2019 Chevrolet Silverado Turbo front three quarter ・ Photo by General Motors
Pickup trucks are some of the most popular vehicles in America for a good reason: There’s nothing else on four wheels that can do it all. Today’s trucks have all the comfort, convenience, and amenities of a big sedan or SUV, paired with the ground clearance to tackle forty miles of bad road and the grunt to carry a full cabin along with a bed full of cargo.
When it comes to daily drivers, pickups are tough to beat. A pickup truck is an office on wheels, a home away from home, a faithful steed, and a family friend. Our favorite daily driven pickup trucks live in the sweet spot between utilitarian and high-end luxury trim levels. Here are five of the best trucks for daily driving.
When it comes to selling pickup trucks, Ford leads the pack, with the F-150 holding the title of America’s best-selling pickup truck since 1977. A radical redesign in the 2015 model year incorporated aluminum body panels to slash weight for improved efficiency and performance.
The 2019 Ford F-150 is offered in seven trim levels. We’d opt for the mid-range F-150 Lariat SuperCrew 4X4 as our daily driver, with an upgraded power plant. Ford offers the most engine choices in its class, with a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, a traditional naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8, and a new 3.0-liter Power Stroke turbo diesel V6 option, in addition to the standard 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6. All models are fitted with a 10-speed multi-mode automatic transmission.
Photo by Ford
The F-150 Lariat’s cabin is all business, with leather upholstery, heated/ventilated 40/20/40 front seats, and a host of amenities to get you through the day. The 8-inch touchscreen Sync 3 infotainment system includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, as well as FordPass Connect with WiFi.
Choosing the right options make the F-150 a better daily driver. Check the 501A option box to add blindspot mirrors, cross-traffic alert, trailer tow monitoring, reverse sensing, and LED side-mirror spotlights. The Technology option package adds the 360 camera view with dynamic hitch assist, active park assist, and lane keep. More than 909,000 F-150s were sold in 2018, representing the model’s best sales year since its peak back in 2004. The competition gets stiffer in 2019.
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The thoroughly redesigned 2019 RAM 1500 has earned a host of accolades, including the coveted North American Truck of the Year (NACTOY) award. We’d choose the 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4x4 as our daily driver to go head-to-head with the F-150 Lariat.
The Laramie features an efficient and responsive 3.6-liter eTorque V6 and eight-speed automatic transmission as standard equipment, and offers a traditional 5.7-liter HEMI V8 and eTorque HEMI V8 as well-priced options. Checking the right boxes takes the 1500 Laramie to the next level. We’d opt for the class-exclusive four-corner air suspension system and Level 2 equipment group options.
Photo by Ram Trucks
Climb into the 2019 RAM 1500 Laramie’s cabin, and you’ll be impressed at the attention to detail. The leather-upholstered interior features heated and ventilated front bucket seats. An 8.4-inch touchscreen Uconnect 4 infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard, along with a nine-speaker Alpine audio system.
The Level 2 option packages upgrade the sound system to a 19-speaker Harman Kardon setup and add safety technology (blindspot mirrors with cross-path detection, front and rear park-assist, and automatic high beams), as well as class-exclusive split-recline heated rear seats. The advanced safety group option package includes adaptive cruise with stop and go, as well as lane departure warning/lane keep. Make sure that you test drive a properly optioned truck.
Photo by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
The 2019 Honda Ridgeline is an excellent choice for daily driving. Unibody construction makes it unlike any other pickup truck sold in America. While it can’t offer the hauling capacity of the traditional body-on-frame half-ton trucks, it’s a splendid alternative for families with more modest requirements.
We’d opt for the high-end Ridgeline RTL-E among the six trim levels offered in 2019. The RTL-E is packed with technology and amenities at a reasonable price, without adding any option packages. A traditional 3.5-liter V6 delivers the power to all four wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission and Honda’s i-VTM4 all-wheel-drive system. With a cargo-bed floor storage well and integrated bed wall speakers, the Ridgeline is a party on four wheels.
Photo by Honda
The Ridgeline RTL-E’s standard technology and SUV-like interior provide creature comforts and peace of mind. The leather-upholstered cabin includes heated front bucket seats with power lumbar support, a heated steering wheel, and a standard power moonroof. The infotainment/satellite navigation system features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, along with an eight-speaker 540-watt audio system.
Standard Honda Sensing safety technology includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning with lane keep, collision mitigation braking, and automatic high beams. Blindspot mirrors, parking sensors, and cross-traffic alert relieve stress on the road and in the parking lot. While pickup truck purists may scoff, the Ridgeline is a marvelous daily driver.
Photo by Honda
While small pickup trucks were quite popular in America during the 1970s and 1980s due to high gas prices, manufacturers abandoned the market as fuel prices dropped. Toyota kept the faith, and the Tacoma earned its reputation over the years as the best small pickup truck for daily driving. While there’s plenty of competition these days from the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, and Ford Ranger, the Tacoma’s reliability and strong resale values still make it a solid value.
The mid-level Tacoma TRD Off-Road is an affordable choice that lets buyers choose between a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, which is a rarity among pickup trucks these days. A 3.5-liter V6 delivers the grunt, with an electronic locking rear differential and crawl control to get you through the tough stuff.
Photo by Toyota
The Tacoma’s cabin is tighter than all of the pickups on our list of daily drivers, so it's essential to take an extended test drive to make sure that you fit. Toyota Safety Sense (TSS-P) technology is standard in the Tacoma, with lane departure alert, adaptive cruise control, and a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection. You’ll pay extra for these features with most other brands.
Opt for the premium and technology packages to gain creature comforts, convenience, and additional stress-relieving safety tech, including leather upholstery, heated front bucket seats, blind spot mirrors, and rear cross-traffic alert. If your travels take you off the beaten path on a regular basis, the TRD Off-Road should be at the top of your consideration list.
Photo by Toyota
The Chevrolet Silverado's 2019 redesign emphasizes versatility. It's a serious work truck, not a lifestyle choice. If cargo bed capability is high on your priority list, it takes the prize with class-leading capacity, a dozen tie-downs, LED lighting, and integrated corner steps in the rear bumper.
The 4WD Crew Cab Short Bed LTZ is an executive office on wheels and our pick for daily driving, out of the eight available trim levels. The standard 5.3-liter Ecotec3 V8 engine features dynamic fuel management, and the eight-speed automatic transmission provides responsiveness as well as efficiency. A 3.0-liter Duramax turbodiesel engine is due later in the model year.
Photo by General Motors
The Silverado 1500 LTZ’s cabin is packed with technology and amenities, starting with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. The standard perforated leather-upholstered interior features a 40/20/40 split-bench front seat with heated outboard seats and power lumbar, as well as a heated steering wheel.
Choosing the LTZ Premium option package swaps the bench out for heated and ventilated front bucket seats, while adding outboard seat heaters to the second row along with a power sunroof and a Bose audio system. Most importantly, it packs on a slew of safety tech, including blind spot mirrors, lane keep assist, rear cross traffic alert, park assist (front and rear), and automatic headlamps. The power up-and-down tailgate sets it apart from the crowd.
Photo by General Motors