2015 Midsize Challenge: Results

V-6 Group track 3 II

We've done our most comprehensive test of the midsize pickup truck class to date here, taking four competitors (the Honda Ridgeline does not offer a 2015 model) to the test track, to the streets, to the dyno shop and to their payload limits. Four pickups, six days and 21 scored tests, 14 of which were scored by empirical data and seven scored by our three expert judges.

Here's how they finished:


No. 1: 2015 GMC Canyon SLT 4x4, 1,808 points

Canyon V-6 2A II

Although we're usually pretty good about keeping an open mind, this winner was a bit of a surprise to most judges. While the GMC offers plenty of features and capability, it was the most expensive truck in our test but still left some options on the table. In fact, given that we did let each manufacturer know we'd be doing some off-roading, we were surprised GMC didn't send the All-Terrain Package. However, even in SLT trim (one of GMC's volume leaders), the four-wheel-drive system does offer all-wheel-drive capability (something nothing else in the class offers). Our Canyon also came with wide chrome side steps and street-biased tires but no Z71 suspension. However, readers familiar with our past comparison tests know there are many ways for pickups to rack up the points, and this Canyon scored well in many of our head-to-head tests. As a result, the GMC Canyon beat the Chevrolet Colorado Z71 by 33 points.

No matter how you look at this comparison test, the win by the GMC was impressive. Of the 14 empirical challenges we set up for these midsize trucks, the GMC came in first or second place in 11 of them. In the judges' scoring, the GMC was chosen as the outright winner by two of our three judges, and our consumer family scored the GMC in first place by a wide margin. Even though our Challenge was designed to have a more serious off-road slant, the GMC was quite capable: The suspension was softer than we'd like but not bad during any of our dirt maneuvers; the tires, although less aggressive, had plenty of grip; and the interior materials, feel and quality was far ahead of the Nissan and Toyota.

In the end, the Canyon scored well throughout our test, and offered a capable and luxurious ride and feel that clearly separated the GMC from the rest of the field. We were especially impressed with its road manners and performance with a full load in the bed, scoring a first- or second-place finish in all of our max-payload testing (which for this truck meant carrying a stunning 1,440 pounds).


No. 2: 2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71, 1,775 points

Colorado V-6 9 II

Following close behind in total points, the Colorado performed quite well for our judges and test drivers. There isn't a lot different between the two trucks mechanically, but they do have very different styling and personality details. During our 14 empirical tests, the Colorado finished in first or second place in nine events, and garnered a winning nod from one of our three judges. Our consumer family scored the Colorado in a solid second place, noting they appreciated the sporty, more athletic feel of the interior.

During the off-road portion of our test, where judges had the chance to test each player on high- and low-speed dirt obstacles, the Z71 trim (suspension, tires, shocks and decals) was not up to the level of the Nissan Frontier PRO-4X and more specialized Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro. On the positive side (and there is plenty to like about this Chevy), we appreciated how ready and able the transmission is to handle all the high-revving horsepower this engine has to offer; upshifts are quick and smooth when highway cruising, and downshifts are confident and forceful when sprinting around a dirt track or darting through traffic.

What impressed us most with both of the GM trucks is how much they can carry, and how comfortable and confident they are doing it. During brake testing and when carrying a max payload during our fuel-economy runs, brake control and chassis dynamics were smooth and predictable, comforting even. With all that said, the Chevy is packed with value and showed great composure in every situation.


No. 3: 2015 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X, 1,673 points

Nissan 6 II

The Frontier is likely to be seen as the oldest player in this group because its interior (with the exception of a slightly larger navigation screen) has not been upgraded or updated since it debuted more than 10 years ago. You'd think that this alone would relegate the Frontier to the bottom of the segment, but it's a small pickup that sells well each month and has a loyal following. Much of the credit goes to the hard-hitting performance of the 4.0-liter 24-valve V-6. The overall numbers are clearly midpack, but the throttle feel off the line and at stop signs or even test tracks is impressive.

By the numbers, the Frontier did well during our acceleration and braking runs at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Ariz.; however, much of that probably had to do with the fact the Nissan had the lowest max payload capability, so it always carried the smallest load of the group (just 1,000 pounds). Not surprisingly, it had the fastest zero-to-60 mph and quarter-mile times when loaded, and stopped from 60 mph in almost the exact same distance loaded as it did when empty.

