What's the Best Midsize Pickup for 2016?

Group Bundy 2 II_results

By Mark Williams, PickupTrucks.com

After a week of testing all the midsize pickup trucks in the segment for our head-to-head 2016 Midsize Pickup Challenge, we learned quite a few things about each of our competitors. Each one had its own strengths and weaknesses as well as a strong value proposition. Maybe that's why, from a percentage basis, each player in this segment is a sales success when compared to 2015 sales numbers. And from the way these players performed during our battery of tests, we don't expect that to change anytime soon.

Midsize pickups will continue gaining marketplace traction as they keep providing better solutions for buyers looking for an alternative to a full-size pickup or crossover. And the fact that two of the midsize competitors — the Honda Ridgeline and Toyota Tacoma — now have new versions to better compete with GM's popular Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon might have quite a few people interested in the results of this Challenge, some of which are surprising.

As interesting as it is to find out which pickup takes the top spot in one of our comparison tests, sometimes the substories can be just as interesting. As we've seen in Olympic competitions, sometimes outstanding individual performances don't always lead to a gold medal. And sometimes the silver medal winner can be the biggest story of the day. With that said, this year's overall winner did not win the most scored categories, but it put in a consistent performance throughout the competition to make it to the top.

Here's how our five contenders finished, with the specific tests they won and overall point totals:

No. 5: 2016 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X, 2,307 points

Frontier Motion 1 II

First-place finishes: Best 60-to-zero mph, empty braking; best 60-to-zero mph, loaded braking

You have to give Nissan credit: It has the oldest midsize pickup in the segment and it continues to sell well. It's likely to finish 2016 in a strong third place just behind the hot-selling Chevrolet Colorado. We know it's an easy vehicle to dismiss because of its aging interior, but there are plenty of Frontiers on the road and from what we're hearing, dealers must be willing to make midsize truck shoppers a good deal.

Still, because it's a small and relatively heavy (it was the heaviest in our test) midsize pickup that hasn't been improved much in the last 10 years, the hard-plastic interior materials, small navigation screen, squared-off center console, small cupholders and storage cubbies make the Frontier's interior feel even older than it actually is. However, a few of our judges liked the old-school look of the pickup and appreciated that it's not trying to pretend to be anything but an efficient, durable tool.

Frontier Interior 1 II

Our testers liked how much pep the engine offers off the line; it was one of the most powerful of the group with its quick throttle response. But maybe more impressive than it's off-the-line feel was how well it stops, both empty and loaded. Not surprisingly, the braking tests were the only two the Frontier won.

The PRO-4X has been one of our favorite off-road pickups for quite a while because it's so simple. There's not a lot of software technology, but you do get a push-button locking differential, strong gearing, big, knobby tires and Bilstein shocks, all of which will get you over any rock pile with relative ease. Unfortunately, the outdated styling, rough-and-tumble chassis and sluggish steering kept the Frontier solidly at the back of the pack during most of our testing. Even more unfortunate? A next-generation Frontier is still 18 to 24 months away.

No. 4: 2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road, 2,390 points

Tacoma Track 1 II

First-place finishes: Least expensive, most horsepower on dyno, mpg loaded

In some ways, this could be the most surprising news coming out of our Challenge: that the No. 1 selling vehicle in the segment finished fourth in a five-truck comparison test. How is it that the all-new Toyota Tacoma is better in every way from the aging vehicle it replaces — which also was the No. 1 selling truck in the segment — but still falls well short when compared to its direct competitors?

According to our judges and testing, the answer is both simple and complicated. To begin, we found the Tacoma's ride height and seating position challenging; some of our testers couldn't get comfortable with a relatively high and flat seat height that only allows for seatback and front-to-back slide adjustments. Other areas where the new Tacoma lost points with our judges included the love-it or hate-it interior update, where the textures and materials are nice but the horizontally biased dash and gauge layout did not impress, especially not with our in-market-shopper guest judge.

Tacoma Interior 1 II

However, had this competition heavily weighted off-road performance, the TRD Off-Road with its Multi-Terrain Select system and Crawl Control would have been our runaway champ; in fact, in the off-road category, the Tacoma tallied one of the highest average scores from our judges. As to its off-road capability, the Crawl Control takes some getting used to. It provides the driver with a lot of noise and herky-jerky motions when engaged, but when set properly, we found there is almost nothing it can't conquer. Unfortunately, the off-road portion of this test was only one of 10 categories our experts were assessing.

Probably the most commonly noted disappointment with the Tacoma was the feel and overall performance of the engine and transmission when towing or hauling a load. Thankfully, as in many of the Toyota's vehicles, the Tacoma has an electronically controlled transmission button that allows the driver to change the transmission shift points, but in many cases we found it lacking in terms of what we were hoping for.

