The coolest pickup trucks currently on sale in the US
Pickup trucks have evolved from traditional utility vehicles used by farmers, builders, electricians, etc., to transport their products and tools, to lifestyle vehicles that are used by anyone in any profession – even in metropolitan areas.
Since the appearance of SUVs based on pickups, manufacturers have installed the same amount of luxury and technology in “normal” trucks. This led to trucks such as the GMC Sierra Denali and Ford F-150 Limited – both feature many of the same luxuries and features as their Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator SUV counterparts. Automakers also designed smaller vans for markets with narrower roads and European countries with limited space. Some trucks are built to be tough from the factory, while others are designed to be luxurious, with added durability. Ford even showed off a sports truck in the form of the F-150 Raptor – an evolution of the original SVT Lightning – with many others following suit.
the Ford Maverick is one of the newest additions to the world of pickup trucks. Technically a compact truck, it’s not much smaller than the Ford Ranger, however, it doesn’t have the same off-road or payload capabilities. The truck is built on the same Ford C2 platform like Bronco Sport, Escape and Lincoln Corsair.
The Maverick comes standard with a 2.5-liter inline-4 hybrid engine, mated to an eCVT transmission that powers the front wheels only. A 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbo i4 mated to an 8-speed automatic is an option and is the only way to get all-wheel drive. The hybrid produces 191 hp, while the EcoBoost makes 250 hp.
Hyundai Santa Cruz
the Hyundai Santa Cruz was a surprise when presented and subsequently launched – around the same time as the Ford Maverick. The Santa Cruz is based on the Tucson, sharing the same design language and almost looks the same from the front.
The Santa Cruz comes standard with a 2.5-liter inline-4 in two states of tune. The first is naturally aspirated, produces 191 bhp and is mated to an 8-speed torque converter automatic gearbox. The second is a turbocharged version with 281 horsepower and mated to an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, an interesting choice for a pickup truck. Unlike the Ford Maverick which prioritizes utility, the Santa Cruz is an SUV first, which means better luxury and better features – the trade-off being that it’s less useful for business purposes due to the ergonomics of the smaller bed.
Ford Ranger Raptor
the Ford Ranger is a brilliant pickup truck, just behind the legendary Toyota Hilux. In the US, the Ranger is only available with a 2.3-liter Ecoboost turbo-4 producing 270 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. In other territories, the Ranger is available with a choice of diesel engines, from a 2.0-litre twin-turbo i4 to a 3.2-litre i5 turbo.
The Ranger Raptor finally becomes available in the United States in 2023 with the launch of the all-new Ranger. As with the Raptor in other countries, it will feature a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 that will produce 394 hp and 430 lb-ft. This is a major step up from the current Ranger Raptor which is fitted with a 2.0-liter twin-turbodiesel, producing 210 hp.
the Jeep Gladiator is a name that has been revived after the last model was discontinued in 1988. Jeep reinvigorated the model for the 2020 model year, with a pickup based on the Wrangler platform. Like the Wrangler, the Gladiator has a retractable soft top or a fully removable hardtop.
The Gladiator is available with a 3.6-liter V6 producing 285 hp or a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 producing 260 hp. All trims come standard with an 8-speed automatic, although only the gasoline engine can be mated to a 6-speed manual transmission.
Chevrolet Silverado ZR2
the The Silverado ZR2 is Chevrolet’s answer to the Ford F-150 Raptor and RAM TRX. It may not have quite the same performance as its two rivals – producing just 420 hp and 460 lb-ft from a naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8 – but it has improved styling. and serious off-road capabilities.
Like its dinosaur-named competitors, the ZR2 has upgraded suspension and underbody protection for tough times — or when owners want to live out their Baja fantasies. The ZR2 is also equipped with huge 33-inch all-terrain tires and, like the TRX, is only available in crew cab format. The upgraded, darkened styling really improves the overall look of the truck.
GMC Sierra Denali
the GMC Sierra Denali – essentially the Cadillac Escalade of the American pickup world – is a magnificent beast of a vehicle. With its huge grille, massive rims and luxurious interior, the Sierra Denali is an impressive truck. GM updated the Sierra for the 2022 model year, ditching the gasoline V6 and one of the V8s, leaving just a 310-hp 2.7-liter turbo-4, a 277-liter 3.0-liter ch Duramax turbodiesel and 420 hp EcoTec3 6.2 liter V8.
The refresh also added new trim levels to the lineup, including GMC’s version of the Chevy Silverado’s ZR2 package, called the AT4X. Denali Ultimate trim was also added, which includes much of the optional extras on the normal Denali as standard. The GMC Sierra Denali is a really cool full-size pickup for anyone who wants the luxury and comfort of an SUV with the capabilities of a truck.
Toyota Tundra TRD
the the all-new Toyota Tundra has officially started production and brought about multiple engineering and design changes. The second generation Tundra was in production from 2007 until 2021, with only one major refresh in 2014. The main difference between the second and third generation Tundra is that the new one is only available with a V6 engine.
The top-of-the-line Tundra currently on sale is the TRD Pro, which produces 389 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque. The TRD Pro also features off-road upgrades such as large off-road tires, upgraded suspension and shocks. The new Tundra is also available in a hybrid version, with the same engine, but mated to an electric motor, resulting in 437 hp and 583 lb-ft of torque.
the RAM TRX was designed, engineered and built in direct competition with the Ford F-150 Raptor. The RAM’s name is even a pun because TRX literally stands for T-Rex – as in, the dinosaur that eats velociraptors. The TRX even has an image of a T-Rex eating a velociraptor in the engine bay.
Childish and funky jokes aside, the TRX is a ridiculous brute of a truck. Dodge fitted it with the supercharged 6.2-liter Hellcat The V8 engine, which in this application produces 702 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque, results in what is (currently) the most powerful production gas-powered pickup truck on the market – since electric trucks produce significantly more power.
the Rivian R1T is a truck that has been teased since 2018 but was officially launched in 2021 for the 2022 model year. The R1T is fully electric and is powered by four motors – one for each wheel – with a dual-motor version coming in the future. The R1T has three battery capacities, namely 105 KWh, 135 KWh and 180 KWh. Only the 135 KWh battery is currently available.
The currently available four-motor R1T produces 835 hp and nearly 900 lb-ft of torque, with a 0-60 mph sprint in just 3.3 seconds. It’s as fast as the Bentley Continental GT W12 in a vehicle that weighs 7,200 pounds! The Rivian R1T is the first of several highly anticipated electric trucks to hit the market, beating out the GMC Hummer EV, Chevy Silverado EV and Ford F-150 Lightning.
Ford F-150 Raptor
The F-150 Raptor is Ford’s crowning achievement in sports trucks. The current Raptor was launched last year and it has impressed many with its various mechanical and visual updates. The engine remains at the same 450 hp, 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 like the previous generation, but it got a new exhaust system that makes it look like a race truck.
The Raptor’s suspension and electronic management systems have also been updated, providing a more involved feel when driving off-road. While the Raptor doesn’t come close to the total madness that is the 702 horsepower RAM TRX, it’s still a fun truck to drive. And who knows, maybe the next Raptor R (which would have the supercharged V8 from the Shelby GT500) will reclaim the “most ridiculous factory standard truck” title.
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