2017 Pickup Truck Buyer’s Guide

Was Nissan on to something by declaring 2017 the "year of the truck"? The short answer is: yes, but the longer answer is: it’s ALWAYS the year of the truck! For the better part of two decades now, folks have been using pickups for much more than work. These days, they’re being purchased for their versatility, their do-anything nature, and their creature comforts. Each year, standard features seem to improve, additional trim levels are introduced, more and more high-tech gadgets are added, and the trucks become more powerful and efficient. Did you know there are 11 different trim levels for the Ram 1500 alone? Or how about four engine options available for the best-selling Ford F-150?

It’s no wonder pickup trucks are the best-selling vehicles in America — options and competition abound, and you can build them exactly the way you want. It looks like 2017 promises to be the most explosive year yet, with a fresh version of Ford’s Super Duty and Raptor gracing the market, a more powerful Duramax diesel available in GM’s heavy-duty stable, a long overdue refresh of the Nissan Titan, new off-road packages offered on both the Toyota Tacoma and Ram 2500, and even a newfangled version of Honda’s Ridgeline. From incremental add-ons to all-out redesigns, take a look at the biggest changes from each manufacturer for 2017.

FORD


F-150

ALL HAIL THE ECOBOOST

001-2017-Ford-F150

Kicking things off is the truck with the lion’s share of the full-size pickup market: the Ford F-150. The popular twin-turbo, direct-injection 3.5L V6 EcoBoost engine sees a 10 hp bump (up to 375 hp) and 50 additional lb-ft of torque (now at 470 lb-ft) thanks to the utilization of two injectors per cylinder, roller rockers making their way into the valvetrain, and a lighter weight (i.e. quicker-spooling) turbine wheel in each turbocharger. Backing up the potent EcoBoost will be a 10-speed automatic transmission (the brainchild of both Ford and GM...) with an ultra-low 4.69:1 First gear ratio and three (count them, 3) overdrive gears for increased out-of-the-hole performance and optimum fuel efficiency.

HARD FACTS

TRIM LEVELS XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum
ENGINE OPTIONS 2.7L EcoBoost V6 (325 hp, 375 lb-ft), 3.5L V6 (282 hp, 253 lb-ft), 3.5L EcoBoost V6 (375 hp, 470 lb-ft), 5.0L V8 (385 hp, 387 lb-ft)
TRANSMISSION OPTIONS 6-speed automatic (2.7L EcoBoost, 3.5L, 5.0L), 10-speed automatic (3.5L EcoBoost)
MAX TOWING CAPACITY 11,800 pounds
MAX PAYLOAD CAPACITY 3,270 pounds
FUEL ECONOMY 19/26 mpg (2.7L EcoBoost), 18/24 mpg (3.5L), 18/25 mpg (3.5L EcoBoost), 15/22 mpg (5.0L)
PRICE RANGE $26,540 - $66,220 (fully loaded Platinum)

Super Duty

BACK ON TOP

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Receiving its most extensive revision since debuting in 1999, the ’17 Super Duty line represents the freshest truck in the heavy-duty segment. The F-250 and larger rigs steal much of their looks from the F-150 (grille, headlights, door handles), along with a high-strength aluminum body. The new Super Duty even shares the same cab with the F-150, although its cabin is noticeably deeper.

The narrower cab and the aluminum body helped shed approximately 350 pounds off the ’17 trucks — weight that Ford reinvested in the form of a stronger frame (95-percent of it is fully boxed now). Other high marks for the ’17 include an uptick in torque for the 6.7L Power Stroke V8 (now packing a best-in-class 925 lb-ft figure) and best-in-class gooseneck and conventional towing capacities (32,800 pounds and 21,000 pounds, respectively).

