The 2015 Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon are injecting much-needed excitement into the mid-sized truck segment. Here's how they measure up, down, and sideways against the 2014 Toyota Tacoma, 2014 Nissan Frontier, and your forbidden love: 2014 Ford Ranger.

Why is the new Ranger, still unavailable in America, on this list while other non-US pickups are ignored? Simple: we all love the Ranger and wish we could have it. In fact, I might even wager more of you pine for it than any other non-US vehicle. At any rate, we're all keen to see how it compares to the small trucks we do get.

What Specs Are We Talking, Here?

If there's a spec we skipped that you want to discuss, bring it up in the comments and we'll take the analysis further!

Comparison Notes

  • There's a daunting range of configurations available for all these trucks; so we're going to compare two versions of each: the smallest, cheapest, lightest 2WD version and the largest, loaded, 4WD version.
  • All measurements of "smallest" and "largest" are therefore hinged on being the most-striped or most-loaded model. That means a model's "maximum" isn't always represented, but this method provides a more direct comparison.
    For example; the "largest" Nissan Frontier is the luxury SV, so that's the vehicle our "largest" stats are based on. It's approach angle is lower than the PRO-4X, but is a more accurate overall-package comparison.
  • The only spec we ignored that stipulation on is the "smallest bed." Since the "smallest" version of every truck has the long bed, we're looking at bed sizes independent of the trucks trim. The "smallest" bed is simply the smallest possible bed available on a given model range.
  • All specifications sourced from GM, Nissan, Toyota, and Ford Australia. The Aussie version of the 2015 Ranger will be our benchmark there.
  • The 2015 Chevy Colorado and 2015 GMC Canyon are mechanically identical, therefore and are interchangeable on these specifications.

Which Trims Are We Comparing?

Measured Configuration Smallest Largest
Chevy Colorado Base Extended Cab 4x2 Manual (2.5 I4) Z71 Crew Cab 4x4 Long Bed Automatic (3.6 V6)
Nissan Frontier S King Cab 4x2 Manual (2.5 I4) SL Crew Cab 4x4 Long Bed Automatic (4.0 V6)
Toyota Tacoma Access Cab 4x2 Manual (2.7 I4) Double Cab 4x4 Long Bed Automatic (4.0 V6)
Ford Ranger 4x2 XL Single Pick-Up (2.2 I4 Diesel) 4x4 Wildtrak Double Pick-Up (3.2 I5 Diesel)

No mid-sized US-market truck will be available with a regular cab for 2015, including the Tacoma "Extended cabs" — which have two little seats behind the front and are as small as it gets.

Overall Length

Overall Length Smallest Configuration Largest Configuration
Chevy Colorado 212.7" 224.9"
Nissan Frontier 205.5" 219.4"
Toyota Tacoma 208.1" 221.3"
Ford Ranger 201.2" 210.7"

Overall Width

Overall Width Smallest Configuration (inches) Largest Configuration (inches)
Chevy Colorado 74.3" 74.3"
Nissan Frontier 72.8" 72.8"
Toyota Tacoma 72.2" 74.6"
Ford Ranger 72.8" 72.8"

Curb Weight

Curb Weight Smallest Configuration (lbs) Largest Configuration (lbs)
Chevy Colorado 3,960 4,450
Nissan Frontier 3,708 4,711
Toyota Tacoma 3,615 4,285
Ford Ranger 3,944 4,850

Turning Circle

Turning Circle Smallest Configuration (feet) Largest Configuration
Chevy Colorado 41.3' 44.6'
Nissan Frontier 43.42' 47.5'
Toyota Tacoma 42' 44'
Ford Ranger 39' 41.7'

Horsepower

Horsepower Smallest Configuration (Peak) Largest Configuration (Peak)
Chevy Colorado 200 @ 6,300 RPM 305 @ 6,800 RPM
Nissan Frontier 152 @ 5,200 RPM 261 @ 5,600 RPM
Toyota Tacoma 159 @ 5,200 RPM 236 @ 5,200 RPM
Ford Ranger 148 @ 3,700 RPM 197 @ 3,000 RPM

