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By Aaron Bragman

For years, the Nissan Frontier was the price-leading champ if you were looking for a basic, simple, utilitarian pickup truck. It wasn’t big and it wasn’t fancy, but it was dead-nuts reliable and came with a bed, a relatively efficient four-cylinder engine and a manual transmission. It clocked in at a tick under $20,000, or $20,385 when you factored in the required destination and delivery fee.

But for 2020, Nissan stuffed the new 3.8-liter V-6 and nine-speed automatic transmission from the next-generation 2021 Frontier into the slightly updated 2020 model. It added in new standard equipment like power windows and locks, a tilting steering column and leather-wrapped steering wheel, then jacked up the prices to cover it. The cheapest 2020 Frontier you can buy is now a whopping $7,500 more expensive than the cheapest 2019 model, taking it well out of contention for being the cheapest pickup you can buy in America.

Meet your new price-leading champion, the cheapest pickup you can buy in America: the 2020 Chevrolet Colorado extended-cab long box. And the price for the new cheapest pickup in America? That’d be $22,495 including destination, or $2,110 more than the outgoing 2019 Frontier’s rock-bottom price. But consider that you also get a standard automatic transmission (the Frontier had a stick), 48 more horsepower than the Frontier had, better fuel economy (20/26/22 mpg city/highway/combined for the Colorado, 19/23/21 mpg for the old Nissan), a tilt-and-telescope steering column, power windows and locks, and a few other goodies. 

The Colorado’s base trim level has rear-wheel drive and a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine making a not-quite-heart-pounding 200 hp and 191 pounds-feet of torque. It’s mated to a standard six-speed automatic and can seat only two people. It has a payload capacity of 1,455 pounds and a maximum tow rating of 3,500 pounds — sufficient for a pair of personal watercraft or a lightweight flatbed trailer with some landscaping equipment, but not so great if you want to tow a camper or a car trailer.

If you’re curious as to how other trucks rank, here’s the list of the least expensive trucks in the U.S. right now (prices include destination):

  1. Chevrolet Colorado: $22,495
  2. GMC Canyon: $23,395
  3. Toyota Tacoma: $25,365
  4. Ford Ranger: $25,605
  5. Nissan Frontier: $27,885
  6. Ram 1500 Classic: $29,895
  7. Chevrolet Silverado 1500: $30,095
  8. Ford F-150: $30,440
  9. GMC Sierra 1500: $31,195
  10. Ram 1500: $33,840
  11. Toyota Tundra: $34,895
  12. Jeep Gladiator: $35,040
  13. Nissan Titan: $37,785