HARD FACTS

TRIM LEVELS XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum
ENGINE OPTIONS 6.7L Power Stroke diesel 32-valve V8 (440 hp, 925 lb-ft), 6.2L SOHC 16-valve gasoline V8 (385 hp, 430 lb-ft)
TRANSMISSION OPTIONS TorqShift 6-speed automatic, TorqShift-G 6-speed automatic (6.2L gas F-250)
TOWING CAPACITY 32,800 pounds (gooseneck), 21,000 pounds (conventional)
PAYLOAD CAPACITY 7,630 pounds
FUEL ECONOMY 19/26 mpg (2.7L EcoBoost), 18/24 mpg (3.5L), 18/25 mpg (3.5L EcoBoost), 15/22 mpg (5.0L)
PRICING $32,535 - $87,145 (fully optioned Platinum F-450)

Second-Generation Raptor

KING OF ALL

003-2017-Ford-F150-SVT-Raptor

As the undisputed OEM king of off-road pickups, the Ford Raptor has undergone its first complete transformation for ’17. Most notably, the 6.2L V8 has been replaced by the second-generation twin-turbo EcoBoost 3.5L V6, which is uprated from the version used in the standard F-150 and packs 450hp and 510 lb-ft of torque, along with Ford’s new 10-speed automatic transmission. Other improvements include increased front and rear suspension travel, 3.0 Fox Racing internal bypass shocks replacing the previous Raptor’s 2.5 units, an all-aluminum body reducing overall heft by several hundred pounds, and a fully-boxed steel frame accommodating trucks with 133-inch or 145-inch wheelbases (SuperCab or SuperCrew).

HARD FACTS

TRIM LEVELS 800A, 801A, 802A
ENGINE OPTIONS High Output 3.5L EcoBoost V6 (450 hp, 510 lb-ft)
TRANSMISSION OPTION 10-speed automatic
TOWING CAPACITY 8,000 pounds
PAYLOAD CAPACITY 1,200 pounds
FUEL ECONOMY 15/18 mpg
PRICING $48,325 - $72,965 (fully optioned 802A package)

 

CHEVY/GMC


Colorado and Canyon

A SOLID SECOND IN SALES

004-2017-GMC-Canyon

The second-generation Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon combine for the number two sales spot behind the longtime front-runner, Toyota Tacoma, in the compact truck class. With 32.5 percent of the market, the General’s midsize pickups have definitely made their mark since being reintroduced in 2014.

For 2017, the Canyon line will debut a top-of-the-line Denali model, while a ZR2 off-road package will be available for the Colorado. Four-wheel drive versions of the ZR2 Colorado will feature electronic front and rear lockers, and Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve shock absorbers offering proprietary, fluid-controlled compression and rebound. A brand-new 3.6L V6 gas or 2.8L I-4 Duramax diesel engine can be selected with the ZR2 package, with the V6 being the only mill backed up by the segment’s first eight-speed automatic transmission.

HARD FACTS

TRIM LEVELS Canyon SL (GMC), Canyon (GMC), WT, SLE (GMC), LT, SLT (GMC), Z71, Denali (GMC)
ENGINE OPTIONS 2.5L DOHC gasoline I-4 (200 hp, 191 lb-ft), 2.8L Duramax diesel DOHC 16-valve I-4 (181 hp, 369 lb-ft), 3.6L DOHC 24-valve gasoline V6 (308 hp, 275 lb-ft)
TRANSMISSION OPTIONS 6-speed automatic (2.5L, 2.8L), 6-speed manual (2.5L 4x2), 8-speed automatic (3.6L)
TOWING CAPACITY 7,700 pounds (diesel)
PAYLOAD CAPACITY 1,572 pounds
FUEL ECONOMY 20/26 mpg (2.5L 4x2), 22/30 mpg (diesel 4x2), 18/25 mpg (3.6L 4x2)
PRICING* $27,155 - $46,230 (diesel Z71)

*2016 pricing


Silverado/Sierra 1500

SUBTLE CHANGES

005-2017-Chevrolet-Silverado-1500

Even though most of the noise in the GM camp stems from the changes made within the HD and compact ranks, 1500 models receive their fair share of changes as well. For ’17, the MyLink audio systems now include Android Auto and a rearview camera comes as standard equipment for Chevy’s LT trim level, while all models now utilize a cap-less fuel filler system. The Silverado’s High Country package now features GM’s Enhanced Driver Alert system, power adjustable brake and accelerator pedals, IntelliBeam headlights, and a heated steering wheel. Brand new features consist of GM’s Teen Driver mode and Low Speed Mitigation Braking.

