Small pickups are growing in size and geared toward businesses that need off-highway capabilities. Two that are classified as compacts but are almost midsize and seat five or six are the Nissan Frontier and GMC Canyon. For a bit more room, check out the midsize Isuzu i-370.
In two body styles--king cab with flip-up seats and crew cab--the Frontier's four trims include the NISMO off-road suspension package. New this year is an optional 7-foot crew cab cargo bed. The Frontier's wheelbase is 9.8 inches longer than the previous generation, improving riding comfort and stability. While the base engine is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder with 152-horsepower, the 4-liter 261-horsepower V-6 engine with 105,000-mile spark plugs is a step up. Prices start at $16,050.
Standard on GMC's Canyon is OnStar, along with a rear split bench, heavy-duty suspension, a larger 2.9-liter 185-horsepower 4-cylinder engine, tire pressure moni-tor and a two-wheel drive/four-wheel drive system. A new transmission speed sensor helps improve shifting. With two bed lengths, three body styles, an optional 3.7-liter 5-cylinder engine and a high-stance suspension, the Canyon is ready for off-road areas. A handy option is two-tier loading, provided by a double plywood shelf. Prices start at $14,495.
Isuzu, which only builds trucks, has come a long way since it introduced its P'Up pickup in the 1980s. A new model, the i-370 pickup, exemplifies the rugged, award-winning lineup with two styles: extended cab and crew cab. Both are powered by a 3.7-liter 5-cylinder engine and four-speed automatic transmission. Standard features include power windows/doors/rearview mirrors and remote keyless entry. Prices start at $22,017.
Jill Amadio is an award-winning automotive journalist and author.