In case you haven’t noticed, compact trucks are back and better than ever. These choices from Ford, Hyundai and Chevrolet get the most trucks under $30,000. In the history of trucks, the prospectuses below offer value-for-money vehicles that will inspire other automakers. Compact, affordable, and cooler than ever: Maverick, Santa Cruz, and Chevrolet tick all the boxes.
The Ford Maverick XL gives you the best truck for your money under $30,000
For an affordable compact truck, Forbes says the 2022 Ford Maverick XL is a good deal. Although the XL is the base trim, it comes with an EPA combined fuel economy rating of 37 mpg (33 mpg highway and 42 mpg city). The 2.5L four-cylinder-based hybrid powertrain is excellent, though some may want to upgrade to the 2.0L turbo gasoline engine.
Forward collision warning with automatic braking comes standard on the 2022 Ford Maverick XL, but not much else. Blind-spot monitoring and lane-keeping assist cost an additional $650. Ford’s Maverick has room for five, a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot and power locks/windows.
2022 Ford Maverick XL MSRP: $21,490 (including $1,495 destination fee)
Hyundai’s Santa Cruz SE gets a lot of truck for its money
With the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz SE marking the brand’s first foray into pickup trucks, it had to get everything right. Including the destination fee, the SE comes out to $25,175. Cruise control, power door locks, and an eight-inch touchscreen come on all trim levels. The Santa Cruz also has a six-speaker audio system and USB ports.
Hyundai’s compact pickup has Forward Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection and Lane Keeping Assist for safety features. You’ll have to add a few packages to get more driver-assist features, but overall, the Santa Cruz is a good deal. The 2.5L four-cylinder paired with front-wheel drive gets 23 mpg combined (21 mpg city, 26 mpg highway).
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz SE MSRP: $25,175 (including $1,245 destination fee)
Don’t overlook the cheap 2021 Chevrolet Colorado WT
For the 2021 Chevrolet Colorado WT (Work Truck), a 2.5L four-cylinder engine makes 200 combined horsepower with rear-wheel drive. This won’t be the safest truck on the list, thanks to its basic safety offerings. Neither Forward Collision Alert nor Lane Departure are included or even available.
By adding the $530 Work Truck Convenience Package, you get remote keyless entry, cruise control, and a remote locking tailgate. It can also tow 3500 pounds pretty easily. The Colorado gets 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. For less than $27,000, Chevy’s Colorado gets the best truck for your money.
2021 Chevrolet Colorado WT MSRP: $26,630 (including a $1,995 destination charge)
Depending on how you plan to use your new truck, these options should get you started. If you need more security features, you can add a package or two to increase the security posture. If not, celebrate that you got the most trucks for your money under $30,000 and spend the rest on an oil change in six months.