The Pickup truck market is becoming more and more interesting with each passing year. After the recent resurrection of the mid-size pickup, all major companies have updated their traditional full-size offerings as well. MY 2020 will be the year of the heavy duty truck with most of them following their smaller half-ton siblings by receiving much-needed overhauls. That’s not all, however, as the U.S. pickup truck market is about to receive a new member or two as well during 2020.
All important updates among the current pickup truck offering as well as all-new models will be analyzed below as the best 2020 trucks that are heading our way, in our opinion. Without further ado, here are the most anticipated pickup trucks 2020 will bring to market.
8. 2020 Hyundai Santa Cruz
The Hyundai Santa Cruz compact pickup due to arrive sometime during 2020 is the last in a line of all-new pickup trucks that have previously never been available in the U.S. It’ll essentially be very similar to the only unibody compact truck available on the market at the moment – the Honda Ridgeline.
The 2020 Hyundai Santa Cruz was expected to draw inspiration from its namesake concept first presented at the 2015 Detroit auto show, but the company has apparently moved on from what they perceive as an aging design today.
For starters, the all-new Santa Cruz will be a 4-door, 5-seat pickup built upon the next-generation Hyundai Santa Fe crossover’s platform. Moreover, most of the production ready model’s cues will also be taken from the company’s upcoming crossover design language. While the prospect of having a choice when it comes to properly small pickups is undeniably alluring, the question is – who will actually buy one?
The Ridgeline’s sales are rapidly declining which might be due to its not-overly-competitive sticker of $30,000 for the entry-level. The South Koreans will have to undercut the Ridgeline’s prices by quite a large amount if they want to be competitive in a segment where much more capable GM and upcoming Ford trucks start from around $20,000. A sub-$20,000 starting price would probably be their best bet the way things stand at the moment.
There’s still no relevant info when it comes to Santa Cruz’s potential powertrain lineup, but it’ll likely use the same units as the company’s smaller crossovers despite the concept itself featuring a diesel engine. The most likely of choices include a 1.6L turbocharged 4-cylinder, a 2.0L turbo four, and a 2.4L naturally aspirated inline-four. Of course, only one or possibly two of them will make it into the production-ready Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup, and it remains to be seen which unit(s) that will be.
The latest news from the Hyundai camp state that the Santa Cruz production will actually commence in 2021. The compact pickup will be built in Alabama alongside the Santa Fe SUV. Given the fact the company has invested $410 million in tooling the Alabama plant for Santa Fe’s production, we can finally say the pickup is a sure deal from now on.
7. 2020 Ram 2500/3500
After the half-ton Ram pickup truck lineup received a full makeover for MY 2019, the time has come for the youngest of FCA divisions to turn its attention to the three-quarter-ton and one-ton heavy-duty trucks.
The Ram 2500 and 3500 have been updated in order to bring them closer to the new fifth-generation standards of their smaller sibling. They sport the same exterior design cues as the relatively recently-debuted Ram 1500 (goodbye crosshair grille, you’ll be missed), and have received a corresponding interior treatment as well.
However, the 2020 Ram 2500 and 3500 still resonate an old-school big-rig presence that their smaller 1500 iterations don’t possess. That’s mostly due to their sheer size which is further visually enhanced by their Mega cab and four-wheeled rear axle in a Dually package.
The powertrain lineup of the next-gen Ram heavy-duty trucks remains unchanged, although not without a few overhauls of its own. The standard 6.4L Hemi V8 delivers a strong and sound output 410 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque, features a cylinder deactivation system, and pairs with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
The optional engine here is the reworked Cummins 6.7L turbo-diesel straight-six which cranks up 370 hp and 850 lb-ft of torque with a 6-speed automatic on the side, or a whopping 400 hp and 1,000 lb-ft if paired with a bolstered 6-speed automatic unit.
Apart from boasting new lighter and stronger pistons, forged connecting rods, and low friction rings the reworked Cummins straight-six also sports a CGI engine block. A compacted graphite iron block doesn’t just improve the diesel’s overall rigidity and durability, but is the main reason behind the recent power surge it’s experienced. Prices start from just under $34,000 for the base Ram 2500 and work their way up to over $70,000.
6. 2020 Chevrolet Silverado And GMC Sierra 2500/3500
Both the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 were fully updated for MY 2019 with their heavy duty iterations left intact. This, of course, was never meant to be a long-term solution as evidenced by the latest news from GM.
The Fourth-generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500 HD pickups have also been updated for MY 2020. Some might perceive them as awkward or even too robust for their own good, but their newfound styling perfectly resonates with their purpose – to be as intimidating as possible and do the best job they can at the same time.