As efficient as the powertrain is at delivering good fuel economy, our judges made note of fluctuating dead spots in the midrange power band. Yes, the Tacoma does a lot of things well, but based on our time behind the wheel, you have to really want to overlook a lot of things it does marginally.

No. 3: 2016 Chevrolet Colorado Z71, 2,462 points

Colorado Motion 2 II

First-place finishes: Gross combined weight rating (tie with GMC), max tow rating (tie with GMC)

The Chevy Colorado was literally the only truck in our contest that did not win a single scored category outright; however, it did tie with the GMC Canyon for highest GCWR and max tow rating — both manufacturer-supplied specs. But that's not to say it didn't perform well during our multidimensional test. Our judges noted that in some ways, it is a packaging mystery because it offers from 12 to 15 more inches of wheelbase than the competitors (in frame and bed length, both steel), yet is not the heaviest truck in the Challenge. In fact, the 12 extra inches of wheelbase (which means a 6-foot-plus bed) seemed to help our test drivers on off-road trails, keeping its wheels out of shorter wheelbase ruts and holes. However, when it came to navigating tighter parking lots in shopping malls or at Ann Arbor, Mich., restaurants, the longer pickup was noticeably less maneuverable.

Also of note, during our off-road testing, the longer wheelbase seemed to get hung up on ledges and off-camber mounds; additionally, the low-slung front air dam (great for improving aerodynamics) is horrible when trying to avoid rocks and ruts on the trail. But we don't want to make it sound like it wasn't perfectly competent during our off-road driving, because the Z71 all-terrain tires had the most aggressive tread of the group and showed it when climbing unwalkable hills.

Colorado Interior 3 II

On the plus side, and based on several comments from the judges, the Colorado's technological standout feature was the multimedia system with Apple CarPlay. The system was easy to use and intuitive, and synced quickly to most of our devices. The Colorado's overall interior quality — seats and dash textures — ranked pretty high as well.

Although we found the 3.6-liter V-6 gas engine sufficient for powering this almost 2.5-ton vehicle (mostly because it has a dedicated Tow/Haul mode), we would have liked to have had the 2.8-liter inline four-cylinder turbo-diesel. Unfortunately, Chevy told us it could not package the diesel in the Colorado crew-cab 4x4 and meet our other criteria. We'll have to save that test for a later date. Regardless, the Colorado performed like the Sporty Spice choice, with its Z71 looks and performance to back it up.

No. 2: 2017 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E, 2,490 points

Ridgeline Motion 1 II

First-place finishes: Zero-to-60-mph acceleration, empty; zero-to-60-mph acceleration, loaded; quarter-mile, empty; quarter-mile, loaded; gross vehicle weight rating; max torque on dyno; max mpg, empty; quietest at idle; quietest at 60 mph

There's no question the Ridgeline was the surprise of this Challenge — in fact, for much of the contest, we thought it was going to win — especially when it beat the competition at the racetrack in both empty and loaded acceleration runs.

To its credit, the Ridgeline won half of all our objective categories — nine of 18 — and not surprisingly, most of our judges found the Ridgeline quite civilized on the highway since it shares many cabin features and much technology with its sibling, the Honda Pilot SUV.

Our biggest surprise came at our daylong romp at the Bundy Hill Offroad park, where we found the Honda Intelligent Traction Management system to be shrewd and smooth during our sand drags and steep hill climbs (see our off-road story). However, as well as it performed, it still had a few problems.

Ridgeline Interior 1 II

Among the characteristics that our judges did not like was how much sag occurs while carrying payload. According to our payload calculations (GVWR minus actual truck weight), the Ridgeline can carry 1,519 pounds. But when we loaded it to 90 percent of that amount, nearly 1,400 pounds, it sagged worse than any of its competitors, all of which were carrying close to their own maximum payload capacity. Additionally, the braking feel (a little mushy when empty) became sometimes unpredictable when carrying a nearly max payload.

Regarding the Honda's interior, we had a huge problem with sun glare and using the nav/multimedia screen. Our judges hammered the interior touch-screen multimedia controls, many of which do not have corresponding manual knobs or buttons. Interestingly, by not providing us a less expensive lower trim model (which does not have the large touch-screen), Honda seemed to cost itself several judges' points. Still, if you need your pickup to be a Swiss army knife and you don't need to carry a lot of gear, there isn't anything else in the Ridgeline's league.

