The Top 10 Significant Trucks of the Decade

The Top 10 Significant Trucks of the Decade

Despite the economic challenges of the past two years, it’s hard not to look back at the past 10 years without calling it the Decade of the Pickup Truck. Sales of full-size pickups hit 2.56 million units in 2004, and Ford’s F-Series trucks remain the nation’s best-selling vehicles, 33 years in a row. and AutoPacific have compiled a list of the Top 10 Significant Pickup Trucks of the Decade from all of the new trucks sold between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2009. These trucks introduced new innovations, pushed the segment into new territory and made the competition sweat while helping their driver’s sweat less. There’s no rank order, but we’ve identified the pickup that was Most Significant.

2000 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab


Why it’s significant:
First compact pickup truck to offer four full-size doors and a configuration that prioritized passenger space over cargo capacity.

Crew cab pickups were popular in overseas markets long before they arrived in the U.S. Nissan was the first to offer buyers another choice beyond a regular or extended cab. Buyers loved the idea because entire families could now travel comfortably in pickup trucks on long trips or around town jaunts. The idea quickly gained traction with every manufacturer, and soon the crew cab made up almost half of the mix of all trucks sold.


2001 Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra Heavy Duty with 6.6-Liter Duramax Diesel


Why it’s significant:
Made GM a serious player in heavy-duty pickups and raised the bar for diesel engines.

In 2000, GM held less than 10 percent market share in the three-quarter-ton and one-ton truck segments. Its 6.2-liter and 6.5-liter diesel engines weren’t competitive with the mills in Ford’s and Dodge’s trucks. But GM’s joint venture engineering and manufacturing agreement with Isuzu Motors of Japan changed all of that. With Isuzu’s help, the 2001 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks debuted with the all-new 6.6-liter V-8 turbo-diesel. It broke new ground in horsepower, torque and fuel economy and helped GM jump to more than 30 percent market share by 2002.


2002 Chevrolet Avalanche


Why it’s significant:
Combined the best attributes of a full-size SUV and pickup truck in a single vehicle.

The wild-looking Chevrolet Avalanche debuted as a lightly disguised concept at the 2000 North American International Auto Show, though GM intended to build it to fill the gap between the Suburban and Silverado full-size trucks. Its patented convert-a-cab system made it versatile for carrying passengers or cargo, by offering pass-through access between the cabin and bed and a removable rear window. Unibody exterior styling was unique, as well as the use of a multilink rear suspension and composite bed — traits that would be reused later in the decade by the Honda Ridgeline.


2004 Nissan Titan


Why it’s significant:
The first true full-size half-ton pickup truck from a Japanese automaker.

Japanese car companies had successfully entered almost every segment of the U.S. car and truck markets except the unique domain of the North American full-size pickup truck when Nissan unveiled the 2004 Titan. Sure, Toyota marginally stuck its toes in the segment with its T100 pickup in 1993, but the T100 was too small and underpowered to be a serious contender.

The Titan met about 80 percent of half-ton buyers’ needs with its 300-hp, 5.6-liter V-8, an advanced five-speed automatic transmission and a choice of extended cab or crew-cab configurations. It quickly gained a loyal following, but later years' sales were hampered by reliability issues with early trucks.


2005 Toyota Tacoma


Why it’s significant:
The best-selling small truck in the U.S.

Small truck sales have dwindled throughout the decade, but Toyota has managed to keep sales of the Tacoma relatively strong and take market share in this neglected segment. Just before the turn of the century, the Ford Ranger outsold Tacoma by more than 2-to-1. Today, it’s the exact opposite. The Tacoma offers a broad lineup of cab, body, wheelbase and engine choices with strong capabilities and excellent performance and refinement. What more could small-truck buyers want if they’re not going to buy a full-size pickup?


2006 Honda Ridgeline


Why it’s significant:
Created a class of one with its unique unibody construction and a trunk in the bed.

Love it or hate it (there’s no in-between), the Honda Ridgeline did what Japanese pickups have consistently done over the years: break new ground in terms of form and functionality. The Ridgeline came to market in 2005 with controversial slab-sided lunar-lander looks and all-wheel drive. It did away with conventional leaf springs in favor of an independent rear suspension that gave it great ride comfort and enough room for an in-bed lockable trunk, the first in a pickup. The Ridgeline also featured a dual-action tailgate that folded down or off to the side, like a door, to allow unimpeded access to the cargo box.


2007 Toyota Tundra


Why it’s significant:
Toyota’s no-holds-barred attempt to gain ground in full-size trucks.

