Ford Ranger Raptor should become available in the U.S. during MY 2020

8 of the Best 2020 Trucks That Are Heading Our Way

Here are the Top 2020 Pickup Trucks Money Can Buy

Published September 16, 2018

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 never been available in the U.S. It’ll be essentially very similar to the only unibody compact truck available on the market at the moment – the Honda Ridgeline. The 2020 Hyundai Santa Cruz draws inspiration from its namesake concept first presented at the 2015 Detroit auto show, but differs in a number of ways. For starters, it’ll be a 4-door, 5-seat pickup built upon the next-generation Hyundai Tucson 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.

Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup truck concept

7. 2020 Ram 2500/3500

After the half-ton Ram pickup truck lineup received a full makeover for MY 2019, it’s now time for the youngest of FCA division to turn its attention to the three-quarter-ton and one-ton heavy-duty trucks. The Ram 2500 and 3500 will be updated soon in order to bring them closer to the new fifth-generation standards of their smaller sibling. They’ll sport the same exterior design cues as the recently-debuted Ram 1500 (goodbye crosshair grille, you’ll be missed), and receive a corresponding interior treatment as well. However, the 2020 Ram 2500 and 3500 will 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 will likely remain unchanged, although not without a few overhauls of its own. The standard 5.7L Hemi V8 and its larger option the 6.4L Hemi V8 should continue to deliver strong and sound outputs of 383 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque, and 410 hp and 429 lb-ft respectively. The truly optional engine here is the Cummins 6.7L turbo-diesel which cranks up 350 hp and 660 lb-ft of torque with a 6-speed manual on the side, or a whopping 370 hp and 800 lb-ft if paired with an 8-speed automatic. Although the Cummins engine remains generally intact, it does sport one major new feat – a CGI engine block. A compacted graphite iron block won’t just improve the diesel’s overall rigidity and durability, but will likely push the output figures beyond the 400 horsepower and 900 pound-feet of torque marks. A slight increase in prices is likely on the cards as well, but not by a significant amount.

Ram 2500/3500 Heavy Duty trucks will visually resemble the Ram 1500 pictured here

Ram 1500 pictured

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 are on their way for MY 2020. The first detail that catches the eye – at least when it comes to the Chevrolet’s twin – is large brand-name lettering across the grille. At the moment, it’s still unknown whether the GMC stablemate exhibits a similar formula. Other than that, the next-gen of GM’s heavy-duty pickup trucks will be made to resemble their half-ton counterparts, albeit in more bulky and menacing proportions. As far as their capabilities go, GM still hasn’t given us anything palpable. It’s expected they’ll be able to haul more load than the outgoing models, though.

The Next-generation of GM’s heavy-duty pickup trucks should carry along with the proven selection of powertrains. In other words, both the Silverado and Sierra HD will retain the services of the current 6.0L V8 capable of making 360 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. An optional 6.6L Duramax turbo-diesel V8 will also carry over with all of its 445 ponies and a whopping 910 pound-feet of twist, or maybe more considering that’s exactly the direction in which the competition seems to be going. Transmission, on the other hand, should remain exactly the same which means we’ll be seeing a lot more of the good old haul-first, efficiency-last Allison 6-speed automatics. Expect both trucks to arrive sometime during 2019 as early 2020-year models, with prices similar to those of the outgoing units. As always, they’ll be some of the best 2020 pickup trucks on the market.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD's grille teaser

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 the competition. Considering both FCA and GM’s popular heavy-duty pickups are getting a full makeover for MY 2020, anything less than a facelift as an answer from Dearborn would be surprising. Needless to say, this is exactly what FoMoCo will deliver since the 2020 Ford Super Duty pickups have already been spied covered in zebra print. The new Super Duty lineup will abandon the current double-bar grille in favor of a much more open frontal fascia styling. Other than that, it’ll be fully brought to the 2018 Ford F-150’s standards in terms of both the exterior and interior. There are not any specific details at this point so we’ll have to wait and see what Ford has prepared for us.

The Ford Super Duty powertrain lineup is in for a major revision for MY 2020. It’s expected that the 450-horsepower and 935 pound-foot 6.7L Power Stroke Turbo-diesel V8 will carry over with possibly even higher output, but that’s pretty much that as far as the carrying over of engines is concerned. The venerable 6.8L Triton V10 from the F-450 is going into well-deserved retirement and the F-250/F-350’s 6.2L V8 petrol option could follow suit. Regardless of the 6.2L Boss’ fate, the new Ford Super Duty pickup trucks will be offered with a contemporary 7.0L V8 and 10-speed automatic transmission combo from 2020 onward. The new engine will be built in the company’s retooled Windsor, Ontario plant. The new models should be generally priced similarly to the outgoing units, but a new engine/transmission combo will likely raise the bar a bit.