No. 1: 2016 GMC Canyon SLE, 2,509 points

Canyon Beauty 2 II

First-place finishes: GCWR (tie with the Chevy), lightest vehicle, most payload, max tow rating (tie with the Chevy), most judges' points

Finishing in first place by one of the slimmest margins in any test we've conducted, the GMC Canyon won this competition by keeping a slow and steady pace in each and every event. Yes, the Canyon won four objective test categories outright (two of which it tied with Chevy Colorado), but maybe more importantly, it finished first or second in the majority of categories, as well as scoring two and four points (out of a possible 1,000) ahead of the Ridgeline and Colorado, respectively, in the five-judge portion of our test.

Canyon Interior 1 II

Many of our experts commented on how well-balanced and confident the truck felt while on the track, driving around country roads and even at the off-road park. The midlevel SLE package is decently appointed, collecting a solid number of points from most judges, while the structure of the vehicle put it at the top of the capability categories. This pickup had the highest payload capacity and GCWR, it was the lightest of our competitors, was the only four-wheel-drive system in our test with a separate all-wheel-drive setting, and the V-6 gas engine was both powerful and efficient. The GMC Canyon SLE is probably the best heart-of-the-market offering of the test, providing value and strength for those who need versatile capabilities in a downsized package.

Canyon Action 3 II

How We Conducted the Testing

As with many of our past comparison tests, we put all of the competitors through head-to-head testing in multiple objective categories — this time 18 (see all the charts below) — scoring each against the other. We do not weight any of the objective categories and provide you with all the results so you can select the categories that are more important to you to help you choose the midsize pickup that best meets your needs.

Like many of our other industry-leading comparison tests, we track tested each truck, carried heavy loads, did some towing and took them on a real-world fuel economy route. Additionally, we tested each vehicle on the same Mustang chassis dyno, conducted sound measurements at idle and at 60 mph on the same stretch of highway, and measured each truck against the others in categories such as manufacturer towing capacities, overall weight and price. This portion of the test accounted for 70 percent of the total points for this Challenge.

JV Ridgeline 1 II

In our judges' categories, considered the expert-review part of the test, the vehicles were scored in 10 different categories that covered interior quality, cabin and bed storage, tech and entertainment, seating comfort, performance and value. Our judges scored each category on a 1-to-10-point scale. We then doubled their scores so that that they accounted for 30 percent of the total points. We'd like to especially thank in-market judge Jennifer Vigus for spending so much time learning about each pickup from their respective manufacturer representatives and then driving each pickup on the same designated test route. You'll find many of her comments woven into our "What the Judges Said" piece.

In the end, we added up the numbers to find out which truck won; it's as simple as that. This year the returning 2015 champion, the GMC Canyon, nosed out the impressive, all-new Honda Ridgeline by just 19 points out of a possible 2,800. Check out all the head-to-head test results in the charts below.

Group Milan 2 II

Cars.com photos by Angela Conners

Overview | Acceleration and Braking | Off-Road Performance | Mileage | What the Judges Said | Results



But for me, the real winner of the 2016 mid size truck challenge is the 2017 Honda Ridgeline. It deserves to be the winner next year.

So, my takeaway from this is... If you need a slightly heavier-duty truck for immediate needs and aren't concerned about reliability or resale value, consider a Canyon. Otherwise, the Ridgeline seems to be the smartest choice.

This loading to 90% of rated capacity seems a bit unfair. The rated capacity of the Ridgeline is higher that most or all of the others. the faire test would seem to be loading it to the same level as the lowest rated truck in the test. (probably the Tacoma)

If the Tacoma can only haul 1175 lbs how did the Ridgeline do with that load? Did it sag more or less at that point than the tacoma?

Seem everyone hates the infotainment operation so I can't argue with you there.

I have been researching this and I believe there are blue tooth multifunction dials that you can pair to the system and actually create a volume or selector know to stick anywhere you want. One such potential device is the Griffin PowerMate Multi-Media Control Knob with Bluetooth

Could one of the testers explain if the sun glare mentioned for the Honda is related to the infotainment display or a separate general visibility issue with the body, dash board and windows?

PUTC, as always I love reading these, and I always question my career choice wondering how I missed the "test drive and write about trucks" booth at the career fairs when I was younger.

I know you don't have an unlimited budget/time to increase your statistical sample size for the objective tests or re-do tests that are spoiled by weather/traffic issues, but even accounting for bad luck this seems like the sloppiest comparison that you have run to date. Every segment was littered with unexplained statistical variances that caused significant swings in the outcomes of some of the tests with no real deep dive into why or how they might have happened.

I wager I am not alone in feeling cheated that there was no diesel in the test. I get it that you set a price cap, but its ironic that in order to "get the Honda into the test" you allowed the standards to be relaxed by $5000 yet a similar opportunity was not given to Chevrolet (unless they really just didnt want to send one) even though a comparison with the diesel midsize is probably a lot more important to the readers of this page.

