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Dear Kelley Blue Book Canada: Mid-size Trucks That Can Tow

The Challenge: Finding a mid-size pickup that can tow like a full-size

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With over 300 new models in Canadian showrooms, it can be challenging to select the new vehicle that meets both your needs and your wants. If you are in the market for a new car, truck or SUV with specific needs or requirements, drop us an email at Dear Kelley Blue Book Canada about your new vehicle requirements to be featured in our Tips & Advice section. Every month, our team of editors will select one reader’s request and share detailed, unbiased advice to that specific scenario to help you and all of our readers better understand the car buying journey.

 

Full-size pickup trucks remain some of the most popular new vehicles sold in Canada. But not all truck buyers are looking for full-size capabilities. For 2020, if you require a more urban-friendly truck that can also tow like a big rig, automakers have plenty of options in the mid-size truck class. With the resurrection of the Ford Ranger and the recent introduction of the Jeep Gladiator, along with class stalwarts like the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon twins, Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma, consumers have plenty of choice in the mid-size truck segment. But which one is the best if you are looking to tow and save fuel? 

 

The Contenders 

2020 Chevrolet Colorado 

Whether you consider the Chevrolet Colorado or its mechanically identical GMC Canyon platform-mate, General Motors' mid-size trucks offer the highest towing capacity in the class with a 7,700-pound (lb) rating. However, you will need to equip the GM pickup properly to achieve that maximum hauling capability. 

Colorado Crew Cab pricing starts at $24,098* CDN. But that only gets you a 200-horsepower (hp) 2.5-litre 4-cylinder gas engine. If you are going to tow, the motor to opt for is the turbocharged 2.8-litre 4-cylinder diesel, starting at $31,298 CDN. It is rated at 186-hp and a whopping 369 pound-feet (lb-ft) of torque. Estimated for a combined city and highway rating of 10.1 litres per 100 kilometres (L/100 km), the diesel is a particularly smart choice for those seeking the best towing option as well the best fuel economy. 

 

2020 Ford Ranger 

Returning to the market, the 2020 Ford Ranger puts a fresh twist on the mid-size-pickup truck segment. Unlike most of its rivals, the $32,159 CDN Ranger offers only one engine and transmission choice: a 2.3-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine good for 270-hp and 310-lb-ft. A 10-speed automatic is the only transmission choice. The Ford’s 10.9 L/100 km combined fuel economy rating, and 7,500-lb maximum tow rating are competitive as well. 

The Ranger offers innovative new features we never knew we needed but now can’t live without. One such example is the Ranger’s Tow-Optimized Blind Spot Monitor that extends its reach to include whatever is being towed behind the truck. The system can even memorize up to three trailer profiles with varying lengths. 

 

2020 Jeep Gladiator 

The long-awaited, all-new $45,845 CDN Jeep Gladiator lives up to its mid-size truck promise with its tough, lightweight construction, competitive 7,650-lb towing rating, a 12.3 L/100 km fuel economy number, and unique convertible top. 

Initially, there’s a single engine option available for the Gladiator, a 3.6-litre V6 engine that makes 285-hp and 260-lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard, but an 8-speed automatic transmission is available. Coming later in 2020 will be a 3.0-litre EcoDiesel V6 that makes 260-hp and 442-lb-ft. The 8-speed automatic will be the diesel engine’s only transmission. 

 

2019 Nissan Frontier 

A refreshed 2020 Frontier is scheduled to go on sale in Canada in 2020. But as of this writing, the 2019 models are all that’s available to consumers. As such, there are two Frontier body styles, two bed lengths, two wheelbases, three transmissions and two engine choices. 

Frontier prices start at $24,598 CDN for King Cab models with a 2.5-litre, 4-cylinder engine that produces 152-hp mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission. To get the Frontier’s maximum 6,710-lb tow rating, buyers will need to move up to the $26,148 CDN SV King Cab, which adds the 261-hp and 281-lb-ft 4.0-litre V6— a powertrain rated at 13.9 L/100 km according to Natural Resources Canada. 

 

2020 Toyota Tacoma 

Like the Ranger, for 2020, Toyota’s popular Tacoma doesn’t burden mid-size truck buyers with a long list of choices to wade through. Starting at $37,450 CDN, there’s only one engine choice: a 3.5-litre V6 with 278-hp and 265-lb-ft, matched to either a manual or automatic, both with six speeds. 

The V6 moves the Tacoma with quick bursts of acceleration and also enables it to tow up to 6,800 lb, with an 11.9 L/100 km estimate when equipped with the automatic transmission. The only decision for mid-size truck buyers is whether to opt for the Access Cab and or the extended Crew Cab, which offers four full doors for easier access and more room for rear occupants. 

 

KBB.CA Editor's Choice

The Ford Ranger offers plenty of high-tech, the Nissan Frontier the lowest price, the Toyota Tacoma excellent resale value, and the Jeep Gladiator a convertible top. Yet if you are shopping for a mid-size pickup truck that can haul the most and save some money at the pumps, we recommend the competitively priced and diesel-powered 2020 Chevrolet Colorado. 

 

If you’re in the market for a new vehicle and have a unique buying request, please contact KBB.ca at KBBSupport@coxautoinc.com. 

 

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