- The Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Colorado and Ford Ranger are all redesigned.
- All feature vastly improved interiors and new tech.
- We compare powertrains, towing and hauling capabilities, and configurations.
Toyota Tacoma vs. Chevrolet Colorado vs. Ford Ranger: Three Midsize Pickups Duke It Out
Three fully redesigned pickups each offer unique advantages
While a vehicle is always more than the sum of its specifications, the cold, hard numbers are always a good place to start when making a buying decision. Never has that mantra been more true than in the uber-heated pickup truck world. The next generation of the Chevrolet Colorado — and its fancier brother, the GMC Canyon — was introduced last summer, and this year we learned all about the latest Ford Ranger and Toyota Tacoma. Maybe your biggest concern is towing and hauling capability, or perhaps price or tech is your deal-breaker. Whatever your must-have, we’re breaking down the numbers and specs for these three heavy-hitting midsize trucks.
Powertrains by the numbers
If you’re looking for maximum power, you’ll find it in the 2024 Toyota Tacoma's hybrid i-Force Max turbocharged four-cylinder powerplant. This electrified engine produces 326 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque and is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Ford Ranger is available with a 2.7-liter turbocharged V6; it churns out 315 ponies and 400 lb-ft of torque, and it's matched to a 10-speed automatic transmission. (We'd be remiss not to mention the extreme Ranger Raptor, with its turbo 3.0-liter with 405 hp and 430 lb-ft.) The most potent Chevy Colorado produces 310 horses and 430 lb-ft of twist from its 2.7-liter turbo four-cylinder mill paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
While we don’t have fuel economy numbers for all these trucks and powertrains, we expect Toyota’s hybrid setup to take the crown. There are other engine options on hand for each pickup, and the Toyota uniquely offers a six-speed manual transmission. Of course, that's not with the hybrid because that would just be too cool, but it’s nice to know that there is an option in this segment for those who like to row their own gears.
Towing and hauling
When it comes to towing and payload, not one truck gets into the winner’s circle for both. If hauling stuff in the bed of the truck is important to you, you’ll want to look at the Ford Ranger. This truck can handle 1,805 pounds of payload in its 5-foot bed. However, if you need to hook up a trailer and go, it’s all about the Chevrolet Colorado with its maximum rating of 7,700 pounds.
Only Toyota offers different bed and cab configurations. The Tacoma will be available in a four-door double cab with either a 5- or 6-foot bed or in the new two-door, two-seat XtraCab with the 6-foot bed. If hauling longer items is on the agenda, the Tacoma should be on your list. Buyers of the Ranger and the Colorado will get the ever-popular four-door cab with a 5-foot bed.
Check the tech
Modern truck buyers expect more than just a work truck, and manufacturers have stepped up by including more technology and advanced driver's aids in their rigs. The previous Tacoma had a small infotainment screen with an unappealing interface, but the new one hits a home run. It features the largest available screen in the segment at 14 inches. All three offer digital gauge clusters — it’s even standard on the Colorado — and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included at no extra cost across the board.
Each truck gets its own suite of safety tech with varying standard features. Toyota stands out by including full-speed adaptive cruise control as standard, in addition to a new Emergency Driving Stop feature that will bring a vehicle to a stop if the driver becomes unresponsive.
That’s not to say the other trucks don’t have their own cool, unique features. Ford offers Active Park Assist 2.0, which can help automate both parallel and perpendicular parking, and you can get 10 available cameras, including an underbody camera, on the Colorado.
Of course, none of this comes cheap. We don’t have pricing for the Toyota Tacoma, but we expect it to be in line with the competition. A Colorado can be delivered at just under $31,000 for a base two-wheel-drive WT, while the entry-level Ford Ranger XL in two-wheel drive is just a smidge over $34,000. However, you can rocket that price into the low to mid-$40,000s by selecting the Colorado in the Z71 trim or the top Ford Ranger Lariat. Yowza.
If you want a midsize truck this very instant, only the Chevrolet Colorado is on sale today. The 2024 Toyota Tacoma will go on sale later this year, with the hybrid models not arriving until early 2024. The Ranger will make its way to dealerships this summer with the standard 2.3-liter engine. The bigger 2.7-liter V6 won’t be available until late fall.
Just by looking at the spec sheets, it doesn’t seem like one truck can do it all. The Toyota has the most power, the Ford can haul the most and the Chevrolet has the best towing. But we haven't gotten behind the wheel of all three yet. Once we sample their driving dynamics, test the ergonomics, get a read on fuel economy and experience the technology, we’ll be able to make a solid recommendation.
We can’t wait.