Perceived brand quality plays a role in the consideration of any automobile purchase, but truck makers, in particular, warrant deeper research simply because of what most owners put these machines through. Many stay loyal for decades – if not an entire lifetime – to certain auto brands not only because their grandfather may have driven one, but because it has been reliably churning out products since 1905. Take Chevrolet as an example. The “Like a Rock” slogan is not only catchy, but also accurate considering how many Silverados there are on the road. In this post we go in-depth as to which truck manufacturers rise to the top, and why.
Most everyone on the planet is familiar with the now seemingly ubiquitous F-series pickups, probably because they’ve been around some 70 years. Before that even, Ford had already sold four million trucks by 1948, the first based on the legendary Model T and able to carry a one-ton payload.
Fast-forward to present day, and America’s best-selling truck, the Ford F-150, is already in its 13th generation. The badge has become synonymous with affordability and the ability to get stuff done. The latest iteration, originally debuting in 2015, represents one of the biggest milestones because it’s not just the toughest, but also the smartest and most capable to date.
Unlike the traditional F-150s of old, the current version has an on-board birds-eye camera to help in parking and general maneuvering; a trailer hitch assist eliminating the need for a second person to handle guiding duties; LED spotlights all around the vehicle; and a selection of four engines, highlighted by an efficient and lightweight turbocharged 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 generating 325 horsepower and 375 lb-ft of torque.
Similar to Ford, General Motors has quite the storied history when it comes to the heavy-duty segment. GMC was unveiled to the world at the 1912 New York Auto Show, and really took off in subsequent years, as they were lauded for their attractive curvy designs and comfortable, car-like interiors. During World War II, the automaker delivered over half a million trucks to the U.S. military, cementing its reputation as a producer of hard-working pickups.
Today, the company continues to be praised for creating great interiors. In 2016, GMC received “Most Refined Brand” honors from automotive researcher Kelley Blue Book, largely because of the available grade-topping Denali trims upping the level of luxury and technology significantly.
Once upon a time, from the 1990s to the early 2000s, one couldn’t escape Bob Seger’s catchy “Like a Rock” anthem which was borrowed by Chevy and used in a number of long-running truck ads on TV and radio. They were trying to drive home the idea that models such as the Silverado were as dependable and strong as the earth we stood on.
Introduced in 1999 as a standalone offering (also available as a trim in 1975 on the manufacturer’s former C/K lineup), the Silverado was advertised as a muscular, aerodynamic pickup built upon an innovative new platform and boasting powerful Vortec V8 power plants. Really, not all that has changed: the ones found in stores today are still athletic-looking with big bulging fenders, crisp body lines, and a dominant front grille. When certain other competitors are shrinking their engines sizes, Chevrolet maintains a robust V8 portfolio including a 5.3-liter making 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque, and a class-leading 6.2-liter pumping out 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque rated for towing up to 12,000 pounds.