Best Pickup Truck of 2023

By Editors

February 7, 2023

What’s eligible: All models that are new or significantly revised for the 2023 model year.

Criteria: Our watchwords for the best trucks are power, capability and value. Because these pickup trucks are designed to be used for more than just transporting passengers, we include more functional considerations like payload capacity, towing strength and, above all else, value. Of course, they also should be good at sedanlike, family-first duties, given that many are purchased for just such a reason.

Winner: 2023 Ford Maverick

  • Price range: $24,190-$32,170 (all prices include destination charge)
  • Output range: 191-250 horsepower
  • Maximum towing capacity: 4,000 pounds

The Ford Maverick wins our Best Pickup Truck award for the second year in a row because there’s still no better value on the market for someone needing a utility vehicle that’s comfortable, efficient, innovative and stylish. Ford’s experience as the world leader in pickup trucks is evident in this diminutive little trucklet; despite its size and affordable price, the Maverick comes packed with unmatched capability and utility for the money.

You get a standard gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain — a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that pairs with an electric motor and continuously variable automatic transmission to pump out 191 system horsepower and 155 pounds-feet of torque — that’s rated for 42/33/37 mpg city/highway/combined. It’s surprisingly peppy despite those modest numbers, and our year of owning one has shown that it loves to stay in electric mode as much as possible. If that’s not enough grunt for you — or if you require all-wheel drive or the Maverick’s maximum towing capacity — the turbocharged 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine makes 250 hp and 277 pounds-feet of torque and can tow 4,000 pounds when properly equipped.

For 2023, Ford is upping the Maverick’s appeal by offering a new Tremor Off-Road Package. The Maverick Tremor offers more capable AWD, a better cooling system, and new suspension bits and tires that should make the Maverick even more capable in the dirt.

But it remains the Maverick’s interior and bed utility that make it our favorite pickup. You can go for cheap and cheerful or leather-lined and luxurious, depending on how much you want to spend, but either way, you get a stylish cabin with the ability to create your own accessories if you have access to a 3D printer.

Sealing the deal is the Maverick’s value that still blows us away. You can get a nicely equipped Maverick in the mid-$20,000 range, making it not just a cheap entry into the world of pickup trucks but also one that comes with an astonishing amount of utility and appeal. The world seems to agree: Ford can’t build the Maverick fast enough and paused ordering, but you can use our tips on how to buy one without an order. The 2023 Ford Maverick’s qualities still put it on top in our book, making it our Best Pickup Truck of 2023.

Shop the 2023 Ford Maverick near you

2023 Ford Maverick XL
4,056 mi.
2023 Ford Maverick Lariat
$43,500 MSRP $39,500

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ford f 150 lightning lariat exterior front angle oem scaled jpg 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning | Manufacturer image

2023 Ford F-150 Lightning: Finalist

  • Price range: $57,869-$98,769
  • Output range: 452-580 hp
  • Estimated electric driving range: 240-320 miles
  • Maximum towing capacity: 10,000 pounds

Electric pickups are coming, and they promise to be spectacular based on what we’ve experienced with the 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning. Ford’s all-electric pickup truck is remarkable for one main reason: It’s not a science-fiction project or some crazy-styled, difficult-to-use version of its gasoline self. The Lightning is a fully functional pickup truck that can do almost everything the gas version can do — and maybe a few things the gas version can’t.

It can mostly tow and haul like the gas version (just not nearly as far, and charging while towing remains a potentially cumbersome chore), and it even has the ability to power a house for a week in an emergency with its Pro Power Onboard generator function. There’s also a huge front trunk, or “frunk,” that stores all manner of cargo securely. It’s the most powerful, best-driving F-150 ever — silent, smooth and luxurious, but gobsmackingly quick when you put your foot down on the accelerator.

The electric powertrain doesn’t impinge on interior space, so the cabin is just as cavernous as gas models, and even its design and layout doesn’t differ much from the regular F-150. It’s just so familiar in so many ways, then it surprises and delights you with its abilities, utility and the obvious attention to detail Ford has used to create something that works so well.

Shop the 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning near you

2023 Ford F-150 Lightning
$75,905 MSRP $80,905
2023 Ford F-150 Lightning XLT
$58,500 MSRP $72,490

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ram 1500 trx havoc edition 2023 01 exterior front angle oem scaled jpg 2023 Ram 1500 TRX Havoc Edition | Manufacturer image

2023 Ram 1500: Finalist

  • Base price: $39,305-$86,250
  • Output range: 260-702 hp
  • Maximum towing capacity: 12,750 pounds

The Ram 1500 full-size pickup hasn’t had a big update in a few years, but that hasn’t stopped us from elevating it as a finalist over the freshened 2023 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups. The Ram 1500 still does so many things so very well.

Its interior remains a high point, and while other automakers have tried to emulate the stunningly high-quality materials and top-notch design of the Ram 1500’s cabin, Ram still does it better. These interior highlights include comfortable seats, a massive amount of space and a variety of trim levels that range from a simple work truck to a wildly opulent western-themed truck with leather-lined front seats that look like saddles. Of all the full-size trucks available, the Ram 1500 rides the best, too, thanks to a coil-sprung rear axle and available air suspension.

Off-roaders are well looked after, from basic equipment packages to the dedicated Rebel trims to the fire-breathing, supercharged TRX monster truck. Four different engines include a basic-yet-powerful 3.6-liter V-6 with mild-hybrid assist; the stalwart 5.7-liter Hemi V-8; a surprisingly efficient turbo-diesel 3.0-liter V-6; and, of course, the Hellcat-inspired supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 in the TRX if you’re feeling that itch.

But why did we pick the Ram over the GM trucks as a finalist this year? GM’s new Google-based systems gave us fits and faults in our testing. Ram’s Uconnect multimedia system is still one of the best technology platforms out there, with no such issues — just smooth operations, from tech to trailering, cementing the Ram 1500’s spot as a finalist.

Shop the 2023 RAM 1500 near you

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