The Nissan had an advantage on the dirt as well. We found out how subtle and capable the PRO-4X trim is, with its big tires, Bilstein shocks and a suspension that seems as confident on dirt as it is on pavement. If we had an "all-around" or "best of both worlds" award, the Frontier would have scored very high. Unfortunately, in the end, the dated interior, limited cargo storage and average fuel-economy numbers held it back from scoring more points.


No. 4: 2015 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, 1,634 points

Toyota 2 II

We were glad to get the TRD Pro from Toyota because we wanted this test to include more off-road testing than we've done in the past, although the truth is it was the only vehicle Toyota could send us for this test. Still, the TRD Pro with its unique front springs, high-tech shock package, big wheels and tires, TRD exhaust, ultra-retro-styled grille and upgraded interior is like nothing else in the segment.

Although the judges liked the way the truck looked, the Tacoma TRD Pro was one of the most expensive players in the test, was usually the slowest in acceleration tests, got the worst fuel economy and stopped longer than anything we've tested in a long time (in fact, all Tacomas still use rear drum brakes).

In our off-road testing, our expert judges did select the TRD Pro as the winner of that particular challenge, garnering the most points of the test trucks. However, as much fun as it was to beat around a track, there was a lot of chassis and interior noise, far more than the other trucks. Much of that, we're sure, was due to the aftermarket-styled TRD exhaust, but much of it clearly needs to be addressed with new door seals and sound insulation on the all-new Tacoma coming later this year.

How We Conducted the Testing

This time we included some real-world buyers interested in purchasing a truck in this category — a first for any PickupTrucks.com comparison test (but a staple in our Cars.com Challenges). After an extensive search in the Phoenix area, we found a father and son, Bob and Matt Trink, who were able to spend a long day with us getting into each midsize pickup, driving them on the same local highway-and-city-street course, and giving us their opinions, much the way our expert judges scored each pickup. The only area in which our family drivers did not participate was the off-road aptitude category because they didn't have the chance to play in the dirt like our judges did.

We also took each truck to a local dyno shop to find out exactly how each V-6 engine performed where it counts — at the rear wheels. We did the same thing the last time we judged the midsize truck segment, but we had seven contenders then; now only four players are left. The current pickups still make good, usable power, but the way in which they make it are different.

Each pickup engine reflects how well manufacturers understand how buyers want to use their trucks. In some cases, like with the new Chevrolet and GMC entries, GM is banking that these buyers want the horsepower and fuel efficiency that a sophisticated direct-injection engine and smooth-cruising six-speed transmission can offer. In the Nissan and Toyota engines, the manufacturers have been content to allow their aging, yet sturdy, all-aluminum dual-overhead-cam V-6s and five-speed automatics do the work at satisfactory levels. Both strategies seem to make customers happy and offer some clear advantages, but when we put them all on the same DynoJet 248X chassis dyno — each on the same day, calculated with the same procedures and tested by the same operator — we saw some interesting differences on where and how each of these engines makes their power.

By the time we finished with our dyno runs, we also had a pretty clear understanding as to why these vehicle performed as well, or as poorly, as they did during our loaded and unloaded track tests. Here are the peak horsepower and torque numbers we collected.


One note: As we mentioned in our introduction, we decided to experiment with a new test that we want to make a part of our future comparison tests. Sound and interior quietness is becoming more important to buyers and truckmakers alike, so we've decided to start measuring interior noise at idle, at a normal road speeds and outside near the exhaust pipe as a regular part of our comparison test procedures. However, because this is new for us, we did not include the scores of these sound tests in this Challenge. We are simply delivering them to you for comparative information. You can find all of the results and procedures of that test in a separate story by clicking here, but briefly, here are the results:

The quietest truck of the test at idle was the GMC, at 41 decibels (Db-A weighting), with the Nissan and Chevy (42 and 43) close behind. The quietest vehicle at 60 mph (in top gear) was also the Canyon, at 63 decibels, with the Chevy and Nissan (64 and 65) close behind. Finally, holding the sound meter at the rear of the truck in an isolated and empty parking lot, the GMC again had the quietest sound level at 53 decibels; the Chevy was 54, the Nissan was 57, and the Toyota was 62.

As we've already seen, changes are coming in this category, but we won't know if those changes address current weaknesses until we drive the new trucks. There's no question in our minds that Toyota should carry over the TRD Pro trim for the next Tacoma, but it has to address the powertrain and chassis issues that have long been ignored. Now that most players in the segment have raised their game, Toyota can't afford to delay any longer.

It's worth mentioning that we've provided all the test results and the corresponding point values for you to see. By not weighting fuel economy, braking or acceleration more than any other test, we've essentially kept the results neutral, not valuing any one test over another. But you don't have to do that.

