2022 grey Nissan Frontier Pro-4X in the desert

The Best Trucks Under $30K for 2022

Pickup trucks are exceptionally functional for rural environments, work purposes, or simply hauling and towing stuff around. Still, you can also take advantage of their versatility in any city environment.

It’s precisely that versatility that led us to look for the best trucks under $30k for 2022. But, first, the most recent proposals on the market are vehicles that have a lot of everything: space, power, comfort, and style, in addition to all kinds of entertainment features and customizable options.

Still, for many buyers, predicted safety and reliability scores are essential points when purchasing a pickup truck. Second, they also consider towing and hauling capabilities. Ride and handling and interior space, quality, and comfort are also important.

Finally, the inclusion of features like infotainment systems and advanced driver assistance suites could put a truck over the top, especially for lower trim levels. So, here’s our pick of the seven best trucks for 2022, some of which will undoubtedly surprise you.

#1: 2022 Toyota Tacoma

Grey 2022 Toyota Tacoma on a hillVia: Edmunds.

Important Info

  • Base price: $29,000
  • Updates: Minor
  • 0-60 mph: 7.7 seconds
  • Fuel Economy:  City 18 mpg / Hwy 23  mpg
  • Basic Warranty: 3 years / 36,000 miles
  • Our Rating: 8.5

OUR THOUGHTS: PROS & CONS

Summary: The 2022 Toyota Tacoma is a versatile and practical workhorse but with less sophistication than the competition

Pros: Segment-leading durability, rugged and reliable, packed with driving aids

Cons: Clumsy automatic transmission, tiny back seat, competitors offer more refined interior

The 2022 Toyota Tacoma is simply one of the best trucks, perfect for the most challenging jobs. Each model has 16-inch wheels, black fenders, numerous driver aids, an infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a subscription-based Wi-Fi hotspot.

The Tacoma rides and drives with less refinement than most of its rivals. And although it’s the only mid-size truck that still offers a manual transmission, its 270-hp four-cylinder engine offers uncomplicated performance. A 6-speed automatic is also optional but not particularly refined.

And while the 2022 Tacoma isn’t as customizable as the Jeeps and doesn’t drive as well as the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon, it still is rugged and equipped with standard driver-assist technology.

The 2022 Tacoma can tow up to 6,800 pounds with rear-wheel drive; the four-wheel-drive versions can haul 6,500 pounds. Unfortunately, 1,685-pound payload capacity is only available on 4-cylinder engine 2-wheel drive models.

The EPA-rated Tacoma V6’s fuel economy ranks in the middle. Although the manual transmission with the V6 has the worst fuel economy, it’s more fun to drive.

#2: 2022 Nissan Frontier

2022 grey Nissan Frontier Pro-4X in the desertVia: Motorpasion.

Important Info

  • Base price: $29,000
  • Updates: Major
  • 0-60 mph: 7 seconds
  • Fuel Economy:  City 17 mpg / Hwy 23  mpg
  • Basic Warranty: 3 years / 36,000 miles
  • Our Rating: 8.5

OUR THOUGHTS: PROS & CONS

Summary: The 2022 Frontier is a solid mid-size pickup truck that overshadows its predecessor, but it’s not as good as most of its competitors

Pros: Nicer and more up to date interior, quiet cabin, good package of active safety features

Cons: Heavy steering, cramped back seat, no optional diesel engine

Reliability, safety, and power on the road; That is what the new 2022 Nissan Frontier promises. The new Frontier comes loaded with many new features that make this truck thrive on the best roads or the most hostile terrain.

The new exterior design is truly eye-catching. The bodywork leaves rounded shapes behind to get closer than ever to polygon shapes. It’s spiced up at the front with a new D-shaped headlight set, DRL technology on the top and bottom edges, and LED technology for the main lighting.

Mechanically, the new 2022 Nissan Frontier incorporates the well-known naturally aspirated 3.8-liter V6 engine, which delivers a maximum of 310 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque. This engine is mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission and by a four-wheel-drive system for all versions.

