For a vehicle segment in which models often go a full decade without a major redesign, there's a lot happening today in the world of pickups. And this year's Truck of the Year competition is a showcase for several of those hot new trends.

Truck buyers looking for musclecarlike performance will find it in the new breed of high-potency pickups. And one of the most fun-to-drive models is the Ford F-150 SVT Lightning, sporting a 5.4-liter/360-horsepower supercharged SOHC V-8 that blisters the pavement enroute to a 5.4-second 0-60-mph time. It's a truck that has new Mustang GTs fighting to keep up.

But if you're looking for a real work truck, instead of a speed demon, the new passenger-friendly extended-cab models are becoming more inviting, with vastly improved roominess and easier passenger access. Excellent examples of this welcome trend are the new Dodge Dakota Quad Cab, featuring room for six real grownups and the Nissan Frontier Crew Cab, with its four full-size doors and enough passenger space to feel like an open-bed SUV.

Meanwhile, Toyota's entry into the full-size pickup class remains one of the most closely watched moves in the segment, and with the all-new V-8-packin', ultrarefined, made-in-the-U.S. Tundra blazing the way, it's a challenge to be taken seriously.

Four groundbreaking new trucks. Yet, only one can win. Let's get to it.