In fact, if off-roading or fuel efficiency is more important to you, feel free to rescore the test your own way to determine the best pickup for your needs. You might likely have a different winner than the one we've chosen (which happens to be the least 4x4 capable in this test). Of course, off-roading was just one of 21 different areas where we awarded points. Regardless of what you do, we hope this data helps you choose your next truck, new or used.

Quick Thanks

Family Bob & Matt 3 II

Any time we do a test like this, the number of people we need to tip our hat to is quite long. Although we do these Challenges for you, we wouldn't be able to put together tests like this if manufacturers didn't trust us and provide the proper test trucks in a timely fashion.

Likewise, the folks at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park bent over backward to help us get all our on- and off-road testing completed in a short amount of time.

Additionally, we have to give special thanks to our consumer family, Bob Trink and his son, Matt, for giving us a full day of their time and their full attention as we peppered them with a mountain of questions and details, all about what they liked and didn't like about each truck.

Moreover, for the help and service provided by Arizona Dyno Chip in testing each of the little pickup trucks on a professional chassis dyno, we say thank you for allowing us to generate one more piece of data to compare these midsize pickups.

Finally, we want you to tell us how we can make these tests better. What tests are we missing that you want to see when testing midsize and full-size pickups? What information is missing that would help you understand these trucks better? As always, we're open to any and all (well, almost all) suggestions. Let us know.

And finally, to finish this Challenge, we present all of our charts in one comprehensive package.


Click on the image above to see the full chart.

Cars.com photos by Evan Sears

Overview | Acceleration | Braking | Mileage Drive | Off-Road | Judges | Results


Jump Toyota 3A II



Nice job got GM. I'm surprised how well the Nissan did. Hope they offer a midsized diesel too.

I wasn't expecting much from Toyota's new atkinson engine but surprised it didn't shine in the fuel economy dept. Back to the drawing board Toyota!

The Colorado's FE is better than most V6 crossovers, that along with the huge comfort advantages make it the winner for me. I could actually see driving one on my 80 mile round trip commute. The fact that it has reasonably good capability figures is icing on the cake.

It is readily apparent the judges gave lots and lots of points for ugly.

The engine you are talking about is in the new Tacoma coming and not the one in this competition.

Why no towing element of this test? Seems like that's a big miss - plenty of people use these for camping, fishing, etc.

Its totally comical to me how EVERY TIME you guys do a test the testing done will showcase the Toyota with the wrong truck for your test "criteria". If you put in the testing results from the 2012 Tacoma in the 2012 Midsize Shootout the Tacoma wins this handily with a 10 year old truck.......

With every BS test you guys do you become more and more irrelevant. Its funny how the Tacoma STILL has more Torque at the wheels even through the bigger wheels and tires than the brand new Colorado/ canyon twins.

1. No Tow Test

2. off-road test has no empirical information, other websites cant even test the colorado/canyon since they cant make it on the ramps to be tested with the low front end.

3. Use the same tires/size tires to get some comparable information.

4. Use comparable trims/prices, where are the points for value

A high school science student could complete a better test with less variables and more empirical information vs opinions.

Excellent test overall. Very informative. A towing test would be awesome, especially next year with new trucks involved including at least one 4-cylinder diesel option.
With the information provided with this test I'm sure each truck could be a winner on different people's wish-lists.

All credibility was lost when I noticed the "loaded" weights being different for each truck.

I have a new Colorado X-Cab 4x4 with I4 auto. Very much like the truck. Concur with most everything in the test.

It took away all the arguments I have against a pickup for a daily driver - ease of egress, parking lot maneuverability, fuel economy, ride, comfort. Very easy to live with day to day - best of any truck I've owned in more than 40 years.

Yep - right on schedule - the whining from the blind supporters of the Taco owners commences - face it the Americans are coming and taco share of a market that it HAD a monopoly on is breaking up. And I don't want to hear that the test didn't include the forthcoming 2016 next generation of the Taco beer can....the same can be said of the forthcoming diesel for the Canyon and the Colorado; or the forthcoming ZR2 and Denali; AND....wait for it.... the forthcoming JEEP pickup truck. Yep that's right that sound you here is the market share of the Taco getting smaller and smaller...and why?

Because its an inferior product!

@ 2015er

the facts are the facts. If you compare apples to apples the Tacoma 10 year old design is as fast, stops the same and get close to the same mpg real world to this 10 year newer design. and the Tacoma holds its value FAR FAR better than the GM twins......

