Pickup trucks are hugely popular, and many models offer more off-road and towing capabilities than most people need. The good news is that the resurgence of smaller trucks makes the body style even more accessible pricewise while maintaining a notable amount of versatility and capability. From entry-level work trucks and heavy-duty haulers to hybrid-powered and high-performance models, these pickups are the very best of the breed.
Although the nameplate originally was used on a less-than-stellar compact car line in the 1970s, Ford has revived the Maverick name for its new small pickup truck, and has slotted it into the lineup below the mid-size Ranger. This time, the Maverick is an impressive package worthy of an Editors' Choice award. Instead of sharing parts and mechanicals with the Ranger, the Maverick rides on the same chassis as the Bronco Sport compact crossover. The standard powertrain is a hybrid setup that consists of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, an electric motor, a continuously variable automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. Ford also offers all-wheel drive, but only with the optional nonhybrid turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. All models sport the same four-door crew cab body style with a 4.5-foot bed. The Maverick is part of a new class of small pickup trucks that Hyundai is also entering with the upcoming Santa Cruz.
Don't get it twisted: the new 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is a pickup truck. Its smaller proportions and unibody construction just mean it's no full-size tow rig, but we still like it enough to put it on our Editors' Choice list. Instead, think of the first Hyundai pickup as an alternative to the also-unibody Honda Ridgeline, which too features a one-size-fits-all crew cab, short-bed body style. The Santa Cruz certainly looks more distinct than the Honda–or any other mid-size truck, for that matter–with its interesting face and creased sheetmetal. Its interior is snazzier than its classmates, too, but the lack of physical controls on some models is disappointing. Its standard four-cylinder engine is also undesirable, but the more powerful turbo option is a pricey proposition. Still, the 2022 Santa Cruz is a more functional twist on the tired crossover formula, and that open box on its butt means it qualifies as a pickup truck.
The futuristic R1T is an all-electric pickup truck from new American startup brand Rivian, and it promises 300 miles of driving range and lightning-quick acceleration, enough to earn it an Editors' Choice award. At 215.6 inches long, the crew-cab-only R1T splits the difference in size between mid-size pickups such as the Ford Ranger and full-size trucks such as the Ram 1500. The R1T is the first electric pickup truck to make it to production in what seems to be a burgeoning market, soon to include the Ford F-150 Lightning and the GMC Hummer EV SUT.
The 2022 Honda Ridgeline is incredibly versatile, mixing some of the best attributes of both mid-size trucks and crossovers, which earns it a place on our Editor's Choice list. The cargo box is obviously its defining feature, and it includes an underfloor trunk and a short-but-wide bed. Despite some truck-like styling cues, Honda's pickup can't hide its unibody construction, which limits its off-road capability and maximum tow rating but optimizes on-road comfort. Sure, the Chevy Colorado ZR2 and Jeep Gladiator can go almost anywhere, but—like most other mid-sizers—their back-seat space and ride quality can't match the Honda. With a dutiful V-6 powertrain and standard all-wheel drive, it moves with purpose, and its independent rear suspension delivers poised handling. Consider the 2022 Ridgeline's many standard driver assists and comfy and quiet interior and you have a truck that's desirable and useful.
The 2022 Chevrolet Colorado satisfies shoppers who want the versatility of a traditional pickup without the compromise of a full-size truck. While the half-ton Chevy Silverado 1500 offers a family-sized back seat and higher towing capacity, the mid-size Colorado is easier to maneuver and still boasts a notable maximum tow rating of 7700 pounds. Despite its uncouth base engine, the available 308-hp V-6 is responsive and speedy, and the diesel option is thrifty and torquey, producing a sizable 369 pound-feet. The Chevy's oil-burning mill is no match for the diesel Jeep Gladiator, but the bow tie is better to drive and matches the Jeep's ruggedness with the hugely capable ZR2 model. The 2022 Colorado's comfy driving position and robust infotainment system are offset by a dearth of driver-assistance tech and its cheap-looking cabin, but those shortcomings should be less offensive to anyone seeking a more conventional truck experience.
The 2022 GMC Canyon is well suited for folks who want some of the capabilities of a full-size pickup truck but in a mid-size package. That mission starts with its sturdy body-on-frame construction, extends to its potent V-6 and torquey diesel-engine options, and culminates in a maximum tow rating of 7700 pounds. Those hoping to hit the trails will appreciate the rugged AT4 model, which includes 31-inch tires and a unique off-road suspension. Available with an extended or crew cab and two bed lengths, the Canyon is just as versatile as its corporate counterpart, the Chevrolet Colorado. However, we think the GMC version looks classier and more mature. Just prepare to overpay for the Denali's unremarkable interior and notable lack of high-tech assists. Still, the 2022 Canyon will satisfy anyone who wants a smaller, more affordable alternative to the half-ton GMC Sierra.
The 2022 Jeep Gladiator pickup truck requires sacrificing comfort for coolness and usefulness. For folks who love the Jeep brand, that sacrifice is easy to make considering the added versatility its pickup possesses over the popular Wrangler SUV. Not only does the Gladiator also have removable body panels and the inherent ability to play in the dirt and mud, but it can tow two tons more and has a cargo bed that adds another dimension to its skillset. Sure, the Wrangler is nimbler on the trails, but the Gladiator's longer wheelbase gives it a better ride. Compared with body-on-frame rivals like the Ford Ranger and Nissan Frontier, the Jeep is more of a handful at highway speeds, requiring regular steering inputs to remain steady. Still, the 2022 Jeep Gladiator's optional diesel engine has more torque (442 pound-feet versus 369) and a higher combined EPA rating (24 mpg versus 22) than the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon.
