Compact Trucks

When it comes to truck sizes there are three different categories: compact, midsize, and full-size. These are a smaller version of a traditional pickup truck, with a frame providing structure, a conventional cab, and are outfitted with a small L4, L5, L6, or V6 engine, typically using gasoline.

Image of a compact truck

The most popular compact trucks include the Ford Ranger, Chevy S10, GMC Sonoma, and Mazda B Series.

Mid-Size Trucks

In North America, pickup trucks are commonly used as general purpose passenger cars. They are popular not only with construction or contract workers but also with everyday commuters and families. Because of this, there is demand for a pickup that is bigger than a compact, yet smaller and more fuel efficient than a full-size pickup. Enter the mid-sized truck.

Impact of mid-size truck

Mid-size trucks can usually be found with single, extended, or crew cab configurations depending on what’s offered for the model and based on needs.

Notable mid-size trucks include the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Dodge Dakota, Nissan Frontier, Toyota Tacoma, Honda Ridgeline, and Ford Explorer SportTrac. Lesser known mid-size trucks would include the Isuzu i-Series, Mitsubishi Raider, and Suzuki Equator.

Full-Size Trucks

A full-size pickup is a larger truck suitable for hauling heavy loads and performing other, generally more heavy-duty, functions. Most full-size trucks can carry at least 1,000 lbs (450 kg) in the truck bed, with some capable of over 7,000 lbs. The bed is usually constructed so as to accommodate a 4 ft (1.2 m) x 8 ft (2.4 m) sheet of plywood. Most full-size trucks are commonly found with an I6, V6, V8, V10, or Diesel engine and are rear-wheel drive with four-wheel drive as an added option. The largest full-size pickups feature doubled rear tires (two on each side on one axle). These are colloquially referred to as “duallies” (DOOL-eez), or dual-wheeled pickup trucks, and are often used with a fifth wheel for towing heavy trailers or campers.

Image of full-size truck

Full-size pickups in North America are commonly sold in three size ranges – 1/2 Ton, 3/4 Ton, and 1 ton. These size ranges originally indicated the minimum payload of the vehicle meaning a 1 ton truck could carry at least a ton, however, modern pickups can typically carry far more than that. Full-size trucks are often used in North America for general passenger use and are usually those with ton ratings.

Until recently, only the “Big Three” American automakers (Ford, GM, and Chrysler) built full-size pickups. Toyota introduced the T100 pickup truck in 1993, but sales were poor due to high prices and a lack of a V8 engine. Some call the T100 a full- size pickup, but due to the frame, payload, lack of a V8, and size, it was officially classified as a mid-size. However, the introduction of the Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan marked the proper entry of Japanese makers in the market.

Common full-size trucks include: The Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, Ram (Dodge Ram), Ford F-Series, Nissan Titan and the Toyota Tundra.