base model has one of the most upscale interiors in the class. The cabin is roomy, with comfortable, supportive seats, and it uses quality materials throughout.


It comes with a 305-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6 engine, but even so it can’t tow or haul as much as many in its class.

Toyota Tacoma SR: MSRP $24,575

If you are interested in off-roading, the Toyota Tacoma is one of your best bet base models. However, if you buy one of the off-road trims you get much better performance.

The base model is a 4×2 equipped with a 2.7-liter 4-cylinder engine that is rated at 159 horsepower. It’s a pretty inefficient and under-powered base engine. Fuel rating is 19 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.

GMC Canyon SL 4×2 Extended Cab: $20,885

The GMC Canyon is a tough little compact pickup that has an interior way too nice for its price. But like most vehicles, the really good stuff comes as an option. The base trim comes equipped with a 200-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission. The fuel rating comes in at 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.


As small as it is, it has the same towing capacity, 3,500 pounds, as the Toyota Tacoma. We said the interior is upscale and it is. It uses high quality fabrics and materials. The downside is there are only 2 seats.

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