The Best Truck: 2018’s King Pickup
Water’s wet and trucks are popular in Saskatchewan. Some things are immutable. Each street is covered in trucks, and each purports to be the strongest, most durable, and most efficient. But which pickup is really the best? It’s time for the 2018 full-size, light-duty pickup challenge. The name just rolls off the tongue. We’re pitting the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, and RAM 1500 in this one.
It’s almost not worth discussing exterior style because it’s so subjective. For example, I’ve seen people driving the Ignition Orange RAM 1500 and they seem to be happy about the choices they’ve made in life. Speaking of RAM, the truck hasn’t been updated since 2009, meaning that the front fascia (especially standard grille) looks woefully outdated.
The Silverado was updated in 2013, and it’s matured a little more gracefully. The body-colour grille and rounded front fascia have helped it from becoming obsolete. And the centennial edition, with the heritage bowtie, looks truly special. But, again, the base model is unsightly and outdated. Then again, most people buy base model pickups to get work done with no fuss, not to attend the local Show ‘N Shine.
The comfort category is slightly less subjective. But it is difficult to say that one truck has the “best interior” when the difference between the bottom and top trim levels is so vast and each truck has a half dozen special editions with different leathers. However, we can agree that all trim levels should be comfortable and functional.
The 2018 Chevrolet Silverado has a surprisingly good interior. The layout is pretty excellent: controls seem to be in the right spot and there’s plenty of space for the driver. Seating, even on the lower trim levels, is sturdy and comfortable and the materials don’t feel overly cheap. However, when you move to the upper trim levels, you don’t quite get the level of luxury craftsmanship that you pay for.
Historically, FCA vehicles have suffered from uninspired interior design and cheap materials. The 2018 RAM is yet another example of the problem. Below the Laramie trim level, prepare yourself for hard plastics and cheap cloth everywhere. On the more expensive trims, you get more quality materials, but nothing that could be mistaken for a genuinely premium interior.
While its lower trim levels are simply decent, the 2018 F-150 is also the far-and-away winner when it comes to luxury. The King Ranch is a particular star. If you want to feel like a successful oil baron, it has the best dollar-for-dollar value on the market. The combination of soft-touch panels and premium leather (on all of the F-150’s upper trims) creates a genuine luxury experience – which is no mean feat for a utilitarian gas monster.
When the price of gasoline is low, Canadians buy lots of trucks. When the price of gasoline is high, Canadians still buy lots of trucks, but they complain about the price of gasoline. What I’m trying to say is that bad fuel economy alone is rarely a deal-breaker for the average truck buyer. But that’s not saying it’s not important. As a note, the numbers listed here all correspond to 2018 base model trucks with two-wheel drive and regular cabs.
As you can see from the chart below, the 2018 Ford F-150 has the best fuel economy. And that’s without considering the EcoBoost V6 and V8 which are both even more fuel efficient. Meanwhile, RAM’s HEMI V8 is estimated to receive 13.8L/100KM in the city which is pretty bad. And Chevy’s V6 gets the same combined fuel economy as Ford’s 5.0L Ti-VCT V8. That simply shouldn’t happen.
|Fuel Economy (L/100KM)||Horsepower||Torque (lb.-ft.)||Max Towing (kg)|
|Silverado 4.3L EcoTec V6||12.4||285||305||3,447|
|RAM 3.6L V6||11.2||305||269||5,851|
|F-150 3.3L V6||10.7||290||265||5,534|
|Silverado 5.3L EcoTec V8||13.1||355||383||5,035|
|RAM 5.7L HEMI V8||13.1||395||410||7,235|
|F-150 5.0L V8||12.4||395||397||7,348|
When it comes to performance, the Silverado is a clear loser. Neither of Chevrolet’s engines deliver the best power or fuel economy. For high power, the RAM can be a worthy choice. But the F-150’s base V6 and V8 seem to strike the best balance of strength and finesse.
The Best Truck
At the end of the day, the “best truck” for you depends on what you’re going to use it for, so it’s tough to say which is the best for you. Additionally, each truck has the basic capabilities to handle some tough jobs. On the other hand, the numbers don’t seem to favour the Silverado or RAM 1500 in terms of performance. And performance is often what matters most to truck buyers.
Disagree with everything I’ve said? Light me up in the comments!