BTW the GM twins are no more American than the Tacoma get your facts straight. don't give me the redneck uninformed American reply of money goes over seas either. that myth has been debunked dozens of times. the money goes to Cali right now, Plano TX soon OH and to all the shareholders just like GM.

Blind I'm not factual I am, if you had a clue how they are really built you would be singing a different tune. the 10 year old Tacoma has technology on it the GM twins STILL don't have.

Really enjoyed the test, but I bought a 2015 midsize before you completed it! I have long liked the Frontier, but wanted to wait for the next generation. I have driven two of them and I thought they were both unnecessarily stiff for extended seat time and I wasn't willing to live with the poor fuel mileage.

The Tacoma has always impressed me with it's promise of dependability. Just not enough to get past it's quirky Toyota styling. Consequently, I have never driven a Tacoma even though I have looked at them many, many times.

Incidentally, I think people often buy a vehicle with off road decals (including Wrangler Rubicons) in spite of the fact that they have no intention of actually getting their $40,000 vehicle dirty.

So, though I have the utmost faith that the Taco has superior off road capability, I doubt that most owners will take advantage of it and I probably wouldn't either. So, my question became, why give up quietness, a reasonably comfortable ride, decent fuel mileage and poorer road handling just to LOOK like I could go off road?

When the GM twins came out, I drove a Z71 and an SLT - both very similar to the ones you tested. They both drove extremely confidently on the interstate, but the interior in the Chevy seemed cheap (even before I drove the Canyon) and the seats were rock hard. Also, I was disappointed that you could not get anything but a dark colored (but not leather) interior in the Z71. And, I discovered that the Z71 package didn't really constitute what would be considered a "real" off road package, anyway.

The Canyon had a much plusher interior, was more comfortable to sit in, was surprisingly quiet and offered an available cocoa/dune leather interior. So, I now own an Onyx Black SLT extended cab 2015 GMC Canyon with the above interior. And, I'm lovin' it!

I was pleased to see how well the Frontier did. I went to an auto show recently and took a close look at Canyon/Colorado. I'm 6'1", 200 lbs. It was way too tight a squeeze for me. Tighter than the 04 Ranger I drive now. The Frontier on the other hand, was easy to get in & out of. Likewise the Taco. But if I had to buy a new truck now, I'd buy a Frontier. Actually, I can wait a few years until there's a new one. I think it will be worth the wait.

I would put the GM twins at the top of my list and next the Frontier. All these trucks are close but for a daily drive the GM twins are more refined. I could live with the Toyota as well but I don't really care for a Toyota salesperson coming on the site and trying to give the hard sell for Toyota by shredding GM or any competitors brand. That might be one reason I am not a fan of Toyota though I personally don't have anything against their vehicles and commend them for the jobs they provide in the US. Hemi lo reminds me of the Ram fan boys which do more to turn people off of a particular brand. Why does he go by the name Hemi lo when he sells Toyotas? Hemi is Chrysler (Mopar) not Toyota. Should Hemi lo be Toyo lo or Toyota lo?

Great test, guys. Like others have mentioned, I would really love to see a tow test. Since the Canyon won, how about taking one on an extended tow trip, with, say, a 5,000 - 6,000 lb trailer? I'd be curious to see how it held up over an extended tow. Does it tow confidently? Does the V6 have to howl at high revs to keep it moving down the road? Or, better yet, once the 2.8l Duramax comes out, do a towing comparison between a 3.6 Canyon and a 2.8, with the same trailer. I'm very curious to see how that 2.8l tows.

Great test, overall. (And for all you Toyota folks who are whining over the test results, relax. I'm sure PUTC will test a 2016 Taco as soon as they can get their hands on one. And I thought the Ram guys were bad! Geez!)

Toyota is finally forced to update the Taco, this is a good thing.
good competition forces this as the last Colorado was a pile.
Test drove one once, worst truck I ever drove.

Chevrolet needs to step up to GMC. There's no reason whatsoever that a Colorado buyer should have to deal with the lack of an awd transfercase and especially a lower rent interior. The pricing of the Colorado isn't cheap. And when Toyota and Nissan upgrade their offerings, Chevy will be left in the dust. Having two different designs is fine, having one better than the other all around makes having two designs pointless. Chevrolet customers or potential customers are really getting the shaft on the COlorado. Might as well just leave Chevy and go to the GMC dealer and be done with it.

What a horrible review to imply that all Tacoma's come in 4th.

