• Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

Best Pickup Trucks for 2023


Mar 29, 2023
Best Pickup Trucks for 2023


In 2023, it seems like there’s a pickup truck for everyone. This wasn’t always the case, as it wasn’t until fairly recently that the midsize truck segment started becoming competitive again, and even more recently that we’ve got choices for economical compact trucks or cleaner electric pickups. As the diversity of choices continues to grow, so does the potential customer base for vehicles with an open bed.

Whether you’re looking for something luxurious to drive in style, an absolute workhorse to tow the heaviest of loads, something small and practical, or a dune-blasting monster, you’ve got options. Whatever it is you need it to do, here are what we think are the best pickup trucks for 2023.

Before we start really categorizing these trucks, let’s go over the scores our editors have given the best-selling pickup trucks in America.

Best Full-Size Pickup Trucks for 2023:

  1. 2023 Ram 1500: 9.0
  2. 2023 Ford F-150: 8.5
  3. 2023 GMC Sierra: 8.0
  4. 2023 Chevrolet Silverado: 7.5
  5. 2023 Toyota Tundra: 7.0
  6. 2023 Nissan Titan: 5.5

Best Midsize Pickup Trucks for 2023:

  1. 2023 Ford Ranger: 8.0
  2. 2023 Honda Ridgeline: 8.0
  3. 2023 Jeep Gladiator: 8.0
  4. 2023 Nissan Frontier: 7.5
  5. 2023 Toyota Tacoma: 7.0

It’s worth noting that the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon were redesigned for 2023, and we like them quite a bit. We haven’t yet been able to pass them around to all of our editors in order to give them official rankings, but we’re certain they’ll come out at or near the top.

Now, remember what we said at the outset about there being a pickup truck for every buyer? Let’s break it down.


Best luxury truck: Ram 1500 Limited

With an exceptionally comfortable interior with high-quality materials, excellent fit and finish, plenty of space, useful technology and a wealth of convenience features, this is the cabin in which we’d want to spend the most time. We especially like touches like the ventilated reclining back seat, clever storage and 12-inch vertically oriented touchscreen. All the American trucks can be ultra-luxurious, though. What really seals the deal for Ram is its choice of either coil spring or air spring rear suspension that provide unmatched ride quality, no matter which you choose. The 1500 Limited will truly keep you feeling kingly on those long hauls.

Read our review of the Ram 1500.


Best truck for cowboys: Ford F-150 King Ranch

(Honorable mention: Ram 1500 Limited Longhorn)

Need a truck to match those new cowboy boots and shiny belt buckle? Look no further than the Ford F-150 King Ranch, unless looking further brings you to the Ram 1500 Limited Longhorn. These are both on the luxury side of the half-ton market. The F-150 King Ranch gets its name from King Ranch in Texas, with styling to match the legacy and prestige of the storied agribusiness. Likewise, the 1500 Longhorn is inspired by Texas ranching, and like the Ford, is full of brown leather and wood (although the Ram’s wood is literally branded to “Longhorn”). Despite their capability and rugged inspiration, each is loaded with convenience features that will make you forget the hardships out on the trail.

Read our review of the Ford F-150.


Best truck for actual cowboys: Ram 2500 Rebel

This one needs to do double duty: Work and play. It needs to be truck enough to haul, pull, and be a mobile work station. Its available factory-installed winch is a plus (with gas V8 only, though), as are its various storage systems and its versatile interior space. It needs to tackle a variety of terrain including steep trails and slippery creek beds, for which its front and rear locking differentials and all-terrain tires are a boon. As for play, it’s plenty capable of getting off the beaten path for recreation, and towing your toys along with you (the Rebel has substantially better towing capacity than the 2500’s more off-road-capable Power Wagon version). The Rebel is also plenty comfortable and spacious for hitting the town with your friends or family, and looks good doing it, too, especially with a little bit of mud on it.

Read our review of the Ram 2500 Rebel.


Best truck alternative to a small SUV: Hyundai Santa Cruz

While it’s not the only pickup based on a unibody platform, the Hyundai Santa Cruz leans into the outdoor adventurer vibe of crossovers like the Subaru Crosstrek. And it’s one of only two compact pickups on the market right now, along with the Ford Maverick. Compared to other trucks, it’s lighter, more agile and more fuel efficient than its larger counterparts. It looks, lives and drives like a sporty compact SUV, but with the utility afforded by a versatile bed.

Read out review of the Hyundai Santa Cruz.


Best midsize truck: Chevrolet Colorado

While the then-new Ford Ranger won our midsize truck comparison a few years ago, GM launched a new version of its Colorado for 2023, and it’s great. We like its updated looks, improved tech and interior, and the option to improve performance with a software flash from the dealer. Off-roaders will appreciate the hard-charging ZR2 trim, as well.

Read our review of the Chevy Colorado.