When the 2007 Toyota Tundra debuted, it was notable for being two things: big and powerful. The Tundra was also the first truck in the half-ton segment with a six-speed automatic transmission. But just being big and powerful doesn’t automatically sell trucks. Several mechanical issues that garnered high visibility online with truck buyers and a lack of a large loyal buyer base contributed to a huge falloff in Tundra sales after it almost met its first-year sales goal of 200,000 units. Today, the Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra and Ram 1500 all offer more powerful V-8 engines than the Tundra, and Ford is about to join that group, pushing the Tundra to fourth place for bragging rights. Tundra sales have shrunk to well below 100,000 units per year. It’s proof that the domestics still know how to build a superior vehicle.


2009 Dodge Ram 1500


Why it’s significant:
Ditched conventional leaf springs for a coil spring rear axle and added side saddle storage to the cargo box.

The 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 could have impressed many simply for its more powerful Hemi V-8, handsome exterior and totally revised interior. But Chrysler carried its half-ton pickup much further by featuring a coil spring rear axle — resurrecting an idea that GM tried between 1967 and 1972 in its C10 and C20 pickups — that gave the Ram 1500 unparalleled ride comfort and quality for a half-ton pickup. Towing was limited to only 9,100 pounds, but after a year of additional testing and real world results, Dodge re-rated the Ram 1500 to tow up to 10,450 pound - with no mechanical adjustments.


2009 Ford F-150


Why it’s significant:
Remains the gold standard against which other half-ton pickup trucks are compared.

Ford gave its F-150 half-ton pickup a major revision for 2009 and gave buyers an astonishing seven different models to choose from before they even considered engine choice or cab type. Two more models have been added for 2010! It’s not the most powerful truck, but the F-150 features an excellent six-speed transmission and innovative features like Ford Work Solutions that make doing jobs with a truck easier. From contractor to urban cowboy, Ford has an F-150 to meet almost anyone’s needs.


2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor:


Why it’s significant:
Ford had the guts to build a go-fast pre-runner-style factory pickup for less than $40,000

There’s nothing else like the 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, and there likely may never be. It features a unique Fox Racing long-travel suspension that has a full 11inches of travel in the front dampers to absorb the impact from jumps – jumps! – made in the desert at speeds up to 100 mph. Its six-speed transmission is specially tuned with an off-road mode, and there’s a rear locking differential that works in two-wheel or four-wheel drive at speeds up to 66 mph. When other truck manufacturers mumble to themselves about the truck they wish they had in their lineup, Raptor is usually the first word that comes from their lips.


Honorable Mention: 2001 Ford Explorer Sport Trac


Several trucks in the list can be classified as sport utility trucks or SUTs. The Ford Explorer Sport Trac was one of the first SUTs and it continuously satisfied buyers in surveys. Based on the very successful Explorer SUV, the Sport Trac combined crew cab capability with SUV comfort and amenities but Ford never truly took advantage of the vehicle. The next generation Explorer, coming in 2010, will not have a Sport Trac derivative.


Honorable Mention: 2009 Chevrolet Silverado / GMC Sierra Two Mode Hybrids


Today, the price of oil is well below $100 a barrel and calls for fuel efficient big trucks aren't quite as urgent as they were when GM first showed off its segment-exclusive full-size Two-Mode Hybrid pickups. The 2009 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra Hybrids featured a 332 horsepower 6.0-liter V-8 paired with a technically advanced automatic transmission that included two 80 horsepower electric motors, three planetary gear sets, four sets of clutches and two hydraulic oil pumps. A 300 volt battery pack under the rear seat was powerful enough to accelerate the truck up to 20 mph on electricity alone -- while pulling a 5,000 pound trailer! Fuel economy was rated at a remarkable 21/22 mpg city/highway. If GM can lower the cost of its next-generation hybrid pickups, perhaps we'll see this technology gain popularity.

Update #1 Dec-31-2009 08:25 PDT:
Added line to 2007 Toyota Tundra that it was first half-ton to debut with a six-speed automatic transmission.


the titain isn't so remarkable because its based on the dodge ram, the Tundra is the first offical foriegn full size puckup.

what about the 2004 series f150? when i think of a pickup truck the 2004 series f150 is the first truck that comes to mind.

Great list for sure, but I have to pick on one line:

"Tundra sales have shrunk to well below 100,000 units per year. It’s proof that the domestics still know how to build a superior vehicle."

Tundra sales are down substantially, but the apparent failure of the Tundra has to be weighed against aggressive discounting from Chrysler and GM and a new model from Ford. It should also be noted that Toyota curtailed production in order to cut sales incentives.

