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Consumer Reports recently dropped its annual reliability survey, and since we posted on the full-size truck reliability, we figured we should take a look at the reliable midsize trucks as well.

The biggest thing to note: Toyota got double dinged in this year’s survey. First, Tundra toppled off the top of the full-size list, and now Tacoma gets taken down a couple notches as well.

While Tundra takes a dive based on the 2022 redesign and the unpredictability that inherently raises, we’re a bit confused about Tacoma since it’s 7 years into its lifecycle.

So, we reached out to CR for further explanation, and Steven Elek, the program leader for automotive data analytics, pointed out the 2022 Tacoma receives an average score for predictive reliability, which is based on the past three model years. And, while 2020 and 2021 are showing as quite reliable, it’s 2019, which scored well below average, that’s bringing the whole thing down.

Owners of the 2019 model year reported multiple fuel pump issues, transmission problems and drive system issues. So, even though the last two years have been solid, it’s the third year that’s problematic.

Outside of that, the other big surprise on this list is the Jeep Gladiator, which also gets knocked back a couple rungs, tying with GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado for last place. In fact, it loses about 20 points in CR rankings and gets bumped off the “recommended” list. Ouch.

Previous complaints with Gladiator have included wandering steering, drivetrain issues and some electrical problems.

So, who’s king of the hill for reliable midsize trucks in 2022? Ford Ranger and Honda Ridgeline tie for top honors. So, the rankings, which take into account predictive reliability as well as CR’s rank score based on the past three years of data, are as follows:

  • Ford Ranger
  • Honda Ridgeline
  • Toyota Tacoma
  • Chevrolet Colorado
  • GMC Canyon
  • Jeep Gladiator
  • Nissan Frontier

It should be noted that the Nissan Frontier doesn’t have a lot of survey data behind it because not enough people own it. Therefore, the ranking is solely based on the predictive score, which ties with Colorado, Canyon and Gladiator.

The last time we looked at reliable midsize trucks was 2019, and it appears the top three take turns at the top, while the bottom four take turns at the bottom. So, while some things change a little, nothing seems to be changing a lot.

The bottom line on reliable midsize trucks

We have to admit we were surprised to see the Tacoma take a hit – especially since 2020 and 2021 were good years for the truck’s reliability. But, the 2019 explanation makes sense, so hopefully the actual outcome will be better than expected.

The truck we’ll be curious to follow in the future: Nissan Frontier. With its 2021 redesign, we’re hoping sales pick up so that we can get some real numbers and consumer feedback.

While you need to take all reliability rankings with a grain of salt, we think Consumer Reports – and a check of complaints and recalls on the NHTSA website – is a good way to start your search for a reliable truck. Especially if you’ve never owned one or are switching brands.

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Jill Ciminillo

Jill Ciminillo is a syndicated automotive writer. Jill also manages the “Drive, She Said” blog for ChicagoNow and posts reviews to DriveChicago. She is the president emeritus of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and has the distinction of being the first female president for that organization. She also serves as a judge for the Automotive Heritage Foundation Journalism Awards. Previously, Jill has been the automotive editor for the Sinclair Broadcast Group, the Chicago Sun-Times News Group and Pioneer Press Newspapers.

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