This comparison was one of the things I was truly excited about reading. In the end though, I am completely underwhelmed. I'm in the market for a truck right now as I will be replacing my diesel Volkswagen under their buyback for the emissions cheating this fall, so I am in full blown research mode. This comparison felt like it was rushed and poorly compiled. Maybe it is just indicative of the fact that this segment is still largely an afterthought for the other manufacturers. GM and Honda are the only manufacturers even trying to keep things innovative. Based on the effort represented in this comparison, looks like you guys feel the same.

The Honda gave up 29 points to the GMC due to a payload of 5000 compared to 7000. Most will never tow even 5000 with these mids. It lost to the GMC by 19 points overall. Looks like the real winner is the Honda unless you want to tow over 7000lbs.

Happy Jack, good catch on the load differences. They should've used the same load for each. It's too bad that Toyota and Nissan can't build a truck to carry more.

^^ I meant Max Tow rating, not Payload.

Pick what you like based on what you need.....

Honda is a great SUV that can serve as a pickup for the occasional light duty work or hauling. Not a real truck but thats great for some.

Toyota is a very good off roader ,

Nissan is old (and you can probably get a great deal on one).

GM trucks are solid in every respect ....and just as the test shows, best overall truck in mid size category.

I maintain that the payload used for ALL trucks should have been the Frontier's 900lb load. Using GCW as a scoring criteria is silly. Tow rating matter, but I don't see the part where you guys pulled trailers. The Ridgeline gave up 29 points to the Gm trucks on the GVW category. It only lost to the GMC by 19points. Throw out that meaningless criteria, and the Honda wins.

But the Honda Ridgeline is a true all around truck, that'a why it deserves to be the winner.

@devilsad- great points, and I feel the same way, just another reason one cannot rely on awards, and articles on the internet. It is a fun article to read, but with so many questions on sketchy variances, it pretty much means, take it with a grain of salt.

I also agree that based on this article, get the GMC if reliability does not matter.

Not me. I would take the 2017 Ridgeline.

Taco was the cheapest or was it the most expensive?

Taco was $36k. Canyon was $37k.

Tacoma has what? Zero off? GMC has $3k off on Canyon.

Tacoma: most expensive, no power, worst brakes, bad interior and a poor ride all around.

Good job, Toyota!

So the obvious choice is the Honda Ridgeline. Won most of the categories. Points are just subjective and trailing only 19 points is practically almost nothing. They lost a lot of points (subjective) in judges scores and towing capacity even though everyone knows Honda is not marketing to heavy-duty towing consumers and .

Damn those gas need the 4.3

If you want a street queen, buy anything other than the Tacoma!

If you want what a 4x4 should do, and that is properly off-road, the Tacoma is the best!

Off-road trucks are not pretty little gurls on the street, they perform off-road, where it counts!

No surprises that the Tacoma will not win drag strip, mpg numbers and the like! An off-roader is not supposed to win those categories because those numbers hinder off-road capabilities!

Ground clearance, off-road angles, larger tires, proper power and torque and weight distribution and the like are what is needed for a true 4x4!

Tacoma wins the off-road hands down, the ONLY category that differentiates a truck from what a Honda CRV can do!

Since we're whining about things... if the scoring is to contain nonsense like GVW (which just rewards those who use the cheapest/heaviest solutions)and GCW instead of just the Towing and payload numbers, then we should certainly include a value category- either as tested or at least for the base price to the significant options tested.

If we are going to test mostly street aspects for a pickup, why not bring a 4x2 Tacoma with the V6 instead of brining the best and most capable off-roader to this test?

I guess Toyota is saying, who cares about your street manners, most hard core Tacoma buyers want off-road capability more than how fast in can accelerate or other street queen categories!

I am glad Toyota sticks to its base, off-road is the base for the Tacoma, not street capability! Thank you Toyota for not giving into the car-pickups that we see today. Stick to off-road, your trump card in this segment!

Trucks are full body-on-frame designs and the Ridgeline isn’t.
So it's really a Pilot with a bed. Honda has taken the strategic decision to make a unibody "truck", the only one on the market. For most of you girls, that's all you need!

The Ridgeline should be up against mini-vans or at best SUV's!
Posted by: Really?