Despite the "slow" sales, the Tundra has the lowest days supply of any full-size truck, and Toyota dealers aren't sitting on thousands of remaining 09' models, unlike GM, Ford, and Chrysler.

Ultimately, the notion that domestics are "superior" because of greater sales is a fallacy. Sales figures are proof of nothing - if they were, one could argue that McDonald's made the world's best hamburger.

@EagleXYZ: The Titan is *not* based on the Dodge Ram and it was the first foreign full-size pickup to go on sale in the U.S.

@Tundra Headquarters: Points taken and well said. Thanks!

How can this list not include the 2004 F150? Sorry, but it is by far the most significant truck of the decade.

@Allen: We chose the 2009 F-150 because it took the 2004 F-150 and brought it to the next level without leaving anything behind.

The 2004 F 150 is definitly significant. However the 2004 Titan was also ground breaking in many of the ways that the f 150 was even though in this column it only mentions its foriegn aspects. I can still remember a time when towing 9000 pounds with a 4WD sounded impossible.

@tundra headquaters

Ultimately, the notion that domestics are "superior" because of greater sales is a fallacy. Sales figures are proof of nothing - if they were, one could argue that McDonald's made the world's best hamburger.

totally irrelevant, cars are the most expensive thing bought besides a house, people buy mcdonalds bc they are cheap and fast, and as such people actually put time and consideration into what car they are going to buy, you dont see websites, magazines and tv shows dedicated to comparing the latest hamburger.

So for this reason sales of everyday cars = superiority, and the mcdonalds analogy is a nice way to try hide falling sales

@tim. Tim you can not tell this Toyota guys anything. They think because we don't go out and buy a Toyota Tundra instead of one of the other trucks that we are all "Rednecks" and "Good Ole Boys" who all have 3rd grade educations and don't know anything else except what our daddy's taught us.

Thank you for setting the record straight and proving that most of us are educated and know what 2+2 is (4 in case you didn't know). You were right on about that McDonalds analogy.

Whats the monthly output at the Texas plant where they are building the Tundra... I think I saw somewhere it was around 6K a month right now. I might be off a little but either way WOW they sure are setting the world on fire for sure.

Sorry for my gripe. It just gets my blood going when these Toyota nut jobs all get bent out of shape when their Tundra doesn't come out on top or number one... and then they claim we are the ones who are uneducated and brainwashed because we don't drive a Toyota. I think its the other way around. If Toyota is so great then why are they still losing money? They don't even think that in 2010 they will make a profit now. Well I say why is Ford making a profit? But most importantly why are they making a profit in the last two quarters which arguably was the two most difficult quarters since the great depression? They didn't have to go to Uncle Sam with their hat in hand asking for a bailout. Now Japan wants to have their own cash for clunkers but want to exclude American car companies from it in Japan. How fair is that?

I say if you want to drive a Tundra then fine by me. Me and the many more people who choose to buy REAL AMERICAN Trucks and support great American companies in the process is our prerogative and our patriotic duty!

@tim - While it's true that there aren't a mountain of resources online devoted to picking the best hamburger, I would submit to you that many consumers purchase vehicles without ever consulting a review or comparison from Consumer Reports, Edmunds,, etc.

Many consumers base their purchase on what they've owned before, personal bias, cost, and convenience. The Toyota Camry, for example, is the best selling mid-size car in the USA this year, yet the newest Ford Fusion typically garners better reviews than the Camry.

If consumers *really* were basing their purchase decisions on reviews and comparisons, they wouldn't be falling all over each other to buy the Camry and Accord when the Fusion comes out on top.

Convenience is also an issue, especially with pickups. Rural America depends on trucks, yet there are very few rural Toyota dealerships. As a result, Ford, GM, and Chrysler do much better in rural areas than Toyota.

Bottom line - most people don't put as much time into a purchase as you give them credit for. Sales figures are indicative of momentum - they have nothing to do with quality or "superiority." In Toyota's case, this phenomenon hurts them on the Tundra but greatly benefits them on the Corolla and Camry (two lackluster vehicles that post strong sales mostly on the basis of their reputation).


Although you did make some valid points about GM incentives and what not you cant shed away from the fact that these new Toyota Tundras had major Mechnical Recalls that plagued there sales also. When it comes to full size trucks its already known that the US builds the best truck whether its Dodge, GM, or Ford. Toyota offered a great truck but it will never topple loyal followers and years of expirence in the full size market.

@ Mike
I really thnink the 2004 F150 should of been one rather than the 2009 because the 2009 is just an update basically from the 04 F150's which was a major redesign and an absolute homerun for ford. Thanks Mike for all you do! keep up the good work!
Your doing a gret job thanks for everything you do for the site.

