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Whether going on a road trip or driving the kids to practice, the modern pickup truck does much more than load around tools and gravel. Originally intended as a worksite vehicle, many modern pickups play the dual role of commercial vehicle and family shuttle.
Because pickups are still more ideal for specific uses, here’s a crash course on a number of the most popular and versatile makes and models on the market today.
Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra
The Silverado and Sierra are very closely related, and each have unique looks and minor pricing changes. When properly equipped with the 6.2-liter V8 and other trailering equipment, these trucks can tow up to 12,500 pounds — the highest towing capacity among light-duty pickups.
Getting into the back is easy with the corner bed step, and the cabin is available with extremely easy-to-use infotainment, and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. The GMC Sierra used to have the upper hand with the luxurious Denali trim, but Chevy now offers the Silverado High Country, with nearly all of the same content.
The F-150 boasts a lineup of potent EcoBoost V6s that offer the power of a V8.
Combined with the aluminum body panels that keep weight down, the F-150 is pretty agile and efficient. You can still get a V8 engine, of course. The F-150’s manageable size makes for better visibility and it boasts impressive safety ratings. You can also get the wild F-150 Raptor, a veritable supercar for desert trails.
There is great uncertainty surrounding the repair costs for the aluminum panels. Compared to the competition, the F-150 has a rather cold and uninviting interior.
As good as Ford’s SYNC3 infotainment system is, the competition in this set has easier-to-use touch screen systems.
Despite its massive design proportions, the full-size Nissan Titan has surprisingly maneuverability in tight spaces. It also has precise steering feel, which can be a rarity in this segment.
The Titan benefits from an exceptionally quiet cabin, which features an impressive 16 cupholders. For those looking to take road trips, Nissan’s Zero Gravity seats are incredibly comfortable over long drives.
Despite its precise steering, the Titan exhibits body roll in hard cornering. It’s also relatively expensive, and does not offer some of the safety features that are available on Ford and GM trucks.
Ram knows the Silverado and F-150 rule the worksite, so the 1500 is positioned as the ultimate weekend warrior pickup. It features hot-rod styling and a smooth ride, only made better by the available air suspension.
The Ram 1500 comes standard with strong base V6, and offers a Hemi V8. It is also available with a diesel V6 with the torque of a V8 and up to 29 milers per gallon on the highway.
The Ram also has a terrific touch screen layout and unique storage options, like the Ram Box, which is drainable and lockable. Unfortunately, the Ram has a lower towing capacity compared with the competition.
The Toyota Tundra is the oldest option in this segment, but it boasts strong reliability numbers and extremely spacious rear seats. The available TRD Pro trim is a capable off-roader with the looks to match.
Unfortunately, it shows its age with dated interior styling, poor fuel economy, and underwhelming base V8 engine. It also lacks the latest safety features.
The Ridgeline is unique in this set. Essentially a truck-ified Honda Pilot, it features smooth, car-like ride and a cabin quality and comfort you wont find anywhere else in this segment. Unique cargo management features include a compartment in the bed floor and a tailgate that swings out sideways as well as conventionally.
The Ridgeline lacks 4×4 or low range, and has pretty weak towing numbers. But the real slight against the Ridgeline is its brutally confusing touchscreen infotainment system. However, the Ridgeline might be the ideal choice for someone who is really using their truck as a commuter vehicle.