So you need a truck. Not really a big truck, but a truck robust enough to do mild truck tasks, while still returning decent fuel economy. In all likelihood, one of the best four-cylinder pickup trucks will suit your purposes. Surprisingly, this category is rather light on competitors. In fact, if you had been shopping this category a year ago, you had only two choices. This year, thanks to a pair of revived models, you’ll have four. Well, technically three, as two of the models are virtual clones of one another with some trim differences to separate them. The good news is all four are robust, capable, and comfortable too. Their manufacturers know you’ll probably – in most cases – press these trucks into service as your daily drivers too. As a result, you’ll find them packed with car-like features to make the best four-cylinder pickup trucks more attractive for everyday use.
The Best 4-Cylinder Pickup Trucks
Photo Credit: Benjamin Hunting
Photo Credit: General Motors
The hot new entry for model year 2015, Chevrolet’s Colorado is the talk of the segment. With its upscale interior treatment, compliant ride quality, good handling, broad array of cutting edge comfort, convenience, and safety features, tidy size, and thrifty engines, many are hailing Colorado as the best mid-size pickup ever. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine makes 200 horsepower and 191 ft-lbs of torque. A six-speed manual transmission feeds either the rear wheels or all four – if four-wheel drive is selected. A six-speed automatic is offered with the upper trim levels as standard, and is an option for lower trim levels. With the towing kit, the four-cylinder Colorado is good for towing up to 3,500 pounds. Available features include automatic headlights, forward collision and lane departure warnings, power windows, a rear view camera, Bluetooth telephony and audio streaming, WiFi, voice activated controls, smartphone application integration, a touchscreen interface, and satellite radio. Pricing starts at $20,120.
The GMC Canyon returns to the marketplace larger than the model it replaced, and yet more fuel-efficient. Canyon handles well, rides comfortably, and features a delightfully refined interior treatment hosting the most contemporary comfort, convenience, and safety equipment. The four-cylinder displaces 2.5-liters, from which it generates 200 horsepower and 191 ft-lbs of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard with the lower trim levels and feeds either the rear wheels or all four, if you opt for four-wheel drive. A six-speed automatic is offered as an option with the lower trims and is standard on the upper trim packages. A four-cylinder GMC Canyon is capable of towing up to 3,500 pounds. Available features include automatic headlights, forward collision and lane departure warnings, power windows, a rear view camera, Bluetooth telephony and audio streaming, WiFi, voice activated secondary controls, smartphone application integration, a touchscreen, and satellite radio. Pricing starts at $20,955.
One of the segment’s elders, this iteration of the Nissan Frontier was introduced back in 2005.Given the five to seven-year model cycle most car companies observe, that’s old in both dog-years and car-years. However, this doesn’t mean Nissan has allowed the rugged little Frontier pickup truck to stagnate. You’ll find Bluetooth audio streaming and telephony, handsfree text messaging capability, as well as integrated smartphone applications. Another thing the Nissan Frontier has working in its favor is its proven nature. The truck wouldn’t have lasted this long if it weren’t up to the task. The four-cylinder engine displaces 2.5-liters and makes 152 horsepower and 171 ft-lbs of torque. A five-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive comprise the standard powertrain. A five-speed automatic is offered as an option. The four-cylinder Frontier is good to tow up to 3,500 pounds, but four-wheel drive is not offered with this engine. Pricing starts at $17,990.
For 2015, Toyota is offering Tacoma with two cab configurations; extended, and crew. The regular cab is discontinued. Named Motor Trend’s truck of the year when this generation was introduced back in 2004, (yeah, it’s older than the Frontier), an all-new Tacoma is slated to appear for model year 2016. Rather than resting on the Tacoma’s laurels over the years, a steady diet of continual improvements finds the 2015 model offering contemporary standard features like Bluetooth, a touchscreen interface, smartphone app integration, and a rearview camera. The 159-horsepower four-cylinder engine displaces 2.7-liters and generates 180 ft-lbs of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard – a four-speed automatic is optional. With this engine, Tacoma will tow up to 3,500 pounds when properly equipped. Toyota also offers a four-wheel drive powertrain with the four-cylinder. With it, you’ll get an engine skid plate; elevated ride height, and front mudguards. Pricing starts at $20,965.
A small category true enough – and yet a very competitive one. You basically have a choice between two proven models or a pair of all-new ones. Newness notwithstanding, given their refinement and power, the choice for 2015 is a relatively simple one. For the 2015 model year, the best four-cylinder pickup trucks crown goes to the newly minted Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon. However, this does not mean one should dismiss the Frontier and Tacoma out of hand. Given they’ve been around a while, and particularly in the case of the Tacoma, with an all-new model waiting just off stage, you’re likely to find some really good deals on the two of them. Further, given their time on the market, it’s reasonable to expect all of their teething pains have been worked out as well. Either way, with these four very strong competitors, it’s pretty hard to go wrong.