Shawn your sentiments are a great example of ignorance and misguided patriotism.

First of all, my gripe isn't that the Tundra didn't come out on top. My gripe is that sales figures are used to prove the Tundra is inferior. Sales figures have nothing to do with quality - if they did, VW (the best selling auto manufacturer in the world) would make the best cars in existence and Rolls Royce (one of the worst selling manufacturers on the planet) would make the absolute worst cars in existence.

Of course, that's ludicrous. Rolls Royce makes a spectacular vehicle, and we don't need sales figures to prove it.

As for your "buy American" comments, according to federally mandated "domestic content" labels, only Ford's F150 has more domestic content than the Tundra. GM's Sierra and Silverado and Chrysler's Ram have more foreign made parts.

Also, unlike Ford, GM, and Chrysler who build trucks in Mexico and Canada, Toyota produces the Tundra in the USA ONLY.

Finally, in the last 5 years, Toyota invested $1.2 billion+ in a new plant in San Antonio while Ford, GM, and Chrysler closed plants left and right. Toyota is hiring autoworkers while GM and Chrysler conduct layoffs.

In other words, check your facts - buying a Tundra is more American than buying a Ram or a Sierra/Silverado.


How can this list not have the Dodge Power Wagon? With out Dodge making the first REAL four wheel drive (since WW2) production truck the raptor would never have existed.

I am sorry but this list is a farce without Dodge having the #1. I don't even like Dodge and I know that the Power Wagon is the best pickup of the last 40 years.

@Zach - Thank you. I agree that problems hampered the Tundra at launch. The recent 1st gen Tundra frame rust recall isn't helping sales of the newest Tundra either, and it's up to Toyota to prove that they stand behind their trucks going forward.

@Tom: Thanks for the feedback. The PW was discussed (as was the Hummer H3T) but we felt that the Raptor represented a more significant advancement for off-road pickups. It's never been done before.

Note: I'm not saying that the Raptor is more capable than the PW - you can read our Raptor vs. PW story for that comparison. No one argues against the PW's superb off-road capability.

Funny I could have sworn Tundra's are offering $3000 off right now and GM is only offering $1500 off their fullsize trucks.

I looked at Trucks on Saturday (in Houston) and the one thing I will give Toyota credit on is the 4 wheel disk brakes on all Tundra's.. I hate drums which GM went back to. However looking at the rotors I noticed they were pitted and groved straight from the factory. Trust me I looked at quite a few trucks at different dealerships and they were all the same. Just curious if their have been issues with Tundra brake rotors.

Doing some digging I see this article:

Which at 20K miles if you need to change pads and machince rotors on a truck with dual piston 4 wheel disk brakes.. thats not to good at all.

But I digress..

The single cab I was impressed with on some features and disappointed with others. It had plenty of room to store behind the seat and good styling as well as good access for the single cab. However the base price of 24K for a v6 with no power windows or power locks truck was just a bit on the ridiculous side. The V6 on it was pretty anemic and when you floored it, man it hunted for gears before finally trying to move.

Moving on to the Tundra Double cab at 28.5K you get the new 4.6L V8 producing 300hp and a six speed transmission with power amenities. This truck was definitely responisive. But price and features compared to other trucks in its segment are lacking. You need the 3K rebate just to get in the same zip code as the domestics.. and then you are still lacking on features.

When it was all said and done.. The Tundra was not the best value and that was why they did not get my money.

@Texas Headquaters

See you just proved my point already by calling me ignorant. Let me guess I only completed the 3rd grade to huh. How is my patriotism misguided? Because I said I support great American companies? News flash Toyota isn't an American company. And I did check my facts why do you think I own a Ford. I didn't say the Tundra was made up of all imported parts did I? No I didn't. I think you might be the misguided one here. My complaint was more of a general complaint more than being aimed at you although I can see where you could take it as such. Trust me when I say it was aimed at all narrow minded Toyota owners who compare their vehicles next to God.

As far as GM, Ford, and Chrysler having to close plants yes they did. Layoff workers? Sure they did. Why, because plant capacity did not match sales. Their labor cost was way higher then Toyota who purposely built plants in unfriendly union areas of the country... mostly in the south. I'm not saying that was a bad move it was a smart move for Toyota but it gave them an unfair advantage. After the labor cost cutting and labor contract negotiations brought cost in line now Ford and GM are on equally footing with Toyota.

