Ever wondered what types of pickup trucks are out there? We've put together a concise list for you that covers this very question. These are not mutually exclusive and some trucks may belong in more than one category. However, whether you're considering buying your own, or are already a fan of this genre of vehicles, you'll find this list interesting to read.
These are the types of pickup trucks currently on the market -
- Full-size pickup trucks (Including one-ton, 3/4 ton, and half-ton trucks).
- Midsize pickup trucks
- Heavy-duty pickup trucks
- Compact/mini/coupe pickup trucks
- Electric pickup trucks
- Hybrid pickup trucks
- Luxury pickup trucks
What do these titles mean? What's a coupe pickup truck and what's the difference between a half-ton truck and a midsize one? Keep reading to learn more about each type and see examples too. And don't forget to answer our poll at the end of this post! We'd love to hear about your own favorite type of truck!
1. Full-Size Pickup Trucks
Full-size pickup truck gives you a lot of space, both inside and out. They are highly capable brawny workhorses and ride higher off the ground than compacts would. In many cases, a full-size truck can also give you all-wheel drive or 4WD capability, to help you complete our job. In short, these behemoths of the road allow you to get where you want, when you want.
If you’re the kind of person who carries lots of cargo around – all of the time, the full-sized pickup trucks could be your calling. Unfortunately, for all the bells and whistles they tend to have, full-sized pickup trucks can be prohibitively expensive.
Full-size pickup trucks are further divided into several categories, based on their payload capacity. The payload is simply the weight the truck can carry around. You can read more here about payload and what it means for a pickup truck. The sub-categories for full-size pickup trucks are -
1. Half-ton trucks
These are the most popular trucks for family use. They include the popular Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado (formerly known as Silverado 1500) and Ram 1500. Half-ton trucks are still full-size and can do quite a lot.
We actually dedicated a long post to what kind of travel-trailer you can pull with a half-ton truck. If you're wondering about a larger 5th wheel unit, read this: Can you pull a 5th wheel with a half-ton truck.
2. 3/4-ton trucks
With larger engines and better suspension systems and other complements, these trucks can haul and tow larger weights than half-ton trucks. They include the F-250, Silverado 2500HD and Ram 2500. Most people consider these to be heavy duty trucks.
3. 1-ton trucks
With these beasts, there's no question about them being heavy duty workhorses. If you need to do the heavy pulling, towing or hauling, then you can't go wrong with one of these. Models include the Ford F-350 an F-450, Chevy Silverado 3500HD and Ram 3500.
Heavy-duty trucks, while being full-sized trucks in terms of size, are a type of truck all to its own, so we'll talk about them some more in a minute.
Going beyond, Ford, Chevy, and Dodge
It's not just Ford, Chevy and Dodge Ram though. Let's take a look at Honda's full-size truck:
The Toyota Tundra is widely considered a good option when it comes to capability and robustness. It is one of the most well rounded full-sized pickup trucks you could ever want in a truck. IT can tow more than 10,000 pounds, which is more than enough for most RVs and popular trailers. The interior is gigantic, offering plenty of space for everyone on board.
There are endless customization options with the Toyota Tundra. For a premium full-sized pickup truck, prices start at a relatively humble $32,000.
2. Midsize pickup trucks
Midsize trucks hit the sweet spot when it comes to hauling heavy loads and power in a tiny package. And while we’re not suggesting they’re substitutes for full-sized pickup trucks, and don’t even promise to do as such, mid-sized pickup trucks are ideal for everyday use. These juggernauts offer towing capabilities and high payload as full-sized pickup trucks, and can even park inside parked garages.
Mid-sized trucks have recently gained more interest from consumers, spurring automakers into actions as they have almost doubled their new offerings in the last few years, with more models on the way. Let’s discuss some high-end mid-sized pickup trucks.
The Toyota Tacoma is an iconic mid-size pickup truck. It takes all the best features of its predecessor (otherwise known as the Hilux) and refines them to a greater extent. The Tacoma does sacrifice a few premium options that are found in newer competitors, but this is to keep it from becoming too prohibitively expensive.
The Ford Ranger makes a sweeping return this year to reclaim its lost legacy as one of the most popular nameplates in the small to midsize pickup truck space. At launch, it offers a 2.3 liter four cylinder with a ten-speed automatic transmission and a 270 hp turbocharged power train. It has four wheel drive capacities and also offers electronically locking rear differentials.
