2012 Midsize Shootout This Week

Group 3
PUTC's next big shootout, as we've noted earlier, will go live later this week (we're aiming for Thursday or Friday). It's not often you can have every vehicle of a given segment in a comparison test but that's what we did when assembling every smaller pickup truck option for sale in the U.S as of early December, 2011. All are 2012 models, except for the 2011 Ford Ranger we had to purchase for this test. 

The seven vehicles were all well-equipped and similarly prices. Only the V-8 Colorado and TRD Tacoma were above the $30,000 average. Our test was comprised of seven objective categories, and three subjective, giving each pickup a total score from a 1000 point maximum. The test was conducted and scored in a way that will allow readers to see how scores were determined and who scored them. We believe this allows anyone reading the story to substitute their own specific preferences and needs into our results and determine their own, specific, winner. 

There will be more to come. For now, here are the loaded (each truck at max. GVWR) quarter-mile times from the test data we collected. We did not base any of the scoring on these numbers, but we thought you might be interested. 



Chevy Coloroado -- 16.59 sec. @ 84.17 mph

Ford Ranger --         18.43 sec. @ 76.53 mph

GMC Canyon --       18.22 sec. @ 78.32 mph

Honda Ridgeline -- 18.24 sec. @ 77.28 mph

Nissan Frontier --    17.47 sec. @ 80.63 mph

Suzuki Equator --    17.31 sec. @ 81.50 mph 

Toyota Tacoma --    17.18 sec @ 80.94 mph


Honda Ridgeline??? What is that ugly piece of crap doing in a Pickup shootout??

Awesome. Looking forward to this one.

Woopud the Honda is considered a pickup, it was marketed to compete in this segment so of coarse they are going to test it.

great, should be fun. Hope you'll be listing each truck in order of performance, rather than alphabetically.

Go Ranger!!!

Since you are testing a Ranger which is discontinued, woulda thought you could have test a Dakota V-8 as well. It would give you another V-8 to compare the Colorado to. I know it wouldn't win.

About time we have articles on something other than bloated full size tanks.....

should be interesting, although I don't htink you need the Frontier and the Equator as its the same truck.

You need to actually include their GVWR next to their time. If one vehicle has an appreciably higher GVWR it would obviously affect the 1/4 mile time.

Man, those rangers really go! 18.43 seconds @76 mph is very fast for a ford. Bahahahahahahahahahahahahah. I guess once you load up the ford, it's a dog in performance.

Let the crying begin. Bahahahahahahahahahahahahahah!


The same can be said about the Canyon and Colorado also (except for engine displacement of course). This should be a interesting test regardless.

That V8 in the Colorado only managed .5 faster than the Tacoma?


not understanding what ur trying to say. regardless of each trucks gvwr, if it says 6.7k, it had better be able to do it in a timely matter as one rated at 6k. sounds almost as though ur fiding a reason for a higher gvwr truck for being slow. kinda like how an older 5.4 f150 is rated to tow 11,300 but when pitted against the like of the tundra and gm's 6.2 trucks, it tends to lag behind. no doubt each truck can do it, but engine pwr n rated capacity tend to contradict.

im more interested in the performance of each truck bcuz they can all do what they rated for. just wanna know how well they do it.

.5 sec is quite a margin. at 80mph+ its like 100'+ ahead.

And once again I ask why test include the suzuki as it's a rebadged nissan?

For the GMs at least its a different engine.

Chevy Coloroado -- 16.59 sec. @ 84.17 mph
Toyota Tacoma -- 17.18 sec @ 80.94 mph
Suzuki Equator -- 17.31 sec. @ 81.50 mph
Nissan Frontier -- 17.47 sec. @ 80.63 mph
GMC Canyon -- 18.22 sec. @ 78.32 mph
Honda Ridgeline -- 18.24 sec. @ 77.28 mph
Ford Ranger -- 18.43 sec. @ 76.53 mph

@Michigan Bob
I have read many of your comments and you tend to bash the Ranger...Why even care enough to bash them? They are now history!!

'04 f150 n '10 f150 is the same truck too, diff engines, y is it call a new truck. same can be said about the super duties n the rangers. havent changed in decades, y is it any diff.

Please tell me there will be an off-road portion. Road tests are all well and good, but let's face it, pickups don't always stay on the road. I'm not talking about hardcore rockcrawling, but get something other than pavement under the tires. Forget cones in a parking lot, try maneuvering around trees while you're spinning tires in 6 inches of wet leaves and mud. My dad did that yesterday while we were cutting firewood.

At the time of our test, the Ranger was still on sale so we decided to include; however, Ford wasn't able to get us a vehicle so we rented one from a broker. As a result, the Ford is a 2011 and all the others are 2012s. We opted not to include the Dakota because it stopped production six months earlier. We included both the Nissan and Suzuki because they both sell midsize trucks in the U.S. Powertrain is identical but there will be a few differences.
GVWRs: Chevy 5500, Ford 5280, Canyon 5300, Ridgeline 6050, Frontier 5816, Equator 5600, Tacoma 5500.

Bashing gopher??? How did I bash the Ranger? I only bragged about it's performance and how good it was for a ford. I did call it a Rump Ranger before. Poor ford fans, no more ranger. Besides, if you like UGLY and SLOW, the ford Ranger certainly fits the bill.

