No worries. The people at Vincentric have just made that much easier by being the source for mountains of data collection, analysis and cost measurements to accurately calculate the real cost of ownership for a vehicle. In fact, Vincentric gives out awards each year to the winners in five key pickup truck categories: Brand, Compact, Full-Size Half-Ton, Full-Size Heavy-Duty Three-Quarter-Ton and Full-Size Heavy-Duty One-Ton.
The eight primary elements that go into the calculation are depreciation costs; fuel costs; insurance; financing; repairs; fees and taxes; maintenance; and opportunity costs. Of course, there are other factors that get much more complicated that are also collected to give them information about sales of new and used vehicles, as well as brand-specific data. (For more details on how the award is calculated, download this file.)
The data compares all the segment players over a five-year period against one another, specifically measuring each against the average. The players with the best scores in relation to that average are designated the winner. In the four most important categories (meaning the ones related to trucks), we listed the winners below. Of note, Chevrolet won Best Truck Brand from the 2012 Best Value Awards.
Overall Pickup Brand Winner: Chevrolet
Vincentric liked how many configurations Chevrolet offered across its lineup and especially gave praise for having the lowest depreciation in its full-line truck segment, great fuel economy in its class and low insurance rates and fixed costs.
Compact Winner: Toyota Tacoma
The Tacoma is a strong player in its segment, with strong showings in depreciation, maintenance, insurance and fuel costs. Against the Tacoma's direct competition, Toyota has been the clear winner in this category for five straight years.
Half-Ton Winner: Ford F-150
The F-150, in both two- and four-wheel-drive configurations, has the best fuel-economy ratings of the segment, as well as the lowest insurance and maintenance costs across the trim packages as well. This is the second year in a row the F-150 beat the Chevy Silverado 1500.
Three-Quarter-Ton Winner: Chevy Silverado HD 2500
One-Ton Winner: Chevy Silverado HD 3500
In the big-truck category, as you would expect, many of the same HD strengths in 2500 trucks also played well in the 3500 segment. Among its most significant strengths, the 3500s have low depreciation rates and relatively low insurance cost. This win is the 3500 Silverado HD's third in a row.