These Trucks drive like Cars in 2023: Maverick vs Ridgeline vs Santa Cruz

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Pickups are incredibly useful, because they have a bed, lots of room for passenger, they can tow, and so much more. However there is a large percentage of people that just don’t want to buy a pickup because they are not as smooth, or drive as nicely as a car. Although, did you know there are some pickups that actually do drive like a car?

So what trucks actually drive like a car? This comes down to trucks that are built with a unibody design. This allows them to ride smooth and benefit from the car based platform, yet have the usability of a pickup by having a bed in the back! There are definitely downsides to having this type of platform though, and we’ll talk more about that.

This new car based platform is quickly picking up steam! While it used to just be the Ridgeline, we now are seeing many new entrants to this category with the Ford Maverick, and the Santa Cruz from Hyundai.

1. 2022 Honda Ridgeline

The Honda Ridgeline is a car based pickup truck that first came out in 2006. It has had a lot of success, and is one of the most car like trucks on the market today! With its unibody design, and Honda reliability it was far ahead of its time and is still a car like truck that you should consider.

The newest generation of the Ridgeline features much more truck like styling, yet maintains cool features like a rear trunk that is within the bed.


  • External Dimensions: 70.9″ High x 78.6″ Wide x 210.2″ Long
  • Towing Capacity: 5000 pounds
  • Payload Capacity: 1583 pounds
  • Curb Weight: 4436 pounds

2. 2022 Hyunda Santa Cruz

The Hyundai Santa Cruz was just recently unveiled and is cool car pickup that is on a car based platform like the Ridgeline.

Of the three pickups we are talking about on this list, the Santa Crus is most definitely the most derivative of a crossover (the Tucson). It maintains much of the same styling as the Tuscon, but instead of the cargo area in the back, there is a bed!

It’s styling is great, and should be an awesome vehicle for people looking to not move away from a crossover, but still want a bed.


  • External Dimensions: Unknown
  • Towing Capacity: 3500 pounds
  • Payload Capacity: 1748 pounds
  • Curb Weight: Unknown

3. 2022 Ford Maverick

[Image courtesy of Ford]

This is the most recent additions to this new generation of car-based pickups! The Maverick is a car-based truck that is designed to be smaller, more efficient and cheaper than the competition.

It’s styling is considerably more reminiscent of the larger F-Series pickups, and has the most truck like feel to it of the three on this list!

That said, it is actually based on the new Bronco Sport platform, which you can see a little bit of when you take a look at the front end.

Inside of this compact pickup, you will find a much more utilitarian design, making this little truck a great option for people looking to use it as a work truck!


  • External Dimensions: 68.7″ High x 72.6″ Wide x 199.7″ Long
  • Towing Capacity: 2000 pounds
  • Payload Capacity: 1500 pounds
  • Curb Weight: 3674 pounds

Which truck that drives like a car is best?

Of the three trucks that we talked about in this article, you really can’t go wrong with the Ford Maverick! Ford really hit it out of the park with this pickup. It is something that appeals to such a wide market, as it drives like a car, but also genuinely looks like a pickup.

It is spacious on the interior, yet compact enough to be able to drive around a city no problem! It can also tow and has a significant payload capacity, making it an extremely well rounded vehicle.

It should also be mentioned, that its funky interior is one of my favorite things! Hands down, all of these things make the Ford Maverick my #1 choice for a pickup that drives like a car.

Upsides of Car Based Pickups

  • Smoother ride on the road
  • Better gas mileage
  • More compact design
  • Lower price tags (for the most part)

Downsides of Car Based Pickups

  • Less off-road prowess
  • Lower payload and towing capacity
  • More difficult to repair in an accident
  • Less room for items in the bed
  • Smaller interior room

Other trucks that are comfortable to drive

None of these trucks quite work for you, because they just don’t have the capability that you need? These pickups might also be great options for you, as they are comfortable, and easy to drive, just not quite as “car-like” as the ones we talked about above.

  • 2022 GMC Sierra 1500: This truck is $30,100 for a single cab and $34,000 for a double cab spacious cabin and gets thirty miles per gallon on the highway.
  • 2022 Nisson Frontier: It starts at $27,190, and this truck gets twenty-four miles per gallon on the highway with the 3.8LV6 it produces three hundred and ten hp. The smooth and powerful V6 this truck has boost class horsepower, and its fuel economy is impressive.
  • 2022 Ford F150: Starting at $28,940 and gets twenty-six miles per gallon on the highway. This truck is excellent for everyday driving. The interior now offers the interior work surface, a fold-out flat surface covering the counter console, and helps work.
  • 2022 Dodge Ram 1500: The starting price is $32,795. The Ram 1500 gets thirty-three miles per gallon best motor trend. Depending on your needs, you can get one of these trucks with a range of 260 hp to 702 hp. This truck is the most luxurious in its class, with options like a digital rearview mirror is an LCD monitor that, when switched on, gives you a real-time video stream from the rear-facing of the truck.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a crossover?

Crossovers are car-based SUVs that combine car and SUV features. These are growing in popularity because they have more room, and have a higher seating position than what we are used to in Sedans. Many pickups are now coming out that are based on this platform as well.

Are unibody pickups cheaper than body on frame?

Just due to the amount of material needed, unibody pickups tend to be cheaper than their larger body on frame pickup counterparts. That said, these small pickups can become more expensive if you add options onto them.

Why are unibody pickups becoming more popular?

Unibody car-like pickups are becoming more popular, as city dwellers tend to need a pickup bed, but don’t want the larger pickup size from the past! They also are becoming more popular for people that need a pickup, but need the better gas mileage.


If you are looking for a pickup that drives like a car, the Maverick, Santa Cruz and the Ridgeline all area great options! If you are willing to forego the benefits of a full-size truck, then one of these might just be the perfect little truck for you.