If you think the Big Three have a lock on pickup trucks, you might want to consider what’s available in the best Japanese trucks. In fact, Japanese automakers have been adding features, updating styling, and adding more grunt to their offerings for quite some time. Let’s take a look at a few of the best Japanese trucks.
- Toyota Tacoma – While many consider compact pickups to be all about budget and utility, the 2011 Toyota Tacoma proves that you can get all the comfort you need at an affordable price. Decent safety ratings for a compact truck, good fuel economy, lots of powertrain and body configurations, long list of standard features and high quality interior are all plusses. Add to that the fact that Kelley Blue Book named the Toyota Tacoma as the 2010 Best Resale Value in the Mid-Size Pickup category, and Consumer Guide awarded it a Best Buy, and you’ve got a winner. Starting manufacturer’s suggested retail prices (MSRPs) for the 2011 Toyota Tacoma range from $16,365 to $27,525.
- Nissan Frontier –With its powerful optional V6 engine, impressive safety scores, and rugged off-road capabilities, the 2011 Nissan Frontier is another example of the best Japanese trucks. Edmunds chooses the 2011 Nissan Frontier as a top recommended compact pickup truck, saying “it combines blue-collar utility with an adventurous spirit; it hauls dirt and lumber as effortlessly as it hauls friends, dogs, and tailgate parties.” Starting MSRPs range from $17,750 to $31,630.
- Suzuki Equator – Essentially a rebadged Nissan Frontier (Nissan was contracted to build the Equator), the 2011 Suzuki Equator is less expensive than its Nissan cousin and carries a better warranty. Consumer Guide comments: “…the Suzuki Equator is credible Recommended compact pickup contender with a powerful V6 engine, middle-of-the-pack size, and options that appeal to off-road enthusiasts.” Look for MSRPs starting at $17,595 to $28,950.
- Honda Ridgeline – If you want the utilities of a pickup truck but aren’t ready to commit to a full-size hauler, the 2011 Honda Ridgeline may be one of the best Japanese trucks for you. Offering a car-like ride, a lower price than most sport utility trucks (SUTs), Ridgeline also sports an innovative in-bed trunk and dual-action tailgate. Cars.com observes: “The Honda Ridgeline is the perfect vehicle for a soccer dad. It’s smart, active-minded, cultured and extremely safety-conscious.” The 2011 Honda Ridgeline will also set you back a bit more than you might expect, with starting MSRPs ranging from $28,450 to $36,780.
- Toyota Tundra – Although it’s a full-on full-size pickup truck, the 2011 Toyota Tundra isn’t alone in the field, with competitors offering fresher designs and innovative features. Still, Tundra is a solid truck at good value, with starting MSRPs ranging from $23,455 to $42,455. Of the V8-powered 2008 model, Automobile says, “The big V8 purrs silently in cruise mode. When asked to move a hefty load, the samurai warrior buried in its soul lets out a fierce yowl.”