HARD FACTS

TRIM LEVELS WT, LS, SLE (GMC), LT, SLT (GMC), LT Z71, LTZ, LTZ Z71, High Country, Denali (GMC)
ENGINE OPTIONS 4.3L EcoTec3 V6 (285 hp, 305 lb-ft), 5.3L EcoTec3 V8 (355 hp, 383 lb-ft), 6.2L EcoTec3 V8 (420 hp, 460 lb-ft)
TRANSMISSION OPTIONS 6-speed automatic (4.3L, 5.3L), 8-speed automatic (6.2L)
MAX TOWING CAPACITY 12,000 pounds
MAX PAYLOAD CAPACITY 2,260 pounds
FUEL ECONOMY 18/24 mpg (4.3L 4x2), 16/23 mpg (5.3L 4x2), 15/21 mpg (6.2L)
PRICING $28,326 - $62,660 (fully optioned High Country)

Silverado/Sierra 2500 HD

L5P DURAMAX

006-2017-GMC-Sierra-2500HD-All-Terrain-X

An all-new 6.6L Duramax diesel mill is hot off the presses in GM’s heavy-duty category, and it’s packing 48 more ponies and a whopping 145 lb-ft more twist than the outgoing version. Coined the L5P Duramax, it features a stronger cast-iron block with a more robust rotating assembly, a Denso high-pressure common-rail fuel system and calls for the use of a cosmetically appealing yet fully functional hood scoop on the trucks it graces.

An All Terrain X package will be offered on 2500 model GMC Sierras, and is exclusive to trucks equipped with the Duramax. Trucks optioned with the All Terrain X package come with their bumpers, front bumper skid plate, side molding, door handles and grille surrounds wearing one of two colors: Black Onyx or Summit White. Black wheels, Duratec MT tread, 4-inch side step bars, the Z71 off-road suspension package and power trailer mirrors are also par for the course with the All Terrain X.

HARD FACTS

TRIM LEVELS WT, SLE (GMC), LT, SLT (GMC), LTZ, High Country, Denali (GMC)
ENGINE OPTIONS 6.0L gasoline V8 (360 hp, 380 lb-ft), 6.6L Duramax diesel 32-valve V8 (445 hp, 910 lb-ft)
TRANSMISSION OPTIONS 6-speed automatic (6.0L), 6-speed Allison 1000 automatic (diesel)
TOWING CAPACITY 18,100 pounds
PAYLOAD CAPACITY 3,534 pounds
PRICING $33,310 - $69,860 (fully optioned Denali)

 

RAM


Ram 1500

NOT STANDING STILL

007-2017-Ram-1500-Night-Edition

Even though Ram’s 1500 model redesign won’t debut until ’18, it doesn’t mean FCA is sitting idly by this year. If the truck market has taught us anything over the last decade, it’s that standing still means falling behind. First up, Ram will offer a “Night Edition” for ’17, which essentially entails a regular, quad, or crew cab configuration Sport model being equipped with a sportier yet low-profile cowl hood, black badging, a gloss-black grille, blacked out headlights (from the Rebel package), and 20-inch black wheels. Next up, a Lone Star Silver Edition, available in crew cab only (4x4 or 4x2), will feature 20-inch chrome wheels, a chrome mesh grille, chrome badging, side view mirrors, door handles, side steps and bumpers. Last but not least, Rebel trim levels get Uconnect with an 8.4-inch screen, remote start, rear park assist and a backup camera as standard equipment.

HARD FACTS

TRIM LEVELS Tradesman, Express, Lone Star, Big Horn, Sport, Tradesman HFE, Night, Laramie, Rebel, Laramie Longhorn, Limited
ENGINE OPTIONS 3.6L 24-valve V6 (305 hp, 269 lb-ft), 3.0L VM Motori EcoDiesel 24-valve V6 (240 hp, 420 lb-ft), 5.7L Hemi V8 (395 hp, 410 lb-ft)
TRANSMISSION OPTIONS 8-speed 845RE automatic (3.6L), 8-speed 8HP70 automatic (3.0L diesel, 5.7L)
TOWING CAPACITY 10,700 pounds
PAYLOAD CAPACITY 1,720 pounds
FUEL ECONOMY 17/25 mpg (3.6L 4x2), 21/29 mpg (Tradesman HFE), 15/22 mpg (5.7L 4x2)
PRICING $26,395 - $63,910 (fully optioned Limited)

Ram 2500

NEW OFF-ROAD PACKAGE

008-2017-Ram-2500-Cummins-Diesel

With 2500 and 3500 Ram models also awaiting a makeover (which will come in ‘19), Ram has introduced a new 4x4 off-road package for 2500 models. The package includes outfitting the ¾-ton Ram of your choice with tow hooks, Bilstein shocks, front and rear electronic lockers, the same transfer-case skid plate found under the Power Wagon, larger fender flares, and — depending on what size wheels you choose — 275/70R18 or 285/60R20 all-terrain tires. Best of all, the new off-road package is available for any trim level, crew cab or mega cab, and with a gas or diesel engine under the hood.