This was the TRD Pro specialized for off road where you have one category to help it out. Even a regular Tacoma would smoke the rest of these trucks in the off road category and still get a 20/20 then they would be lighter and better suited for the on road tests and performance category.

Like someone already said. Look at the 2012 results where they used a normal Tacoma and the Tacoma would have taken 1st place in this review. Using the Pro Model is ridiculous, since I love off road fun and live on shtty roads, so all my points go to off road capable, plus resale and dependability is just a bonus when buying a Tacoma.

What happened to points for resale, dependability, toughness, where the Tacoma thrives, its a negative that GM has none until they prove otherwise if possible.

Maneuverability, turning radius, easiness of everyday parking; Tacoma wins again.

Popularity, which is why 90% of buyers buy these trucks is to make a statement, Tacoma wins again.

Responsiveness for gas pedal tip in, 0-30mph Tacoma wins again and with a normal Tacoma beats the normal Colorado in the 1/4 mile

Manufacturer profile, Toyota wins and

Performance upgrades, for the price of the Pro you could have supercharged a normal Tacoma through TRD with full factory warranty and blown away the performance charts with the fastest stock available pick-up you can buy.

This excuse that you get what you get for a truck based on dealers supply really has to come to a stop. It just creates a sht storm for everyone. If you cant get comparable trucks then don't do the review, it just hurts your reputation and makes these reviews pointless.

The best never rest ,,,,gmc :))

Good test. Shame no towing, but I love the recap you did at the end, all tests in a row. Good job on that.


Off-road should have carried more weight in the test scores.

Payload should have been equal among all competitors, at the rating of the weakest truck (Frontier)

No tow test very disappointing.

So the worst selling truck got 1st by your criteria, the second worst selling truck got 2nd, the 2nd best selling truck got 3rd and the best selling truck came in last.

The best compliment to this whole review is asking for criteria assistance from buyers. The worst thing you did was adding different weight in the boxes. And stop using different models that benefit one make. The GM wasn't even the heavier Z71 model against a TRD specialized Pro model built for off road and not built for your test criteria.

Figure out what sells a truck and add that to your criteria. Good Luck

Would LOVE to see the 2016 Tacoma tested using the exact same tests above and then a re-ranking if necessary this fall. Like you mentioned it would be best if Toyota offered a TRD-Off Road or SR5 not the TRD-Pro.

LOL, good test?????

Points for horse power and torque?

LOL, this whole site is a freaking total joke anymore.

Just who set up this stupid points system? If you want credible information about trucks this is not the site to come to. If you want to get a few good laughs then by all means this site is one of the best because you will be laughing at the silly crap that they call reviews and the comments section.

@Hank and others comments regarding testing methodology used
"This excuse that you get what you get for a truck based on dealers supply really has to come to a stop. It just creates a sht storm for everyone. If you cant get comparable trucks then don't do the review, it just hurts your reputation and makes these reviews pointless."

Well said. This is the impression I'm starting to have about this site. Most educated people with a little common sense can easily figure this out.

The tests are informative but the apples to oranges comparison is getting old.

The Nissan won or got 2nd in almost every single category...yet the GMC wins? The Nissan is a ten year older truck that costs thousands of dollars less money and still holds it's own or beats the GM twins in every category, yet it doesn't win?

This test actually looked like a credible test until I read the results piece. Good grief...this site is getting as bad as Consumer Reports.

Seriously, this is a travesty.

in the payload tests, I would like to see the weight of the truck based on the sticker, and then the full spec on actual weight, vs GVW and see where they come out. Throwing weight in the back and saying here ya go is not a good test

For everyone complaining about PUTC not getting the "right" Tacoma, just stop. They can only drive what Toyota gives them. And stop acting like it's some kind of conspiracy on PUTC's part. Maybe Toyota sent them the TRD Pro because they knew the regular Taco would get smoked by the newer GM trucks, and they wanted to have a built-in excuse when they lost. Or maybe Toyota really thought the TRD Pro was the best truck for the comparison. Or maybe Toyota really didn't care whether they won or lost this challenge, they just wanted to get some free advertising specifically for the TRD Pro model (which is what I'd put my money on). Either way, what do you expect PUTC to do when Toyota sends them the TRD Pro? Not run the test? What's the point in that? For God's sake, this is supposed to be a website about trucks! I come here to read about trucks! It kind of defeats the purpose of the site if they don't do any tests, doesn't it?

Was it a perfect test? No. I was disappointed that there wasn't a towing aspect to it. Personally I would've prioritized towing over the off road section. I think a lot more people will tow than take these trucks off road. But even if the test isn't perfect, isn't it still interesting to read it? Don't you now know more about these trucks than you did before? I do.

