Nearly every automaker offers a pickup truck of some sort, with some sticking to full-size models and others offering both a full-size and a mid-size truck. With so many contenders, it can be challenging to sort through the options and determine which is the best of the bunch. In reality, each pickup takes the lead in a certain area, whether that is performance, style, or efficiency. In this highly competitive segment, here are the five best pickups that stand out from the crowd.
2017 Chevrolet Colorado Diesel
If you want the best possible pickup truck without sacrificing fuel economy, then the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado with a diesel engine is the way to go. When done correctly like in the Colorado, a diesel powertrain delivers an incredible amount of torque that is perfect for towing while minimizing fuel consumption and emissions. The Chevy Colorado Diesel (and the GMC Canyon Diesel, which is essentially identical) gets 25 mpg combined with rear-wheel drive or 23 mpg combined with 4-wheel drive. This 2.8-liter Duramax diesel also has 369 pound-feet of torque, a figure you can only get with a bigger engine that guzzles gas.
The Colorado’s mid-size dimensions also help with its fuel economy, keeping its weight down. This truck’s mid-size nature also means that you will be able to maneuver and park it much easier than you would with larger vehicles. In fact, some handling elements strongly resemble those of a car, including the way in which the suspension controls the truck’s body motion and the steering response. You also get as much tech as you want, such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.
2018 Ford F-150
The Ford F-150 is easily a class-leader in pickup trucks, doing everything you want it to without breaking a sweat. In fact, the F-150 has actually been the best seller in its class for several decades. The F-150 excels at the basics as well as more advanced features, and you can opt for a higher trim level to get a truly luxurious interior as well. Whether you want refinement, thoughtful design, or a solid performance, the Ford F-150 delivers. The optional 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 powertrain delivers all the torque you could need along with a quick throttle response. Those who prefer traditional engines will appreciate the available 5.0-liter V8 and the other two V6s in the lineup.
Another strong point for this Ford is its aluminum body that keeps it lightweight yet sturdy. This pickup also delivers a smooth, comfortable ride. For the latest tech, the Ford F-150 has what you want, including the available SYNC 3 infotainment system with its responsive touchscreen. Those who use their pickup to tow will also appreciate the Pro Trailer Backup Assist in addition to a surround-view camera. The F-150 Raptor is worth a mention for its incredible power and fun on and off the road.
2017 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali
For those in search of a pickup that is powerful and truly luxurious, the 2017 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali is the best option. Of course, you will need to spend a minimum of $52,505 MSRP to own this model new, but if you can afford that, it is worth it. The Sierra Denali is a rare pickup that is as luxurious as it looks, with a signature chrome grille and badging on the exterior that matches a detailed and upscale interior. You also get nearly every single optional piece of technology from non-Denali Sierras standard on the Denali, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and wireless charging.
In terms of power and capability, this luxurious pickup has what you need. It uses the 6.2-liter V8 from General Motors, which is the General’s biggest and most powerful engine. It delivers plenty of horsepower smoothly. You also get a Magnetic Ride Control adaptive suspension; most experts agree that this is the top suspension available on a pickup.
2017 Honda Ridgeline
The Honda Ridgeline is a unique pickup on this list and earns a place because of its superior handling. If you know that you need a pickup truck but haven’t been a fan of this body style in the past, a Ridgeline will be your best choice. It is very similar to the Pilot SUV but with a truck bed. This means that it has the unibody construction typical of cars and SUVs as opposed to a typical truck’s body-on-frame construction. The more rigid body leads to improved ride quality and less vibration and shuddering. Although it won’t win any awards for towing and hauling capacity, it can function well as a light truck for weekend warriors or families that are always on the move.
The suspension is also car-like, meaning that the Ridgeline does better on pavement than many other pickups. The all-wheel drive system has the i-VTM4 torque-vectoring feature from Honda, moving torque from side to side, helping in corners. Of course, that means that you won’t want to take the Ridgeline off-road if you can avoid it. For some bonus points, the Honda Ridgeline features an optional in-bed audio system for tailgating, a tailgate that can open either sideways or up and down, and lockable in-bed storage that is drainable, letting it become a portable cooler.
2017 RAM 1500 Rebel
When it comes to a pickup truck that can do it all on or off the road, the 2017 RAM 1500 Rebel leads the pack. This particular version of the RAM 1500 is designed for those truck owners who actually plan on going off the road more than every once in a while. Most other pickups will offer mud flaps and 4×4, but the RAM 1500 Rebel goes beyond with skid plates to keep the underside protected, large front tow hooks, and 33-inch Toyo Open Country A/T tires.
You can pair the Rebel with either a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 powertrain or a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6. Either way, you get to enjoy the air-ride suspension of other RAM pickups but with Bilstein shock absorbers. To further help with off-roading, the ride height is increased by an inch. The RAM Box storage system built right into the truck bed is perfect for securely stowing any items you need to take with you. This truck doesn’t lack interior features either, including the best-of-the-bunch Uconnect infotainment system and a comfortable ergonomic interior