Caribou Gear Tarp

Small/mid-size trucks, best all around


Well-known member
Sep 19, 2016
Edited to add that I ended up with a 2023 Frontier for anyone new to this thread. Met all my requirements except price.

Every year when dad and I head out west we take my wife's 2018 F150. When we lived in FL we would leave my wife my dad's truck. Now that we're In TN I've left her my 2000 F250. Last year, the F250 misfired for her the whole time we were gone. Along with other factors (smaller roads, looser steering, etc) I've gotten increasingly uncomfortable with leaving that one behind for her and the kids so I'm looking to upgrade. I've been considering the current batch of small/mid-size pickups like the Maverick, Colorado, etc. What is y'alls opinion for the best all around bang for the buck considering the following?

  • Must fit 3 kids comfortably, no car seats, but one teenager.
  • 4wd not necessary, but preferred.
  • Sub $36K. I don't put enough miles in per year to justify spending too much.
  • Preferably newish, say 2019 or better.
  • No diesel.
  • Creature comforts not super important, but at least cruise control.
  • Yes, pickup preferred just for throwing stuff in the back without consideration, including a small Jon boat. And cause I like it lol.
Last edited:
I think you can get all the midsizes in 4x4 if you get a lower trim for a msrp around $36. The problem will be finding a base model truck in this market. Tacoma is the most cramped rear seat. The rangers seem to be the most expensive just looking at autotrader. Im waiting for the next gen GM twins to come out this fall. 2.7 turbo 4 with 10 speed transmission is going in it. Same drivetrain as the silverado and sierra.
I bought the Ranger, though the new Frontier was intriguing. I think the Maverick, if it fits your needs, is the best value out there right now.

I know I'm inciting a mob here, but you couldn't give me a Tacoma. I'd take a Canyon any day before a Taco. They are outdated, uncomfortable, and overpriced IMO.

I have a Tacoma and like it, but my wife’s 4 runner is a lot more comfortable with the kids. Be sure to test drive a Tacoma extensively in hilly terrain. The transmission’s shift pattern annoys a lot of people.
Up until the kids part my vote was a Maverick, but I'm not sure on back seat space.
For more space and to have a body-on-frame the Ranger is the way to go.

Good luck finding a vehicle to test drive, much less buy.
Add 10k and get a 2020 f150 crew cab with the 3.5 eco. Same cab as the f350.
We have the 2018 version of this. Honestly this doesn't interest me in the slightest. I don't want to spend the money and don't need any extra capability it might bring.
What’s ht’s opinion of the titan?
Been a Titan owner since 2007 (2007-150k and 2020-38k). Probably won't own a different truck unless Nissan quits making them. Best truck warranty out there. I've never had to use the warranty though.

Technically the Titan is a FS and likely out of the OP 36K budget for a 2019 or newer. Drove a Frontier in Nashville as a rental last year. I really liked it. But being a bit on the taller side, I like the room of a Titan. Come to think of it, my first truck was a 1988 Nissan Hardbody and my second was a 1999 frontier. I guess I really like Nissan.

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Latest member