Despite the recent downturn in overall new vehicle sales in Canada, about one in four are still pickup trucks. And that popularity has only been strengthened with a full roster of more affordable mid-size options plus the return of compact trucks.
If you're on a budget and ready to buy, here are Canada's five most affordable light-duty new pickup trucks for 2023.
Fresh on the heels of a 2022 redesign, the Frontier is much more appealing in its highly competitive mid-size pickup truck class.
Across the lineup, the only powertrain is a 310-horsepower V6 gas engine, automatic transmission, and four-wheel drive that enables the Frontier to tow up to 6,490 pounds. The four-passenger King Cab has two small rear seats that can flip up to make extra cargo room. The Crew Cab is roomier, with seating for up to five. The Nissan truck's tech features are easy to use, and the front seats are comfortable.
Through seven trim levels, Manufacturer Suggested Retail Prices (MSRP) in Canadian dollars for the 2023 Frontier start with the base $40,998 King Cab S 4x4 trim. Standard gear highlights include an eight-inch touchscreen display and driving aids such as automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, trailer sway control, and rear automatic braking.
Based on a longer, wider version of the Tucson compact SUV, the Santa Cruz is Hyundai's first-ever pickup to be sold in Canada. That also means the Santa Cruz's interior has the same refinement and modern style as other Hyundai models, blending the four-door/five-passenger cabin of a compact SUV with the utility of a short but handy truck bed.
While other countries get front-wheel drive versions, the Canadian market Santa Cruz gets all-wheel drive as standard equipment. Only one powertrain is available: a 281-hp turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine with a dual-clutch automatic transmission. The Hyundai truck can tow up to 5,000 lbs worth of weekend warrior toys.
Prices start at $40,299 for the first of two trim levels, with a standard equipment list that includes a 10.25-inch colour touchscreen with built-in navigation and Hyundai's BlueLink Connected Car Services.
With a new generation of Ford's mid-size pickup truck coming for 2024, the outgoing 2023 Ranger is still available in Canada. As before, every Ranger is propelled by a 270-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine, mated to an automatic transmission with 4WD. The Ford pickup can tow up to 7,500 lbs when fitted with the optional Trailer Tow package.
Even in base trim, the Ranger is well-equipped.
Starting at $38,480, the least expensive Ranger XL has a six-foot bed and the smaller cab SuperCab body style. To Ford's credit, it equips the base XL trim with forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and pedestrian detection. The infotainment system comes with Wi-Fi, and a remote start/lock/unlock feature is included. Otherwise, the XL sticks to the fundamentals, such as manually adjustable side mirrors, vinyl floor covering, cloth upholstery, AM/FM radio, four speakers, Bluetooth, and one USB port.
Fully redesigned for the 2023 model year, Chevrolet's Colorado mid-size pickup can play many roles, from daily commuter to weekend warrior. The ride is more refined than before, its interior has been thoroughly updated, and plenty of modern tech is available.
Chevy only offers a five-passenger Crew Cab and short box configuration. Power comes from three versions of the same turbocharged four-cylinder engine found in its full-size Silverado sibling, mated to an automatic transmission, with your choice of 4x2 or 4x4 traction.
With a starting MSRP below its corporate mid-size cousin, the GMC Canyon, the standard features list on the base $34,303 Colorado 2WD WT (as in Work Truck) trim is a bit sparse. However, you'll still find some excellent, modern features. For example, the standard configurable eight-inch display adds to the richer feel of the new cabin. Higher trims offer an 11-inch display. The Colorado WT gets the base 237 hp version of the turbo-four (compared to the 310 hp in higher trims), with a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 lbs.
Blending a low starting price plus low fuel consumption figures, Ford's Maverick has been a sales success since it arrived in 2022.
Like the Santa Cruz, Ford’s compact four-door/five-passenger truck rides on a unibody (Ford Escape SUV) platform, has actual truck capability, and can go off-road. If your budget allows, AWD is available, but only with the optional 250-hp turbo-four, enabling the maximum towing ability of 4,000 lbs. However, the base, $31,100 Maverick XL Super Crew trim may be the sweet spot in the lineup.
The Maverick XL is a hybrid powered by a four-cylinder gas engine and electric motor that combine for 191 hp. With FWD and a continuously variable automatic, it scores an economy car-like 6.4 L/100 km city and highway combined fuel economy estimate. Towing is limited to 2,000 lbs, but standard gear includes an eight-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and Pre-Collision Assist with automatic emergency braking.
*Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices in Canadian dollars as of June 1, 2023. Prices don't include freight and PDI, taxes and fees, or incentives.