Economic woes, high gas prices, an ever-increasing focus on small cars . . . and yet the Ford F-150 full-size pickup truck is enjoying its 29th year in a row as America's best-selling vehicle, ahead of the Chevy Silverado at number two.
For many, the appeal of the pickup is purely practical. For others, it's an image-driven choice. For a number of reasons, full-size pickup trucks continue to roll off the assembly lines, across showroom floors and into driveways, in big numbers.
In 2010, the full-size pickup market includes the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Ford F-150, Nissan Titan, Ram 1500 (formerly a Dodge, but now Ram is its own brand) and Toyota Tundra. The count is six if you include the GMC Sierra, but that truck is essentially a branding exercise that's materially identical to the Chevrolet Silverado.
Is there a best choice in the bunch? A worst? We wondered the same things, then set out for answers.
After driving and spending time with all five pickups we sat down and scored them in a variety of categories. In addition, each member of the team also ranked, on a scale of 0-10, the likelihood of recommending each truck to a friend. This gave us both a comprehensive, objective and mathematically crunched rating of the trucks, as well as a subjective rating that was more along the lines of what we just liked best. It always makes things tidy when the final objective rankings perfectly parallel the subjective ratings, and that was the case here.
But remember, the truck we rated tops isn't necessarily the best choice for you and your needs. For instance, the best truck for towing isn't the most comfortable on the highway, so the final decision rests on your shoulders.