Lastly I agree that sales alone don't make up the quality of a product. But they are one very important part of it. GM, Dodge, and Ford might offer incentives but Toyota is doing the same but on a regional level. They are doing it here in the Mid-Atlantic. Just heard it on the radio the other day now I can go get a Toyota with 0% financing. Granted that might not be as good as an incentive you could get from GM but its still an incentive to buy their products. If the Tundra was superior then it would be the hottest thing on 4 wheels and everyone would be buying it no matter how far they had to travel to get one, but thats not happening now is it?

Interesting top 10 list. Putting it together must of been tough!
@Shawn - your post stating" Me and the many more people who choose to buy REAL AMERICAN Trucks and support great American companies in the process is our prerogative and our patriotic duty! " is admirable albeit misinformed.
The Tundra is "American made", the Ram 1500 has 75% "American" parts. The HD Rams are made in Mexico. Dodge will eventually be owned by Fiat (Italian). Ford's new diesel is made in Mexico. Like I've said before - if you are going to buy "American made only" - you are going to have to exclude many products from Ford, GMC, and Dodge(Fiat). Oh, I forgot to mention Hummer being bought out by the Chinese. Toyota over estimated the conservative nature of pick up buyers. The current economic down turn has helped foster/reinforce an anti-foreign sentiment as well. Toyota made things worse by having some major problems come to light.
I think Ford deserved the top 2 spots with the F150 and Raptor. The F150 offers the most options, it may not excell in anyone area but seems to be the best truck overall.
The Power Wagon is a great truck but it doesn't "push the envelope" when it comes to pickup design and function. The Raptor is a big leap foreward.

Shawn - Fair enough. Since I was only one complaining, I assumed you were talking to me. My apologies.

Glad to hear you agree that sales figures aren't indicative of quality or superiority. While your point is true - no one is falling all over themselves to buy a Tundra - the same can be said right now for just about any vehicle on the market. Nothing is popular in a recession.

No offense to you personally, but trust me when I say that far too many "domestic" truck owners believe they're doing America proud because they drive a Ford, GM, or Chrysler truck that was made in Mexico or Canada. Those same people often don't hesitate to call the Tundra a "foreign" truck, despite the obvious hypocrisy.

Like you, I get bent out of shape when domestic nut jobs get all high and mighty about their "American" trucks without knowing the facts.

Here's a test for all the "domestic" truck owners - if the first digit of your vehicle's VIN number is a "2", your truck was made in Canada. If the first digit of your VIN is a "3", it was made in Mexico.

All Tundra's have a first VIN digit of "1" - made in the USA.


I think it's the numerous punctual and grammatical errors on your part that make you seem uneducated.

Also, I own Tundra but I want a Raptor.


While I think many of your arguments and points are valid, I am not sure what you mean when you say Ford produces their pickup trucks in other countries. The Ranger, F150 and Super Duty are all manfuctured in US assembly plants (4 different plants to be precise) like the one assembly plant that toyota will be using for both tundra and tacoma. While Ford has parts, like the new Power Stroke diesel manufactured in other countries, that´s not a valid point as you are aware the F150 has the most domestic content of any US truck. Super Duty, tundra and Ranger are also high.

While the domestics do better in rural areas, it should also be pointed out that GM and Ford far outsell tundra in metró markets and big cities. The sales adv in rural markets does not explain the sales difference.

As far as incentives and 2009 models in stock, I´m not sure that´s the best argument about who´s the best. First the amount of old models in stock has mostly to do with when they start building the new model and how many trucks the company sells in general. Ford had an early 2010 build so they have very few 2009s in stock, a similar or lower % as tundra. GM had a late 2010 build so they have a lot of 2009s in stock. While Toyota is backing off incentives they are still pretty high. Let´s not applaud Toyota for seeing the obvious that they could not take over the market (as they expected to do in 2007 when they tried to buy the market with the highest incentives in the market) so they wised up and moved tundra out of the indiana plant and cut the tundra production in half in texas. They realized that they could pay people enough to buy their trucks and meet their lofty sales and production objectives.

Sure the new tundra is much improved and a very compenent truck, but it´s not in the same league as the domestics. Third party reviews will show as much. Tundra is benefiting from the Toyota brand halo of quality and fuel economy. Yet interstingly the tundra has THE worst fuel economy of all major full size pickups and the quality is avg at best. CR, JD Power etc on avg say GM and Ford are better quality.

Just because it´s a toyota doesn´t mean the tundra is the best. Any impartial observer would admit the domestics still make the best trucks period.

Guys it was another post in a different forum on this website that got me fired up... Didn't mean to take it out on anybody. Yes I know the Tundra is made in America. I knew the Ford also had more domestic parts. Bottom line is a lots of the parts come from all over North America not just the US no matter what you drive.

Keenan hooked on phonics worked for me :) Dude really? I don't take time to write out a damn novel like I'm John Steinbeck. You got the point didn't you.

