You may be a “Ford Man” or a “Chevy Man” and you even argue with your friends over which has the best truck. But what’s the best new trucks right now?
Your dad may have been a “Ford Man” or a “Chevy Man” and passed that mantle onto you. You personally argued with your friends over which truck was the best truck. Even today, if you bring the best truck subject up, you’ll elicit commentary about front end design, headlight placement, engine reliability, and who could out pull who down the street. The truth is, today’s new trucks are fun performance cars with the ability to haul two full-sized automobiles and not even breathe hard.
Even though SUVs have taken over the market, the truck consumer gobbled up nearly 3.5 million pickup trucks in 2020, with Ford leading the sales train. Plus, the average price paid for a pickup was over $50,000. If you’re looking for your next hauler, a fun performance vehicle, or a bit of added luxury, then any one of these new trucks should be on your radar. Let’s check them out and see which new truck grabs your interest.
You might wonder why the Ridgeline is in this list of more powerful new trucks, and we get it. Power is wonderful, but for most of America, the 2021 Honda Ridgeline is what they really want. Honda has a lock on reliability and a sweet spot-on functionality. The Ridgeline will tick all the boxes on comfort and useability while actually doing a good job when things get dirty.
Its double cab unibody construction includes an independent rear suspension, truck bed audio system, a waterproof under the cargo bed lockable storage, and finally comes as an all-wheel-drive. With the 2021 redesign, the Ridgeline now actually looks like a truck too. It still has the 3.5L V6 that pumps out 280 horsepower, but it can tow up to 5,000 lbs. It’s not going to be your go-to for big towing jobs, but this will be just fine for most people hauling stuff from the hardware store. It’s not our number one choice, but for comfort, you can’t beat it.
Choosing looks over value, we opted for the GMC Sierra 1500 instead of the Chevrolet Silverado. It’s purely personal preference since they’re identical under the skin, allowing you to choose with your cash. The GMC is generally more expensive, but it offers something the Silverado doesn’t, an AT4 trim. The 2021 Sierra 1500 AT4 isn’t going to be a super aggressive off-roader like some others on the list. However, it’s not hateful in the engine department. The 6.2L EcoTec3 V8 engine has 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, plus it can tow up to 11,800 lbs – much more than either the Ford or Dodge same size options.
You get an off-road capable suspension with a factory-installed 2-inch lift kit to go with the 4-wheel drive and 2-speed transfer case. It’s too bad though that it doesn’t add the Denali’s adaptive ride control. But you can have the 15 different camera views of all around the Sierra 1500 for bragging rights. You can see multiple views of the bed, trailer, behind the trailer, 360 HD, and so on. It boggles the mind. If you run into anything while backing up your trailer with this feature, then you shouldn’t be driving.
If you purchase a truck because it looks like it can do anything, then the 2021 Jeep Gladiator is what you might purchase. With its available 3.0L EcoDiesel V6 engine, the Jeep Gladiator churns up 442 pound-feet of torque and averages up to 28 mpg on the highway. It will also tow up to 7,650-pounds and lets you carry around 1,700-pounds of payload. Even though it’s a mid-sized truck, that’s more strength than some full-sized models. Like the Jeep Cherokee, it’s Trail Rated and Desert Rated so you can ford rivers and overcome harsh conditions that other trucks can’t.
One option that you definitely won’t find on any other truck is a convertible top. The Gladiator will gladly let you fly around with your top off and enjoy the outdoors. Although the Jeep‘s comfort and convenience features are fairly normal in truck terms, like backup cameras to help you hitch up to your trailer and AWD to help climb over rocks, it’s unique enough that you won’t see yourself at every corner.
Any vehicle with the Ford GT engine in it is going to be fast on the road, but the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor is fast anywhere it chooses to go. While you’ll sadly see most of these F150’s going to and from the grocery store, their 450hp twin-turbo V6 engines and off-road suspension can jump berms and land with the softness of a full-on World Rally Car.
In SuperCrew form, the Raptor can serve as the only vehicle you would ever need. Its available luxury package can give you the interior experience of a high-end luxury car, while being a workhorse that can tow 8000 pounds at the same time. It’s comfortable driving around town, but turns into an unstoppable beast on the trails. While out in the wilderness, Ford’s Pro-Power Onboard allows you to use the Raptor like a mobile generator. It provides up to 2,000 watts of power for whatever you want to plug in. The Raptor is a pickup version of a multi-purpose tool among all these new trucks.
We love FCA North America’s current solution to most everything – more horsepower and torque will make it better. And thank goodness, its latest recipient of that mantra is the 3.5-ton RAM 1500 TRX. The swapped in 6.2L supercharged HEMI V8 engine making 702hp and 650 lb-ft of torque hurtles the TRX to 60 mph in an amazing 3.7 seconds.
Off-road handling is further improved with 14 inches of ground clearance and Bilstein’s adaptive Black Hawk e2 shocks. With the added Performance Pages system, you can change settings on everything from the steering to the transmission and review the truck’s stats. But it’s not just performance oriented, inside is the same beautiful 12-inch touchscreen infotainment system you’ll find on RAM‘s top trims, plus ventilated seats as an option. Right now, there’s not another truck like it. It’s one of the best.
With EV trucks like Bollinger’s B2, Ford’s electric F-150, GMC’s Hummer EV, Tesla‘s Cybertruck and Rivian’s R1T arriving soon, the entire truck market will be changing. There will be loads of torque and, if Tesla has anything to do with it, acceleration like you’ve never felt before. But will the sound of a diesel and gas engine ever go away? Like you, we will have to wait and see what the choices will be like in 5 years, but the times they are a-changing.