With trucks coming in so many different sizes and automotive flavors, how does one go about choosing the right type for his or her lifestyle? Factors including budget, intended use, and possibly location all come into play when making the decision. For the weekend warrior who requires A to B transportation Monday through Friday, but wants to play in the back country on days off, the urban and off-road friendly Honda Ridgeline makes a great choice. When more ruggedness is required, something along the lines of the Ford F-150 may be better suited. See our suggestions for the top trucks could be tailor-made for you below.
Honda Ridgeline: City Dweller
This unique vehicle by Honda is part SUV, part truck. With a unibody frame, the Ridgeline has the advantages of providing a passenger-car-like ride and handling. Its relatively compact size also means city slickers should find fitting into tight underground parking lot spaces an easy task. But don’t let these practical attributes fool you — there is a dual-action tailgate for easy loading and unloading of gear, a maximum tow rating of 5,000 pounds, and an integrated tow hitch.
The first generation’s (2006 to 2014) 3.5-liter V6 VTEC motor producing 250 horsepower and 247 lb-ft of torque, coupled with four-wheel drive, equates to instant fun. Many can be had for a reasonable price tag of $30,000 or less.
Ford F-150: Part-Time Workhouse
There was a lot of hoopla surrounding Ford’s latest iteration of one of the best selling light duty pickups in America: the F-150. Rebuilt from the ground up, post-2015 models are more powerful and fuel efficient than ever before, constructed using large amounts of aluminum resulting in a weight loss of nearly 700 pounds compared to before.
They also boast a whole new lineup of turbocharged EcoBoost mills, topped by a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 delivering a V8-worthy 365 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. Capable of towing up to 12,200 pounds and possessing a maximum payload of 3,300 pounds, not to mention the five available grades and an almost endless amount of cab, convenience and powertrain configurations, the F-150 has no problems doing occasional heavy lifting.
Ram 2500: Heavy Duty
When things get serious, it’s time to turn to a truck of a heartier nature. You can tell the RAM 2500 is built for the work site, starting with the suspension system, which comes in two varieties to support the vehicle’s ability to tow up to an impressive 17,980 pounds. Customers can choose between a robust multi-link coil setup or air suspension that can detect load levels from a trailer, automatically increasing air pressure to maintain a level height thus improving stability and ride quality.
For such performance, an engine of equal significance needs to lie underneath the hood. There are a trio of offerings, most popular perhaps being a 6.7-liter inline six cylinder Cummins Turbo Diesel. Mated to a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox, this monster of a motor can churn out as much as 800 lb-ft of torque depending on the trim. With measurements in the neighborhood of 98 inches (length), 78 inches (width) and 73 inches (height), however, these pickups are best suited for big streets and open highways.