Lou what I stated was not misinformed. " Me and the many more people who choose to buy REAL AMERICAN Trucks and support great American companies in the process is our prerogative and our patriotic duty! " I said great American Companies what I didn't say was American trucks and not the Tundra cause its made by Toyota... Tundra is made in America. But thanks for the support ;)

A lot of this is right, I just don't agree with the order. My order would be:

#1 2003 Ram HEMI. It changed the whole pickup truck engine blueprint. Engines went from less then 300 HP to mid 300s in the blink of any eye.

#2 should be the 09 Ram, the Coil Over will be adopted by other manufacturers in their next redesign. The Ram is better then any other truck on the market (390 Hp/20mpg/10,500 towing/smoothest ride/great interior). It does all of this, even with a then less then outstanding trans. But being less then outstanding hasn't stopped Ford from putting out the 5.4 longer then it should.

#3 2001 GM HDs. They changed the Diesel market for everybody. Companies scrambled to keep up with them.

#4 I hate to say it, is the Tundra. However lack luster the Tundra is, every manufacturer had to change something to keep up.

#5 07 GMs 1500s. 315 Hp and 22 MPG highway. No sacrifice with capability, and has sold more trucks then anybody. Enough said.

#6 04 and current F150. Not enough changed from the old model to new model for me to call it a redesign. This is list because of sales numbers. Nothing spectacular about it, just a solid truck.

I think the rest of them are pretty insignificant, and can be numbered however you would like.

I would not have the Raptor on the list. They put all this equipment on a truck and is losses capability. No thanks. The Power Wagon would have been closer to making the list, but wouldn't because of it being a specialty vehicle. But at least it gains capability with all the equipment they put on it. The only thing the Power Wagon can't do when compared to the Raptor is go fast over super rough surfaces, if you put a great set of shocks on it and you can. Now, what can't the Raptor do when compared to the Power Wagon, TONS.

@Joe 6 Pack - Thanks. I double checked to be sure - Ford no longer produces F-series in Cuautitlan, Mexico, but this is a recent change. Still, you are correct that Ford is no longer making trucks in Mexico. However, many of the F-series currently on the road were made at that plant, and many Ford truck owners will find that their VIN number begins with a 3.

You are also correct that the rural sales disadvantage doesn't explain the Tundra's lower sales figures, however, that wasn't my point. The point was simply that sales figures aren't the whole picture - they're influenced by many factors that aren't always obvious.

I completely disagree with the notion that we shouldn't penalize manufacturers for having 2009s on the ground. Production dates have little to do with it - having worked at a domestic dealership for the better part of a decade, I can tell you that the manufacturers set aggressive sales goals during the year and force lots of inventory on dealers. When the goals aren't met, you have the current situation - lots of 09's on the ground in January 2010. It's bad news for a lot of reasons, and at best indicative of poor corporate management.

Perhaps we shouldn't give Toyota credit for bringing production in line with demand, but it seems to me that GM and Chrysler produced more vehicles than they should have for decades, right up until a few months ago when they entered bankruptcy. Therefore, I think of it as a positive.

Finally, your assertion that all 3rd party reviews show the Tundra to be less capable is flawed. I have yet to find a Comparison from Consumer Reports, Edmunds, Car and Driver, Motor Trend, Detroit Free Press, or that comes to the same conclusion as another. Since all these 3rd parties comparisons rank trucks differently (and for different reasons), I think the only conclusion we can reach is that all the trucks are closely matched. Most of the comparisons I've read say as much. To argue that the domestics make the best trucks is to ignore that fact.


very good list. To be fair the 22 mpg GM is on the SFE which does reduce capability (to levels more equal a Raptor which you excluded). The non SFE has 21 mpg. For me that´s not that big of a competitive advantage (Ford has 21 with no reduced capability and similar hp and Dodge has 20 mpg with no reduced capability and more hp than both Ford and GM)

The 04 F150 was dramatically different and it made the rest of the market play catchup which they did with the 07 Silverado and tundra. It raised the bar on interior design and craftsmanship and they also raised the bar with interior quiteness. Also added the flow thru console with floor shifter. Dramatic improvements to ride and handling. While the recent trucks from the last 3 years are easier to remember the 04 F150 was the most important truck IMO.

Another important truck from Ford was the 2001 F150 supercrew, the first modern half ton crew cab. The four door half ton now dominates the marketplace in terms of sales.

Just a quick reminder that there is no rank order to the list. We simply ordered them by model year.

