Top 10 Pickup Trucks in the USA
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UPDATED: May 20, 2019
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This year’s list of the top 10 pickup trucks in America has something for everyone, including compact trucks, sport utility trucks, and full-size pickups.
The list includes the best-of-the-best in all three of these pickup truck categories, with vehicles ranked according to their U.S. News and World Report scores.
#1: 2011 Dodge Ram 1500
With a score of 9.3, the 2011 Dodge Ram 1500 is a full-sized pickup that received the highest rating of any truck on the market. Reviewers like Edmunds and Car and Driver applauded the truck’s smooth ride, courtesy of its unique spring-coil suspension.
Consumer Guide critics were pleased with the power delivered by the optional 4.7-liter V8 engine.
Edmunds pointed out that upgrading to the more powerful V8 is a “no-brainer,” since it packs more power but comparable fuel economy to the 3.7-liter V6 engine that comes standard in the base model.
All Dodge Ram 1500s are equipped with Decel Fuel Shut Off, which saves gas by turning off the fuel supply when the vehicle is slowing down.
#2: 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
Scoring a 9.1 on U.S. News and World Report’s rating scale, the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 didn’t quite make it to the top spot, but it did beat out the Dodge Ram for the “Best Full-Size Truck for the Money” designation.
With an MSRP starting at $20,850, the entry-level Silverado is actually a few hundred dollars more than the entry-level Dodge Ram ($20,810), but once the usual options are added, the Silverado comes out on top.
The Silverado does not offer quite the same exceptional ride and handling delivered by the Ram, but reviewers still report that the 2011 Silverado is both comfortable and powerful.
U.S. News and World Report also commends the Silverado for its gas mileage of 15 mpg in city driving and 20 mpg on the highway, which is slightly better than what the most fuel-efficient Ram has to offer.
#3: 2011 Ford F-150
At an 8.9 on the rating scale, the 2011 Ford F-150 is a classic pickup truck choice that stands out from the competition in terms of towing capacity. Ford introduced several new engine models this year, the most powerful of which can tow up to 11,300 pounds without breaking a sweat.
Reviewers were also impressed with the F-150′s trip computer, which displays information about gas mileage, available towing capacity and off-roading capabilities on a 4.2 inch LCD screen.
Overall, the 2011 Ford F-150 was one of the top-rated vehicles in interior comfort, and buyers can choose from one of 11 different trims.
#4: 2011 GMC Sierra 1500
While managing an overall score of 8.9, the 2011 GMC Sierra 1500 disappointed reviewers in several respects.
While its towing and payload capacities make it competitive with other full-sized pickup trucks, reviewers like Edmunds found the base V6 engine “sluggish.”
However, buyers can overcome this deficiency by upgrading the truck with one of several available V8 engines.
The Sierra lost the most points to competitors when it came to the interior and exterior styling, though. Some critics complain that the truck looks dated, and although the seating is spacious and comfortable, the interior offers minimal storage space.
#5: 2011 Toyota Tacoma
Also scoring an 8.9, the 2011 Toyota Tacoma is the highest-ranked compact pickup truck on the list. Buyers who opt for a Double Cab will be able to comfortably fit passengers in the rear seat, which is a rarity in the compact pickup truck class.
Edmunds writes that the truck handles well off-road, and although the on-road ride can be a bit rough, this is to be expected from a compact pickup.
The Tacoma also scored points for its 2.7 liter, 4-cylinder engine, which delivers good fuel economy while still getting the job done when it comes to power and acceleration.
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#6: 2010 Chevrolet Avalanche
Coming in sixth with a score of 8.7, the 2010 Chevrolet Avalanche is the first sport utility pickup truck on the list.
The Avalanche provides a unique compromise between exterior hauling capacity and interior seating with a removable midgate that allows the truck’s bed to be extended halfway into the cab. This feature allows the vehicle to double as a pickup truck and SUV.
It loses some points for performance, though, since many critics are displeased with the truck’s stiff suspension and lackluster performance in highway driving.
#7: 2011 Nissan Frontier
Ranked second to the Toyota Tacoma in the compact pickup truck class, the 2011 Nissan Frontier earned a respectable score of 8.6 for its sporty off-road handling capability and powerful V6 engine option, but the base 4-cylinder engine didn’t win any raves.
The Frontier’s interior also failed to impress reviewers, who panned the low-grade materials and cramped seating.
#8: 2011 Toyota Tundra
Although the 2011 Toyota Tundra, which scored an 8.5 on the U.S. News and World Report rating scale, has everything that full-size pickup truck enthusiasts will need in terms of power, handling and towing capacity, it just doesn’t compete with other full-size pickups when it comes to styling, handling and fuel economy.
Critics like U.S. News and World Report described the interior as “sparse,” and Consumer Guide described the steering as “slow” and “numb.”
#9: 2010 Honda Ridgeline
With a score of 8.4, the 2010 Honda Ridgeline comes in second to the Avalanche in the sport utility truck (SUT) category.
Although the Ridgeline is less capable than the Avalanche overall, reviewers say that it is sufficient for smaller projects, and offers a pleasing compromise for car drivers who want more space but aren’t ready to commit to the stiffer ride that usually accompanies lower-priced pickup trucks.
Reviewers like Edmunds describe the Ridgeline as the most “car-like” of the SUTs, which could make it perfect for drivers who want a pickup truck that feels more like a car.
#10: 2010 Cadillac Escalade EXT 8.3
With an MSRP of $61,420, and a score of 8.3, the 2010 Cadillac Escalade EXT isn’t winning any awards for value, but if you’re in search of a stylish, luxurious vehicle with pickup-like capabilities, this Escalade could be your ticket.
The Escalade EXT comes standard with a powerful 6.2-liter V8 engine that produces 403 horsepower, but it can’t tow nearly as much as similarly-priced full-size pickup trucks.
U.S. News and World Report sums it up best by describing the EXT as a “niche vehicle” created for drivers who really want luxury but also need some utility.
Which of the Top 10 Pickup Trucks is Right for You?
The pickup truck category contains wide variations in price, comfort, and utility. If you’re in the market for a pickup truck, though, your primary concern is most likely utility.
Among the highly-ranked full-size pickups such as the Dodge Ram, the Chevrolet Silverado, and the Ford F-150, there are so many trims available that most drivers can find a model that will meet their utility needs while still providing the level of comfort they desire.
If you need some utility, but can’t afford the entry-level prices for full-sized pickup trucks, the subcompact category was made for you.
Although you’ll have to make some sacrifices in terms of ride quality and comfort, you can get a well-equipped, solidly-performing compact pickup truck, like a Tacoma or a Frontier, for less than $25,000.
And finally, for those who aren’t ready to fully commit to being a pickup truck driver, the Avalanche, Ridgeline, and Escalade EXT offer truck-like utility while still retaining the style and smoother ride usually offered by cars.