The Frontier is, in our editors' opinions, one of the most handsomely styled of the compact trucks. With a platform and rugged frame shared with the larger Titan, it's also one of the most capable of the compacts; safety is strong, too. But like most compact trucks, the ride quality is a bit busy; and while this truck is offered with a base four-cylinder engine, it's almost a little too portly to feel usable with the four-banger. You might also take a look at the closely related Suzuki Equator.
2010 Nissan FrontierEnlarge Photo
Virtually identical with respect to powertrains, equipment, and even appearance, the Chevrolet Canyon and GMC Colorado were a step up many years ago when they replaced the aging Chevy S-10 and GMC Sonoma, but they've always lived in the shadows of their successful full-size stablemates, the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. With a rather cheap, plasticky interior and a thoroughly trucklike driving feel, these compacts fail to wow. Even the introduction of a V-8 to the Canyon and Colorado lineups hasn't seemed to slow their sales slide.
2010 Chevrolet ColoradoEnlarge Photo