In the USA, we sure do love pickup trucks. Especially full-size pickups, which are at the heart of the market.
Since 2014, Ford, Chevy, and RAM - the Big Three of pickup brands - have each redesigned their bread-and-butter (Meat and potatoes?) truck.
I've driven them all, but I've also checked out the Toyota Tundra, a solid pickup that sells outside the top three, and that hasn't been revamped for a while.
These are all pretty good trucks, and for this roundup, I've highlighted some of their best features (by the way, I skipped towing because all four trucks can tow weight that's within the expectations of this class).
Here's the F-150, which I tested right after Ford redesigned the iconic pickup in 2015, to use more lightweight aluminum in the construction; Ford has since updated the vehicle. The price for this one was around $50,000.
A big question about the redesigned F-150 was whether an aluminum bed would be as strong as steel. In my testing, the bed performed fine.
The tailgate in the F-150 has a very useful retractable step.
The F-150s styling is also a plus. This pickup just looks like it can get the job done.
Perhaps the best feature of the F-150 is how popular it is. The pickup has long been the best-selling vehicle in the US.
Of course, if the F-150 isn't high-performance enough for you, there's always the mighty Raptor, the race-car version of the the pickup.
The all-new 2019 Silverado! Price was $57,000.
The LTZ Crew Cab I tested came with a short bed, but a larger box is available. For me, this box is exactly the right size for everyday duty.
How's this for cool? The Silverado still had a column shifter!
The Silverado could be outfitted with a 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, a 4.3-liter V6, a 5.3-liter V8, a 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder diesel — or, in the case of my tester, a 6.2-liter V8. Me, I'll take the V8.
The Chevy infotainment system was the best of all the four trucks here. Plus, you can use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The back seats are a bench design, but plenty roomy. Adults would be comfortable.
Here's the new 2019 RAM 1500. Price? $68,500, in Crew Cab Laramie "Longhorn" edition trim.
The power tailgate can be activated using the key fob.
RAM is part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, whose uConnect infotainment system is well-executed, but not praised often enough. The screen on the RAM 1500 is huge.
A mild hybrid "eTorque" system is coupled to the Hemi 5.7-liter V8, making a total of 395 horsepower with 410 foot-pounds of torque. The 0-60 time is about 6 seconds. Fuel economy is OK: 17 mpg city/22 highway/19 combined.
The RAM 1500's calling card has always been its four-wheel independent suspension, which contributes to a smooth ride. Skeptics argue that the lack of a hardtail rear suspension — the other full-sizers have leaf-spring suspensions — means that the RAM 1500 suffers from a potential point of failure. But happy customers don't seem to care.
The RAM 1500 I tested had by far the most luxurious and comfortable interior.
Finally, the stalwart Toyota Tundra, which is due for an update. It stickered at $53,000.
I tested the 1794 Edition. The 1794 backstory is intricate: The oldest cattle ranch in Texas, near San Antonio, dates to that year. The property is where Toyota built its US pickup-truck factory.
The Toyota had the second-nicest interior of the full-size pickups I've tested, behind the RAM 1500.
Yep, the bed handled a hefty load of stuff with ease. To be honest, the beds were notable features on all these pickups. Only the Ford F-150's came without a spray-on bedliner.
Gotta love a good old-fashioned ignition key! Crank 'er up!
The Tundra, although in need of an update, still has a roomy and comfortable back seat that grown-ups should adore.