The new Frontier also offers improved towing capacity thanks to the reinforced chassis with a Class IV trailer hitch. As a result, its maximum towing capacity is 6,720 pounds and a payload capacity of 1,610 pounds.

#3: 2022 Ford Ranger XLT

2022 blue Ford Ranger cruising on back roadsVia: Ford.

Important Info

  • Base price: $29,335
  • Updates: Minor
  • 0-60 mph: 6.1 seconds
  • Fuel Economy:  City 21 mpg / Hwy 26 mpg
  • Basic Warranty: 5 years / 60,000 miles
  • Our Rating: 8.7

OUR THOUGHTS: PROS & CONS

Summary: If you’re in the market for a mid-size pickup truck with a potent powertrain, nimble handling, and solid capabilities, you’d like the Ranger

Pros: Strong powertrain, good fuel economy, excellent towing and payload capacity

Cons: Harsh ride, infotainment is not included in the base trim, cabin design could use some improvement

The 2022 Ford Ranger promises to be the most capable and versatile Ranger ever created, something Ford emphasizes, given its global focus. According to the blue oval brand, they considered the needs of each market for this new generation of Ranger. Therefore the 2022 model has supposedly improved so much.

The truth is that we shouldn’t expect a radical makeover in the Ranger’s design but rather an update in the image that brings it closer to the aesthetics of the F-150. Instead, we expect more interior changes, all of which aim to improve general quality, better technology, and, above all, an endowment of equipment that brings this truck closer to the comfort of an SUV.

The main mechanical offer for the XLT 2WD SuperCab model, under $30K, is Ford’s 2.3 Ecoboost turbocharged engine that produces 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque.

As for the transmission, everything indicates that the current scheme of ten-speed automatic transmission and torque converter will remain. In addition, the Ranger offers 7,500 pounds of towing capacity and 1,860 pounds of payload capacity.

#4: 2022 GMC Canyon

2022 grey GMC Canyon off-road with sunset backgroundVia: GMC.

Important Info

  • Base price: $26,800
  • Updates: Minor
  • 0-60 mph: 9 seconds
  • Fuel Economy:  City 19 mpg / Hwy 25 mpg
  • Basic Warranty: 3 years / 36,000 miles
  • Our Rating: 8.5

OUR THOUGHTS: PROS & CONS

Summary: The 2022 GMC Canyon isn’t a refined vehicle. Still, it offers reliable, consistent performance that makes a solid everyday mid-size work truck

Pros: Rides and handles better than competitors, useful bed features, intuitive infotainment system

Cons: Underpowered base engine, lacks some tech and safety features, insipid interior

There’s a half-size smaller truck in today’s truck market for people who don’t need the size or capabilities of a full-size pickup truck; it’s the 2022 GMC Canyon. Unfortunately, the Canyon is more of a workhorse than a family hauler, primarily due to the lack of modern safety features.

For the 2022 model, there are no significant changes to the GMC Canyon amidst rumors of a complete redesign for this truck for the 2023 model year. Overall, the GMC Canyon is essentially the same as the Chevrolet Colorado but with styling differences.

The base engine on the GMC Canyon is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with RWD that makes 200 horsepower and 191 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission complements the engine. The maximum payload capacity is 1430 pounds and can tow up to 7000 pounds.

The 2022 Canyon has a touchscreen infotainment setup with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with a 7.0-inch display and a six-speaker audio system.

#5: 2022 Ford Maverick

2022 grey Ford Maverick on city streetVia: Ford.

Important Info

  • Base price: $21,490
  • Updates: Major
  • 0-60 mph: 5.9 seconds
  • Fuel Economy:  City 23 mpg / Hwy 30 mpg
  • Basic Warranty: 3 years / 36,000 miles
  • Our Rating: 8.5

OUR THOUGHTS: PROS & CONS

Summary: The 2022 Ford Maverick is an enticing little truck with decent towing and payload capacities and well-thought convenience features

Pros: Optional turbocharged engine, reasonable starting price, clever bed layout

Cons: Only one cab/bed configuration, the Santa Cruz offers more towing capacity, not all driving aids are standard

The 2022 Ford Maverick offers many attributes that made the trucks from the blue oval so popular. It boasts a robust and aggressive design while sharing traits with the new Bronco Sport, like the “C” shaped headlights and large grille.