Ford F-450 Super Duty will be one of the best 2020 trucks alongside its smaller F-250 and F-350 siblings

2018 Ford F-450 Super Duty pictured

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 2017, the Japanese marketed over 74,000 Frontiers versus fewer than 53,000 then-fresh 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 smaller turbocharged 4-cylinder option with similar credentials shouldn’t be excluded either. The 2020 Nissan Frontier could be built on the overseas Navara platform, but a shorter Titan platform is a more likely choice at this point. 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.

Australia-spec Nissan Navara N Sport showcases how the U.S.-spec Nissan Frontier could turn out to be

Australia-spec Nissan Navara N Sport showcases how the U.S.-spec Nissan Frontier could turn out to be

3. 2020 Ford Ranger Raptor

The mid-size pickup truck from the Blue Oval is making a comeback for MY 2019, but that’s apparently not where Dearborn will stop when it comes to the Ranger. Already unveiled in the land down under and Europe, the ultimate off-road version of the Ranger is also paving its way to 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, will 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 what the rest of the Ranger Raptor’s powertrain turns out to be. The off-road extreme version of the U.S.-spec Ford Ranger should be announced sometime in 2019 with a price tag considerably higher than that of an entry-level Ranger which starts from around $25,000.

Ford Ranger Raptor should become available in the U.S. during MY 2020

2. 2020 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon

The GM Canyonado duo is the reason behind the recent resurgence of mid-size pickup 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 MY 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. It’s still unclear whether GM will skip a mid-cycle refresh and award them with a full generation-shifting makeover, but both trucks will undoubtedly get a new look – both inside and out. Apart from changes in overall design, the 2020 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon should receive one or two new trim levels as well, like the range-topping LTZ, for instance.

As far as their respective powertrains are concerned, the Colorado and Canyon should carry over without too many changes. Even slight bumps in their current power ratings are unlikely which suggests their 200-horsepower 2.5L 4-cylinder, 181-horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque 2.8L Duramax turbo-diesel 4-cylinder, and 308-horsepower 3.6L V6 will continue basically unchanged. The only likely change will be 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. Expect the revised lineup of the GM mid-size pickup truck twins to arrive sometime in mid-to-late-2019 as some of the best 2020 pickup trucks.

Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size pickups

1. 2020 Jeep Scrambler

The upcoming Jeep Wrangler-based pickup is by far the most anticipated of all MY 2020 pickup trucks. Likely to don the famous Scrambler name after the now-iconic Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler – the latest of Jeep models will be the division’s first pickup truck in almost 30 years. Judging by the number of all-new trucks bound to arrive on the market in 2020, it couldn’t have picked a better time. The 2020 Jeep Scrambler won’t only share a platform and most of its visual details with the next-gen JL Wrangler, but it’ll also sport a number of the Wrangler’s defining features like removable doors, top, and fold-down windshield. In other words, the Scrambler will basically be a Wrangler with a little bit of added practicality and utility. Of course, its bed will have a detrimental effect on its off-road capabilities, but you can’t have everything.

FCA will likely play it safe when it comes to the Scrambler’s potential powertrains. In other words, they’ll probably offer the same trio of engines that can currently be ordered with the Wrangler itself. The base engine spot will, thus, belong 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. Expect the Scrambler pickup to arrive in the second half of 2019 as 2020-year model with prices slightly higher than those of comparable Wrangler SUVs. When it arrives, the all-new Jeep Scrambler should instantly position itself as – not only one of the best 2020 trucks – but one of the best vehicles MY 2020 will bring to market.

Jeep Scrambler should easily become one of the best 2020 trucks heading our way

Jeep Scrambler rendering from the Jeep Scrambler forum

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Nikola Potrebić
About Nikola Potrebić

Despite driving a piece of junk, Nikola still manages to survive the harrowing experience called "A road trip in a Yugo," day in, day out. On the other hand, precious few things move him as muscle cars do. Especially those from the bygone golden era, which makes him wonder why wasn't he born a few decades earlier? Well, at least he's been given the opportunity to enjoy the likes of the Pontiak Aztek, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Fiat Multipla, and other lovely millennials, right? Come to think of it, I'll stick with my Yugo. Thank you very much.

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