Diesel Trucks Vs. Gasoline Trucks
In a nutshell, diesel-powered trucks can tow more while consuming less fuel than comparable gasoline-powered pickups. The primary trade-off is cost, since diesel engines run thousands of dollars more than their gasoline counterparts. In some cases, the price difference can breach the five-figure mark. Also, a given diesel engine will likely not be available with every bed/cab/trim configuration. The question of which engine is right for you typically boils down to what your towing needs are — and how much importance you place on fuel economy.
Best Trucks for Towing
When choosing a truck for towing, know that a higher tow limit generally correlates with a higher cost. Most midsize trucks max out above 3 tons, though acceleration can be anemic when you're approaching the limit. Full-size trucks will cost a bit more but tend to top out above 10,000 pounds. Heavy-duty pickups aim for stratospheric towing capability, and their torque-rich diesel engines should make towing up mountain passes a breeze. Go up one more grade to 3500 series trucks for a dual rear-wheel option that provides a more stable towing experience. Properly equipped, these trucks can tow more than 20,000 pounds, even reaching 30,000 pounds in some cases.
Top Features for Trucks
As of 2018, every new pickup comes standard with a rearview camera display, a previously optional feature that takes a lot of the guesswork out of navigating tight spots. Surround-view monitors are even better, giving a 360-degree view of the area immediately surrounding the truck. Tall hoods can make it difficult to surmise exactly where the front of the pickup is, so front parking sensors are another nifty feature. Additionally, trucks are pretty wide, so it's nice to have a lane departure warning system that alerts you before the truck drifts too far.
Outside of advanced driving aids, there are a few truck-specific features to look out for. Tie-down cleats help you secure everything in the bed, while cargo bed lights can help you find your gear in the dark. Tow mirrors are wide and have multiple pieces of mirrored glass so you can keep track of your trailer. As long as you're not looking for the best off-road truck, ground-clearance-reducing side steps are a handy and attractive way to make sure everyone can easily enter and exit the cab.
Choosing the Best Pickup Truck for You
If you just like the look and feel of a truck, a midsize pickup is an inexpensive way to break into the market. It's also bound to be easier to park and drive in the city. A full-size truck is ideal for those who need more room in the cab, want a larger bed, will occasionally tow large items, or simply prefer additional luxury and safety features. Heavy-duty trucks make the most sense for those who frequently tow seriously heavy equipment. Each class offers something unique for those looking for the best off-road truck, from the midsize Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 to the full-size Ford F-150 Raptor and the heavy-duty Ram Power Wagon.
While the number of different pickup models is fairly small, there's a great deal of differentiation within each model range. The nearly limitless customization options can make it difficult to sift through dealer inventory to find the perfect vehicle. To start, check out our 7 Steps to Buying a Pickup Truck guide for a good overview. Then visit our Truck Center and read our Buying Guide to understand each model's strengths and weaknesses. Our in-depth vehicle reviews provide a detailed analysis and trim breakdown of every new truck on the market. Once a model catches your eye, find a specific truck in your area by clicking on its inventory page. No matter where you are in the research and buying process, Edmunds has tools to help you find your perfect pickup.