Whether you’re buying new or looking to grab something from a used truck dealer, we have a list of some of the best trucks built from 2011 up through 2021. More specifically, we have a list of some of the best midsize, full-size, and heavy trucks over the years, highlighting what makes them the best of that particular year and why they might be worth checking out. With all of the options available to you, it’s hard to pick just one out of an incredible lineup. So, without further ado, here’s our top list of some of our favorite trucks built from 2011 to 2021.
2011 Ford F-150
The Ford F-150 was reinvented in 2011 in a big way. The 12th generation F-150 introduced the EcoBoost technology to its all-new powertrain line-up. The EcoBoost V6 engines replaced the old V8s, and with it, they brought fuel-efficient tech with great performance. One of the most surprising things about this entry of the Ford F-150, in combination with EcoBoost, is a lot of the added productivity and infotainment technology. All of these features would set the groundwork for future F-150 advancements and would help bolster the pickup’s success on the market.
2012 Honda Ridgeline
The 2012 Honda Ridgeline received some fair praise from critics and truck-shoppers alike, not so much for reinventing the wheel but for being a really solid, reliable wheel. The 2012 outing didn’t add much of anything new to the table, but the unibody frame, improved fascia, and a new trim gave the Ridgeline just enough spark to edge out the competition as a worthwhile compact truck. Despite its low tow-rating, the dependable and sturdy design combined with sedan-like handling helped separate the Ridgeline from the competition as an economical and reliable midsize pickup.
2013 Ram 3500 HD
The 2013 model year of the Ram heavy-duty truck series underwent some major changes. While the light-duty trucks are oftentimes the ones to get plenty of love in the overhaul department, Ram paid a lot of attention to the heavy-duty entry for the 2013 model year. In particular, the Ram 3500 HD received some updates for the turbocharged Cummins diesel with additional powertrain upgrades. This resulted in the 3500 HD, in particular, receiving a new tow rating of 30,000 pounds. The update also set into motion an extremely competitive race among the big three truck manufacturers to see who could bring their tow ratings to new heights.
2014 Toyota Tacoma
While some trucks underwent massive redesigns for their 2014 model year outings, and others were attempting to improve their overall performance or tow ratings, the Tacoma decided to go a completely different route. What was the route? An affordable, low-cost, low-maintenance, fully-featured midsize truck. It was brilliant because it was simple. This strategy paid off well with the Tacoma because it was a great option for those who wanted a functional pickup without any crazy costs.
2015 GMC Canyon
Where the Tacoma opted for price and efficiency over bells and whistles, the GMC Canyon opted for bells and whistles with its 2015 model year outing. The complete overhaul for the smaller pickup included new powertrain options, all-new cabin interior, and improved hauling, towing, and trailering. In many ways, the 2015 Canyon felt less like a midsize pickup and more like a full-sized truck. A sturdy-looking exterior with some great lines really helped sell the whole package, too.
2016 Chevy Colorado
The 2016 Chevy Colorado may be one of the more understated entries on the list. Why? Because it follows a 2015 redesign. However, it refines and improves some options, such as better enhanced infotainment features and integrated technology, as well as the addition of a Duramax 2.8-liter diesel option. These may not seem like big enough features to make it stand out among that year’s offerings, but when coupled with the special editions, such as the Z71 Midnight and Trail Boss editions, it really separates the Colorado from the competition.
2017 GMC Sierra 1500
“The Sierra is just a rebadged Silverado!” some (less than enthused) enthusiasts yell. Well, yes, the Sierra shares the same platform as the Silverado, just the same as the Colorado and Canyon share the same platform. However, the differences are in the details. With the 2017 Sierra, it was obvious GMC opted for refinement and convenience over anything else. Some of these refinements included more standard assistive driver aids such as Teen Driver, more high-quality interior cabin ingredients thanks to the Denali trim, and all new tri-mode power steps for the bed. It’s enough to make it a top pick for the year.
2018 Ford F-150
There is probably a rule somewhere that says you can’t have two of the same trucks on a top list, but let’s ignore that rule for now because this entry is quite important. While the 2011 Ford F-150 reinvented how the F-150 attacked the competitive full-size market, the 2018 F-150 is essentially the embodiment of that competitive spirit. With all-new ramped-up towing capacity, all-new high-performance powertrains, a vastly improved fuel economy, and a sleek look, the 2018 F-150 basically decided to put all the competition on notice with its top-to-bottom upgrades.
2019 Jeep Gladiator
If the 2018 F-150 put the competition on notice, the 2019 Jeep Gladiator put the competition in a weak-kneed state of fear. The return of the Jeep Gladiator to the market as a fully functional, utilitarian off-road pickup truck took the market by surprise. It was basically the spirit of the Wrangler embodying the functionality of a light-duty pickup, yet classified as a midsize truck. It’s a beastly-looking rig that set the market on fire with its multi-functional efficiency, which is precisely why it easily takes the top spot of 2019.
2020 Chevy Silverado 1500
An argument can be made that the Chevy Silverado 1500 deserved the 2019 spot over the Gladiator, but there’s a reason it occupies the 2020 slot instead. Chevy gave the Silverado 1500 a lot of awesome refinements for the 2020 model year, including more availability of the 10-speed automatic transmission across the trim line, the addition of the 3.0-liter Duramax turbo-diesel engine, and all-new trailering tech and driver aids. The 2020 Silverado 1500 is just all-around better in every way than the 2019 model year, plus it has a lot of nice little touches in refined tech, standard safety features, and better powertrain options. There’s just nothing to hate about the 2020 model year of the Silverado 1500.
2021 Ram 1500 TRX
Was there ever going to be another truck even close to this? Ram pulled out all the stops for the 1500 TRX, and it absolutely shows. From the roof to the grille and everything in between, the full-size pickup is all about power. Packing a 6.2-liter turbocharged Hemi V8 with 702 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, the TRX is a monster on four wheels. The fact that the truck comes with launch control, and 0 to 60 times that would make a supercar jealous, it’s a no-brainer why the TRX makes the cut as the 2021 year pick. The competition is now scrambling to play catch-up to this monster of a truck, and the fact that there’s now a race to compete with the powerhouse performance of the TRX only means there are great things in the future for truck enthusiasts.
Potential Future Favorites
The truck market is set for some major disruptions over the next couple of years, and it’s easy to see how some of the trucks filling out future lists will be vastly different from the ones on the current list. With the budding prominence of electric trucks, we just might expect to see the R1T from Rivian make the cut thanks to its long-range performance and unique look. And speaking of unique looks, the Tesla Cybertruck could be a surefire entry on future lists as well. One other prediction for a potential future favorite is none other than Ford’s own F-150 Lightning. The highly popular all-electric light-duty truck could disrupt the market in major ways, and we’ll definitely be keeping an eye on that one. One things for sure though, trucks are getting better and better every day.