Buying a truck as your first car is really something you only see in the good ole US of A. But there is logic to the story as trucks are practical, and if you are into manual labor of any sort, a truck is a perfect car for you.
And it’s really hard to go against the number one, most popular truck on the planet the Ford F150. But if you aren’t into Ford trucks, Dodge Ram 1500, Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra, and the Toyota Tundra are the only true competition.
But if you want a heavy-duty truck, or you just want a decent hauler for special occasions, the Ford F450, Dodge RAM 4500, Chevy Silverado 3500, GMC Sierra 3500 are the ones to consider. The best smaller trucks are the Ford Ranger, Honda Ridgeline, and the Jeep Gladiator.
If you love fast cars, but you need a truck, buying a Ford F150 Raptor or a Dodge RAM TRX will offer you the sportiest truck experience out there. Both of these offer punchy engines, wider track tires, and 0-60mph times not far from full-on sports cars.
Best entry-level full-size trucks
The Ford F150, Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra, Dodge RAM 1500 are more than enough for most people. With these, you are getting a full-on truck experience, decent hauling capabilities, a practical large-sized bed, and mild off-roading capability.
The Ford F150 is by far the most popular truck in this segment, and it’s easy to see why. Ford manages to offer the F150 for under $30k new, and there are loads of great options if you are buying used. Parts are readily available 24/7 and you really can’t go wrong with an F150.
The Chevy Silverado and the GMC Sierra share the same engine, transmission, chassis, but they are indeed very different. A few years ago these two offered the same styling, but now the GMC offers a more urban look, while a Silverado is mostly aimed at outdoor-loving individuals.
The Dodge RAM 1500 is probably Ford F150’s greatest competitor, and telling you to buy one over the other is extremely hard as both of these have a fairly loyal customer base. The Toyota Tundra on the other hand is completely different, not as utilitarian, but equally if not even more reliable.
Best heavy duty and small trucks
If you are the type of person that mixes work and pleasure, a modern heavy-duty truck offers lots of luxury and technology features, but it also offers loads of useful practicality. Heavy-duty trucks can haul as much as three times more compared to entry-level trucks, they offer larger beds with higher payloads and are a lot wider.
The Ford F450 is the staple heavy-duty truck, and the popularity of the F450 is unmatched by its rivals. The F450 offers a dualie rear axis and is also about 16 inches wider. This might pose an issue for a newer driver, but these trucks are for working purposes anyway. The same story goes for the rest of the competition.
On the other side of the spectrum, you might find a more reasonable smaller truck like the Ford Ranger, Chevy Colorado, Honda Ridgeline, Jeep Gladiator, GMC Canyon. And pretty much all of these are great options, but the Honda Ridgeline seems to tick the most boxes for the best all-around small truck.
The Jeep Gladiator on the other hand is an adventurist’s dream, the GMC Canyon/Chevy Colorado is more or less the same, but both of them are amazing. The Chevy is a bit cheaper and not as well equipped, and the GMC is faster and better looking.
Best performance trucks
Probably the most interesting trucks of them all are the Ford F150 Raptor and the Dodge RAM TRX. Ever since the first Ford Raptor was released, the performance truck market has been wanting newer and newer models. And Dodge raised to the occasion, and as of right now these two are the only two viable performance truck options.
The Ford F150 Raptor is an awesome truck. The Raptor looks menacing and the performance credentials are also equally as awesome. The Raptor offers 450hp from a Ford EcoBoost V6 Twin Turbo engine, beefy off-road wheels and tires, a wider track, sports seats, carbon fiber, and a sophisticated 10-speed automatic transmission.
The Dodge RAM TRX on the other hand is a different kind of monster. Even though the 450hp offered by the Ford Raptor is more than enough for absolutely anyone, Dodge thought it would be a good idea to cram a 700hp 6.2L supercharged Hellcat V8 into a pickup truck.
And of course, it’s a good idea because you can reach 60mph from a standstill in about 4 seconds. This is unheard of in the pickup truck world, and it makes the TRX leagues above the Ford Raptor. And you should buy it.
Is a pick-up truck a good first car?
People who buy pickup trucks are usually the ones that use the features a pickup offers. But if you are worried that a pickup is not going to offer all the features of modern-day SUVs, don’t be because all newer pickups are as equipped as any other comparable SUVs are.
Pick-ups are a really good idea if you are not often driving in busy urban areas. A pickup offers seating for up to 6 passengers, a large cargo area, and a raised position that makes you feel superior to the rest of the traffic. Furthermore, a pickup with a beefy set of tires is also fairly capable off-road.
Are there any viable European truck options?
Not really, Europeans are not into pickup trucks. This is because cars that haul cargo are taxed as commercial vehicles in Europe, which means they cost more compared to a US pickup truck.
Europeans also mostly use vans for similar purposes because they are more economical and they also offer larger payloads. Thirdly, they just are not popular in Europe, VW is the only mainstream European manufacturer still producing competitive pickup trucks.
Are pickups better off-road machines compared to regular SUVs?
The main benefit of pickup trucks is the bed, and beyond the bed itself, the benefits kinda vanish. SUVs are usually more luxurious and better off-road. SUVs like the Mercedes G-Class, Land Rover Defender, Toyota Land Cruiser, Jeep Wrangler are way better at off-roading compared to pickups.
The ground clearance and the approach and departure angles are key when it comes to off-roading, and pickup trucks are mostly aimed at paved roads, but they can be used for milder off-roading.