You're obviously quite misinformed.
1.) Calling it Pilot with a bed is wrong. They already had the plans for making this truck BEFORE the Pilot, but business decisions forced them to use these plans on the Pilot first, so essentially the Pilot is a Ridgeline without the bed.
2.) If all you think of the definition of a truck is BOF, you're just as ancient as these older trucks when it comes to innovation. Get with the program. Trucks do truck things because of the BED, which the Ridgeline has. If you come back with the "off-road" argument, Jeeps are the best of road, and some of them are already moving to unibody construction, they just expertly call it "uniframe" to fool simpleminded people like you.
3.) You're obviously a dumbass for implying that I'm a girl.
4.) People that bash the Ridgeline because "it is too ugly" are running out of arguments. Looks is very subjective. People can't face the fact that the truck they just bought with big bucks is inferior to the Ridgeline. I'm a 2016 Tacoma owner and I had to face the facts that even though the Tacoma is the better looking on the outside, it just has too many issues (TacomaWorld can confirm).

For me, the Ridgeline is the clear winner for my purposes... except for one caveat. While the Honda offered better than acceptable braking performance, the described pedal feel leaves much to be desired. I'd be taking it to my favorite brake shop to see if they could improve the quality of those brakes by doing a four-wheel bleed and maybe check the mastery cylinder.

I should qualify my first sentence because while it would meet the need, there are a couple issues which could be game changers for me and one of them is the back doors. Now, I'm not a fan of full crew-cab pickups anyway, but if the back doors can't even open up wide enough to push a three-ball bowling bag straight (with the seats folded up) then I'm losing half the reason for having those extra doors in the first place; I carry THINGS, not people in the back-seat area of my vehicles. Not necessarily heavy things, but things what I don't want to carry out in the weather like a golf bag or the aforementioned bowling balls. I know nearly everybody has moved away from the 'suicide door' opening but honestly it's the best FUNCTIONAL door for something like a pickup truck.

Outside of that, I can live with the infotainment stack as long as I can at least use an 'alt input' for an iPod or something to listen to music on the road. I've driven far worse (thinking Ford Sync here) than what I've seen in this Honda.

"The Tacoma is clearly the most well-suited for the off-road trail part." For serious off-roading, it's the one we'd choose out of this bunch by a good margin.

Toyota keeping it real in the only category that counts!

Toyota wins, again!

"I am glad Toyota sticks to its base, off-road is the base for the Tacoma, not street capability! Thank you Toyota for not giving into the car-pickups that we see today. Stick to off-road, your trump card in this segment!"

Then why did the Tacoma lose so badly across the board EXCEPT in off-road? People don't buy a pickup to be an off-road toy, they buy a pickup to be a truly useful vehicle under all conditions with probably half of them or less ever going 'seriously' off-road.

I currently own a Jeep Wrangler because I wanted "bad road" capability when I get hit by a 16"-24" blizzard and I chose the 'Unlimited' version for it's utility aspect. What I discovered is that it's gross overkill for my bad weather needs and just as grossly under-capable for my utility needs. I will be trading that Jeep for something within the next year or so. What that something will be is still open... for now. What it won't be is a Toyota Tacoma (too many issues) or any full-sized pickup. What it might be is a Jeep pickup or one of the more car-based models like the Fiat Toro (really liking what it offers) or the Hyundai Santa Cruz.

Ridgeline's design and willingness to defy convention just OWNED this test. Kudos to editors' intelligence in realizing that Honda's other trim levels would still have the same exact drivetrain - even down to a simple RT trim level with AWD. The up-level RTL-E trim doesn't materially impact any of the categories that this platform ROMPED over its competitors - quickest acceleration, quietest, best MPG, best acceleration in dirt, didn't get stuck ("mash it and let the computers figure out optimal torque vectoring & gearing..."), best ride. Those capabilities are "what" I'm looking for in my next truck, and the nice toys of the RTL-E (lane-sensing, collision mitigation, adaptive cruise, etc. are nice add-ons that weren't mentioned in this test).

To be even clearer, if Honda's press fleet had a less-expensive Ridgeline RT or RTL with AWD available for this test, the results would have been the same - maybe even better since the RTL-T/RTL-E are cursed with that big $h!tty touch screen vs. the lower trims having the knob-based simpler radio.

Probably worth giving the average populace the benefit of the doubt re: this "it's not a real truck" thing. It's not an "old" truck design - granted. It's newer & unconventional. Net, the raging doubters probably haven't learned to de-couple "what" they can get vs. "how" it's delivered, re: the "it's not a real truck."

Point is, these doubters haven't yet learned the difference between outcomes (the net result or benefit of what you're seeking, aka the "what") vs. the strategy/implementation (the tools and processes used in delivering the experience aka the "how).

And for them, welcome to the 21st century and a perfect example of enjoying and learning the "what" without caring "how" it's done. Ridgeline's "whats" have just owned all these objective (and many subjective) categories of this comparison test. Plenty of people out there don't care about "how" it won all these categories. They won't give a rat's arse about torque vectoring, fully-independent suspension, variable camshaft timing, etc. and Deming/Juran's teachings of Statistical Process Control which gave its adherents HUGE advantages in vehicle fit, finish, durability and refinement.

