I always wanted an El Camino as a kid, and there has always been a soft spot in my heart for compact pickup trucks. Unfortunately, nobody in the US really makes small trucks anymore like the Datsuns of old. But let's see what is available.
First of all, let's stick to trucks under $30,000, because I'm not made of money. That gives us 10 models to choose from. Second, I can't imagine buying a small pickup truck that isn't a Manual transmission, it just isn't right. So that leaves us with 4 models to look at, each with a huge selection of trims. I'll select the base model for each because that will probably be the smallest. So that leaves us with the Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, Chevrolet Colorado, and the Ford Ranger (which doesn't seem to be made in the US after 2011).
Remember, I'm going to be using this truck for work, so it's going to need decent dimensions on bed size, as well as a good amount of torque and tow capacity. However, like I said, I want this to be in a small package, so I'm going to select for small exterior dimensions.
|Link to Comparison Page|
Trailing behind the Chevy and Toyota is the now-defunct Ford Ranger and the Nissan Frontier. The Nissan is the largest of the bunch by far, and that pretty much disqualifies it from this discussion, which is strictly looking for compact trucks. The Ford Ranger is an interesting option if you're willing to buy used, and it is one of the smallest of the bunch (it's the lightest), so it may be worth considering.
Victory: 2012 Chevrolet Colorado Work Truck 2WD
My personal choice here would probably be the Toyota, due to it's better fuel economy and tow rating, though I would definitely want to check out both for a test drive.