2017 Pickup Truck Of The Year – Judges Pick
We at Truck Trend are but mere mortals, and as such we all bring a certain level of bias into everything we do, no matter how unprejudiced we may attempt to be. What sets us apart as professionals is the capacity to see beyond our personal preference and take a wholly impartial view of the subject in question. Throughout the week of testing our expert judges are asked put aside personal preferences and desires and instead focus exclusively on the vehicles placed in front of them, judging them in as unbiased of a manner possible. However, once judging was complete and before the scores were tallied, we asked our judges which pickup they would choose to take home and why. Read on to see which they would choose if they were spending their own cash.
Jason GondermanEditor – Truck Trend
It may seem like a copout, but it is extremely difficult to choose a pickup from this year’s field that I would purchase since they are all so good in so many different ways. If I were looking for a family commuter, my choice would be the Honda Ridgeline. The Ridgeline has an incredible highway ride, fantastic fuel economy, and a kickin’ stereo. But if the rebel in me had its way, I’d have to go for the Ford F-150 Raptor. I’m an off-roader at heart and the ability to flat haul ass across the desert is an adrenaline rush that’s hard to ignore. However, if I suddenly won the lottery, the Ford F-250 Super Duty would find a warm welcome to my driveway.
Ultimately though, the Nissan Titan is the truck that I would reasonably purchase. It has a great combination of style, performance, and value. The Titan fits my needs perfectly and would make a nice replacement for my current aging 1/2-ton. It tows what I need, gets decent fuel economy, and would make a comfortable family wagon.
Christian NimskyVice President, Truck & Off-Road Group
If I were buying a real truck to do trucky kind of things like hauling or towing, and I needed it to be nice I’d get a Nissan Titan. It’s a great all-around utility player and a quality product for the price. But I don’t need a real truck, so…
If I had to replace my wife’s car today, I’d look at getting her a Honda Ridgeline. It’s great for in-town and adds a lot of versatility with the bed system. Its AWD system is highly capable off-road and great for wet, snowy, or icy roads. It’s easy to park and has decent creature comforts along with Honda reliability.
However, if I had to buy myself a new personal car today, I’d get the Ford F-150 Raptor. Like many Raptors, mine would likely spend more time on the road than off, but there is something about the Raptor that inspires both confidence and aspiration. I love the feature set and would like to “make it my own” by adding some lighting and accessories. It has its downsides, like poor fuel economy and not fitting in my garage, but somehow Ford has hacked my primordial brain stem to make me want this thing, even though it’s not the most rational choice. It’s surprisingly livable day-to-day, and it has awesome capabilities.
Sean HolmanContent Director – Truck Trend Network
I love the Ford F-150 Raptor—I mean, how can anyone not? It's gorgeous, fast, packed full of technology, and it absolutely owns off-road terrain. However, while the level of competency in the desert is awe-inspiring, its not as good of a truck for typical truck chores, such hauling and towing. So for me, the big, bad, luxurious, solid-axle Ram 2500 makes me swoon. It sits up tall and proper, under the hood the big Cummins churns out gobs of power while delivering decent fuel economy, plus the new Bilstein shocks on the Off-Road package negate any concerns about ride quality. I’d be happy to hook my trailer to the Ram any day.
Ed SanchezSenior News Editor – Truck Trend Network
The Nissan Titan is my personal pick of the test. Relative to comparably equipped 1/2-ton competitors, it’s a great value for the money, and it’s extremely quiet and composed both on and off-road. The power and sound of the 5.6L Endurance V-8 and class-leading warranty add to its well-rounded appeal.
Brett EvansStaff Editor – Truck Trend Network
If rich Uncle Pennybags died and left his dear nephew, Brett, a huge sum of money, my favorite truck is obvious: the Lightning Blue Ford F-150 Raptor. There’s just too much power and off-road tech to ignore. But if I were spending my own hard-earned cash, I’d be very tempted by the Nissan Titan in Platinum Reserve trim. It did everything well, it was easy to use in most daily driving situations, and it’s got a reasonable price for how much content you get. The sumptuous seats and Raptor-shaming exhaust note did me in from the start, too.
Lee LovellManaging Editor – Truck Trend
The Honda Ridgeline is my choice for a truck to take home. While not a truck in the traditional sense (being unibody construction and all-wheel-drive), I don’t need something that will haul a horse trailer and a bed full of hay. My list of ideals includes a smooth ride, comfortable seats, class-leading technology, and enough capability to handle anything I would realistically throw at it—all qualities of the Ridgeline.
Andy MockSenior Art Director – Truck Trend
After getting to know the ins and outs of these trucks all week, I surprisingly found myself to become very fond of the Honda Ridgeline. Regardless of it being a 5 on a 0-10 scale in the looks department, it was the most versatile rig in the bunch. It was incredibly comfortable for highway cruising, easy to load gear in the bed, a capable tow vehicle, and the life of the party while tailgating. The Ridgeline truly wears a lot of hats!
John LehenbauerTechnical Editor – Diesel Power
The quality of the trucks tested made choosing a specific one to take home quite difficult. For me, the Ram 2500 Off-Road is the truck I would purchase if given the opportunity. I found that the combination of seats and suspension gave the Ram a very comfortable ride for a 3/4-ton truck. The 6.7L Cummins I-6 engine easily handled all hauling and towing duties. Having the RamBox system built into the bed is a very useful addition for carrying and securing tools and supplies. And the interior amenities made it enjoyable to drive for extended periods of time.
Anthony SoosStaff Editor – Truckin
My pick is the Nissan Titan XD, the only true truck in the test. You really get the most amount of truck for your dollar with the Titan XD. In a world of fluffy premium pickups, this one still feels like it can serve as a work truck, do some light off-roading, and then a few years down the line, could easily be given to your 16-year-old as his first truck. It’s more than just a BMW with a bed.
David HamiltonAccount Executive, Truck Trend Network
I’d be happy to park the new Ford F-150 Raptor in my driveway. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of the remodeled Raptor since the previous model was discontinued, and it delivers 99 percent of what I expected. Initially, I was turned off by the drone of the V-6 engine’s exhaust note as heard from outside the truck. However, that became a distant memory as soon as I sat in the driver seat and pressed firmly on the go pedal. On-road, the Raptor can be daily driven comfortably, while receiving decent fuel economy for a 450hp powerhouse. Off-road, I was extremely impressed at how composed the truck was in large whoops and big G-outs, simply gobbling rough terrain at 70 mph without a care. Sign me up!
(plus headshots of Shaun and Robert)