"Don't do the test if you can't get the exact perfect truck that I think will give my favorite truck the best chance to win!" - Give me a break. It's amazing how everyone suddenly becomes an expert in testing methodology when their favorite truck doesn't win. Mark Williams and Co - if you're reading this, good job. Not perfect, but very good. Keep up the good work.

I haven't driven the new GM pretend trucks but its hard to imagine them losing any contest (other than price and long term reliability) to 10 year old competitors. I was shocked to see the Frontier beat the Taco but I agree with it and have always wondered why it didn't beat the Taco in more contests as it has had substancial advantages in its fully boxed frame, rear disc brakes and horsepower advantage over the Taco for some time. I have owned Tacos and driven Frontiers (and sold both) and in this stagnant niche market they are both in need of a refresh.

To "PatK". The Tacoma is the wrong Tacoma in this comparison, that is just a fact and people can tell it like it is all they want as it is within the topic.

If they continue to do these pointless comparisons than they should at least stop with comparison of who came 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc, etc. Go ahead and score the trucks individually. At least they stated others will weight those categories differently which was an excellent statement and they did a far better job than Motor Trend because they had more criteria and they listed that criteria.

The only way to determine which truck does better for the majority not for any one person but for a majority vote based on real world criteria is when they go to market and whoever sells the most within their capacity to build these trucks is the ultimate winner. Right now the majority consumer has 101 different reasons or criteria of what makes them buy a truck and then everyone weights that criteria differently and when you sum it all up in real world voting the Tacoma still wins by almost 3 to 1 over 2nd place sales.

3 main criteria for that is reliability, toughness and company profile. That should be within the point system. If GM becomes reliable, proven tough with good a good reputation in the consumers eye then their score for that criteria can go up for next year. Right now that score board is low for GM and was not within the 21 criteria here and it is heavily weighted by the consumer. That's just one example of missing criteria's to determine a trucks relevance to a buyer.

These reviewers really have to eat crow pie all the way to December until they get the criteria more accurate as to what the buyer wants in a midsize truck which changes when you go to full size and changes again when you go to a 1 ton. Very difficult to predict but none the less the criteria does not add up to what the buyer is doing in this segment. It is completely backwards.

The dual beam headlights of the Nissan & Toyota are immediate disqualifications. This is 2015, not 1965.
The lack of a full size rear window in the rear doors, of the Frontier is a deal breaker.
The drum brakes of the Toyota are deal breakers.
The antiquated V6 offered by Nissan & Toyota. Same with obsolete transmissions.
The fact that GM only gives you the Autotrac transfer case in the GMC means that is the one you buy. Preferably with 17" wheels.

So I understand that tests are hard to complete, and that most everyone is unhappy with a test unless their truck won, but I have a bone to pick.

First, the Tacoma failed because it had the worst ride, the highest price, the worst stopping distance, and the worst fuel economy...but these are all attributes that reflect the Tacomas TRD Pro package. A more typical SR5 Tacoma would have undoubtedly placed higher in these areas.

Second, the GMC and Chevy are the same truck. This dilutes the positive attributes of each vehicle in the test and gives GM an advantage. The results would have been more meaningful if you'd justed tested one GM truck instead of two.

Finally, where is the comparison of resale value or ownership cost? Quality or durability ratings? These stats are readily available, they are stats the truck buyers care about, and they completely change the impression that consumers would get of the GM trucks. By neglecting them, you distort the picture consumers use when buying their next vehicle.

As I said, it's hard to make a great comparison, especially when the manufacturers don't send vehicles designed to compete. However, its' hard for the general public to trust comparisons when they're incomplete or designed in such a way as to favor a specific vehicle.

The whining and crying post test is just too predictable. As others have pointed out, PUTC can only test what the manufacturer sends them. Toyota sent the TRD Pro to both the 1/2 ton and small truck shootout. Bad choice on Toyota's part.

I'd pick the Canyon too.
- I don't like the mini-me Sierra looks but one does not see that out of the driver's seat. It is unfortunate that the Colorado does not get the same level of interior refinement as the Canyon.
- The Canyon was way too soft for the offroad test but who drives one of these trucks or any truck on a closed course track?
People buy smaller trucks because that is what they want. Pretty simple.
The Canyon offers great ride, good empty and loaded performance, and respectable economy.

I'd add:
-Tow test with 4-5k trailer.
- Testing with both max load and load based on weakest truck.
- Test with the same tires.
- Extended gravel road test.

