dessert hopping pickup truck

Which is the most reliable pickup truck?

Whether it’s tackling your weekend chores or keeping up with your daily grind, pickup trucks offer the versatility and strength you need to stay productive both around the home and at the job site. With midsize, full-size, and heavy-duty options available, you can choose your cab size and bed length to suit your crew and typical load. Add a healthy spread of trim levels that range from practical to all-out luxury, and you’re sure to find something tailored to your needs.

When you’re looking at vehicle reliability, you can’t apply the same standard to pickup trucks you would come with passenger vehicles. After all, trucks take a beating on a level that doesn’t happen with the average Toyota Camry or Mazda 3.

However, you can compare trucks to one another, and we did just that using Consumer Reports reliability ratings dating back to 2010. As we dug deeper, there were surprises.

For example, Ford F-150, the all-powerful sales leader, has featured below-average reliability ratings since 2010. (Even though customer satisfaction remained high that entire time, the folks at Consumer Reports only care about data with their reliability scores.)

Setting popularity and everything else aside, these pickup trucks have been the most reliable models since 2010.

When it comes to pickups, most buyers really want to know one thing: how dependable will it be. Forecasting future dependability is nearly impossible. However, we can look back at different resources to determine who has historically been dependable.

With this goal in mind and the ready resource of the internet, we looked at the past 15 years of award winners for J.D. Power’s Vehicle Dependability Study.

J.D. Power is a survey company that uses the results to give out awards. It also sells its data, in the form of reports, to automakers and/or other agencies interested. This practice does cause it some criticism with people being upset at selling the data, which seems to make them beholden to the automakers who pay the most for the report.

Whether you are a J.D. Power fan or not, the survey results are pretty interesting and speak for themselves.

Please note, you will not find Ram, Dodge Ram or Dodge trucks listed on this report. This isn’t out of any sort of hatred or bias, and they simply don’t show up. Plain and simple.

The survey looks back three years for past ownership experiences. This is why you will see the 2005 survey, for example, relating to 2002 products.

Are you looking for some help exploring your options? You’ve come to the right place—we’ve compiled a list of the best pickup trucks for 2020 shoppers.

Chevrolet Colorado

If you need a midsize pickup with easy maneuverability and a comfortable ride, you’re sure to find the Chevrolet Colorado is great for both work and play. 2017–2019 models are available in extended-cab and crew-cab body styles with two-bed lengths, providing a range of options to suit your needs. A 2.5L four-cylinder comes standard on all trims (2017–2019 models) except the off-road ZR2, and two optional engine choices are available on WT and higher trims: a 3.6L V6 or a 2.8L turbocharged four-cylinder diesel.

The LT trim comes standard with the following features on 2017–2019 models:

  • 17-inch metallic-painted cast-aluminium wheels
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel with mounted audio controls
  • Cruise control
  • Eight-inch touchscreen display
  • Outside power-adjustable manual-folding body-colour mirrors

Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Whether you are searching for a bare-bones work truck or something more luxurious, you’ll find what you want in the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 line-up. 2017 and newer models offer three cab styles to fit you and your passengers’ needs: a two-door regular cab, a four-door extended cab, and a crew cab, as well as three-bed lengths depending on the cab you choose. You can also have your pick of six trim levels on 2017–2018 models or eight on the redesigned 2019 Silverado 1500, which also boasts an expanded range of six engine and transmission choices with four-cylinder, V6, and V8 options. The 2019 Silverado’s 1500 5.3L V8 can tow an estimated 12,200 lbs. when properly equipped; that’ll help you pull your boat or machinery when needed.1

2017 and newer WT trims include standard features, like:

  • Six-speed automatic transmission
  • 17-inch painted steel wheels
  • Air conditioning
  • Tilt-only steering column
  • Outside manual-adjustable mirrors

Dodge Ram 1500 Classic

If you’re looking for an everyday work truck, the Dodge Ram 1500 Classic might be the workhorse you need. Debuted in 2019 as a replacement for the outgoing Ram 1500, which was fully redesigned the same year, the Classic has a no-frills attitude with a solid work ethic and a can-do readiness to carry your tools and materials. Under the hood, a 305-hp 3.6L V6 comes standard on the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic, or you can choose the available 5.7L V8 which can tow an estimated 10,710 lbs. when properly equipped (regular cab models with 4×2).1 With a trio of cab styles and box lengths on 2019 models, you’ll have plenty of options to fit your crew and equipment.

