The full-size pickup truck market is one of the most competitive in North America. Each of the Big Three automakers sells more trucks than any other vehicle in their lineup. Obviously this means that the stakes are high when it comes to market share, and these flagship vehicles have fallen under increased technical and engineering scrutiny over the past 20 years. Each company has tried to refine their trucks to the greatest degree possible to balance driver comfort and overall fuel economy with impressive cargo and towing capacity.
Added to the mix is the fact that the Japanese have noticed just how many trucks can be sold in the United States. Toyota, Nissan and to a lesser extent Honda have brought their own considerable expertise to bear on building a pickup truck that will not only appeal to buyers but will also trump the quality of domestic offerings. For several years Japanese pickup trucks were known for possessing 7/8ths the size, power and capabilities of their competition from Detroit, but recently there has been a resurgence in the potency of these imported workhorses.What are some of the crucial criteria by which a pickup truck is judged? Horsepower and torque are near the top of the list, especially for those who use their truck as a work vehicle. Torque is the primary requirement for drivers who do heavy duty towing, and the availability of a diesel engine is a huge plus. Paradoxically, the same demographic that has a hankering for V8 engines in their pickups is beginning to take a serious look at fuel economy. For automakers, the answer hasn’t been to produce more 6-cylinder options but rather attempt to create fuel efficient versions of their 8-cylinder lineup.Size is also an important consideration, specifically with regards to the amount of cargo space in the truck bed as well as interior room. Four-door pickup trucks have become de-rigueur, and it is unusual to see single cab trucks in the consumer marketplace as anything other than plain Jane work vehicles. Hand in hand with the interior’s size are the luxury features offered for drivers. As more and more pickups are used daily for everything from driving to work to taking the kids to soccer practices, these vehicles have seen the migration of many features that were previously only found in sedans.It can sometimes be difficult to have an objective viewpoint when it comes to pickup trucks. Owners are often repeat buyers who return time and again to the same brand, meaning that companies have to fight extra hard to get people to change their minds and try something new. That being said, here are three pickup trucks available on the used market that warrant serious consideration when it comes time to make a purchase.