I love the idea of adding civilian testers to the mix.

Good job PUTC.

I totally agree with Lou BC

none of you will see a better comparison test anywhere else

the Colorado-Canyon is a serious contender not ONLY to the small pickups but also competes with the full size pickups.
Its exactly what you guys asked for!

I remember when Mark Williams did his first drive in a Colorado I never seen him more excited and he used words he never used before like "class leading"

I always tell you guys to read the "code words" every professional review uses.
They choose their words very carefully so they don't offend anybody so they use code words and hints and I am surprised most of you guys miss that.

"class leading" is a no-no word, that's a rip your shirt off word that you're so excited

Are any of the midsize pickups 5 star crash rated like the 1/2 ton GM's and the new 2015 Ford f150???? Life and safety is more important then the 1 advantage (fitting in city parking spot) that the midsize offers over full-size trucks.

Thank You Jason Lancaster, there you have it.

"Finally, where is the comparison of resale value or ownership cost? Quality or durability ratings? These stats are readily available, they are stats the truck buyers care about, and they completely change the impression that consumers would get of the GM trucks. By neglecting them, you distort the picture consumers use when buying their next vehicle."

I also want to add reliability, popularity and turning radius or which is easiest to park. The worst thing about these 4 doors is trying to park them. The easiest and smallest truck should win all the points for ease of parking. Wish 4 wheel steer would come back?

And how do we rate throttle tip in. Tacoma has a sporty throttle whereas GM does not. If you are a driving enthusiast you prefer the sporty Tacoma gas pedal which burns more fuel. IF you want the mellow gas pedal tip in and don't care than you save fuel. This needs to be pointed out. IF you like to keep your position in traffic like most of us do then you will be fighting for position with the GM with that throttle lag.

I do agree with George that this review is better than Motor Trend. MT did not list their criteria and was made up of 6 basic factors that were not explained, complete garbage. For the trucks PUTC had they explained the criteria very well, one of the better reviews I have seen. However they still got it all backwards as to what the buyer is actually doing, meaning they are missing key criteria.

Figure out why Tacoma outsells the twins and the Nissan and add that criteria to your next review. Just because GM doesn't have proven stats yet is no excuse to leave out key criteria. If you rate the GM as unknown for reliability than they get a 0 because that is how a buyer looks at them. Most people choose not to be guinea pigs.

Also don't leave the points out for the GM with AWD, I almost bought that truck for just that reason but could not get over the low front bumper on the GM. Which is another criteria you left out. Clearances and approach angles. Tacoma came out as the better buy for me; as it does for the majority of us.


The full size pickup is dead

Now the pickuptruck.com defenders come out to defend this stupid test.

Nothing ever changes in this place. Waste of time for anyone who is serious about buying a truck, this is the last place anyone should come and that is saying something when you have FTL out there and their childish tests.

I do think the points based testing system isn't the best either.

The information is valuable to use, but how it's used should be looked into.

Awarding the best vehicle to the highest amount of points does paint an inaccurate picture.

The quickest, largest, mostest, etc doesn't tell you which is actually the best pickup.

An example is the Nissan Frontier. I know it is no where near the same as a Colorado Canyon. It might represent good value, but that doesn't make it any better a pickup.

From this test you can see why here in Australia these new mid sizers didn't just walk in and take over the market.

The competition from Nissan, Toyota and Mitsubishi here in aggressive pricing made them competitive.

I'd bet many of the new midsizers here were sold as Commodore and Falcon alternatives due to their refinement.

This is why this points system is so stupid, Torque and horse power, truck A may have 2 foot pounds of torque than truck B but truck B has its torque range is a more useable RPM. The same with horse power.

That is just two items they used that make no sense.

The only way to really test trucks is to use the damn things for a couple of weeks they way trucks are built to be used. More than likely you will find that any of the trucks will do just fine.

This stupid there has to be a winner and there has to be a loser just shows how juvenile this site is as well as other sites that do the same crap.

Also the sooner this site bans several long time posters who do nothing but start BS all the time the sooner this site might have a shot at becoming useful.

after driving everything, i bought the 4x4 trd offroad DC Tacoma- even with it's 'outdated engine' and 'outdated transmission' and etc.

im getting 20-22mog on the hwy which is a little better than i got with the z71 silverado. im getting instant throttle response, firm but fair ride (its a truck not a cadillac) but got it b/c i wanted to downsize and toyota offered the best deal to me without ANY rebates etc. FORD and GM will not cut a deal without rebates. period. its ridiculous to pay 50k for a truck that will lose 20k when you drive it off the lot and the headliner is shaking (ford) and the plastic buttons feel like they are going to break. I walked out of a few dealerships over they way they want to try to sell nowadays.

