While dependability is important to consider when shopping for any vehicle, for most pickup truck shoppers, it is non-negotiable. Whether a truck is mainly used for work or rugged adventures, it needs to hold up through miles of hauling, towing or off-roading. For shoppers buying their first truck or those looking to upgrade, the 2019 J.D. Power Dependability Study can help identify the best one for the job. We cover which midsize, large light-duty and large heavy-duty trucks are in it for the long haul. 

J.D. Power Dependability Report

J.D. Power Dependability Study

J.D. Power's 2019 dependability study provides a summary of the brands and vehicles that ranked the highest. For overall mass market brands, Toyota led the pack with the least number of reported problems, followed by Chevrolet and Buick. In addition to the brand ratings, the study also evaluates individual vehicles by segment to help shoppers choose the ones they can rely on. 

The study measures dependability based on four factors including Overall Dependability, Powertrain, Body and Interior and Features and Accessory. The results are based on responses from 32,952 original owners of vehicles purchased new in 2016 after three years of ownership.

  • Overall Dependability: based on problems that have caused a complete breakdown of a component, feature or item in a vehicle
  • Powertrain: based on problems with the engine or transmission as well as overall driving experience
  • Body and Interior: based on problems with the vehicle's exterior, seats and interior issues like seatbelt malfunction, wind noise, and leaks. 
  • Features and Accessory: based on problems with controls and displays, audio, infotainment, and HVAC

Vehicles from each segment and size category are ranked based on a scoring legend of "Among the Best", "Better than Most", "Above Average" and "The Rest". The results of the owner surveys identified these three pickup trucks which have been hauling since 2016 with the fewest issues.

1. Most Dependable Midsize: Nissan Frontier

2016 Nissan Frontier
The Nissan Frontier's ride may not be the most refined but its value is unmatched. (image: Nissan)

The Nissan Frontier is a popular midsize pickup truck thanks to its value and capability. Now it has a top dependability award to add to the list of benefits. Frontier owners who bought their truck in 2016 reported the fewest issues after three years, giving potential buyers confidence when buying this truck new or used. When equipped with the available V6 engine, the 2016 Frontier offers 261 horsepower allowing it to tow up to 6,500 pounds and haul 1,471 pounds. The Frontier's ride is rougher and more truck-like than the competition but it will also perform better off-road. If the latest tech and an upscale interior aren't on your list of top priorities, buying a used Nissan Frontier will serve you well for years to come. 

Used 2016 Nissan Frontier Average Starting Price: $14,785

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2. Most Dependable Large Light-Duty: Toyota Tundra

2016 Toyota Tundra
On-road or off, the Toyota Tundra is a reliable choice. (image: Toyota)

In addition to being the most dependable mass-market brand, Toyota also takes home a prize for its full-size Toyota Tundra pickup truck. 2016 Toyota Tundra owners had little to complain about when it comes to the truck's dependability three years in. Other benefits you'll get when you buy a 2016 Tundra include responsive steering and a powerful V8 base engine for 310-horsepower. The Tundra has a maximum payload capacity of 2,060 pounds and can tow up to 10,500 pounds. If you can look past the lackluster fuel economy numbers (13-15 city/17-19 highway) and a rough ride when not hauling or towing, the Tundra will be a trusty, dependable workhorse. 

Used 2016 Toyota Tundra Average Starting Price: $24,275

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3. Most Dependable Heavy-Duty: Chevy Silverado HD

2016 Chevy Silverado HD
The Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD will be a loyal workhorse for years to come. (image: GM/Chevy)

Although the large Chevy Silverado 2500HD may not be your go-to for daily city driving, it won't let you down when it comes time to get the job done. This truck was ranked the most dependable heavy-duty and will outshine the competition for payload and towing capacity. The 2016 Silverado 2500HD can be found with a standard 6.0-liter V8 for 360 horsepower or a 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8 for 397 horsepower. No task is too large with a towing capacity of up to 14,500 pounds and a payload capacity of up to 3,559 pounds. The 2016 Silverado Heavy-Duty offers an excellent ride and plenty of updated features after a complete redesign in 2015 including an available Digital Steering Assist System and updated infotainment. 

Used 2016 Chevy Silverado 2500HD Average Starting Price: $34,797

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