Doesn't matter to me that it's not body-on-frame. Honda has had the fortitude to defy convention since the 1950s. Most cars that were body on frame back in the 50s have evolved to more efficient (and safe) designs of today. I'll take the innovative, crafty, OCD, unconventional approach to vehicle design (and its prior gen predecessors easily racking up 150K trouble-free miles with regular maintenance) like this Ridgeline for my needs - "grocery getting," hauling dirt bikes out to OHV areas, or pulling our STR-prepped S2000 on an aluminum trailer well under the 5K limit. If the weekend comes when I might need to tow something over 5000 lbs, I'll either rent something or occasionally swap with friends who have stronger vehicles.

And irrespective of whether you understand the whats vs. hows in this "real truck" debate, we can all take some degree of pride in knowing how much the American market played in the evolution of that truck, and its final manufacture in Alabama. 'Murica!

My $0.02 / YMMV

I always enjoy these comparisons. I appreciate how thorough they are and the the and effort to put them together. I do agree with others the have said a consistent payload should be used throughout.
It would have been very interesting to see the Duramax included in this test.
@Richard Joash Tan - the cool thing about these detailed comparisons is that everyone can choose their own winner based individual preferences.

Great Job GM! Took the top 3 by pure dominance, 1st and 3rd over all while towing more, and hauling more then the competition.

No one will be able to touch them once the 8 speed or 10 speed comes with the new 3.6L LFX engine more then likely by 2018 model year.

Again awesome job GM keep up the good work!

People don't buy a pickup to be an off-road toy, they buy a pickup to be a truly useful vehicle under all conditions with probably half of them or less ever going 'seriously' off-road.

Posted by: Road Whale | Aug 24, 2016 11:18:22 AM

Yes, exactly, that's why every manufacturer except for Toyota has moved on and offered trucks that 99% of the truck buying public want instead of being held back by the 1% who think they should dictate what every company offers.

This is what kind of bugs me about Toyota, nothing particularly innovative, they launch something every couple decades which is truly revolutionary, and then they warm it up in the microwave and sell what is essentially the same thing for the next 10-20 years based solely on that success.

The current Tacoma has some fascinating stuff, but the execution is very much that of a company that just thought they would sit at the top and never have to innovate and keep up, but then suddenly got woken up when GM brought the global twins over here. The result is something that looks reactionary, and haphazardly thrown together. People like Oxi are still out there buying them, but the effort put into it shows in the Tacoma royally sucking in nearly every measurable category in this test, but hey it'll go for 1million miles folks!.. (and in 15 years you can buy a "new" one that will probably have the same engine and drivetrain).

I will probably get the Canyon with the AWD to replace my old Canyon. Put a body lift and leveling kit on it and off I go....

Good luck finding a Honda Ridgeline (or a Pilot for that matter) on a dealer lot for less than 40k

Memo: Honda does not like to discount much off of MSRP.

GM and Nissan offer the best value. For all of its warts I'd be getting a Nissan SV crew cab if I had to buy a midsize today.


Ford Is Recalling 91,000 Vehicles in North America for Fuel Pump Problems

by Reuters

August 24, 2016, 10:12 AM EDT

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That could potentially cause a car to stall without warning.

Ford Motor said on Wednesday it was recalling about 91,000 vehicles in North America to replace faulty fuel-pump parts that could potentially cause a car to stall without warning.

Ford said it would replace fuel-pump control modules in about 88,151 vehicles, including certain of its 2013-15 model year Ford Taurus sedans, Ford Flex crossover utility vehicles, Lincoln MKS sedans, Lincoln MKT SUVs and Ford Police Interceptor sedans.

The company also said it would recall about 2,472 Ford Transit vans to replace fuel-injection pumps in certain models manufactured in the year 2015-16.

The carmaker said it was additionally recalling 23,150 Ford Escape SUVs of 2017 model year to update power-window software.

lol...sure I love Ford I'm a girl and I'm a mess...lol

Speaking about mess....

Capstone Law APC, is litigating two class action lawsuits on behalf of consumers nationwide who purchased or leased any Ford vehicle equipped with Ford’s Dual Clutch or "PowerShift" Transmissions, including the 2011 through 2016 Ford Fiesta and 2012 through 2016 Ford Focus.

The lawsuits, entitled Vargas, et al. v. Ford Motor Company and Cusick, et al. v. Ford Motor Company, are currently pending in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Case No. CV12-08388 ABC (FFMx) and 15-cv-08831-AB-FFMx. The lawsuits allege, among other things, that Ford: failed to disclose the fact that the PowerShift transmission contains one or more design and/or manufacturing defects that cause problems and unsafe conditions, including, but not limited to, suddenly lurching forward, delayed acceleration, and sudden loss of forward propulsion.