Other than that, the next-gen of GM’s heavy-duty pickup trucks generally resemble their half-ton counterparts, albeit in more bulky and menacing proportions. As far as their capabilities go, the gasoline-powered units are able to tow up to 17,400 pounds with a 7,466-pound payload, while their diesel-powered counterparts are capable of towing around 35,500 pounds of trailer.
The Next-generation of GM’s heavy-duty pickup trucks gets a new base engine and an upgraded diesel option. Both the Silverado and Sierra HD now sport a 6.6L V8 capable of making 401 hp and 464 lb-ft of torque as their base engine. An optional 6.6L Duramax diesel V8 will carries over with all of its 445 ponies and a whopping 910 pound-feet of twist. In time, the diesel might just offer even more considering that’s exactly the direction in which the competition seems to be going.
Transmission, on the other hand, remains exactly the same with the gasoline engine which means we’ll be seeing a lot more of the good old haul-first, efficiency-last Allison 6-speed automatics. Diesels, on the other hand, will be paired exclusively with a 10-speed automatic unit from now on.
Prices are ranging from $35,695 for the entry-level Silverado 2500 Work Truck in regular cab/long bed configuration to $63,895 for the Silverado 3500 High Country in Crew cab/standard bed config. The GMC Sierra retails for between $37,195 and $65,295 in corresponding configurations. Optional long bed costs $200 extra. As always, these are some of the best 2020 pickup trucks on the market.
5. 2020 Ford Super Duty F-250/F-350/F-450
The F Series wouldn’t be the best-sold and one of the best upcoming 2020 trucks if the Blue Oval wasn’t paying attention to competition. Considering both the FCA and GM’s popular heavy-duty pickups have been fully remodeled for MY 2020, anything less than a facelift as an answer from Dearborn would have been surprising.
Needless to say, this is exactly what FoMoCo has delivered since the 2020 Ford Super Duty pickups are already past the zebra print and have been officially revealed. The new Super Duty lineup abandons the current double-bar grille in favor of a much more open frontal fascia styling. Other than that, it’s been fully brought up to the 2018 Ford F-150 standards in terms of both the exterior and interior.
Prices for the Super Duty F Series F-250 XL start from just under $34,000, while the maxed out F-350 Limited costs well over $86,000.
With more than 60 percent Super Duty buyers opting for a diesel, it’s no wonder that the 6.7L Power Stroke Turbo-diesel V8 carries over. However, the Power Stroke doesn’t carry over without any changes as it now generates 475 horsepower and 1,050 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough for the best in class gooseneck towing capacity of up to 37,000 pounds and fifth-wheel towing of 32,500 pounds.
The venerable 6.8L Triton V10 from the F-450 has gone into well-deserved retirement and the F-250/F-350’s 6.2L V8 petrol option has followed suit. The new Ford Super Duty pickup trucks are now offered with a contemporary 7.3L V8 and 10-speed TorqShift automatic transmission combo from 2020 onward. The new engine is being built in the company’s retooled Windsor, Ontario plant, and generates 430 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque.
4. 2020 Nissan Frontier
Who would have thought we’d see the day the Nissan Frontier appears under the “news” section?! Last updated during the stone age (or in 2004 in pickup truck speak), the Frontier is one of the oldest running models on the U.S. market overall. The international version, badged as the Navara, was actually redesigned in 2014, but it never made it to our shores.
Despite its fatal flaw, the Frontier still beats its larger in-house sibling, the Titan, and by quite a margin at that. In 2018, the Japanese had marketed over 79,000 Frontiers versus a little over 50,000 Titans. This clearly means that the next-generation Nissan Frontier has a healthy platform to build upon and that it could be hugely successful given the right improvements are incorporated.
The mid-size pickup truck market is at its liveliest state in the past two decades or more and it’s time Nissan finally cashes in on the Frontier the way they’re capable of.
This would mean they’d have to address the current generation’s stone-age engine lineup as well. The current anemic 152-horsepower 4-cylinder and gas-guzzling 261-horsepower 4.0L V6 mills are not fit for the modern era. Expect the next-generation to rectify the problem by offering a smaller-displacement V6 engine with more power and better fuel economy. A 3.0L V6 with around 300 horsepower seems like the most viable of options. Also, a smaller turbocharged 4-cylinder option with similar credentials shouldn’t be excluded either.
The 2020 Nissan Frontier will apparently be built on the updated overseas Navara platform. As is the case with most of the best 2020 trucks on this list, very little is known about the future Frontier’s specifics, so let’s wait and see how things unfold.