Chevy Colorado -- 16.59 sec. @ 84.17 mph -- GVWR 5500
Toyota Tacoma -- 17.18 sec @ 80.94 mph -- GVWR 5500
Suzuki Equator -- 17.31 sec. @ 81.50 mph -- GVWR 5600
Nissan Frontier -- 17.47 sec. @ 80.63 mph -- GVWR 5816
GMC Canyon -- 18.22 sec. @ 78.32 mph -- GVWR 5300
Honda Ridgeline -- 18.24 sec. @ 77.28 mph -- GVWR 6050
Ford Ranger -- 18.43 sec. @ 76.53 mph -- GVWR 5280

The reason people buy full size trucks...they blow the doors off small trucks !!!

@Mark Williams - Thanks for the supplemental info!

all the times seems to match it's gvwr with the exception of the ranger n canyon which is underpowered in this class.

Bring it on!! Should be an interesting test.

ha ha, the ridgeline has a higher gvwr than the rest! lol! and people say it is not capable?

it si also the biggest truck as the ranger is the smallest truck

I'm a big Ranger fan but numbers don't lie. It may have been "class leading" 20 years ago but it's been neglected and now abandoned and that is reflected in the performance numbers.

@Michigan Bob
I'm starting to enjoy your humor...Rump Ranger??? Where did that come from?

The least truck like vehicle of the group has the highest cargo capacity. Interesting.
I can see why the Suzuki and Frontier are included, they may be basically the same truck but manufacturer's can program shift points etc slightly differently or use slightly different spring rates, shock adsorber rates etc. making for a slightly different truck.
(For example) If you look at the last 1/2 ton shootout, the Silverado and Sierra scored quite differently.
Ranger's will be floating around Ford lots for probably 6 months before they are all gone.

GVWR does not directly correlate to cargo capacity. The Ridgeline may have a GVWR of 6000 lbs, but if it has a dry weight of 5500 lbs, its cargo capacity is only 500 lbs. To know which one has the highest payload/cargo capacity, we would also have to know its dry weight.

@rvbsmart - Great point!

@Mark Williams - Can you share how much payload each vehicle took to reach GVWR?

The Ridgeline has an impressive 1500 lb payload capacity, the problem is only something like 1100 or 1200 lbs can be supported by the bed, the rest has to be put up in the cab. I don't think any other truck has a limitation like that (other than front and rear axle limitations).

I guess the saving grace here is that unless you are moving something really dense, like tile or stone, you would have a hard time ever fitting that much cargo in the smaller bed of the ridgeline.

Here Mark Williams explains why the Ridgeline's payload numbers are a lie...


Do the SAE towing rules that go into effect this year also apply to payload ratings?

Sure wish you’d include the 2012 global Ranger in this compare. Maybe if it did well it would encourage Ford to build it for sale in US and Canada.

Too bad Dodge stopped production on the Dakota !!!

They ran 6 sec range 0-60 and high 14's in the 1/4 with the 4.7 V-8 !!!

Well monkey man, the Dakota certainly wouldn't run those times with the the Dakota at it's max GVWR rating. Besides, I don't buy those times anyway.

@Monkey Man

The 4.7L Dakota's were overweight. The quickest one's I saw ran about 8.5 seconds 0-60mph and mid 16 to early 17's in the 1/4 mile.

Only a tad faster than the slightly heavier 4.7L powered Ram 1500's.

@Michigan Bob-

The Ranger has been de-balled for a few years.... I'd put money on it that my old '03 4WD supercab (auto w/4:10s) would have smoked everything but maybe the Colorado. And that would be before I installed mods too!

I'm glad to see this comparison; my next truck will likely be either a Frontier/Equator or new Colorado/Canyon (since we're not good enough for a new Ranger).

The Ranger is a compact truck.

So don't get too happy by using a larger stronger mid to full size trucks to beat a compact.

Apples to apples would be a '03 S10 vs a Ranger.

@gopher - the term "Rump Ranger" was Texan slang that someone had used to describe Bob. Let's put it this way, it applies to men who prefer an alternative lifestyle.

here the only reason why the colorado won was because of its V-8 i think its a piece a crap. Its not even a vortec Chevy What happened?

Yeah sure a crew 4x4 Dakota weighs more then a crew cab Colorado 4x4. The Colorado has about the worst structure safety wise. Nothing like having the wheel protrude into the cab like it does on the IIHS frontal offset crash test, poor structure in the IIHS side impact, rear impact test and roof test. And a little 61" bed. I had an 07 Dakota crew and the 65" bed was too small. The Dakota may not have the side airbags, atleast it has a structure to it. Atleast you could get a longer bed, better safety-which will be lower insurance most likely, and a higher tow rating with a v-6 Frontier or Tacoma. Oh, and 14 city and 19 highway? Wow, I can get 13/19 out of a Hemi full size that tows more and has more room, get a new Ford you get better mileage then that. Even a Chevy full size does same/better. So if I was looking at a Colorado, I would ask WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME? Wait, they must be real cheap.

@TRX4 Tom - I have to agree. I seriously looked at compacts er midsized as well as full sized trucks. The Colorado had poor interior space, poor mpg, and a tiny box. The Tacoma doublecab is the only compact I would buy. Even that wasn't adequate for my needs. Last weekend, my family went to the next town to visit friends. I had my 2 boys, 2 labs, my wife on board and a bunch of stuff in the back of the truck. Since it was -15F I wasn't going to carry the dogs in the back. We were comfortable, but in a midsized truck it would of been seriously cramped. If I owned a Colorado, I would of had to leave the dogs at home and some of the stuff I brought to help my wife's friend with household repairs.

This is the category of truck that I'm interested in and that, I believe, will become of greater importance in the future as CAFE regs take hold of the industry. Thanks, I'm looking forward to your findings.

Older 1980's Toyota Pickup with a very short Utility bed.

When are the results of the shootout expected to be completed and posted?

The comments to this entry are closed.