We believe that Ford’s advertising and marketing of the 2011 to 2016 Fiesta and the 2012 to 2016 Focus equipped with the PowerShift transmission misled consumers in violation of consumer laws and that, in reality, consumers who purchased and used the vehicles were put at risk of serious harm and suffered damages based on the unexpected and premature failure of the transmission.

Now that's a real mess!


I have to wonder. If the only category that the Tacoma truly excelled in was the off-road capabilities, what is the purpose of the pre-runner? I see much more pre-runner Tacomas here in the southeast than I do 4x4s.

Meant new 3.6L LGX* Not LFX my bad*

I'm sorry, guys. I appreciate the effort that PUTC has put into this work. It is quite an achievement, and I would certainly use this information to influence my purchase decision.

But I would have liked to have seen the following measurements or capability-evaluations as well:
1) Ground clearance;
2) Break-over angle;
3) Approach angle;
4) Departure angle;
5) Torque at 1000, 2000, and 3000 RPM*;
6) HP at 1000, 2000, and 3000 RPM*;
7) Ramp Travel Index for Articulation (RTI)**;
8) Chassis Twist Testing***, repeated for 25 cycles;
9) Maximum Suspension Travel;
10) Maximum Climb Angle, empty and with 1000-lb load;
11) Availability of a manual transmission;
12) Availability of locking differentials;
13) Availability of tow hooks;
14) Cooling system's capability to resist over-heating.

* Max torque and max HP are, for me, largely irrelevant: I don't run my engine up near redline to get those values.
** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramp_travel_index
*** https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_f3CAnH7WIM


By the way, Honda's fingerprint magnet of a touchscreen can be easily solved with a screen protector. Volume knob is no big deal for the driver with steering wheel controls while passenger can take his/her time with the volume screen. No big deal.

Papa Jim - - -

You said:

"Good luck finding a Honda Ridgeline (or a Pilot for that matter) on a dealer lot for less than 40k

Memo: Honda does not like to discount much off of MSRP.

GM and Nissan offer the best value. For all of its warts I'd be getting a Nissan SV crew cab if I had to buy a midsize today.

Posted by: papa jim | Aug 24, 2016 12:01:13 PM"


Actually, I felt the same way in 2010, and bought a 2WD Nissan Frontier SE Crew Cab for my light duty, around town work. Has been a great little truck: utterly reliable; economical; simple, no frills interior; gets the job done; smooth ride. Miss 4WD and off-road capability though...but that was my fault...(^_^)...


As the test highlights the older platforms are not leading the segment.

Number 5. The Frontier is old, very old. It has held up surprising well. Good value for the price.

Number 4. The Taco is old believe it or not. It's just a super refresh of a platform older than the Frontier to save Toyota development money.

Number 3. The Colorado, length and extra weight was it's problem.

Number 2. The Honda proves you don't require a full chassis to make a pickup. Most pickups just look pretty for the owners. Honestly, how many pickups do you see towing or carrying a load? How many pickups are sitting where people work, empty?

The Honda has given a well balanced pickup that most could live with.

Number 1. The Canyon, its nice in its short wheel base form. It can carry and tow what most buy as a half ton pickup. So, why not look at one?

Nice test PUTC.

Is there any definite intelligence on when the next generation Nissan Frontier will be released or that it won’t arrive for at least another 18 months? My understanding is that it would be unveiled at one of the auto shows over the winter and released sometime in 2017 as a 2018 model.

Also, do we know if the next U.S. Frontier will be the Navara on sale in other parts of the world or if Nissan will develop a separate truck specifically for the U.S.? This website mentioned that Navaras have been seen testing in the U.S.: http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2016/01/spied-2018-nissan-frontier.html

Why not load the trucks with the lowest payload of the trucks? Different payloads I must say is lame.

What a joke! Bring all these same trucks back after they have 300,000 miles in them. The Toyota will be the only one with the original drivetrain still going strong. With the ford ranger gone Toyota is easily number 1. The government motor trucks are JUNK!!!!!!!!

@devilsadvocate: Thanks for supporting my statement and I agree in general with everything you say about the Tacoma. Before I 'inherited' my '97 Ranger, I'd been seriously looking at an extended-cab Tacoma because it is so much along the lines I've been looking for, though its shortcomings consistently turned me away. It's small enough (though not really as small as I wanted) and the access to the rear seat floor was exactly what I'm wanting; a simple, flat, floor able to toss a golf bag or a couple of 2-ball or 3-ball bowling bags out of the weather and EASY access to that floor through its clamshell-style doors. That is, until the '16 model which cluttered that floor with some sort of plastic platform with dozens of worthless, too-small indentations which might be good for stashing screws and bolts but eliminates the smooth, flat surface for pushing something on wheels into that area.

