Trucks are big, bold, and highly capable, making it easy and tempting to buy too much machine. A good place to start when selecting a pickup truck is with a realistic assessment of your actual needs. If you’re not planning to carry multi-ton loads or pull a very heavy trailer, you probably don’t need a full-sized, heavy-duty pickup truck. A lighter-duty full-sized truck or even a compact/midsized pickup should fit the bill. If you don’t need to haul dirty cargo such as construction debris, mulch, or manure, another vehicle type, such as a minivan or an SUV, could be a better choice. If you only need a pickup once in a while, for some specific task, you might be better off renting one for these occasions rather than buying one and making it do double duty as a family car.
Ram trucks seem to be everywhere you look, and there is a good reason for that. Not only do they tend to be some of the more affordable trucks on the market, but they’re built to give rugged performances. The 2018 Ram 1500 4wd is no exception. This truck has a lot of the bells and whistles as well as the power to perform. While it could use a few more driver assist features and a better towing capacity to put it at the front of the pack, the Ram 1500’s quiet and sophisticated cabin and powerful 8-speed automatic transmission add a lot of flair to this vehicle.
Pickup truck buyers are some of the most loyal customers that an automaker can rely on. If Dad drove a Ford F-Series, there’s a good chance you drive an F-Series. If Grandpa drove a Chevy, you and Pop probably do too. So what would it take to make you change gears?
Luckily, if you are buying a truck for the first time, you probably don’t have these intractable loyalties, but that doesn’t mean that die-hard truck owners can’t change their minds. While brands like Ford and Chevy position their offerings as the “Work Truck” and the “Best Deal,” Chrysler’s Ram division has sold trucks that speak to a slightly different audience.
Compact Pickup Trucks
The compact pickup truck category consists of smaller-sized models such as the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Nissan Frontier, and Toyota Tacoma. These trucks are built on a separate chassis frame from their full-size brethren and usually offer a range of four-cylinder and V6 engines. Not as small as past generations, these trucks are sometimes referred to as midsized. Another choice in this category is the Honda Ridgeline. This creative truck is designed for suburbia. Think of it as the mechanical sibling to the Pilot SUV.
Full-Sized Pickup Trucks
Full-sized trucks are the brawny workhorses of the pickup world. They are larger and more rugged, and they ride higher off the ground than compacts do. They also come in more configurations of cab type, bed size, and drivetrain. The basic pickup truck is what used to be called the half-ton truck and is now often called 1500-series. Current models in this class include the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Ram 1500, Ford F-150, GMC Sierra 1500, Nissan Titan, and Toyota Tundra. These form the backbone of the pickup truck market. They serve well as work trucks and, for many, as a family car substitute.
Heavier-duty pickup trucks, which may carry numerical designations such as 2500 or 3500, are configured for carrying very serious loads and for hauling fifth-wheel trailers, those with a hitch point in the center of the cargo bed. These are bulky trucks for the most demanding chores, making them overkill for most noncommercial purposes shy of hauling a huge trailer.