But I'm all for folks creating their own rankings and pointing out the trucks we "missed." :-)

The current Titan is not based of the Dodge Ram LMAO....Dodge was going to start making the Titan, but the deal fell through after Dodge got bailed out

@Tundra lovers...

Just a thought, if you look up half of the parts that are made for the Toyota Tundra you will notice that they are not made in America. The Toyota Tundra is assembled in the U.S., but for the most part, the parts are not. Also, when you buy a Toyota the money does not go into the U.S. economy, it goes to the Japanese economy...

So, if you want to support and stimulate the American economy, buy a vehicle whose headquarters is in the U.S. or originates for the United States... Not Japan.

"Ultimately, the notion that domestics are "superior" because of greater sales is a fallacy. Sales figures are proof of nothing - if they were, one could argue that McDonald's made the world's best hamburger."

Thanks for the laugh.

@TundraHeadquarters, Your defense of the Tundra is noted however, far too many web sites, blogs, and just plain word of mouth have given the Tundra a bad name and a bad name they rightfully deserve. A few of my co-workers purchased Tundra's and two of the three have gone on to a Sierra and an F150 and the third is so upside down on the trade in it's almost laughable. I'm sorry if I offend you but the Tundra is junk. Toyota makes good cars but have failed in the full size truck department. Argue all you want, facts are facts. The list of broken radios, loose and squeeking dash boards, tailgate failures, bed bounce, the camshaft issue, the output shaft issue, terrible paint quality, shimmying and vibrations at speed and so on are all found on the Tundra forums by Tundra owners. If any of the domestic three had even half the quality problems truck owners nationwide would run them out on a rail. We can read as well as anyone and from Toyota's own words production has slowed because of slow sales and dealer inventory is low because no one is buying Tundra's. Spin it whatever way you want, facts are facts.

0-fivecc........ the current Titan IS NOT based on the Ram, not even a single bolt. You are correct tho in stating that the next generation Titan WAS to be based on the current Ram, but the deal was cancelled due to Chryslers woes.

@Ruger - You've got something mixed up - the domestic content label on the vehicle is said to be accurate by a variety of entities.

@David - Funny, but I don't see the facts the same way you do! :-) I know all the problems the Tundra has - frankly, I've been one of the people cataloging all those problems since the 2nd gen truck hit the streets. Yet, despite all the publicity, the Tundra still retains top placement on JD Power's most recent initial quality study, tied with the F150. That's the first time the F150 was in first place, whereas the Tundra has been sitting at number one now for a few years. Facts, as you say, are facts. JD Power's study isn't perfect, but it seems to say that you're wrong about Toyota's quality issues.

Honestly, I think the issue is that Toyota has a very strong and very loud owner community on the internet. Were it not for all of the owners participating on our site and forums like, I don't know that anyone would be aware of all the little issues you mention (like gauges that are kind of tough to read, 20 camshafts that failed, etc.).

From 2007:
Tundra sales increased only AFTER Toyota hiked incentives to insane levels for an all-new vehicle.

The Tundra has $7,000 in incentives.

If the Tundra had high demand, Toyota wouldn't need to spend $7,000 in incentives to move them.

Go review the sales data when incentives on the Tundra were "only" $3,000.

August 4, 2007


From 2009:
The biggest incentives in December are on the 2009 Mazda6 ($5,250), the 2009 Kia Sorento ($5,000), the 2010 Toyota Tundra ($5,000), the 2009 Hyundai Sonata ($4,000) and the 2009 Kia Spectra ($3,500).

December 28, 2009


"Today, the Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra and Ram 1500 all offer more powerful V-8 engines than the Tundra, and Ford is about to join that group, pushing the Tundra to fourth place for bragging rights. Tundra sales have shrunk to well below 100,000 units per year. It’s proof that the domestics still know how to build a superior vehicle." - Mike Levine

"2009 F-150
Most Significant 2000-2009
Why it’s significant:
Remains the gold standard against which other half-ton pickup trucks are compared. "

I agree on both points. Good work as usual.

@tundra headquarters

Your belief that most Ford trucks were previously assembled outside the US is 100% wrong. Only a few Super Duty chassis cabs were produced in the Mexico plant. Your completely wrong on your belief that a bunch of Ford trucks were built in Mexico or elsewhere. 100% false. Please retract this statement.

While I agree that historically the domestics have had more inventory both in terms of units and days supply and in general the domestics have had too much for years, all manufacturers have gotten their inventory more in line. Who makes the best truck really has nothing to do with inventory levels does it. Í think we can agree that´s more of a corporate stratgegy issue and has little to do with the products capability etc. Now that everyone has their inventory a bit more in line, it surely matters if one company didn´t build any 2010s until October and another started in May. That´s going to influence your inventory. Again, bottom line inventory has nothing to do with who makes the best truck.

