To some vehicle shoppers, the terms 'truck' and 'pickup' are almost synonymous. They both refer to the open-bed vehicles that Americans know and love—used as solid tow rigs, payload-carrying vehicles, and sometimes as personal or family transportation.
To others, trucks could refer to everything from personal pickups on up—including delivery vehicles, construction vehicles, tractor-trailer semis, and tankers. By that definition, if cargo is the main intent—or the parallel intent—in the design of the vehicle, it's a truck (or a lorry, in British English).
Meanwhile, the government defines light trucks most loosely, leaving it essentially up to the automakers to declare that their vehicle is either designed primarily to move property, or available with features that enable off-street or off-highway operation. By giving passenger cars slightly more ground clearance or an added feature or two, automakers have in the past managed to reclassify what's essentially the same vehicle as a truck—allowing them to factor into federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) calculations as a light truck. The Subaru Outback (from the Subaru Legacy Wagon) and Volvo XC70 (from the Volvo V70 wagon) are a couple of many, many examples on the market.
Back in the 1970s and '80s (and even into the 1990s), many American families turned to trucks and truck-based SUVs as family transportation, because an uneven regulatory ground left automakers scrambling for sometimes-unreliable fuel-saving and air-pollution-reducing solutions in their passenger cars.
Looking ahead to the revised CAFE framework agreed upon in 2011, the difference between passenger cars and light trucks becomes narrow, so such stretches in definition may become less common.
Some of the SUVs on the market do remain true trucks, with full body-on-frame construction that's very different than the uni-body construction used for most cars and crossovers today. Body-on-frame construction is still used for models like the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Yukon, Cadillac Escalade, Ford Expedition, and Lincoln Navigator, among others. All of those GM and Ford models, for instance, bear some relation to full-size pickups.
Light trucks, as classified by the U.S. government, typically include everything from small crossover wagons all the way up to a vehicle with a gross weight (curb weight plus payload) of less than 8,500 pounds.
In the U.S., most trucks can be purchased in several cab styles, a variety of cargo-bed styles and lengths, and in a wide range of equipment and luxury levels. So-called heavy-duty models can push towing capacity well past 15,000 pounds or offer payloads beyond 3,000 pounds.
The Ford F-Series holds the crown for being the best-selling pickup for 36 years, as well as the best-selling U.S. vehicle for 31 years.
The following is a list of new Pickup Truck models for which we have information. Price and specifications may not be available for all years. We also have used Pickup Truck reviews, photos, specs and pricing.
TCC's experts rate each car on a 10 point scale. Learn more about how we rate.