Pickup trucks were once the purview of ranch hands and farm boys. Then the urban cowboy movement came along, and everybody from bank presidents to soccer moms discovered that riding high in the saddle offered many advantages over traditional family cars. Tucking has become much more refined and comfortable but came at much higher prices than it once did. Now, life has once again become interesting. The market has become glutted. New truck sales are down, and dealerships are facing the changing of the model year with too many units still sitting on their lots. For consumers, this is a very good thing. It means prices are falling fast, and new incentive programs are being created weekly.
Why are pickup truck prices falling?
The simple answer is there's much supply and not enough demand. But the causes run much deeper than that. Over the last decade, the United States has seen vast shifts in economic conditions both up and down. Gas prices have steadily climbed, pulled back slightly only to rush upward again. And to say that the political climate of the country has been uneasy is an understatement. People aren’t as confident as they once were and less willing to sink their money into an expensive vehicle that might drink fuel like a nun into the sacramental wine. Unfortunately for them, not you, automakers were slow to catch on to this dip in the market and kept the assembly lines chugging at full speed. The net result of their inattention is lots full of pickups that they need to move before they lose any more money on them.
Is the Honda Ridgeline the best-balanced Pickup on the market?
If by best-balanced, you mean providing quality, reliability, power, comfort, and economy in equal measure, then the answer would probably be yes. Some would argue the point, but the Ridgeline doesn’t excel anywhere but performs adequately or better at every job you could ask of it. Powered by a 3.5-liter, V6 engine, it delivers 280 hp, which is more than enough for the hauling and towing duties most people will ever encounter, and it does it without being a gas hog. Thanks to Honda’s engine performance mapping and variable valve train technology, it delivers even power across the curve and around 30 mpg on the highway. It’s interior may not be as opulent as some, but it does have very comfortable seating for five. For added safety, it features a blind-spot monitoring and automatic emergency braking system and multi-angle rearview camera on all trim packages. The areas the Ridgeline is tops in is ride comfort and drivability. For a vehicle of this size, it drives much more like a car than a truck and has a suspension that is very responsive without being harsh. Superior suspensions have long been a Honda hallmark, so this really shouldn’t come as a surprise.
How good is the Ram 1500?
Motortrend’s truck of the year is very good. It probably has the most comfortable seats in its class, and with an available powerful Hemi V-8 engine, all the power you will ever need can be yours. Even with the standard equipment Pentastar V-6 engine, it kicks out a healthy 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. Overall creature comforts and economy have never been Mopar hallmarks, but adaptive cruise control, a self-parking system, and automatic emergency braking offer some measure of security while the standard V-6 delivers 20 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.
Does the Ford F-150 deserve to be king?
The F-150 is the bestselling truck in America for some very good reasons. It offers options and standard features to suit almost any need. These can range from towing packages to handle 8,500 pounds to Active Motion massaging seats. Several engine packages are available, including a hybrid just released this year, but even pure gas models will deliver 20 mpg city and 26 mpg highway economy. For safety, a forward collision warning with automatic braking is standard on all models.
Will the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 dethrone the F-150?
The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 may be the most improved truck of the year. Even with its big boy 5.3-liter, EcoTec3 V-8 engine pushing out 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque, it still averages over 24 mpg. This is possible in part due to its smooth as a baby’s butt eight-speed automatic transmission. There's a full safety and comfort suite available that includes Chevy’s Safety Alert Vibrating Seat, CornerStep rear bumper to ease loading chores, and distance monitoring system.