Top 5 Best Truck Brands

October 9th, 2020 by

A silver 2017 Chevy Silverado is parked in front of a fence and dry grass near Durham, NC.

There’s a common question in the trucking community when it comes to purchasing a truck: which brand has the best trucks? The answer always comes down to the top five: Chevy, Ram, Toyota, Ford, and Nissan. But narrowing it down from those manufacturers can pose a challenge. So, today, we at CBS Quality Cars are going to break down what makes each of them so special to help you pick which would be best for you. Searching for used cars near you can be stressful, but this list will lay everything out on the table, allowing you to make the most informed decision possible. So without further ado, let’s take a look at some trucks!

#1 Chevy

When you think Chevy, you think legacy. You think reliable. You think classic. It’s no shock that Chevrolet has been one of the few longstanding badges still producing consumer-beloved vehicles many generations after the brand first started over a century ago. One of the more recognizable components of Chevrolet over the last few generations has been their focus on trucks like the Silverado.

The Chevy Silverado has been the pickup frontrunner for GM for many years since its debut back in the late 1990s. Its success has been continuous from the start and is still a fan-favorite. From the 7-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support to wireless smart device connectivity via 4G LTE Wi-Fi compatibility, and OnStar navigational support, the Silverado is at the cutting edge of modern-day pickups.

With multiple trims and heavy-duty options offering up to 445 hp and 910 lb-ft of torque, power and durability have never been brought into question when it comes to the integrity of the Silverado’s performance. The ability for the top model, the Silverado 3500HD, to tow up to 35,000 lbs is extra icing on the cake, making it perfect for luxury recreational use or for towing large hauls for commercial use.

For truckers on a budget, the Chevy Colorado – which is the twin of the GMC Canyon – has proven to be a worthy mid-sized alternative to its larger sibling, the Silverado. It hasn’t been around for as long as the Silverado, nor has the Colorado burned up the sales charts like its older kin. However, it still offers highly rated safety features, multiple trims with the latest in convenience components, and off-road packaging options.

With these options, it’s easy to see why Chevy makes the top of the list as one of the brands that have the best trucks.

A red 2017 Chevy Colorado, which is popular among used cars near me, is parked in front of a fence with hills in the distance.

#2 Ram

When truck drivers think of aggressive power with uncompromising road dominance, they think Ram. The Ram brand has been around for many generations, proving to be a long-lasting face of pickup trucks around the world. Ram trucks were previously fitted with the Magnum V8, producing well over 300 hp and torque within the 300 lb-ft and 400 lb-ft of torque range. Later Ram trucks began being outfitted with the Hemi V8 and the Cummins turbo-diesel engine, enabling the various series of trucks to produce up to 400 hp and a massive 1,000 lb-ft of torque.

On the upper end of the spectrum, the Ram 3500 series comes equipped with a turbo-diesel engine, so you’re looking at a maximum tow-capacity of 35,100 lbs, and a maximum payload capacity of over 7,000 lbs. It’s truly a truck for all seasons and one of the most powerful around.

The Uconnect functionality and digital dashboard upgrades over the years have kept the Ram series current with modern-day tech trends, including Apple Carplay and Android Auto support. And Ram has continued to outdo themselves with special trims and configurations, such as the Ram Rebel and the incomparably menacing Ram TRX, the latter of which is designed to tackle every off-road challenge you could think to throw at it.

Despite all the luxury additions added over the years, Ram never lost focus of its roots as the thoroughbred of pickup trucks, making it one of the best brands of trucks on the market.

#3 Toyota

Toyota’s focus over the years has mostly been on fuel economy and longevity rather than ruggedness or power. This is evident in the Toyota Tacoma’s ability to maximize 20 MPG in the city and 23 MPG on the highway via a 2.7L four-cylinder engine. Optional trims have given drivers more heave and hardiness in the Tacoma’s abilities, with a 3.5L V6 capable of producing 278 hp and a max towing capacity of 6,800 lbs.

Over the years, Toyota has consistently upgraded and updated the Tacoma, making it more and more off-road-ready thanks to a sturdier suspension, lift kits, and auxiliary off-road packages. It’s no surprise that the Tacoma has found its way into the good graces of motorsports, too. Convenience and infotainment features have also been made standard on the pickup truck, enabling drivers to access phone data through wireless connectivity and voice-activated functionality.

The Toyota Tundra hasn’t been around for as long as the Tacoma, but it’s almost just as popular. While the Tacoma is more of a mid-sized offering, the Tundra is a full-sized pickup with plenty of power packed under the hood. Sporting a 5.7L V8 and up to 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque, the top-end of the Tundra is capable of towing up to 10,200 lbs and a payload capacity of up to 1,730 lbs. Power is no question with the Tundra.

A high mixture of accessibility, variety, and affordability has helped Toyota stay in the running as being one of the best brands for trucks.

#4 Ford

A black 2018 Ford F-250 is parked behind a silver 2018 F-150 on dirt with hills in the distance.

There is no “best of trucks” list without Ford on it. How could there be? The Ford F-Series trucks have been the best-selling vehicles in America for quite some time, topping out the list in the majority of the states, and with good reason. The more-than-half-century old pickup truck series has one of the longest generational trees in car history, with a wide variety of options, trims, and configurations to practically suit every consumer’s needs in one way or another.

The Ford F-150 has not only been highly rated for its safety and functionality, but also for its long-lasting durability. It’s a pickup truck that just never quits. Beyond its ability to rack up tons of mileage without tanking, the vehicle has become more and more eco-friendly with EcoBoost engine technology, allowing for better fuel economy and lower emissions.

On the higher end of the spectrum, the Ford F-450 is capable of producing up to 475 hp and 1050 lb-ft of torque. This relays into an impressive towing capacity of almost 36,000 lbs. But, of course, there are other options in the F-Series, like the F-150, F-250, and F-350, allowing every driver to get what they need out of these capable beasts.

Whether for pleasure or professional use, the Ford F-Series has proven to be one of the most formidable pickup lineups around and nearly impossible to beat in most categories. This clearly makes Ford one of the brands with the best trucks on the market today.

#5 Nissan

When talking about the best brand for trucks, Nissan isn’t always the first to come up in a conversation. Still, the reliability and affordability of the Nissan Frontier and Nissan Titan have made the company a regular go-to manufacturer for pickup trucks by car shoppers and truck enthusiasts alike.

The Nissan Frontier has been around for quite a while and has typically always been the same: reliable quality with street-ready performance and a race-ready profile. It has never been big on performance gains like some of its beefier rivals due to its smaller 3.8L V6 engine that pumps out 310 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque. However, it more than makes up for its shortcomings with its consistently high-end fuel economy, topping out at 18 MPG in the city and 24 MPG on the highway.

The Nissan Titan is the other truck offering from the Nissan brand. It may not be as big a seller as the Frontier, but it lives up to its name as a highly durable, rough-and-tumble pickup sporting a hefty 5.6L V8 that tops out at 400 hp and up to 413 lb-ft of torque. With this power, the Titan pulls up nicely next to the competition.

And even though the Nissan truck offerings are cheaper than many of its competitors, the company didn’t skimp out on the safety features. Electronic stability and traction control, side-impact bars, eight sensor-based airbags, four-wheel ventilated disc brakes with brake assistance, and adjustable head restraints make Nissan’s pickups as reliable as they are safe. And with all of that in mind, there is no denying that Nissan deserves the last spot on this list.

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