The North American pickup truck market is an incredibly tight one – indeed, every year you can expect to see the same five half tone models in each list, and this is because there are really only six or so competitors in the marketplace, with a fairly clear delineation of roles amongst them. Nevertheless it is worth having an overview, each year, in the case of possible upsets and, more importantly, to be aware of how this years models stack up, and if it is time to upgrade, to buy used, or to wait.
With that in mind, this list outlines what to expect from the big names this year – and 2022 does see some exciting changes.
It is fair to say that the F150 is probably what comes to mind when you ask someone to name a truck. Ford has certainly earned that ubiquity. Amongst its competitors, the F150 has legacy, reliability, and customizability on its side. It's basic XL model also comes in at the lower end of the price spectrum, making it a more accessible choice. New to the 2022 model is expanded customization, a refreshed color palette and slightly revamped exterior. The F150 has several different models. Notable for 2022 is the introduction of the Ford F150 Lightning, an electric alternative, and the return of the Raptor, an off-road favorite. Ultimately, all the options new to 2022 are elaborations on the award-winning 2021 overhaul.
Relative to the other options presented here, the F150 has weaknesses in its stiff handling and service plans, the latter being inferior especially to the GMC and Toyota offerings. Stellar safety ratings are a plus, though all trucks featured here excel in that regard. The F150 is a first-time truck owner's prime choice and features here primarily for its accessible XL model.
Reflecting its overall price bump compared to the F150, the Ram 1500 is substantially more luxurious vehicle. Experts note stellar handling that makes feel somewhat less like a work truck and a lot more like a pleasure. All models, especially the top-of-the-line ones, feature nicely trimmed interiors and comfort-making features. The lack of a regular cab seems to suggest a move away from the workspace towards a more casual consumer market. Not so in terms of capacities, but certainly in terms of configuration.
Reviews note fuel efficiency as a major point of weakness with the Ram 1500 relative to other comparable options. The 1500 does have an 'eco-diesel' option which performs better in this regard but is obviously inferior to something like Ford's electric option. If you want Ram luxury in an electric format it seems you will have to wait a couple years for the Ram 1500 EV.
The new Chevy Silverado 1500 is the product of Chevrolet playing catch up with the market leading Ford and Ram offerings. On the whole the endeavour is a success! Previous complaints consumers had about the Silverado have been addressed, and GM has put together some feature packages with options not found elsewhere. The super cruise self-driving (usable even when towing) is industry leading, and to accommodate such features driver assist and safety amenities are top-notch.
Like the F150, the Silverado's basic model is more cost effective, coming in around the same price, though YMMV. With the 2022 update, Chevy finally as an off-road kit available to compete with popular offerings from Toyota, Ford, and Ram. While this option does not quite stack up to its competitors, those committed to the brand will find a completely adequate off-road vehicle with Chevrolet's new off-road kit.
For those looking at a truck at a very specific price point, reviewers seem to find low-intermediate 'LT' to have most bang-for-buck. This makes the Silverado a compelling option as other competitors 'sweet-spot' kits often come in at a higher price point.
As most already know, GMC is essentially an upmarket Chevrolet, and this holds true for their Sierra 1500 half tonne truck. For this reason, interest in the Sierra usually focuses on the high-end kits which are unavailable through the Chevrolet imprint. Getting an entry level Sierra differs minimally from the Chevrolet counterpart. The star of the Sierra line has long been the Denali, which has luxury in line with Ram's finest offerings. Determined to outshine Ram, however, GMC added the Denali Ultimate to their 2022 lineup – an almost unimaginably luxurious take on what a pickup truck can be. In this regard, GMC is the clear chose for those shoppers who see a truck like this as a status symbol.
The interior of the Denali Ultimate is a sight to behold – its adorned with maps of Mount Denali, has message seats and an optional 22-inch touch screen, and open pore wood to trim. On the outside, the Ultimate has exclusive 22” rims and a chromed-out grille.
The trade-off needed to get all these goodies is a price tag usually only found alongside off-road kits on other models. As such, if you're planning to spend seventy or eighty grand on a truck, you need to be aware that that money will get you a very different truck elsewhere.
The mid 2000s gave us Toyota's incredibly successful (for a truck coming overseas) second generation Tundra, and 2022 introduces its third generation, marking a total reworking. The lifespan of the prior generation is something to marvel at, whether you consider it a questionable overextension or a testament to excellence. However you slice it, trucks have come a long way, and an update was needed.
Despite a new generation, however, most experts agree that Toyota isn't really trying to win over any domestic loyalists. Arguably, however, Toyota doesn't need to make an extremely technically competitive truck to sell vehicles, as their outstanding reputation and credentials in reliability and safety stand on their own. Not every brand can attest to consistency, while with Toyota you can reasonably assume that you won't be surprised going years into your purchase. Customers who prioritize those concerns will be well served by Toyota, and the third generation of the Tundra will ensure that you have access to all the same playgrounds that the major domestic brands delimit.
2022 is a big year for the pickup market, with more substantial changes than usual and some that have been due for at least half a decade. With GMC's super cruise, we might be getting a first glimpse of technology that will come to define competition in the industry, and insider scoops suggest that other manufacturers are trying to develop an alternative. If 2022 hasn't struck your fancy truck-wise, keep an ear to the ground over the next couple years – by 2025 competition over self-driving and electronic technology will be in full swing.