The Best 2018 Trucks Coming Our Way
Best trucks 2018 will have to offer
Published December 4, 2017
Buying a pickup truck has once again become something to think about. Especially since the compact truck market has once again come to life a couple of years ago. Despite that, however, choices are still rather limited. Even though they look better here than on most other overseas markets. Traditional American truck shoppers will still have a choice of three domestic models and occasional Toyota or a Nissan to choose from. You can easily categorize them into two groups of people. Those that are loyal to their select badge no matter what and those that have decided to switch colors after experiencing numerous issues with their rigs. Maybe 2018 trucks will finally start changing that trend.
Maybe a compact truck is the way to go. After all, compact (more like mid-size) trucks are nothing less than what full-size pickups used to be a few decades ago. In terms of size, of course. Dissatisfied half-ton truck owner needs to ask themselves: do they really need the payload of a large pickup? And all the headaches that come with it. If the answer is no, then some fresh smaller options certainly look like the right way to go. Then again, this doesn’t mean we’re advocating the compact truck agenda here. Just trying to expand traditional American truck buyer’s options. Speaking of which, the following five choices go down as best trucks 2018 will have to offer.
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 / GMC Sierra 1500
Second best-selling American truck is one of the most popular options on the market for a good reason. It’s been bringing strong capability and reliability year in, year out. At least as far as capability and reliability go in the world of half-ton pickups. They aren’t without problems, though. Then again, good luck finding an issue-free truck at all. GM’s half-ton twins are basically one and the same underneath, but there are still plenty of differences between them. This micro diversity is just another one of their advantages.
GMC Sierra 1500 is considered a slightly more upscale of the two. This can be experienced straightaway in entry-level trims which sport well-appointed interior with great infotainment system and a slightly larger price tag. Then again, for all its exclusivity – especially in top Denali trim – Sierra doesn’t hold any power advantages over the Chevy Silverado 1500. The engine lineup is the same in both models and consists of a 285-horsepower 4.3L V6, a 355-horsepower 5.3L V8 and a 420-horsepower 6.2L V8. New for 2018 is the eAssist mild-hybrid system available with the smaller of the V8 duo. Only select west coast buyers were able to order one prior to 2018. To summarize, both of GM’s large trucks exhibit great hauling and towing capabilities for the price. And they come with brash, yet maybe somewhat conservative styling.
Ram 1500 is arguably the most stylish of the big three full-size American pickups. Although that hardly used to be an advantage for average pickup buyers, style is definitely playing an important role nowadays. Other than that, Ram 1500 also sports an upscale, comfortable interior and smooth quality ride its competitors lack. However, compared to its traditional opponents, Ram falls short when it comes to towing and hauling ratings. It also doesn’t boast all that great safety scores. NHTSA gave it a 4-star overall score, while IIHS gave it “Good” score in all categories apart from small overlap test where it received “Marginal” badge. Standard for 2018 rearview camera somewhat fixes the safety shortcomings, though.
Engine department is where the Ram 1500 really excels. Entry-level 305-horsepower 3.6L V6 easily beats its rivals’ V6 offerings in terms of power. It’s almost 45 cubic inches smaller than its GM counterpart while producing 20 ponies more. Moreover, it also beats the base Ford V6 by 15 ponies, although it’s 18 cubic inches larger. 395-horsepower 5.7L V8 tied to a smooth 8-speed automatic is the first of two alternatives. With other being the VM Motori 3.0L EcoDiesel V6 rated at 240 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. It’s a great option for those that put emphasis on fuel efficiency, but comes with a hefty price tag.
Chevrolet Colorado / GMC Canyon
GM’s Canyonado twins practically resurrected the compact pickup truck market when they appeared a couple of years ago. Or at the very least gave it a much needed spark that should culminate in late 2018 when Ford Ranger returns and Jeep Wrangler pickup makes its debut. Both Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon share the same underpinnings – much like their larger counterparts Silverado and Sierra. Differences between the two are correspondingly similar to those exhibited between their larger cousins. Colorado can be cheaper, while Canyon boasts somewhat more upscale interior. Otherwise, they’re largely the same apart from the fact that GMC doesn’t have a dedicated off-road package like Colorado’s ZR2.
Apart from having a mandatory all-wheel drive system, limited-slip rear, and front and rear locking differentials, raised suspension, unique dampers, and Goodyear Duratrac tires, Colorado ZR2 comes with standard 308-horsepower 3.6L V6 tied to an 8-speed auto trans. It can also be ordered with the optional 181-horsepower 2.8L turbodiesel inline four paired to a 6-speed auto. Rest of the lineup offers the same duo of engines plus the entry-level 2.5L 4-cylinder with 200 ponies at tap. Fuel economy is as good as it can be in this segment, while Canyonado twins’ towing and hauling capabilities are unparalleled. Very slim offering of advanced safety tech, however, doesn’t go in their favor.
Best-sold American vehicle of the past two decades wouldn’t be able to earn this accolade without offering consistent improvements in reliability and capability categories. Over the years, it’s managed to earn class-leading figures in towing and hauling, as well as remaining more affordable than its GM counterpart while being only marginally more expensive than the Ram. However, all that affordability can quickly go down the drain if you lust for options. And cabin quality suffers on entry levels. A direct result of lower base price.
Most 2018 trucks are offering some well-appointed revisions, but it seems that Ford F-150 beats them by a wide margin. For starters, new models come with revised exterior design. Furthermore, Blue Oval’s introduced some new safety features and a 10-speed automatic is now much more widely available. Finally, F-150’s towing capacity has gone further up this year which can be attributed to a new entry-level V6 mill. 3.3L V6 (down from 3.5L last year) makes the same 290 ponies, but it’s still tied to an old 6-speed auto. Optional 2.7L EcoBoost V6 produces 325 horsepower, while 5.0L V8 now generates 395 hp (10 hp more than last year). Most top-of-the-line models will be offered with 375-horsepower 3.5L EcoBoost V6. The same mill which makes 450 ponies in the Raptor. And as a cherry on top of a sundae, Ford will offer a new turbodiesel mill as well. Although that won’t happen until late into 2018 model year.
The way things are set right now, Honda Ridgeline is likely the best choice of all 2018 trucks. One of the best trucks 2018 has to offer does come with a few notable shortcomings. For starters, it’s not as capable as the aforementioned Canyonado twins while being more expensive at the same time. With the max towing capacity of 5,000 pounds, it falls short of the aforementioned duo by as much as 2,000 pounds. And its base price is around $9,000 higher than that of its competitors. Then there’s the lack of any true off-road capability, and the presence of what’s hardly the best of infotainment systems. Yet, Honda Ridgeline still edges out its competition. How?
Well, for starters, its unibody architecture allows it to ride more like a car. In other words, Ridgeline sports much better driving dynamics than its body-on-frame counterparts. It’s much more comfortable and handles corners with ease. Then there’s a high-quality comfortable cabin which, to be honest, was to be expected for almost $30,000. Plethora of safety and convenience features that can’t be had in its rivals, give the Ridgeline another edge. And that multi-functional bed which comes with a power outlet and optional speakers puts a cherry on top of a sundae for the Japanese truck. Another potential downside, however, can be a lack of optional engines, but Pilot’s 3.5L V6 with 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque is more than adequate for the job. An it’s tied to a 6-speed auto that doesn’t suffer from Pilot’s standard 9-speed unit’s issues.
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