HARD FACTS

TRIM LEVELS Tradesman, SLT, Lone Star, Big Horn, Outdoorsman, Laramie, Power Wagon Tradesman, Power Wagon, Laramie Longhorn, Limited, Power Wagon Laramie
ENGINE OPTIONS 5.7L Hemi V8 (383 hp, 400 lb-ft), 6.4L Hemi V8 (410 hp, 429 lb-ft), 6.7L Cummins 24-valve diesel I-6 (370 hp, 800 lb-ft)
TRANSMISSION OPTIONS 6-speed automatic 66RFE (5.7L, 6.4L), 6-speed automatic 68RFE (6.7L diesel)
TOWING CAPACITY 17,980 pounds
PAYLOAD CAPACITY 3,160 pounds
PRICING $31,780 - $72,080 (fully optioned Limited)

 

TOYOTA


Tacoma

A PRO OPTION

009-2017-Toyota-Tacoma

Continuing its dominance, the Toyota Tacoma currently lays claim to 42.7 percent of the compact truck class pie with 158,586 units sold from January through October (2016). The most exciting change for ’17 model year Tacos is the TRD Pro off-road trim option. Going a step beyond the TRD off-road package, the TRD Pro version incorporates Fox Racing 2.5 internal bypass shocks (tuned by Toyota Racing Development) up front, with Fox shocks and a TRD-tuned leaf spring suspension in the rear that makes use of progressive-rate springs. The TRD Pro package can only be had in double cab, short bed configuration.

HARD FACTS

TRIM LEVELS SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, Limited, TRD Pro
ENGINE OPTIONS 2.7L DOHC 16-valve I-4 (159 hp, 180 lb-ft), 3.5L DOHC 24-valve V6 (278 hp, 265 lb-ft)
TRANSMISSION OPTIONS 5-speed manual (2.7L), 6-speed automatic (2.7L, 3.5L), 6-speed manual (3.5L)
TOWING CAPACITY 6,800 pounds
PAYLOAD CAPACITY 1,540 pounds
FUEL ECONOMY 19/23 mpg (2.7L auto 4x2), 18/23 mpg (3.5L auto 4x4)
PRICING $24,120 - $44,439 (fully optioned TRD Pro)

Tundra

MORE OF THE SAME

010-2017-Toyota-Tundra-Limited

The Toyota Tundra is perhaps the most unchanged pickup in the industry for 2017. Sure, a few subtle changes were made to its ‘17 models, but it’s nothing like what Nissan has invested in its latest rendition of the Titan (more on that below). The most notable changes to the Tundra line are that trucks equipped with the 310 hp 4.6L V8 will now come standard with a hitch receiver, along with bucket seats now coming as standard equipment on Limited models. Garnering just 5 percent of the full size pickup market in 2016, we don’t see Toyota’s sales climbing in this department given the lack of updates or improvements for the 18th production year of the Tundra.

HARD FACTS

TRIM LEVELS SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, 1794 Edition, TRD Pro
ENGINE OPTIONS 4.6L DOHC 32-valve V8 (310 hp, 327 lb-ft), 5.7L DOHC 32-valve V8 (381 hp, 401 lb-ft)
TRANSMISSION OPTION 6-speed automatic
TOWING CAPACITY 10,500 pounds
PAYLOAD CAPACITY 2,080 pounds
FUEL ECONOMY 15/19 mpg (4.6L 4x2), 13/18 mpg (5.7L 4x2)
PRICING $30,020 - $61,627 (fully optioned 1794 Edition)

 

NISSAN


Titan

NEW AND IMPROVED

011-2017-Nissan-Titan-Single-Cab

Thirteen years without a major overhaul is a long, long time for any truck maker — but alas Nissan has released the all-new Titan. Following in the footsteps of the Titan XD released in ’16 (the not-quite-half-ton, not-quite-3/4-ton that can be ordered with a 5.0L Cummins V8), the standard Titan utilizes a frame reminiscent in size and strength to its bigger brother, although it doesn’t share these exact components with it. A stouter rear axle, more powerful 5.6L Endurance V8, 7-speed automatic transmission, and nearly 9,400 pounds of towing capacity will bring the latest generation Titan into contention with the Big Three. For the first time, a regular cab configuration (coined “Single Cab” by Nissan) will also be offered (on both Titan and Titan XD’s). In addition, Nissan’s Titan line will carry the best warranty in America: 5-year, 100,000-miles, bumper-to-bumper.

