Pickup trucks have soared in popularity in recent years. No longer restricted to work use or to country life, you'll readily spot a variety of pickups in urban and suburban environments. According to Forbes, pickup trucks make up about 15% of U.S. vehicle sales with around a million sold each year. What can explain the impressive growth of the segment? In addition to lower gas prices, pickup trucks have become practical for everyday life. Automakers are investing in the segment by increasing towing and payload capacities, improving off-road capability, and making their trucks as comfortable and easy to drive as premium SUVs.
If you're in the market for a new pickup truck, there are numerous options to choose from that will check all the boxes on your list. The graph above shows the most popular models from 2019 based on units sold. We've driven the top 5 pickups on this list and sum up their benefits below to help you narrow down your list.
1. Ford F-Series
Topping the list of best-selling trucks at 662,572 units is the Ford F-Series which includes the Ford F-150, and the Ford Super Duty lineup. The F-150 is, unsurprisingly, the most popular since it's practical for the majority of truck buyers. The lineup of trims for the 2019 F-150 offers something for everyone from a workhorse regular cab without many bells and whistles for $30K, to a luxurious, amenity-filled Limited trim that falls just shy of $70K.
With the numerous trim options come a variety of engine options from a 3.0-liter diesel to a 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 in the F-150 4x4 Supercrew Limited we tested. The turbo V6 engine is a monster that produces 450 and 510 lb-ft of torque, giving the truck quick acceleration and a towing capacity of 13,200 pounds. In addition to the brawn, the F-150 offers a comfortable ride, and impressive technology like a user-friendly infotainment system and trailering technology.
Starting MSRP: $28,155
2. Ram Pickup
Taking the number two spot on the list is the Ram pickup with 461,115 units sold. Ram's truck lineup includes the Ram 1500 and the HD series. Not only did we enjoy driving the RAM 1500, but we awarded it our 2019 Truck of the Year because it is so well-rounded. A less blocky front end and a new grille give the Ram 1500 unique and handsome styling.
The variety of trim options mean you can choose from the rugged and off-road-focused Ram 1500 Rebel, or an opulent Laramie Longhorn with premium cabin materials and a beastly HEMI V8. The driving experience is excellent thanks to an updated suspension, giving the Ram 1500 a comfortable ride that absorbs bumps well (unexpected for a tough pickup). Ram is also at the forefront of technology with an optional massive 12" infotainment screen which is vivid and easy to use.
Starting MSRP: $33,440
3. Chevrolet Silverado
The third best selling truck is the Chevrolet Silverado coming in at 412,258 units sold. The Silverado got a complete redesign for 2019 and now offers a comfortable ride, more space than the previous model, and a choice of 6 updated engine options. You'll be able to choose from a 4.3-liter V6 for 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque, two different types of a 5.3-liter V8 both making 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque (one has Active Fuel Management and the other has Dynamic Fuel Management), a 6.2-liter V8 that makes 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, a 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 310 hp and 348 lb-ft of torque, and a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder turbodiesel.
In addition to the menu of solid engine options, the Silverado's new transmission and improved aerodynamics make this truck a pleasure to drive. A long list of safety tech including the Surround Vision camera system, Head-Up Display, and Low-Speed Forward Automatic Braking also make it a smart choice and provide confidence for the first time truck owner.
Starting MSRP: $29,895
4. Toyota Tacoma
Although it falls significantly short of the sales numbers reached by the first three trucks on this list, the Toyota Tacoma holds its own to clinch the 4th spot with 187,662 units sold. If a full-size truck is too big for your needs, a mid-size option like the Toyota Tacoma may be just the right fit. The Tacoma is a great choice for anyone looking for a capable, reliable and rugged pickup truck. We drove the Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport trim and enjoyed its off-road capability, unique exterior styling, and the powerful 3.5-liter V6 that offers up 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque.
For everyday towing and hauling needs, the Tacoma will come through with flying colors. A towing capacity of 6,800 pounds and a payload capacity of 1,620 pounds make this truck ideal for work or play. The 2019 Tacoma starts at an affordable $25,700 for the truck shopper on a budget, and the top trim starts at $42,810.
Starting MSRP: $25,700
5. GMC Sierra
The premium GMC Sierra lands in the 5th spot for sales numbers in 2019 with 163,603 units sold. This truck effortlessly blends rugged and upscale with its styling and features. In the 2019 redesign, the GMC Sierra gets larger and bolder with a more aggressive exterior and a luxurious interior featuring premium materials. The GMC Sierra can tackle off-road adventures, especially when you go with the sporty AT4 trim which is new for 2019. The Sierra AT4 gets you a two-inch suspension lift, a locking rear differential, and numerous skid plates to protect its underbody.
The GMC Sierra can be had with 5 different engines which include a 285-horsepower 4.3-liter V6, a 310-horsepower 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, a 355 horsepower 5.3-liter V8, a 420 horsepower 6.2-liter V8, and a turbodiesel. The Sierra offers a comfortable, smooth ride and handles like a vehicle a fraction of its size. Even though this is a refined truck that drives more like a crossover, it can take on the heavy towing and hauling jobs with a towing capacity of 12,000 pounds and a payload capacity of over 2,000 pounds.
Starting MSRP: $35,100