You can also expect plenty of standard features on the 2019 Express trim, like:

  • 17-inch aluminium wheels
  • Fog lamps
  • Locking tailgate
  • Spray-in bed liner
  • Six-speaker audio system

Dodge Ram 2500

If you’re looking for a truck with some serious pulling power, consider the Dodge Ram 2500. The 2019 Dodge Ram 2500 was completely redesigned for its fifth-generation (2019 to present) and sports a lighter-weight frame and a range of upgraded powertrains for stronger performance. A 410-hp 6.4L V8 comes standard on the 2019 truck, or there’s an available turbocharged 370-hp 6.7L V6 diesel that can tow an estimated 19,780 lbs. when properly equipped.1 Or you can keep an eye out for 2017–2018 Ram 2500 models which come standard with a 383-hp 5.7L V8 that can tow a fifth-wheel trailer with its estimated 13,880-lb. towing capacity when properly equipped.

Whether you choose a 2017, 2018, or 2019 model, all Tradesman trims include these standard features:

  • 17-inch steel painted wheels
  • Quad halogen headlamps
  • Manual air conditioning
  • 3.5-inch driver information display
  • Six-speaker sound system

Dodge Ram 1500

Known for its smooth ride and on-road comfort, the Dodge Ram 1500 makes long workdays that much nicer. 2017–2019 models come standard with a five-link coil-spring rear suspension system with twin-tube shocks and an optional air suspension system, both of which enhance the truck’s off-road prowess and load-levelling capabilities. This ride comfort is matched with plenty of power from the standard 305-hp 3.6L V6 on all 2017–2019 models. Redesigned in 2019, you can also find Ram 1500s with an eTorque mild hybrid system on V6 and V8 configurations. This pairs a belt-drive motor generator unit with a 48-volt battery pack for improved gas mileage and performance.

If you’re looking for a basic work truck, the 2019 Ram 1500 Tradesman includes these standard features:

  • 18-inch steel wheels
  • Vinyl flooring and upholstery
  • Uconnect® infotainment system with a five-inch touchscreen display
  • Locking tailgate
  • Rearview camera

Ford F-150

Need a truck with a roomy cabin for your crew or family? The Ford F-150 offers a range of cab styles, like the SuperCrew, which features 43.6 inches of rear-seat legroom in 2017–2019 models. 2017 and newer F-150’s also offer three box lengths that range from 5.5-feet to eight-feet long to carry your tools or camping gear. With all this travel, you’ll want to check out the 3.0L Power Stroke® V6 Turbo Diesel, which returns an EPA-estimated 30 mpg on the highway when equipped with 4×2 (2018–2019 models).2 This fuel-sipping powerplant is optional on 2018–2019 XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum trims.

For a good mix of comfort and convenience, the F-150 Limited also offers these standard features on 2017 and newer models:

  • 22-inch polished aluminium wheels
  • Power-deployable running boards
  • Leather-trimmed seats
  • Heated and ventilated 10-way power front seats
  • Twin-panel moonroof

Ford F-250

The third-generation Ford F-250 (2017 to present) is a full-size truck that’s ideal if you do a lot of heavy-duty hauling, like pulling machinery. 2017–2019 models boast a fully-boxed ladder frame made of 95% high-strength steel that provides a tough-as-nails foundation. When equipped with the available 6.7L Power Stroke® V8 Turbo Diesel, 2018–2019 F-250s can tow an estimated 18,500 lbs. when properly equipped (2017 models max out at 18,600 lbs. with the 6.7L engine when properly equipped).1

Standard features on the 2017–2019 Lariat include:

  • Power sliding rear window
  • Leather upholstery
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • SYNC® 3 infotainment system with eight-inch display
  • 10-speaker audio system with two USB charging ports

GMC Sierra 1500

The 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 was fully redesigned for its fourth generation, offering six trims and six powertrain configurations as well as a lighter body with a fully-boxed steel frame and mixed-material construction. The base 2019 Sierra 1500 uses a 4.3L V6 making 285 hp and 305 lb-ft of torque, which is the same standard engine option found on base 2017–2018 models. But, if you need an engine with a bit more power to pull a fifth-wheel trailer, the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500’s revamped optional 6.2L V8 can tow an estimated 12,200 lbs. when properly equipped (Double Cab models only).1

You’ll also enjoy these standard features on 2017 and newer SLE trims:

  • 17-inch painted aluminium wheels
  • Infotainment system with an eight-inch touchscreen display
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Cloth upholstery
  • Available heated front seats

Nissan Frontier

Available as a four-door crew cab or extended cab with five-foot and 6.1-foot bed lengths (2017–2019 models), the Nissan Frontier is a versatile midsize truck for when you’re at the job site or driving on muddy trails. All 2017–2019 models feature an all-steel double-wishbone front suspension and solid-axle rear suspension with over slung leaf springs and a long suspension stroke for enhanced performance over rugged terrain. 2017–2019 Frontier PRO-4X and Desert Runner models also add Bilstein high-pressure shock absorbers for when you want to do some serious off-roading.