Honda’s biggest vehicle is the Ridgeline, it’s configured in such a way that some say it handles more like a car than a pickup truck. It offers plenty of capabilities such as an all-wheel-drive, V6 power, dual hinged tailgate, and dual hinged tailgate. The convenient air conditioner offers powerful cooling capabilities you wouldn’t expect from a normal pickup truck.
If you want a small pickup truck that hits the sweet spot in terms of affordability and functionality, then the Nissan Frontier should be a top contender. It may not be loaded with the best features, but the 2017 Frontier has just enough to serve many drivers. It is available in both extended cab and crew cab, and a 6.1 foot or 5-foot bed length, the Frontier is the perfect choice for five trim levels.
Chevrolet Colorado is one of the best small pickups on the market, for obvious reasons. The 2018 model boasts impressive handling and maneuverability, particularly when you were to compare it with its full-size counterpart. It features a broad range of customization options, including three engine choices, in-laid triple-sealed doors, and Bose Sound System. If you opt for the LT trim, you can even enjoy 4G Wi-Fi hot spot.
3. Heavy Duty Pickup Truck
Going back to those full-size 1-ton trucks.
Heavy-duty pickup trucks are mostly considered as massive workhorses, for obvious reasons. The latest models feature amped-up capacities compared to their smaller counterparts, yet they combine an increasingly wide range of modern day comforts. Some models boast having climate controlled leather seating, custom look appearance packages, and mobile Wi-Fi capability.
The can be coupled with gooseneck or fifth wheels hitches, with some models such as the 3500-series. You can even get them in with dual rear wheel configuration, increasing their capabilities even more (Read more about duallies here). Heavy-duty trucks have enormous towing capacities over 17,000 pounds.
2019 Ram 3500
Ram’s 3500 series places more importance on towing than its predecessor. These trucks come in a variety of styles including two crew-cab configurations. In order to facilitate its towing capabilities, the truck is outfitted with a traditional leaf spring rear suspension. But if you want a smoother ride, you can opt for air suspension to even out the bumps. While this sacrifices its towing capacity slightly, it does offer a smoother experience while towing. It has a towing capacity of 18,210 pounds.
GMC Sierra 3500 HD and 2500 HD
The GMC Sierra HD has a massive face and can be thought of as the prettier version of GM’s more heavy-duty pickups. The Sierra offers six-way tailgate for easier bed access and can tow up to 20,000 pounds for the 3500HD model and 14,500 pounds for the 2500 HD model.
4. Compact/mini/coupe pickup trucks
These ‘mini’ trucks aren’t very small at all. In fact, they are widely thought of as near-midsize trucks with almost full-size proportions. Mini or compact trucks were widely popular in the 80s and 90s thanks to the Chevy S-10s, Nissan hardbodies and Toyota trucks, and Ford rangers.
Today’s US markets are dominated by full-size and midsize pickup trucks. Other countries still have these smaller versions.
5. Electric Pickup Trucks
It is clear that most automakers are making a move towards the electric car market with crossovers, but very few seem to be focusing on electric trucks. The obvious reason why very few electric pickups exist is due to the extravagantly expensive battery costs to make the vehicle capable of towing over 7,000 lbs. The market is still largely open to manufacturers, it’s still largely up for grabs, but here are a few likely contenders that you should look out for.
Rivian R1T is still under development but managed to cause quite a bit of frenzy when it made its debut at the 2018 L.A. Autoshow. This luxury truck is designed for more lifestyle and off-road reasons than purely work-related. Although Rivian has tried reinventing the R1T’s aesthetics, the model still manages to look a lot like traditional. That said, it being electric is a style statement all by itself.
Atlis XT is widely considered as an underdog in the market, it is a fraction of the workforce as Rivian and a smaller budget to work with, but it has still managed to boast some impressive features. For one, it has a range of between 300 to 500 miles, of course being unloaded without cargos and trailer weights. It can fully charge in just 15 minutes, but that is yet to be seen. The enormous price tag of $45,000 might be a little too much, even if it’s an electric pickup truck.