The back also maintains robustness with a tall punt top that features the Maverick name stamped into the tailgate, along with distinct character lines.

The 2022 Ford Maverick features a hybrid powertrain as a standard option, using the well-known 2.5-liter 4-cylinder working with an electric motor to generate 191 horsepower and 155 lb-ft of torque paired with a CVT transmission.

However, the 2.0-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine found in the Bronco Sport is also available. This engine makes 250 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque, working with an 8-speed automatic transmission and complemented with all-wheel-drive.

The Maverick can tow up to 4,000 with the optional $745 Tow package, and you can upgrade to the optional turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine for $1,085 and get all-wheel drive for another $3,305. The payload capacity with the base powertrain is 1500 pounds.

#6: 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz

2022 grey Hyundai Santa Cruz off-roadVia: La Jornada.

Important Info

  • Base price: $23,990
  • Updates: Major
  • 0-60 mph: 6.3 seconds
  • Fuel Economy:  City 21 mpg / Hwy 27 mpg
  • Basic Warranty: 5 years / 60,000 miles
  • Our Rating: 8.4

OUR THOUGHTS: PROS & CONS

Summary: The Santa Cruz it’s a multi-purpose truck that offers great flexibility for different types of cargo and innovative technology

Pros: Great towing capacity, unique styling, agile handling

Cons: Unimpressive fuel economy, small bed, cramped rear seat

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz shares most of its design with the Tucson, although with more square and robust lines. It’s perhaps the most original pickup we have seen in a long time for its integration of LED lighting into the grille, stylish silhouette, and T-shaped taillights.

The platform on which the Hyundai Santa Cruz was built is the same as the Tucson, Elantra, and Sonata. However, being a monocoque, the Santa Fe gains comfort; It makes up for the absence of a ladder-type chassis with electronic systems to help you off the asphalt.

The HTRAC AWD all-wheel-drive system features an electronic clutch that divides torque electronically and distributes it between both axles based on traction needs.

The two engines available in the Santa Cruz are a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated engine, making 191 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque, and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The most powerful is a 2.5-liter turbo engine that produces 275 hp and 310 lb-ft paired with a new eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The Santa Cruz can tow up to 5,000 pounds and 1,568 pounds of payload capacity with the FWD.

#7: 2022 RAM 1500 Classic

2022 white Ram 1500 on a wind farmVia: Ram.

Important Info

  • Base price: $29,060
  • Updates: Minor
  • 0-60 mph: 7.6 seconds
  • Fuel Economy:  City 20 mpg / Hwy 25 mpg
  • Basic Warranty: 3 years / 36,000 miles
  • Our Rating: 8.5

OUR THOUGHTS: PROS & CONS

Summary: The 2021 Ram 1500 Classic is a capable, unassuming truck and a solid value option

Pros: Affordable, reliable powertrain, acceptable gas mileage

Cons: Dated exterior and interior design, lacks modern tech features, you can get by with the V6, but it might feel underpowered sometimes

The 2021 RAM 1500 Classic remains an implacable full-size pickup truck. This is why RAM calls it Classic, because even though it is from the past generation of the 1500 series, it’s still so successful that RAM decided to continue offering it.

But perhaps the biggest reason you should buy a 2022 Ram 1500 Classic instead of a new-generation model is cost. The 2022 Ram 1500 Classic starts at less than $30k for the Tradesman trim level (regular Cab, 74-inch bed, V6 engine, and rear-wheel drive).

In terms of comfort, the Tradesman trim focuses more on practicality and durability. Overall, it’s a bearable cabin and relatively quiet for the class. And as far as performance goes, the Ram 1500 Classic Tradesman comes with a 3.6-liter V6 engine with a maximum power output of 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. This engine can cope with most of the demands of a half-ton pickup with a total payload of 1,930 pounds and 10,610 pounds of towing capacity.