Turn any friendly neighborhood barbecue into a backyard wrestling match with this simple trick: declare your pickup king. Well, guess what, brother? Being the best isn’t about who has the biggest Calvin and Hobbes sticker on the rear window. Full-size pickup trucks are America’s bestselling vehicles, and the fight among them is closer than ever.
Trucks today are capable of accelerating more quickly than sports cars such as the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 and some can even tow up to six tons using conventional towing. That’s a lot of folding chairs and steel cages. Each of these trucks can handle classic pickup needs with ease, and if you haven’t already sorted yourself into the Toyota, Nissan, Ram, Chevy, or Ford camps, we’ve ranked the segment's players from worst to best to help you in your search.
6. Nissan Titan
- Base price: $43,285
- C/D rating: 6.5/10
For better or worse, the Nissan Titan embraces simplicity. Whereas other full-size pickups offer multiple powertrain options, the Titan comes with just one: a 400-hp V-8. With a maximum tow rating that falls short of 10,000 pounds in standard guise, and fails to eclipse 11,000 pounds in its not-quite-heavy-duty XD form, the Titan offers sufficient but far from class-leading towing capabilities. This pretty much sums up the Titan as a whole. It's a sufficient-enough full-size truck for most consumers, even if this Nissan simply fails to make a compelling case for itself against the competition.
5. Toyota Tundra
- Base price: $39,660
- C/D rating: 8/10
Despite a recent redesign, the 2023 Toyota Tundra still falls far short of its American rivals, which offer a wider range of configurations, generally wear lower sticker prices, and weigh less. The Tundra is not a total dud, though. Unlike its competitors, all of which are available with V-8 power, the Tundra relies strictly on V-6 power. The standard twin-turbo unit produces 348 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque, though it's also available in a more powerful guise with 389 horses and 479 lb-ft of twist.
Need a little more grunt? Then step up to the optional hybrid powertrain. The gasoline-electric option pumps out a plump 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft of torque. Although the Tundra's more fuel efficient than its size suggests, it's still no Prius, with the most miserly model netting an EPA combined rating of 22 mpg.
4. Chevrolet Silverado 1500
- Base price: $36,645
- C/D rating: 8.5/10
With the exception of an updated diesel-powered six-cylinder engine option, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 carries over largely unchanged for 2023. As before, the Silverado 1500s likeability hinges on the trim you opt for. Whereas higher-end models include a dashboard with higher-end finishes and a modern design, lower-level variants continue on with the low-budget dash that Chevy originally fit in all Silverado 1500s prior to 2022. Although we appreciate the full-size Chevy truck's array of powertrain options and ability to tow and haul heavy loads, we wish the Silverado 1500's ride quality was more refined.
3. GMC Sierra 1500
- Base price: $37,445
- C/D rating: 8.5/10
If you can swing the GMC Sierra 1500’s price premium over its mechanically identical, Chevrolet-badged sibling (the Silverado 1500), do so. Like the Silverado 1500, the Sierra 1500 offers multiple powertrain options. Meanwhile, the off-road-oriented Sierra AT4 features a suspension lift and other equipment for taking on the unbeaten path. Like the Chevy, the GMC's stiff ride quality falls short of segment leaders. Lower-level models also retain the low-grade dashboard that GMC fit in all Sierra 1500s prior to 2022.
2. Ford F-150
- Base price: $35,860
- C/D rating: 9/10
There's a reason the Ford F-series continues to wear the crown of best-selling vehicle in America: it's good. Real good. No, it's not the best full-size pickup available, but its wide array of trims and powertrains means there's an F-series sure to meet the needs of a given consumer. Although Ford also sells the F-series in heavy-duty guise, the automaker's most recognized F-series variant is the half-ton F-150. With multiple V-6 engine options (including a hybrid), an available V-8, an available battery-electric powertrain, and multiple off-road-oriented trims (Tremor, Raptor, and Raptor R), the F-150 is capable of catering to the fleet buyer, everyday pickup driver, weekend off-road racer, and more.
1. Ram 1500
- Base price: $39,305
- C/D rating: 10/10
Ram sells two different versions of its full-size truck: the 1500 Classic and the 1500. The former is little more than the previous-gen truck, and unless your local dealer is offering you a crazy-good deal on one, we recommend ignoring it entirely. It's not so much that the 1500 Classic is particularly bad, it's simply that the newer underpinnings and cabin of the 1500 are so much better. Credit its well-built insides that in higher-end trims rivals that of luxury vehicles, its well-sorted chassis dynamics that are due in part to its rear suspension's coil springs, and its variety of trims, including the wicked 702-hp TRX. After all, there's a reason the Ram 1500 is the sole full-size truck on our 10Best Trucks and SUVs list.
Yes, he's still working on the 1986 Nissan 300ZX Turbo project car he started in high school, and no, it’s not for sale yet. Austin Irwin was born and raised in Michigan, and, despite getting shelled by hockey pucks during a not-so-successful goaltending career through high school and college, still has all of his teeth. He loves cars from the 1980s and Bleu, his Great Pyrenees, and is an active member of the Buffalo Wild Wings community. When Austin isn’t working on his own cars, he’s likely on the side of the highway helping someone else fix theirs.
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