Standard features on the 2017–2019 Frontier SV trim include:

  • 16-inch alloy wheels
  • Manual sliding rear window
  • Power windows with driver auto-down
  • Bluetooth® connectivity
  • Bed tie-down hooks

Nissan Titan

Need a truck that will quench your thirst for adventure? The Nissan Titan PRO-4X’s off-road chops will get your adrenaline pumping. This back-road-oriented trim of the already capable Nissan Titan is available exclusively with 4×4 capabilities, as well as hill descent control and Bilstein® mono-tube off-road shocks (2017–2019 models). With the PRO-4X, you can expect more confidence behind the wheel when crawling over rugged terrain and steep grades. And regardless of the trim, all 2017–2019 Nissan Titans get their power from a 5.6L V8 that puts out 390 hp and 394 lb-ft of torque.

Other standard features on the PRO-4X from 2017–2019 include the following:

  • 18-inch aluminium-alloy wheels with a painted finish
  • Electronic locking rear differential
  • Lower radiator skid plate
  • Trailer harness with four- and seven-pin connectors
  • Receiver hitch and hitch member

Toyota Tundra

If you’re after a full-size pickup with an equally full-size attitude, take the Toyota Tundra out for a test drive. 2017–2019 models boast a line-up of V8-only powertrains, delivering incredible power to pull your trailer and heavy loads. SR and SR5 trims are anchored by a 4.6L V8 outputting 310 hp and 327 lb-ft of torque, while Limited, Platinum, 1794 Edition, and TRD Pro trims use a 5.7L V8 producing 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque (2017–2019 models). If you’re driving around a big crew that’s in need of some extra space, 2017–2019 Tundra CrewMax cabs offer 42.3 inches of legroom in the rear row.

You’ll also find these standard features on the 2017–2019 Tundra SR5:

  • 18-inch styled steel wheels
  • Halogen fog lights (2018–2019 models)
  • Rear under-seat storage tray (2017–2018 Double Cab models)
  • Entune™Audio Plus with a seven-inch touchscreen
  • Integrated backup camera

Toyota Tacoma

If you’re looking for a truck with trail-blazing capabilities, the Toyota Tacoma is a midsize option that likes to get dirty. Most 2017–2019 models use a 2.7L four-cylinder making 159 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque, or you can opt for a 278-hp 3.5L V6 making 265 lb-ft of torque which comes standard on Limited, and TRD Pro trims. A double-wishbone coil-spring front suspension and a leaf-spring rear suspension with staggered outboard-mounted gas shocks deliver a steady ride on all 2017 and newer models, making this truck a great choice for driving over pavement or off the beaten path.

Standard features on 2017–2019 Tacoma TRD Pro trims include:

  • TRD Pro front skid plate
  • The electronically-controlled locking rear differential
  • Off-road suspension with 2.5-inch FOX Internal Bypass coil-overs and rear remote reservoir shocks
  • 16-inch TRD Pro black alloy wheels

Big Time Reliability With Big Time Capability

Today’s trucks feature sleek cabins, comfortable seating, and the latest technology and safety equipment. But are they reliable?

Pickup trucks need to do it all: daily driving, off-roading, hauling, and towing (and they need to do it all with ease). Drivers tend to keep them for several years, and high-reliability ratings mean they won’t need to worry about their ride breaking down and racking up repair bills.

The SUV maybe today’s most popular vehicle overall, but there’s no denying the allure of American-as-apple-pie pickup trucks. Thanks to their inherent toughness and versatility, as well as their increasingly family-friendly nature, the top pickups continue to be best-sellers year after year.

Though only a few manufacturers make pickups, the models they produce cover a wide range of sizes and capabilities, from basic midsize work trucks to heavy-duty behemoths loaded with luxury features. Identifying the best pickup for your needs can be tricky, even for those well-versed in axle ratios, payload limits, and the difference between conventional and fifth-wheel towing.

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