2016 Ford F 150 Photo ・ Photo by Ford
Pickups today are more powerful—and more efficient—than ever before, yet as more customers turn to them for their daily driving routines, those buyers are also chasing the best looking trucks on the market. With that in mind, we’ve analyzed ten of the top truck lines currently available to discover some of their most attractive entries, while additionally trying to account for differing tastes with sporty, rugged and premium choices alike.
Well ahead of the pickup pace when it comes to things like EcoBoost engines and military-grade aluminum body panels, the 2016 Ford F-150 is a little late to the party for special-edition entries—which have proven increasingly popular with today’s customers. That changes for the new selling season, however, as folks are now celebrating the launch of two of the Blue Oval’s best looking trucks: the aptly named F-150 XLT and Lariat Special Editions. The XLT and Lariat trims are two of the more-affordable members of the lineup, so customers don’t have to pay a high entry fee for the trucks, and then they enjoy a stylish appearance upgrade highlighted by 20-inch aluminum wheels with an anodized, dark-painted finish and red sport lettering, along with distinctive body-side striping and premium seats, the latter also sporting red bolsters and contrast stitching as well as Alcantara inserts.
Photo by Ford
If you’re a lover of the great outdoors, you might consider the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado Realtree Edition for inclusion with the industry’s best-looking trucks. Designed in partnership with one of the world’s top names for camouflage, the rugged Realtree Edition naturally includes some of that company’s signature graphics, with Chevy then providing black “bowties,” a blackout-style trim package, black side-assist steps and black 20-inch wheels. The cabin also checks in its share of subtly enhanced design cues, like the Realtree logos embroidered into the front-seat headrests. The Realtree Edition has real outdoors-friendly capability, too, because it leverages standard all-terrain tires and Chevrolet’s Z71 off-road package. With that on board, drivers benefit from trail-tested hardware such as Rancho-brand monotube shock absorbers, an automatic locking rear differential, and an underbody shield and hill-descent control, for carefully crawling down steep inclines.
Photo by Chevrolet Media
The midsize segment’s best-looking trucks include the 2016 Chevrolet Colorado. Launched for the 2015 model year, the Colorado carries some of the same bold design elements found on its larger Silverado sibling—like the signature curve at the bottom of the truck’s side rear windows—yet it no doubt puts its own individual spin on the pickup platform. The Colorado’s deep fog-lamp pockets are a prime example of this, and so are limited-edition trucks like the new Shoreline model. Showcasing a distinctly West Coast vibe, the Colorado Shoreline will come in only four flashy colors—Silver Ice Metallic, Summit White, Laser Blue and Red Hot—and furnish accents such as a body-color front grille, black-out exterior trim, and black 18-inch wheels. For an added dash of functionality, a spray-in bedliner and all-weather floor liners are both also standard, and for added choice, the Colorado Z71 Midnight and Trail Boss are also available.
Photo by General Motors
Sophisticated Professional Grade design is provided throughout the roster by the 2016 GMC Sierra, but it’s the Denali models that really deliver on the details. Among the newest: standard LED headlamps that debut for the current model year to complement the truck’s LED daytime running lamps, taillamps and thin-profile foglamps. Also plenty impressive are the Denali-specific chrome grille and 20-inch wheels, along with premium exterior cues such as six-inch chrome assist steps, a chrome exhaust tip, and a spray-in bedliner that shows off a 3D Denali logo. The interior meanwhile continues the high-tech appearance theme, albeit with a large dose of traditional luxuries. Indeed, although premium amenities are part and parcel of many of the best looking trucks on the market, the Denali distinguishes itself with leather-appointed 12-way front buckets seats that supply both heating and ventilation. Oh, and there’s true high technology, too, like a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Photo by General Motors
Wearing a refined iteration of the same midsize truck cues found on the Chevy Colorado, but with exclusive front and rear styling, the 2016 GMC Canyon caters to the style-conscious with entries like the Nightfall Edition and, for the 2017 model year, the introduction of the Canyon Denali. Both are among the best-looking trucks in GMC’s pickup portfolio, though they achieve that status with two very different approaches. The Nightfall truck gets a monochromatic exterior treatment with touches like a black-and-body-color grille, five-inch assist steps and 18-inch aluminum wheels with a bright machined finish and argent inserts. The Canyon Denali, expected at dealerships late this year, welcomes a full lux makeover with Denali hallmarks like 20-inch ultra-bright aluminum wheels and an eye-popping chrome grille. Transforming the truck’s cabin: a heated steering wheel and leather-appointed seats with a front row that’s heated and ventilated for all-year comfort.