Torque

Torque Smallest Configuration (Peak) Largest Configuration (Peak)
Chevy Colorado 191 @ 4,400 RPM 269 @ 4,000 RPM
Nissan Frontier 171 @ 4,400 RPM 281 @ 4,000 RPM
Toyota Tacoma 180 @ 3,800 RPM 266 @ 4,000 RPM
Ford Ranger 278 @ 1500-2500 RPM 347 @ 1500-2750 RPM

Fuel Economy

Average Fuel Economy Smallest Configuration (Average MPG) Largest Configuration (Average MPG)
Chevy Colorado 22.5 20.5
Nissan Frontier 21 18
Toyota Tacoma 23 18.5
Ford Ranger 31 (Diesel) 25 (Diesel)

This number comes from an average of EPA claimed highway and city mileage. The Ranger's is derived from translating "liters per 100 kilometers" to "miles per gallon" through some mathmagical science I found on some website. Looks close enough to me.

Towing

Towing CapacitySmallest Configuration (lbs)Largest Configuration with Tow Package (lbs)
Chevy Colorado3,5007,000
Nissan Frontier3,5006,100
Toyota Tacoma3,5006,400
Ford Ranger5,5167,716

The "largest" configuration here assumes the truck is fitted with an optional tow package, which is applicable to all four trucks.

Payload

PayloadSmallest Configuration (lbs)Largest Configuration (lbs)
Chevy Colorado1,4101,520
Nissan Frontier9531,104
Toyota Tacoma1,2851,215
Ford Ranger2,5042,204

Cargo Bed Volume

Cargo Bed VolumeSmallest Configuration* (cubic feet)Largest Configuration (cubic feet)
Chevy Colorado41.349.9
Nissan Frontier27.133.5
Toyota Tacoma35.643.4
Ford Ranger??~42

This is the only category where we deviate from a straight cheapest-to-cheapest and biggest-to-biggest comparison. That's because the cheapest/smallest truck usually has the "long bed" option, as does the largest. See the problem? So we're looking at the smallest bed option here, not the bed option on the cheapest version of the truck.

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As for the Ford Ranger's bed volume... I'm working on it. Ford Australia has yet to get back to me but I'll fill this slot in as soon as I get in touch with them. The estimate of the long bed is based on the approximate length x height x width (which is off because a bed isn't a perfect rectangle.) Meanwhile, anyone have any idea?

Ground Clearance

Ground ClearanceSmallest Configuration (Inches)Largest Configuration (Inches)
Chevy Colorado8.4"8.1"
Nissan Frontier7.6"8.9"
Toyota Tacoma7.9"9.1"
Ford Ranger7.9"9.3"

Approach Angle

Approache AngleSmallest Configuration (Degrees)Largest Configuration (Degrees)
Chevy Colorado17.717.1
Nissan Frontier27.831.5
Toyota Tacoma2735
Ford Ranger2229

Departure Angle

Departure AngleSmallest Configuration (Degrees)Largest Configuration (Degrees)
Chevy Colorado22.622.2
Nissan Frontier2122.6
Toyota Tacoma2025
Ford Ranger2420

Breakover Angle

Breakover AngleSmallest Configuration (Degrees)Largest Configuration (Degrees)
Chevy Colorado2218.6
Nissan Frontier1820.6
Toyota Tacoma2020
Ford Ranger1725

Any comparison tables we're missing? Let us know or make your own and put it in the comments! (Cut-and-paste straight from a GoogleDrive spreadsheet works).

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So... find any of these stats impressive, or have I just cursed you with more want than ever for a new a Ford Ranger?

Images: Andrew P. Collins, Ford Ranger graphic: Dr Dan Saranga/The-Blueprints