Other issues were pointed out by the reviewers--in particular the simple fact that they don't know how to size the driver's seat for taller people even though most of their cars do rather well at it. As far as high tech and off-road chops are concerned, well, they're not a concern. I need ability to handle unexpected driving conditions and circumstances such as a rained-out county fair or military airshow where the grass parking area has become a mud bog. Any of the truck in this test could handle that kind of circumstance, though it appears the Honda would be better at it than even the Tacoma.

The others? Except for their size, the Chevy/GMC twins are solid picks, though for the money the Honda offers so much more in secured storage. On the other hand, the Honda's back doors aren't exactly usable for carrying longer loads like those golf/bowling bags I was talking about if they can't open widely enough. The Nissan may be old, but everyone there noted that it's still a solid machine, even if it is dated.

All in all, a very fair and surprising test showing every strength and weakness for those actually in the market for something smaller than a full-sized pickup and yet still have an open bed for those out-sized or aromatic loads.

Sure love that Honda. It pretty much won this contest hands down. They sure have come a long way with this Ridgeline and seems to me they've pretty much left the competition in the dust with its design and capabilities. Be glad when the Ranger comes back too. But for now the best mid-size for your money is the Ridgeline!!

For you full frame guys, I bought a Jeep Comanchee new in 1988, raised it up, put a winch on it. Off-roaded it, pulled my bass boat across the country, pulled trailers in the mountains elk hunting and bear hunting in Canada. I sold it to a friend in 2001, he put three boys thru high school with it and is still driving it and abuses it more then I ever did. No frame or any other kind of problems...

with that said, wil wait for Ram to come out with something, as I do not want a Jeep pickup, or buy the Canyon and raise it up, that's what I do

I wouldn't buy a midsize, but I would but the Honda over any of these others if I did.

I would pick the Honda, Chevy, or GMC for every day use. I do not need an off road rock crawler but I do want a comfortable and good riding truck that can be driven in snow. The Tacoma is not that comfortable and the ride is a little rough. Tacoma is a good truck but it is not for me. Any of these trucks would be a good pick and any of them would give you years of good service. As for the reliability of GM I have an S-10 that I have had for over 17 years and it has been very reliable. I also have an Isuzu which is the same as the previous Colorado/Canyon and it has been reliable as well. It all comes down to which truck you prefer and which you feel best meets your needs--none of these trucks are bad.

I'd like to see info on the total cubic feet of storage for the beds on these trucks. That's a far more useful number to me than the total payload. I seldom load my truck with that kind of weight but I often completely fill the bed with camping gear or helping a friend move, etc. I currently drive a 2006 Ridgeline but I have zero interest in the new one due to the incredibly shallow bed. The GM twins have a very deep bed which would meet my needs much better. I wish this comparison gave more useful everyday info like this. Also, show us some pics of the backseat configurations for each truck so we can see how much in-cab storage is available. Otherwise I enjoyed this comparison a lot, but it's missing vital info in my opinion.

Can't believe this website is doing the moronic % of payload tests still. Apples to apples, or don't bother. Unbelievable really. You configure a test where a company, if they DECREASED payload capacity, would boost several of their scores - what is wrong with you geniuses? If you compared a Cummins RAM towing 90% of max trailer capacity vs a GC at 90%, it would get crushed in acceleration and braking - BECAUSE the CUMMINS is rated to tow 6000 lbs more, and so would have an extra 5400 lbs to stop and accelerate by your brain-dead methodology. You prove over and over you aren't truck guys - because nobody asks "Which tows 93% of its max payload better?" They ask "Which tows my (camper trailer, boat, farm tractor, skid steer, horse trailer, etc.) bettter?" And regardless of truck those loads weigh the same!! Whoever insists on these percentage metrics has rocks in their head. /rant off

That Nissan Frontier is a watered down Navara. Here is the current Navara " Workmate " version, the most basic version with a 2,700lb payload

Addressing devilsadvocate's point...

I think the Honda supplied the RTL-E thinking the safety package and other creature comforts would impress. Only they never mention the emergency braking, adaptive cruise, blind side camera etc. So that strategy actually worked against Honda.

However I think your argument that the higher priced Honda was unfair, is flawed for this reasons. All RL grades with AWD are identical in terms of the tests conducted in the Challenge. Same engine, transmission, tires, traction control spring and suspension etc.

Honda could have and maybe should have supplied the RL that match the pricing criteria. Seem the testers think it might have won without the atrocious Upgraded infotainment system.

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