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What's behind our pickup truck Ratings?

CR’s Ratings include road test results and safety information. Reliability and owner satisfaction Ratings are based on surveys of millions of subscribers.
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We look for:
  • Overall Score
    The Highs, Lows, and Overall Rating refer to the model and trim line that we tested. A model earns the "CR Recommended" label by Consumer Reports when it has performed well in our tests, our subscriber -survey data indicate that it should be at least average in reliability, and has performed at least adequately in any government and/or insurance-industry crash tests or government rollover test, if tested. There are several reasons why a model would have no designation: It wasn't tested recently; it didn't test well; it did poorly in a crash test or tip-up in the rollover test; it has a below-average reliability record; it'S too new to have reliability data; or we have insufficeint reliability data.
  • Predicted Reliability
    Predicted reliability is our forecast of how well a model is likely to hold up derived from our latest Annual Car Reliability Survey. We averaged a model's Used Car Verdict for the newest three years, provided the model did not change significantly during that time. Refer to Reliability History for more detailed explanation.
  • Owner Satisfaction
    Indicates percentage of owners surveyed who would definitely purchase the same vehicle again.
  • Accident Avoidance
    A composite score of CR's test results for braking performance, emergency handling, acceleration, driving position, visibility, and seat comfort. Braking and emergency handling carry the most weight.
  • Overall (Mpg)
    Overall MPG (overall mileage) is CR's measurement based on a realistic mix of highway, country-road, and city driving.

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Recommended pickup trucks

See the models that perform well in our tests, and meet our standards for reliability and safety.
  • Buying Guide
  • Reliable Used
The best overall pickup trucks provide good cargo hauling and towing capabilities, while being easy to live with. Further, they stand out for strong overall test scores, safety, and reliability. See the best pickup trucks in our Ratings.

Recently reviewed pickup trucks

VIDEO: Ram 1500 crew cab Big Horn V6
1500 crew cab Big Horn V6
Surprisingly luxurious and refined, the Ram remains fully capable of doing dirty work when duty calls. A unique coil-spring rear suspension gives it a smooth ride and the interior is whisper-quiet. Continued interior and powertrain improvements make the Ram a particularly well-rounded choice, and it's lately become the first truck in its class to offer a diesel.

All Ram 1500s now come with an efficient, slick-shifting ...

Pickup truck buying guide

Pickup truck buying guide

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, then you probably don't need a full-sized heavy-duty pickup truck. A smaller, lighter-duty truck can fit the bill. If you don't need to haul cargo such as construction debris, dirt, or manure, another vehicle type, such as a minivan or SUV, could be a better choice. Remember, it costs far less to rent a truck a couple times a year when you need one for specific task than to purchase a truck that is used like a car on most days.

If the truck will serve as both a workhorse and a family car, then consider an extended-cab or crew-cab model with four doors. That's probably the most common configuration these days. If you plan to drive in snow, deep mud, or more than a short distance off road, then you should choose four-wheel drive.

Pickup trucks come in endless permutations: full-sized or compact; long bed or short; regular, extended, or crew cab; two door or four; two- or four-wheel drive; standard or automatic transmission; and so on. Engines range from small four-cylinders and V6s to V8s and big diesels. Base prices range from less than $20,000 to more than $40,000.

Pickup nomenclature. By far the biggest-selling full-sized pickups, sometimes called half-ton trucks, carry the designation "1500" in the case of the Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, and Ram, and "150" in Ford's parlance. Heavier-duty trucks are designated 2500, 3500 (or F-250, F-350) and so forth. The terms "half-ton" for the 1500s and œthree-quarter-ton" for the 2500s are widely used but obsolete: a holdover from decades ago when the number referred to the maximum cargo weight capacity. Conversationally, the 2500-series and heavier trucks are known as œheavy duty," but that's not technically correct, either. The U.S. Government considers any truck that weighs less than 14,000 pounds, including 3500-series, to be a light-duty truck. But we'll continue to refer to 2500-series trucks as "heavy-duty," as these are serious workhorses.

Considering their vast sales volumes, there aren't all that many pickup truck brands to choose from. Ford and Chevrolet/GMC are the largest sellers, followed by Ram (formerly known as Dodge). The Japanese brands have a smaller role, lead by Toyota and trailing with far fewer sales, Nissan and Honda.

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