Once solely a utilitarian affair, pickup trucks have become more powerful, more efficient and more comfortable. Beyond their towing and hauling capabilities, they offer heaps of modern technology and luxuries. Some improvements are practical, such as advanced traction control systems and trailer backup assist systems, and some are high-end perks such as leather upholstery and smartphone integration. New engine technologies have pushed power output higher than ever, and new manufacturing approaches have reduced weight and improved handling and ride quality. Of course, functionality and utility remain as important as ever, and basic work trucks still abound in the market. A diversity of body styles and bed lengths can be combined to accommodate any need. Regular-cab, crew-cab and extended-cab bodies can be fitted with short, medium and long beds, then combined with a dizzying number of different powertrains to meet any requirement, whether for work or play.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Honda Ridgeline: The Ridgeline might not be the typical pickup truck, but it is capable, efficient, roomy and comfortable. It's also incredibly clever, with plenty of bed compartments that give you secure storage without forcing you to buy a camper shell. This Honda boasts an impressive towing capacity and a bed in which you can lay a 4-by-8 sheet of plywood flat. It's also the best riding and driving truck in the class, but it can still handle rough dirt roads thanks to its well-engineered suspension. Truck purists might cry foul, but unless rock crawling is your top priority, the Ridgeline is one of the best midsize trucks on the market.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado: The Colorado is exactly what you expect from a midsize pickup truck. It does everything that full-size trucks do, just on a smaller scale. This Chevrolet offers a full range of bed and cab combinations, as well as a selection of engines that include a torquey diesel and a gasoline V6. There's also the ZR2 package, which turns the Colorado into an off-road monster.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Toyota Tacoma: The Tacoma is the oldest truck on this list, yet it's still one of our favorites. Much of that has to do with the fact the Tacoma still offers a great combination of capability, design and toughness. It's one of the better trucks when it comes to off-road driving, and the TRD Pro option adds even more off-road tech. The Tacoma's interior might seem basic, but it offers all the features you need in an easy-to-use layout. Factor in the Tacoma's proven record for reliability and this truck is definitely worth considering.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 GMC Canyon: Everything we had to say about the Chevy Colorado applies to the GMC Canyon because, under the skin, they are basically the same truck. The same range of engine and body configurations are available, meaning the GMC can be tailored to fit your specific needs. The Canyon goes further, though, with its own styling and a host of upgrades to the interior that include improved materials and more high-end options. The Canyon costs a little more than Colorado, but if you spend a lot of time in your truck you might find the upgrades worth it.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado: The Silverado offers a full range of body styles, multiple engines to choose from and lots of optional features. Not only does the Silverado have an impressive maximum tow rating, but it's learned a few new high-tech tricks. An optional mild hybrid system returns a few extra mpg, and the standard Teen Driver system sends you a notification if someone borrowing your truck is speeding or has gotten in an accident. The Chevy Silverado is a capable, user-friendly truck, and a strong pick in the class.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Ford F-150: There can only be one technology leader in a class, and the Ford F-150 is it. Yes, the venerable F-Series is now the high-tech kid, with aluminum bodywork, turbocharged V6 engines making V8 power, a comfortable and quiet interior with lots of entertainment options, and tons of practical upgrades. There's also the dirt-dominating F-150 Raptor for buyers who want to drive straight from the dealer lot to the Baja 500.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Ram 1500: The Ram 1500 has been a consistent favorite among our editors for its refined ride, quiet cabin and all-day comfort. It also delivers the versatility and capability of a full-size truck, with a selection of body styles and engines that include the only high-torque diesel in the class. There's also the Rebel 1500 package that adds extra off-road ability. Our year with a long-term diesel Ram 1500 tester proved not only that it's a desirable truck for work or play and a good road-trip companion, but it's also capable of handling whatever you can throw at it.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 GMC Sierra 1500: Everything we said about the Chevy Silverado 1500 applies here, and then some. Under the skin, the two trucks are identical, but the Sierra 1500 offers some extra comfort-oriented features, topping out in Denali trim with its unique styling, luxurious cabin and standard 6.2-liter V8. The same variety of cabin, bed and drivetrain configurations are available to customize this GMC to your needs. The Sierra is a trusty, competent truck with a little extra to offer those who like high-end features.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty: The entire range of Ford Super Duty trucks has been fully redesigned for 2017. Interior quality and ride and handling have been greatly improved, and a heaping helping of new convenience and technology features make the big Fords pleasant to live with day to day. Both the F-250 and F-350 get a range of body styles and bed lengths and lots of great options. The optional diesel V8's 925 pound-feet of torque makes it more like an earthquake than an engine. For the heaviest of duties, Ford offers the F-450, the only 4500-series pickup truck available to regular consumers. This massive truck can tow conventional trailers up to 21,000 pounds, or up to 31,200 pounds with a gooseneck trailer, and has a widened front track that allows for a tighter turning radius. This is the most serious of serious trucks.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Ram 2500/3500: The big Ram trucks have a lot to offer buyers, from the practical workhorse Tradesman trim to the luxurious Limited to the mountain-conquering off-road 2500 Power Wagon. With their coil-spring rear suspension, the Ram 2500 and 3500 offer the most compliant ride of any HD truck, but the 3500 can still tow up to 31,210 pounds thanks to the optional 6.7-liter diesel engine that produces 900 lb-ft of torque. We love the Ram for its comfort and capability, and the deep customization options mean there's a Ram 2500 or 3500 to fill every need.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD: This year, the big Chevy 2500HD and 3500HD are more capable than ever. Their all-new diesel engine is an absolute torque monster, putting out 910 lb-ft of trailer-towing twist. Of course, powerful gasoline engines — and even a bi-fuel engine that can burn compressed natural gas — are available. Properly equipped, the Silverado 3500HD has a maximum tow rating of 23,300 pounds. There's also a host of upgrades available, including everything from power-adjustable pedals to a 4G LTE connection with Wi-Fi for up to seven devices. The Silverado HD trucks are real workhorses.
Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 GMC Sierra HD: The Sierra heavy-duty trucks also get the new diesel engine this year, and they offer solid build quality, a refined and quiet freeway ride, and capable hauling and towing capacities. The GMC Sierra 2500HD and 3500HD take the qualities of the Silverado and make it a little more pleasant to live with.