No doubt about it: Americans love trucks. From Texas to Alaska, California to Maine (Canadians love 'em, too), more trucks are sold in North America than in any other corner of the world. Especially full-size trucks; despite rising fuel prices, the three top-selling vehicles in the United States pack big-inch V-8 power. Maybe it's a residual frontier spirit, a can-do attitude that, whatever the odds, the rig can handle the task. Sort of a horse, a wagon, and a knapsack all rolled into one.
Manufacturers have noticed this proclivity and for 2004 responded with no fewer than seven new pickup truck entries. Not only are there more players in the market, but established names like the Ford F-150, Toyota Tundra, and Dodge Ram are now available in more variations. How do you compare a 500-horsepower, Viper-powered Dodge, a four-cylinder GM entry-level truck, Nissan's bodacious, first-ever full-size pickup, a convertible retro-rod-like Chevy, the biggest Toyota truck yet, and the latest iteration of Ford's top-selling F-150?
Very carefully. That's where we come in.
Even though we have an office address that would brand us city-slickers, we're taken with pickup trucks, too, especially the high quality of contestants this year. Our job is to determine what's new and significant, then ascertain which truck among the newcomers moves the bar the highest. Some are best in segment, others tops in value, still others represent notable developments. Here's the list of Truck of the Year entries for 2004:
·Chevrolet Colorado LS Z71 Crew Cab
·Dodge SRT-10 Ram
·Ford F-150 Lariat SuperCab
·GMC Canyon SLE Extended Cab
·Nissan Titan 5.6 SE Crew Cab
·Toyota Tundra Limited Double Cab