3. 2020 Ford Ranger Raptor
The mid-size pickup truck from the Blue Oval has made a comeback for MY 2019, but that’s apparently not where Dearborn will stop when it comes to the new Ranger. Already unveiled in the land down under and Europe, the ultimate off-road version of the Ranger is also paving its way to the U.S. shores. The 2020 Ford Ranger Raptor will thus further enrich what’s already a colorful offering of off-road capable intermediate trucks here, and that certainly wasn’t the case just a few short years back.
The overseas baby Raptor clearly resembles the U.S.-spec F-150 Raptor in many ways, including the available Fox Racing shocks, BFGoodrich tires (33-inch), and six driving modes. It’s almost 6 inches longer than its conventional cousin, but only 0.7 inches wider which the F-150 Raptor failed to achieve.
Everything the overseas Ford Ranger Raptor has to offer should find its way to the U.S. Everything besides its engine, sadly.
Speaking of which, the Australian and European Ranger Raptors are motivated by a 2.0L twin-turbocharged diesel 4-cylinder engine capable of producing 211 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. The U.S. Raptor Ranger, on the other hand, should exclusively rely on a petrol engine instead – likely a 2.7L twin-turbo V6. The EcoBoost is capable of making 335 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque, but an additional power boost wouldn’t come as a surprise.
Needless to say, a 10-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive setup will be mandatory regardless of how the remainder of the Ranger Raptor’s powertrain turns out. The off-road extreme version of the U.S.-spec Ford Ranger should be announced sometime in 2020 with a price tag considerably higher than that of an entry-level Ranger which starts from around $25,000. At the latest, the Ranger Raptor will arrive with the next-gen models, somewhere beyond 2022.
2. 2020 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon
The GM Canyonado duo is the reason behind the recent resurgence of mid-size pickup’s popularity in the U.S. They’ve singlehandedly inspired the rest of the hibernating compacts and their manufacturers by offering a substantial facelift during early model year 2015. Five years later, it’s time for another makeover of the GM’s mid-size pickup truck duo.
Although they still look rather fresh, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon will have to fight off – not only their potential rustiness but a number of all-new and/or fully redesigned competitors, too.
Both trucks have been slightly revised in order to be best prepared for the Ranger and Gladiator arrival. However, changes are minimal and usually consist of new gear and shuffles within trim levels.
As far as their respective powertrains are concerned, the Colorado and Canyon carry over without too many changes. Their 200-horsepower 2.5L 4-cylinder, 186-horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque 2.8L Duramax turbo-diesel 4-cylinder, and 308-horsepower 3.6L V6 already offer everything a mid-size truck owner would ever want.
The only likely change is the addition of a new 10-speed automatic transmission on the range-topping models. That, and the possibility of a new 2.7L turbocharged L3B 4-cylinder petrol engine with 310 hp and 348 lb-ft of torque replacing the strongest currently available V6 mill. The latter is highly unlikely at this point, though.
1. 2020 Jeep Gladiator
The all-new Jeep Wrangler-based pickup is by far the most anticipated of all MY 2020 pickup trucks. Named Gladiator after the iconic J-Series trucks – the latest of Jeep models is the SUV-specialist division’s first pickup truck in almost 30 years.
Judging by the number of all-new trucks bound to arrive to the market in 2020, it couldn’t have picked a better time. The 2020 Jeep Gladiator doesn’t only share a platform and most of its visual details with the next-gen JL Wrangler, but also sports a number of Wrangler’s defining features like removable doors, top, and fold-down windshield. In other words, the Gladiator is basically a Wrangler with a little bit of added practicality and utility.
Not only that, but the Gladiator’s ride too has been improved by stretching the wheelbase by almost 19 inches. And its off-road capabilities are as stellar as we’ve come to expect from the Jeep brand.
FCA plays it safe when it comes to the Gladiator’s potential powertrains. In other words, in time they’ll offer offer the same trio of engines that can currently be ordered with the Wrangler itself, but one at a time apparently.
The base engine spot, thus, belongs to the 285-horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque 3.6L V6. A 270-horsepower and 295 lb-ft 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder will be the first of two available options, whereas the second one will be a 260-horsepower and 442 lb-ft 3.0L turbo-diesel V6. Only the reliable Pentastar is available from the get-go, however.
The Gladiator pickup has already arrived to dealerships with prices slightly higher than those of comparable Wrangler SUVs. Early examples have, sadly, been subject to absurd dealer markups of up to $20,000 over their MSRP.
Even though Jeep hasn’t had a pickup truck since the XJ Cherokee-based Comanche, the Gladiator has instantly become – not only one of the best 2020 trucks – but one of the best vehicles MY 2020 has brought to market.