Photo by General Motors
The iconic “horse collar” grille of the 2016 RAM 1500 remains one of the most recognizable faces in the full-size pickup segment. So it’s strange but true that two of the brand’s best-looking trucks have ditched that design entirely. The off-road entry in the class, the Rebel, displays a bold billet-silver “Ram” logo that’s front and center on a blacked-out, upper-only grille that meets up with a trail-friendly front bumper design. Also creating a custom look in the cockpit are the truck’s seats, which display patterned inserts sharing the same design as the Rebel’s Toyo tires. As for the new range-topping Laramie Limited its dramatically detailed “billet port” chrome grille centers its own Ram logo between those ports and a unique cross-bar treatment. Setting off the package are 20-inch forged-aluminum wheels that are new for 2016 and boast an intricate, multi-surfaced design.
Photo by Ram Trucks
Most buyers seem to think the best looking trucks are the ones with the biggest grilles, but for customers who prefer a relatively restrained appearance, the 2016 Toyota Tundra touts a number of tasteful options. In fact, the popularly priced SR5 and the super-luxurious “1794” Edition were both fine-tuned up front for 2016, complete with another nifty illustration of Toyota designers’ notable air-intake work. In the case of SR5 and 1794, it moves to the leading edge of the hood’s power dome in a particularly interesting placement; the SR5 creates a separate look, in which the intake is balanced by a similar but slightly longer space at the bottom of the grille. Aggressive hood-intake designs aside, the truck further makes an eye-catching style statement with a stamped-in “Tundra” name on the right of the tailgate.
Photo by Toyota
Further proof that the biggest trucks aren’t always the best looking trucks is the 2016 Toyota Tacoma. Toyota has had the best-selling midsize pickup for years now, and the truck’s ongoing evolutions in design have certainly helped maintain that momentum. Today’s Tacoma is no different. Significantly refreshed for the 2016 model year, the current version was designed here in the United States with a sharp focus on “recreational action and athletic agility.” For instance, the wheel flares of the 2016 Tacoma are especially prominent, not only creating a muscular presence but also providing the room needed for suspension travel during off-road escapades. And on the topic of trails, the recently introduced 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro is built to excel on them, backed by hardware from Toyota Racing Development that includes daring design upgrades for those who dare to tackle the toughest terrain.
Photo by Toyota
Okay, despite originally agreeing to limit our list of best looking trucks to the light-duty segments, since they’re responsible for by far the majority of sales, we’re making an exception for the 2016 Nissan Titan XD. The XD actually carves out a new niche for customers, delivering extra capability and a stouter foundation than the typical light-duty choice, but without being as off-puttingly large and expensive as a true HD pickup. Still, the XD is a fairly titanic truck. It stretches over 20 feet in length, yet that leaves a lot of canvas for design cues, like the subtly rounded character detail on the side, which also dip slightly in a visual echo of the wheel arches. Of course, it’s also worth noting that the Titan XD earned this year’s trophy as the Autobytel Truck of the Year—and that a traditionally sized full-size Titan will launch as well.
Photo by Nissan USA
Oh yes we did. Regardless of what pickup purists may think about the unibody 2016 Honda Ridgeline, with its standard front-wheel-drive powertrain, Autobytel’s experts won’t be hung up on technicalities: We’ve chosen this brand-new midsizer as the final member of our best looking trucks team. Clean, gently sculpted flanks, an angry and angular front grille, and even a noticeable exterior separation between its bed and body all play a part, as does the way the Ridgeline’s side rocker moldings seem to flow back from its front bumper. Also, Honda already has revealed a blackout edition Ridgeline and a full range of accessories, making it clear that the company will cater to the current high customer demand for design-conscious trucks.