If people would stop paying $50k for a substandard truck they will lower the price. I can get a loaded tundra for $10k cheaper. the domestic trucks i didn't buy are still sitting on the dealers' lots, waiting for the next rebate...

I really don't know why anyone would want to buy from the new GM anyway. They just got away with not having to be responsible for all the faulty ignition switches in a court ruling.

I will never buy a General Motors product.

@ Sad Sack.
How about something more pressing. Why would you bank with?
JP Morgan Chase
Goldman Sachs
Bank of America
Morgan Stanley
Wells Fargo
They are bankrupt, many times over. They courts have already okayed them to take your money, because you are "non-secured creditor" not a customer.
Total assets from those six are about $10 trillion, yet their liabilities are about $280 trillion.
Kiss your retirement/future goodbye.


How can the full size truck be dead?

Maybe for the urban and suburban yuppie or hipster with little to nothing that needs be to towed, hauled or placed in the bed.
But many folks have a trailer and equipment that pushes the limits of half-tons when people and gear are added.

Guys with your train of thought are usually the ones rolling well over the GCWR and putting everyone else at risk while thinking guys like me are arrogantly wasteful for getting the right truck for the task. I'd rather be at 80% of my GCWR at my heaviest than at 125% and hoping I can make it up a 6% grade.

"If we had an "all-around" or "best of both worlds" award, the Frontier would have scored very high."

Funny how many of these reviews knock it down for it's interior. but I LIKE the interior design. Remove the interior design score and the Frontier moves up in the pack.

If payload is a concern because you are buying a ranch work truck, you should be getting a 3/4 ton anyway.

If you want something that will get you in and out going off road, get you in and out of your favorite hunting / fishing area, or get you to a great camping area, you will NEVER carry anything close to the max payload. What you want is good solid 4 wheeling in those situations.

And where did the "dated" Frontier shine? Off road and in the torque testing.

Sorry guys, this is the problem when non outdoorsmen test these trucks. They really don't use these trucks in a way that allows them to understand why the little Frontier, as they called it in the off road test, "a hidden treasure", is so popular.

Come elk hunting with me in Colorado and you'll gain a better appreciation for this truck.

Hey Guy's,

I read and reviewed your testing more than once,, and I think that you guy's did pretty good in the Mid Size Truck Testing.

In the Loaded Testing,, Personally I think it would have been more fair to say test them all at the same load,, but not more than the Truck with the lowest max payload. Say 1K lbs. for all of them.

I'm surprised that the little 3.6 V6 engine did as well as it did. Although I'm a little bit skeptical,, about the durability of that engine. Time will tell though as the year's roll by.

I've been in a Nissan Truck since '93,, and I looked at all the New V6 Extended Cab Truck's in '13, for a replacement for the '93 KC Nissan, that I had driven for 20 year's.

In '13 I considered and drove all of the New V6 Truck's. In the end,, it came down to the V6 Tacoma Ext Cab, Silverado V6 Ext Cab, and the Frontier V6 Ext Cab.

For me,, it really came down to Money,, and Bang for the Buck. The Tacoma was at least 5K more,, and a Silverado Work Truck,, about the same,, as compared to an SVV6 Frontier.

So far,, I'm pleased with my Purchase,, but I Would Advise Everybody to test Drive the Truck's to see which one's fit you the Best, especially in the Height category,, cause the seat height & Head Clearance inside the cab,, may make a big difference in which truck fit's you the best.

Oh Yea,, and for those that don't know,, All of the V6 Frontier's are rated 1/2 Ton Truck's. Not as big as the Full Size Truck's Now,, but probably about the same size 1/2 Ton Truck's of Year's ago. Many of the Full Size Truck's,, that many think are 1/2 Ton Truck's may in fact be 3/4 Ton Truck's. How do I know this,, cause it'll say on the Certificate of Origin.

Thank you for the Test's,, and I'm sure that it will help many customer's in choosing the Best Truck for them.


Oh my goodness here we go again. What is with P.U.T.C. just hating anything Toyota? You skew numbers any freaking way you want to get the results you need. The Tacoma has been mopping the floor with GM junk for years and years. You can't even get a discount on this truck but somehow it cant't beat a GM old man grandpa's truck? Give me a freaking break! The real test come when consumers will choose the Tacoma over the combined competition 3 to 1.

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