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Segment Spotlight: Full Size Trucks


In this article, we’re going to be taking a look at the full-size truck segment as a whole.  Sometimes referred to as half-tons or light-duty, full-size trucks make up the best-selling vehicle segment in America, and that’s by a long shot.  The segment consists of six vehicles and below, we’ll be taking a look at each one to give you an idea of who’s who in the full-size truck segment.

Ford F-150

New 2021 Ford F-150 - Full Size TrucksThe Ford F-150 is the best-selling full-size truck in America, and for many years now, it’s also been the best-selling vehicle, period.  The F-150 gets a redesign for 2021.  While its underpinnings and most of its available powertrains stay the same, the truck does get a new hybrid option.  Available with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, the F-150 ‘PowerBoost’ powertrain makes a combined 430 horsepower and 570 lb-ft of torque and is rated at 24 mpg all around when optioned with 4WD.  Rounding out the new 2021 F-150 is a fully redesigned interior and loads of newly available features like a fold-away shift lever, fold-flat front seats, and an on-board generator.  The high-performance Raptor model takes a break for 2021, but we suspect it’ll be back for 2022 and better aligned with the new Ram 1500 TRX, which we’ll discuss in further detail below.

Altogether, as the best selling truck, the F-150 is also the leader when it comes to innovation, and it tends to gain new technology a few years ahead of its competitors from GM and Ram.  Case in point – the F-150 uses an aluminum body and counts a twin-turbo V6 as its most powerful engine; GM and Ram rely on steel body panels and old-school V8s as their top powerplants. Additionally, while all three of the American truck manufacturers claim to be developing mainstream electric trucks, Ford has already teased a prototype, and will almost certainly be first-to-market.  

If you’re in the market for a new full-size truck and you don’t have any established brand loyalties, it’s a smart idea to take a look at the new F-150 first and let it serve as the benchmark by which you evaluate all other trucks.  Find a Ford F-150 for sale

Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra

Chevrolet Silverado and GMC SierraGeneral Motors sells its pickup under two different brand names with slightly different exterior sheet metal.  If you buy a full-size GM truck from a Chevrolet dealer, it’ll be called a Silverado; buy one from a GMC dealer, and it’ll bear the Sierra name.  Last redesigned for 2019, the two trucks do differ slightly when it comes to trim levels.  The top-trim version of the Silverado is known as the High Country, while the most luxurious Sierra is known as the Denali.  Speaking of luxury, GM does promote the Sierra as the more upscale of the two tracks, and it’s unique in that it’s available with a carbon-fiber bed and a highly versatile rear tailgate dubbed the ‘MultiPro,’ though this design is scheduled to come to the Silverado for 2022.  Beyond the superficial, the Silverado and Sierra are pretty much the same. They come with the same powertrains; there’s a turbocharged four-cylinder, a V6, two different V8s, and a turbo-diesel inline-six.  Each trim level and powertrain aligns pretty well with the offerings of the F-150, though the GM trucks’ interiors are currently not up to par with the competition, nor does the company offer a true performance off-road model. Find a Chevrolet Silverado 1500 for sale or Find a GMC Sierra 1500 for sale

Ram 1500

2021 RAM 1500 - Full Size TrucksThe Ram 1500 has consistently been the third most popular full-size truck on the market, slotting in behind Ford and GM in terms of yearly sales.  Like the Silverado and Sierra, the Ram 1500 received a redesign for the 2019 model year.  It’s clear that in redesigning the Ram 1500, parent company, Fiat-Chrysler put a high priority on interior quality, as the truck boasts the best cabin in the segment, especially in its upper trim levels.  Engine options are similar to those of the Ford and GM trucks, with V6, V8, and V6 turbodiesel options on the order guide. The Ram 1500 gained a high-performance off-road model for 2021 in the Ram TRX.  With a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine and 702 horsepower, it’s both the fastest and most powerful production pickup of all time.  Find a Ram 1500 for sale

Toyota Tundra

2020 Toyota TundraThe Tundra has been on sale in its current generation since the 2007 model year, making it one of the oldest vehicle designs you can still buy new today.  Unlike the trucks of the big three American manufacturers, which offer a flavor for even the most unique use cases, Toyota keeps it pretty simple these days with the Tundra, targeting only the heart of the full-size pickup market.  Here in 2021, the Tundra is offered in two cab configurations – extended and crew – and with just one engine, a tried-and-true 5.7-liter V8.  The Tundra is known for offering great reliability and therefore maintains great resale value.  Having gone 15 years since its last full redesign, it’s expected that the Tundra will be all-new for 2022, and rumors suggest it’ll be offered with a turbocharged six-cylinder engine available with or without a hybrid component; similar to the top powertrains offered in the new Ford F-150. Find a Toyota Tundra for sale

Nissan Titan

2021 Nissan Titan - Full-Size TrucksThe smallest-volume player in the full-size truck segment is the Nissan Titan.  While it’s the least popular in terms of sales, the Titan is still a viable option in this extremely competitive segment.  Like the Tundra, it takes a more focused approach, offering only extended- and crew-cab options and a single engine for 2021.  Under the hood of every new Nissan Titan is a 5.6-liter V8 engine making 390 horsepower and 394 lb-ft of torque when fed regular fuel.  There’s also a Titan XD model, which uses the same powertrain as the regular Titan, but thanks to a heavier-duty frame, is capable of towing and hauling a little more, though its capability has now been eclipsed by each of the medium-duty American trucks. While it won’t blow you away with party tricks, alternative powertrains, or special trim levels, the Titan is still appealing to the every-day truck buyer and offers technology, safety, and utility in a no-nonsense, value-oriented package.  Find a Nissan Titan for sale

Chris O'Neill
Chris O'Neill is an author specializing in competitive analysis, consumer recommendations, and adventure-driven enthusiast content. A lifelong car enthusiast, he worked in the auto industry for a bit, helping Germans design cars for Americans, and now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. He runs an Instagram account, @MountainWestCarSpotter, which in his own words is "actually pretty good", and has a... Read More about Chris O'Neill

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