6. Hybrid Trucks
Hybrid cars have been all the rage in the automotive works because nothing tops their fuel efficiency, causing a lot of drivers to make a switch. But somehow, this isn’t exactly true for hybrid trucks. For starters, hybrid pickups are in short supply but they also remain in a fairly high price range. Many automakers claim they’re working on hybrid pickup trucks.
The technology for hybrid trucks is still fairly preliminary, which is probably the primary reason why they haven’t succeeded in today’s marketplace. But that is about to change as automakers are being spurred into action.
Ford, for example, says they are working on hybrid versions of their best selling and iconic F-150 pickup. Their engineers are still figuring out how to make this work without skimp on power. This announcement comes at an opportune time because the market for heavy-duty electric trucks is beginning to prefer higher fuel efficiency. For now, let’s discuss the only hybrid vehicles available at the time of this article’s writing.
GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid
The GMC Sierra 1500 hybrid is one of the first pickup trucks of its kind and debuted in 2005. It is hooked up to an eight-cylinder gasoline power plant with an electrical unit. The Sierra 1500 hybrid utilizes a hybrid propulsion engine that utilizes three lead-acid automotive batteries as its electrical power source. It boasts an impressive 20 mpg through urban areas and 23 mpg on the highway.
It comes with many features such as four-wheel drive, standard side, automatics transmission, and stability control. It also boasts a slew of interior electronics such as satellite radio navigation system, MP3 player, and Bluetooth input. The GMC Sierra, unfortunately, sacrifices in the towing capacity department.
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Hybrid
The Silverado 1500 Hybrid is the only other hybrid pickup truck on the market today. It can reach 20 mph in eclectic mode with a 5000 trailer hooked to its end. It can cruise to a range of an estimated 500 miles without stopping down. Noteworthy features include two hybrid drive train, low rolling resistance tires, and an electrically variable transmission system. Unfortunately, it can only two a limit of 6,100 pounds.
More info on the Silverado website
7) Luxury pickup trucks
There are luxury variants of just about everything out there, and pickup trucks are no different. You can easily integrate all the luxury features from higher end cars into a powerful truck. This includes exceptionally elegant cabins with high-grade upholstery, state of the art connectivity features, and opulent wood accents that maximize comfort and esthetics.
Luxury truck choices range from heavy duty models with the ability to haul large horse trailers, boats, and RVs, to compact models with massively upgraded interiors. Prices are ceiling high, ranging from just under $40,000 to over $100,000 – you are paying for the price of luxury after all.
You can configure these pickups endlessly with additional mechanical features for increased functionality, but the prices will soar by the thousands.
a) 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 High Country
This luxury pickup truck is equipped with a powerful standard 5.3L EcoTec3 V8 engine is a monster of an engine that packs in 420 hp and 460 lb-ft torque. It is outfitted with dual rear wheels that can tow up to 23,000 pounds of weight, meanwhile, its driver is safely nestled inside the elegantly designed leather interior. The Silverado is available in two and four-wheel drive models.
The thinner sidewalls and lower ride height come with optional 22-inch wheels and lots of chrome. This trim also benefits from the right choice of plastic and chrome trim, possessing a smart design that features an enormous bed with 72 cubic feet of space. Optional upgrades include read under-seat storage, rear camera mirror, a head-up display, and HD surround vision.
See more about the Silverado High Country here
b) 2019 F-150 Limited
A robust 10-speed automatic downshifts smartly without making too much noise in the background. The four-wheel drive will be a great choice for RV owners, with a towing capacity of at least 9400 pounds.
This truck is gorgeous to look at but wait until you get inside. Plush features include two-tone leather interior with seats that offer massaging and ventilation functions. Look up in a crew cab configuration and you'll see a twin-panel moonroof above your head. Driving is made safe with a range of cameras sharing their input into the 8" screen, as well as features such as adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beams and automatic braking.
Learn more about the luxury features of this truck right here
So, which do you like best?
If you own a truck or are planning to buy one someday, we're curious to know which one you'd prefer. Are you a fan of the huge behemoth like the Ford F series, the Chevy Silverado, the Rams, and the Toyota Tundra? Or maybe you think a midsize truck such as the Chevy Colorado, the Toyota Tacoma or the Ridgeline are better suited for your needs?
Thinking about towing a travel trailer? You might be interested in How Big a Travel Trailer Can an F-150 Pull? Also, just out of curiosity check out How Much Can You Pull with a Chevy Silverado?