Best truck for people who really just want a Toyota Tacoma: Toyota Tacoma

Do you just really want a Toyota Tacoma? Well, have we got the truck for you! It’s the Toyota Tacoma, a midsize truck sold by Toyota called the Tacoma, and it sure seems like that’s good enough for the people who buy them in droves. We suspect it’s because of the truck’s reputation for reliability in addition to looking pretty cool. Now, it’s not actually very good when compared to its competitors, which have all been redesigned (sometimes twice) since the Tacoma underwent a full redo. Its cramped interior, aging tech and unrefined engine are just the tip of the iceberg. But hey, it’s called the Toyota Tacoma.

Read our review of the Toyota Tacoma. 


Best electric truck: Ford F-150 Lightning

Do you already love America’s best-selling truck, but were worried an electric powertrain would ruin it? Fret not, as the F-150 Lightning still feels like the F-Series you know and love. Turning it into an EV only elevates the experience with a smoother and quieter ride, tons of power and a huge frunk. This spot on the list will be in more serious contention soon, though, with the coming of the Chevy Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV from GM, as well as the Ram 1500 REV.

Read our review of the Ford F-150 Lightning.


Best affordable truck (also the cleverest little truck): Ford Maverick

The Maverick compact pickup sure looks like it belongs to the Ford truck family, but it starts at just $24,190 with destination. A 2.5-liter hybrid powertrain returning 37 mpg combined comes standard, driving just the front wheels, but a more powerful EcoBoost 2.0-liter turbo can be had with all-wheel drive. Despite its low price point, the Maverick doesn’t feel like a cheap truck. Instead, a lot of thought went into keeping costs low while maintaining utility. With an interesting and useful interior, a bed designed with DIY project kept in mind, and the easy drivability of a small SUV, it’s hard not to fall in love with this little truck that could.

Read our review of the Ford Maverick.


Best truck that’s also a convertible: Jeep Gladiator

The Jeep Gladiator is basically a Wrangler body on a different frame with a bed added. As such, it does most of the good things the Wrangler does, including looking cool, faring well off-road and, more importantly, ditching the roof and doors.

Read our review of the Jeep Gladiator.


Best truck for jumping sand dunes: Ford F-150 Raptor R

With supercharged V8 power, hardcore suspension and brakes that never lose their taste for bringing the 37-inch tires to a stop, even with a mouthful of sand, the F-150 Raptor R is a dune-jumping champ. And as comfortable as it is with all four tires off the ground, it’s also quite the pleasure to drive on actual roads.

Read our review of the Ford-F150 Raptor R.


Best truck for looking cool while jumping sand dunes: Ram 1500 Rebel TRX

The Ram TRX preceded the Raptor R with its Hellcat supercharged V8, and still beats the Ford in horsepower (702 vs. 700) and in appearance. This thing looks every bit the part of a beast it is, and has a nicer interior as a bonus. Its suspension isn’t quite as forgiving as that of the Raptor R, but did we mention it looks cool?

Read our review of the Ram 1500.


Best truck for towing (sheer capacity): Ford F-450 Super Duty

Need to pull major poundage? For 2023, Ford’s F-450 Super Duty, when properly equipped, can tow up to 40,000 pounds, leaving all other competitors in the dust. To pull the full 20 tons, you’ll need the 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel engine, regular cab configuration and gooseneck tow package. For conventional towing, the same truck in crew cab configuration can tow 30,000 pounds.


Best work truck value: Ram 1500 Tradesman

Starting at $39,305 with destination, the Ram 1500 tradesman is a great choice if you value economy and practicality over luxury and convenience. You might not get a flashy interior, but that’s not to say it isn’t still well organized, useful and well made for the money. It can be had in 4×2 or 4×4 guise, with either a 3.6-liter V6 or 5.7-liter V8, both with Ram’s eTorque mild hybrid tech. That last bit is key, because despite competitor work trucks coming standard with turbocharged four-cylinders or smaller displacement V6s, the Ram V6 gets better fuel economy with up to 22 mpg combined. That makes it a great fleet truck for managers concerned about both up-front and operating costs, while still providing the utility needed to get the job done day after day.

Read our review of the Ram 1500.


Best truck that isn’t what everyone else is driving: Honda Ridgeline

Like the smaller Hyundai Santa Cruz and Ford Maverick, the Honda Ridgeline is based on a unibody platform. Basically, it’s a crossover pickup.That makes it a fine vehicle to drive, with a comfortable ride and controlled NVH. Its naturally aspirated V6 is a solid powerplant, and all-wheel drive comes standard. If you don’t need to do a lot of hardcore off-roading, and don’t need to tow more than 5,000 pounds, the Ridgeline is a great truck to live with both as a daily driver and for light utility situations. We also love its clever in-bed storage bin and clever tailgate that drops down and swings out.

Read our review of the Honda Ridgeline.


Best truck for turning heads: GMC Hummer EV

Just look at this thing. It’s got presence. It’s huge, and weighs almost 5 tons. It’s electric. It’s got removable roof panels. It’ll do 0-60 in about 3 seconds. And it can CrabWalk. The GMC Hummer EV gets attention wherever it goes. If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on one, expect to answer a lot of questions in the parking lot.

Read our review of the GMC Hummer EV.

Related video:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *