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2019 Most Reliable Midsize Pickups – Consumer Reports, JD Power


Looking for a new midsize pickup? Curious on which one will be the most reliable? Here is what you need to know when shopping for a 2019 midsize pickup truck.

This year, the variety of new midsize pickups hasn’t been better than in a decade. There are newer versions of the Toyota Tacoma, new Chevy Colorado off-road variants, a luxury GMC Canyon Denali and new comers in the form of a Ford Ranger and a Jeep Gladiator. Finally, there is the best bargain on the pickup market in the form of the Nissan Frontier.

Reliability has also never been better in the automotive market with all manufactures making strides to produce a better quality product. This is great for consumers, yet which pickups are truly delivering on those promises? Let’s take a look.

Consumer Reports

One of the largest names in the automotive industry, the nonprofit Consumer Reports annually buys, evaluates and surveys its members to determine which pickup is the best. They pride themselves on being an unbiased source of information on the automotive market.

While, I can’t show you the overall rankings (you can join Consumer Reports for a ridiculously low $8 a month), I can tell you in what order they rank the pickups based on reliability.

You can see the chart for yourself by visiting ConsumerReports.org.

Consumer Reports

Looking at the results and sorting them by reliability, Consumer Reports thinks highly of the Honda Ridgeline. This is followed by the Toyota Tacoma, Ford Ranger and Nissan Frontier. Rounding out the bunch is the Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon and Jeep Gladiator.

While the Jeep Gladiator and Ford Ranger are really new, at the time of this post, Consumer Reports does have rankings for each one. We think more time is needed to get a true reliability ranking.

J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study

Another way to compare vehicle dependability is through J.D. Power’s annual Vehicle Dependability Study. This study surveys 80,000 owners to determine which vehicles are the most dependable. It isn’t without criticism, but it is worthwhile to look at.

We like looking at two different charts from J.D. Power – the individual vehicle dependability and then the brand dependability.

The brand dependability measure gives you a good overall view.

Then, the vehicle dependability study gives you a view on the best vehicle in each class.

Finally, you can drill down even more and see each midsize pickup by class.

jd power


The final resource we use is CarComplaints.com. This site provides a good listing on all the complaints owners have found as well as TSBs (technical service bulletins) and recalls by each pickup. It is interesting information to look at.

Here is a sample:

What’s the Most Dependable Pickup?

Unlike our fullsize comparison, the midsize pickup comparison is really all over the place. Consumer Reports thinks highly of the Ridgeline, Frontier and Tacoma while J.D. Power loves the Frontier and the GM twins (Colorado and Canyon).

We also found significant transmission issues with the early Colorado and Canyon models which make us a little weary via CarComplaints.com. It sounds like those are software issues that have since been fixed OR the new models just don’t have the miles on them yet for those problems to crop up.

The safe bet is to go with the pickups known for their reliability like the Tacoma or Ridgeline. A Nissan Frontier is a pretty safe bet for reliability since it hasn’t changed in years. The GM twins could be OK since their fullsize brethren do pretty well for reliability much like the same assumption can be made with the Ford Ranger.

For Jeep Gladiator fans, it is hard to see reliability being a strength with the Jeep Wrangler issues as well, but damn is that one cool pickup.

What do you think? Does one stand out to you as being the clear winner? 


Tim Esterdahl

Automotive Journalist Tim Esterdahl has been a lover of trucks and SUVs for years. He has covered the industry since 2011 and has pieces in many national magazines and newspapers. In his spare time, he is often found tinkering on his '62 C10 pickup, playing golf, going hunting and hanging out with his wife and kids in Nebraska.

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1 Comment

  1. Ben Smitty May 2, 2019

    The 3rd gen Tacoma has been disastrous in terms of quality and reliability. The Tacoma *should* be at the top of every one of these lists yet they are not. The Tacoma World forums are filled with guys that have had to lemon law their 3rd gen or have been left stranded due to issues with the powertrain. I find it a bit odd that you see the Tacoma as being closer to the top of the list. Especially when nearly half of 3rd gen owners have diffs that howl so loudly that the stereo struggled to drown it out, even after the so-called “TSB fix” for it. Sorry but it really requires more than just a few software updates to fix the 3rd gen’s issues. Toyota has clearly decided that profits and production volume trump quality control and quality engineering. The transmissions shift terribly, the engines run poorly, and the issues Toyota knew about with the 2nd gen were ignored when they designed the 3rd gen. It’s a very mediocre truck. It took me a couple years to come to terms with that, just as it took me a couple of years to realize that Toyota quality really isn’t what it was 20+ years ago. They’re just another manufacturer putting profits ahead of quality.


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