Business or pleasure? Yes.
For building a country or towing a boat, nothing beats a full-size truck. Even as they grow increasingly capable in all their roles, trucks are also getting more comfortable, more efficient and more enjoyable to drive.
The 2019 model year was a big one, with the introductions of the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and 2019 Ram 1500, each of them significantly and impressively redesigned. (The Ford Ranger also made its debut, marking Ford’s return to the midsize truck segment.) In 2020, the Wrangler-based Jeep Gladiator went on sale, as did an updated Toyota Tacoma.
We expect even more news for pickup trucks in the upcoming year, as Ford is rumored to have a new F-150 on the way, and the all-electric Rivian R1T is set to go on sale as a 2021 model.
As for all the trucks you can buy today, we’ve driven every one of them. So which ones do we recommend? That depends on your individual needs, wants and preferences, but everything required to make the right decision is here at your fingertips.
Here are your six light-duty full-size truck options today, followed by a comprehensive guide to the segment overall. Because the vast majority of truck shoppers are looking for a crew cab, all prices listed are the starting prices for crew cabs. If you want to save some money, you could consider a regular cab or extended cab.
In alphabetical order:
The Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra and Ram 1500 were all new last year. In addition, all three are now available with a turbodiesel option. The Ram 1500 diesel offers the most torque, a whopping 480 lb-ft, and the Silverado and Sierra diesels have the most horsepower, at 277. Also, both the Nissan Titan and the Titan XD receive updates for 2020.
The V8 is still king when it comes to full-size pickups, but Ford has had tremendous success with its turbocharged V6 engines, and in addition to diesel options, GM now offers a turbocharged 4-cylinder gas engine.
Towing and Hauling
The Ford F-150 is the current hauling champion, with a top hauling figure of 3,270 pounds. For the highest towing capacity, you can look to the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado, which can tow up to 13,400 pounds.
Full-size truck sticker prices start in the neighborhood of $28,000, but the average price paid has risen to right around $40,000. Still, it’s possible to get an attractively equipped full-size truck in the lower $30,000 range.
If you don’t need all the available power or all the room of a full-size truck, you have five midsize trucks to choose from. And come next year, you’ll have six. The Toyota Tacoma is the best-selling truck in the segment, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon cousins are the only two to offer diesel power, and the Nissan Frontier just keeps going and going, now in its 16th model year. The unibody Honda Ridgeline is the segment’s clever, comfortable outlier, and the reintroduced Ford Ranger enters its second year on the market. The Jeep Gladiator has a classic name that returned to the market for 2020.
From Half-Ton to Heavy-Duty
The Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500 and Ram 1500 are often called half-ton or light-duty pickup trucks, and represent the bulk of pickup truck sales. Each of these truck makers also offers three-quarter-ton and one-ton trucks, denoted by 2500 and 3500 (or 250 and 350) monikers. (The actual numbers and “ton” references have little connection to the trucks’ specs or capabilities today.)
The 2500 and 3500 trucks are also referred to as heavy-duty or HD trucks, and offer greater towing and hauling limits. If you need to tow more than 10,000 pounds, you might want or need to step up to a heavy-duty truck, offering maximum towing capacities beyond 20,000 pounds. Be aware that the powertrain and suspension differences that increase the trucks’ capabilities also force compromises in ride comfort and fuel economy.
First Look: All-new Chevrolet Silverado 1500