Pickups have a variety of talents, but the 2022 Ram 1500 is more talented than most half-ton trucks because it's significantly nicer. Sure, the entry-level models aren't lined with the luscious materials and upscale features of the priciest trims, but they still ride better than the fanciest alternatives thanks to its more sophisticated suspension, which can be made cushier with the available air springs. Ram also offers the 1500 with a massive 12.0-inch touchscreen, compartments built into the cargo bed, and a split-folding tailgate. Its roster of engines operate through a silky automatic transmission and include a 395-hp Hemi V-8 (with or without hybrid assistance) and an eco-friendly diesel six-cylinder with 480 pound-feet of torque. The strongest configuration can also tow 12,750 pounds. Obviously, the Ram 1500's capabilities ensure it won't be confused for anything but a truck, but the fact that it can pass for a luxury vehicle is what makes it special and what earns it an Editors' Choice award.
Most monster trucks are confined to arenas and closed courses, but the 2022 Ram 1500 TRX is one that can be unleashed on public roads. Essentially the regular Ram 1500 on steroids, the juiced-up TRX is dramatically wider and has a supercharged V-8 that generates 702 horsepower. Sure, there are mightier Hellcat-powered models, but no other stock pickup sounds like it ate a band of demons while sailing to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. The 450-hp Ford F-150 Raptor is the TRX's only real challenger, but it's not a fair fight until the 700-plus-hp Raptor R arrives. Even then it'll have to contend with the Ram's ridiculously luxurious interior and remarkable on-road manners, which helped it earn a 10Best award and a place on our Editors' Choice list. Living with the 2022 Ram TRX isn't all Monster Jam-worthy antics, though, because maneuvering in traffic or parking lots can cause anxiety and frequent fuel fill-ups will become a routine. Then again, no one ever said owning a monster is easy.
With a wide range of trims and body styles, the 2022 Ford F-150 is a workhorse that can be outfitted to suit any number of tasks. Contractors and fleet managers will appreciate the low-cost and utilitarian nature of the base XL while oil barons and wealthy ranch owners will feel right at home in the King Ranch or Limited versions. A host of powertrains are offered too, including a hybrid and a diesel, and an off-road ready Tremor model promises to take you nearly anywhere you need to go. The F-150 has the grit to get the job done. It's not quite as nice to live with on a daily basis as its chief rival, the Ram 1500, but huge numbers of buyers have historically been swayed by the Ford's reputation and wider range of available features. We’re sure very few of them have regretted their purchase, so we're happy to put the F-150 on our Editors' Choice list.
Think of the 2022 Ford F-150 Raptor as a pickup truck on steroids. Compared with the regular F-150, its body is bulkier, its powertrain is stouter, and its chassis is enhanced to endure more punishment in muddy, rocky, and sandy environments. Sure, the 450-hp twin-turbo V-6 behind the Ford's distinctive face sounds underwhelming versus the Ram TRX's 702-hp supercharged V-8, but a similarly powerful and melodic Raptor R is coming. The regular-strength Raptor is still exceptional at high-flying antics, and it rides with undeniable smoothness in myriad conditions. It's not as athletic on-road as the TRX, but its interior looks rich and rugged with popular tech and upscale features. Unlike the Ram, the 2022 F-150 Raptor can be fitted with 37-inch tires, but the package is pricey. Still, the Raptor is the biggest and baddest F-150 money can buy, earning it a place on our Editors' Choice list.
A 2022 Ford Super Duty—either the F-250, F-350, or F-450—is more truck than most people need. But for those who need one, it's mighty impressive. There's a trio of V-8 engines, highlighted by a 7.3-liter with 473 pound-feet of torque and a diesel 6.7-liter with 1050 pound-feet. A properly equipped Super Duty can tow up to 37,000 pounds and haul up to 7850 pounds of payload. While heavy-duty rivals from Ram offer higher torque and tow ratings, as well as nicer interiors, Ford's fanciest crew-cab models provide upscale environs and enormous passenger space. The Chevy Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD both have better driving manners, but the 2022 Super Duty touts more high-tech features and various driver assists.
The 2022 Ram 2500 and 3500 are capable of replicating semi-truck-like towing abilities, and they can also be outfitted to coddle passengers with their unrivaled luxury qualities, making them worthy of an Editors' Choice award. No other heavy-duty truck delivers the Rams' combination of ride refinement and upscale interior appointments. Of course, the Ram HD family doesn't forget its roots, either. Whether it’s the diverse trim levels and body styles or the multiple powertrains that range from a 410-hp Hemi V-8 to a Cummins diesel engine with up to 1075 pound-feet of torque, there's a model to fit almost every budget and job description. With today's trucks being both high-tech and hard-working, the 2022 Ram 2500 and 3500 also offer a plethora of popular infotainment features and useful assists that help the driver tow a trailer and maneuver these massive machines in possibly unnerving situations like heavy traffic and tight spaces.