The makes and models mentioned in this article are not placed in any particular order, nor intended to be viewed as a ranked list. KSL Cars does not endorse any vehicles. The views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer and do not reflect the views or opinions of KSL.com or its employees.
Visit the parking lot of the nearest worksite or little league game and it won’t take long to notice that full-size half-ton pickup trucks are a favorite among American buyers. From families of four to full-time contractors and everyone in between, folks can’t get enough of their power and versatility. For decades, trucks like the Ford F-150, Ram 1500 and Chevy Silverado have been the best-selling vehicles in the country — and for good reason.
No longer only relegated to the world of heavy-duty hauling, towing and ranching, this class of pickup truck is just as suited for commuting and carpool duties as it is for loading up a stack of lumber from Home Depot on the weekend. The versatility of modern trucks makes them tough to beat if you’re looking for something that can do a bit of everything, and while domestic brands dominate the top tier of truck sales, all of the following 2021 models are more than capable of suiting your needs.
2021 Toyota Tundra
Soon to be replaced by the recently announced 2022 Toyota Tundra, the current iteration of the Tundra still deserves consideration for its outstanding build quality and robustly engineered powertrain. While its competitors have an edge over the Tundra in fuel efficiency, driving dynamics and safety features, no one comes close to competing with the Tundra’s incredible longevity. After all, there aren’t many other trucks on the market whose owners have proudly displayed over one million miles on the original engine and transmission.
Toyota’s under-stressed, naturally aspirated V8 motor is powerful enough to take care of most buyers’ needs, and will probably last long enough to sell your truck with some life still left in it. The 2021 Tundra is old-school and largely unchanged in its advanced age, but as they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
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Photo Credit: Nissan Official U.S. Newsroom
2021 Nissan Titan
If you want a roomy, powerful, import truck for a decent price, look no further than the 2021 Nissan Titan. The Titan’s most obvious comparison is with the aforementioned Tundra, but whereas the Tundra makes up for its shortcomings with an engine built to last, the Titan shines with an engine built for power. The 5.6-liter V8 moves with a purpose, producing 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque — much more than its Toyota counterpart.
The 2021 Titan also boasts some nice updates, including a new nine-speed automatic transmission and refreshed styling. What holds this truck back is its interior materials, towing capacity and technology, but despite these shortcomings, the Titan still stands out in the highly competitive world of full-size pickups. Buyers who go with the Titan will find plenty of room, lots of power and enough features to meet their needs, especially when looking in the used market.
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2021 Ford F-150
The Ford F-150 has been the bestselling vehicle in America for over 30 years now. No, not the bestselling truck — the bestselling vehicle. With so much public goodwill and a guaranteed customer base, Ford could have phoned in the 2021 redesign and safely assumed that it would sell. Instead, it set out to make the 2021 F-150 the best full-size half-ton pickup truck on the market.
Full of fun and helpful features like a backseat that folds flat into a bed, a shifter that hides away when not in use and 360-degree lighting, there’s little Ford engineers didn’t consider for the 2021 F-150. Engine options are plentiful, including PowerBoost, the only full hybrid powertrain engine available in a pickup truck. Producing a robust 430 horsepower and 570 pound-feet of torque, the PowerBoost engine is also capable of converting power for household appliances or construction tools.
The 2021 Ford F-150 is a great choice for those looking for a vehicle that can do it all. It’s both comfortable and spacious, boasts great attention to detail and is available with a variety of engine choices and modern technology features. Check out the ultra-cool Raptor edition for some extra style.
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Photo Credit: Chevrolet Pressroom
2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
With the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, buyers will find some of the highest towing capacity available in a full-size pickup, without having to bump up into the class of heavy-duty pickups. With a variety of engine and trim options and easy driving dynamics, there’s a lot to love about the Silverado.
Available with five different engines (including a diesel), the Chevy Silverado 1500 is all about meeting a customer’s ideal specifications. It’s capable of being built out to a luxury road trip cruiser, a basic worksite beater or just about anything in between. The Silverado will check all your boxes — especially if one or more of those boxes involve towing.
If there are any downsides to the Chevy Silverado 1500, they’re in the styling. While the exterior isn’t bad, the interior looks a little dated, which isn’t great considering the current generation is only a few years old. If you’re ready for just a little bit of nostalgia, however, this powerful and customizable truck should suit you well.
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2021 Ram 1500
Not to be outshined by Ford, Ram has pulled out all the stops in making one of the most capable, powerful, safe and luxurious pickups around with the 2021 Ram 1500. Often regarded by experts as the best truck on the market, the Ram 1500 exhibits one of the most well-rounded driving experiences you can have in a truck of this class.
There’s plenty of variety to be found within the 1500. In addition to the various luxury add-ons that are available, you’ve got your choice of engines, including a 702 horsepower Hellcat engine in the Ram 1500 TRX. With the 1500, Ram has once again made it look easy, crafting a half-ton truck that’s a pleasure to live with each day, no matter the task at hand.
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Extremely capable as offroad, towing, cruising or family vehicles, a half-ton full-size pickup truck is a great choice for those wanting a versatile ride that can handle anything you throw at it. Per CNBC, pickup trucks accounted for five of the industry’s 10 bestselling vehicles in 2020, and after spending some time in each of them, it’s not surprising that so many buyers want one.