HARD FACTS

TRIM LEVELS S, SV, Pro-4X, SL, Platinum Reserve
ENGINE OPTIONS 5.6L DOHC 32-valve gasoline V8 (Titan, Titan XD), 5.0L DOHC 32-valve Cummins diesel V8 (Titan XD)
TRANSMISSION OPTIONS 7-speed automatic (5.6L), 6-speed automatic Aisin A466ND (Titan XD diesel)
TOWING CAPACITY 9,390 pounds (Titan), 12,640 pounds (Titan XD diesel)
PAYLOAD CAPACITY 1,610 pounds (Titan), 2,420 pounds (Titan XD diesel)
FUEL ECONOMY 15/21 mpg (Titan)
PRICING $29,580 - $61,960 (fully optioned Platinum Reserve Titan XD)

Frontier

STILL HOLDING STRONG

012-2017-Nissan-Frontier-King-Cab

Despite undergoing no real changes for ’17, the Nissan Frontier continues to hold its ground in the compact truck segment. With 20 percent of the market share, it sits comfortably in sales at Third Place and may even one day (after its coming redesign) nip at the heels of the Chevy Colorado’s figures. While Nissan may have missed the boat in ‘17 — a year it’s calling “the year of the truck” in conjunction with the release of its all-new Titan — the Frontier will have its day in the sun in ’18.

HARD FACTS

TRIM LEVELS S King Cab, SV 4-Cylinder King Cab, SV V6 King Cab, Desert Runner King Cab, Pro-4X King Cab, S Crew Cab, SV V6 Crew Cab, Desert Runner Crew Cab, SL Crew Cab, Pro-4X Crew Cab
ENGINE OPTIONS 2.5L DOHC 16-valve I-4 (152 hp, 171 lb-ft), 4.0L DOHC 24-valve V6 (261 hp, 281 lb-ft)
TRANSMISSION OPTIONS 5-speed manual (2.5L), 5-speed automatic, 6-speed manual (4.0L)
TOWING CAPACITY 6,510 pounds
PAYLOAD CAPACITY 1,500 pounds
FUEL ECONOMY 19/23 mpg (2.5L 4x2), 17/23 mpg (4.0L 4x2)
PRICING $18,390 - $40,850 (fully optioned SL)

 

HONDA


’17 Ridgeline

WHEN CROSSOVER MEETS PICKUP

013-2017-Honda-Ridgeline-Black-Edition

While Honda’s Ridgeline may never win over the hearts of truck purists, a small yet respectable slice of the compact pickup pie remains up for grabs for this unique, unibody-based creation (i.e. the bed isn’t separate from the cab). After going dormant for two years, the Ridgeline is back for 2017, and it’s all-new. Looks, chassis, trim levels, power, everything. Now based on the Pilot chassis, the unibody was actually lengthened by 3 inches in order to utilize a full size rear door and extend the cargo bed’s length to 64 inches. On front-wheel drive models, five trim levels can be had, while seven different trim levels exist for all-wheel drive versions. In the performance department, the 3.5L V6 Earth Dreams engine cranks out 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque — good enough to propel a 4,400-pound all-wheel drive model from 0-to-60 mph in less than 7 seconds.

HARD FACTS

TRIM LEVELS RT, RTS, Sport, RTL, RTL-T, RTL-E, Black Edition
ENGINE OPTION 3.5L SOHC 24-valve V6 (280 hp, 262 lb-ft)
TRANSMISSION OPTION 6-speed automatic with manual shift mode
TOWING CAPACITY 5,000 pounds (AWD)
PAYLOAD CAPACITY 1,584 pounds
FUEL ECONOMY 19/26 mpg (FWD), 18/25 mpg (AWD)
PRICING $29,475 - $51,402 (fully optioned Black Edition)

 

(Photos Courtesy of the Manufacturers)

Interested in only diesel? Check out our diesel truck buyer's guide.

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