As far as third parties, I just see Ford, GM and Dodge winning most of the comparison tests, highest quality awards from JD power, highest residual from ALG, and most recent truck of the year awards. Yes the 07 tundra was a big improvement for toyota, but they´ve done nothing but retreat since they found out they couldn´t buy the market by outspending everyone with tv advertising and incentives. The came out with a work truck which was nothing and a new 4.7L V8 which has disappointing numbers. Their market share is dropping and their loyalty can't match GM and Ford. Loyalty should be the true sign of who likes which trucks the best.

Finally, regarding who makes the best trucks, toyota simply can´t match the domestics right now in any category. What are they great at? You can't say tundra beats up the domestics in quality as GM and Ford have equal or better qaulity. Fuel economy - no way, tundra gets killed. Engine hp/torque - nope, their 5.7L has good power but no better than the premium domestic engines- and domestics have better fuel economy. towing/hauling - nope. Stylings -is subjective, but most will say the tundra interior is crappy. Tundra just isn't that great of a truck. Technology isn't even close either. Ride - the Ford and Dodge have the best. tundra just doesn't match up - sorry. I see nothing the tundra does that's better than the domestics, and neither does the general public and that's why tundra sales and share are so bad. I'm sure you like your tundra and that's great, but there's much better trucks available on the market.

@Joe 6 Pack - Sorry bro, but you're completely wrong about Ford building trucks in Mexico. You can find the truth on Ford's website.

Clearly you've decided the Tundra isn't a great vehicle, so I'm not going to try and argue with you. I think people who are open to the possibility that the Tundra is just as good as the domestics will find that the Tundra's assets are numerous.

@Diamond Dave - Good work on the biggest incentives. The $5,000 - that would be on the fleet Tundra, correct? That's the only way Toyota can get to the super discounts offered by Ford and GM for their fleet program.

No. The $7000 wasn't for fleets either. Please stop trying to make excuses for the poor sales.

Tacoma Dominates!!!

This whole thread is making my truck shopping a lot harder lol.

I want a vehicle that had a smooth ride, great power and good towing. Test drove them all and liked the Ram 1500 5.7L the best. Then someone told me it ran on 89 octane. So I retest drove the rest of the models and came up to liking the Tundra. Ford was nice but it needed a more powerful V8. I have been doing research on other sites to help me choose but I think I am just going to wait for a while.

Not mad at anyone I just kind of like them all and they all have little things I do not like lol.

However if someone can tell me if the 89 octane for 10 Ram 1500 hemi 5.7L is true or not would be appreciated.

Sorry if that was off topic but Mike I liked the list and good work. If that puts things on topic. I will keep viewing this site and others while I test drive them all until I find a good replacement full size truck that fits my needs.

All of the current pickups run on 89 octane?! Were you hoping to use a higher octane or what?

Nah Greg don't worry about it just being stupid and was hoping for 87 like my current one.

@Tundraheadq, I am one of those that bought an 08 Tundra after being a Toyota owner for all of my driving career. Unfortunatly David is right. My truck is a junk. The gas mileage has never been above 11mpg, I had to replace the front pads and rotors at 12K, been through 2 radios and the only fix for the dash squeeks is spray with wd40, It has been in the shop more times than the last 4 Toyota's combined, it shimys and shakes between 40 and 65 miles even after changing tires and wheels twice and so on. I don't know where you get off trying to tell anyone that Tundra's are any good. This thing you call a truck cost a small fortune to buy and does not deliver. I've been trying to trade it in but no dealer wants it unless I practically give it away..I hate this truck.

@ Truckman, What is wrong with the ram hemi using 89 octane rating? All full size trucks use 89 octane. I agree that in the half-ton light duty truck segment the new ram 1500 has the best power and best interior(room and comfort as well as design). Park a Ram next to a GM or Ford or Totota and you will see they have the best exterior styling today. Ford isn't bad looking but the square grill slanted back ruins it for me (makes the truck look less tough.

The domestic buyers stay loyal becaus we don't see a need to change. The quality and the trucks capabilities are second to none. Toyota and Nissan have a lot to prove and they aren't doing as good a job as they have done with their cars.


I did not mention it but I agree with you on the F150 with the grill, it does look awkward with it slanted back. Other than that I thought the F150 was a good truck just not for me. I was stupid about the 89 thing though ignore my chat on that. I think I am going for the Ram this time around and I have to give Dodge a lot of credit they did a really nice job and nice improvements. Although I am probably going to wait and test drive the F150 a new engine like the 6.2 or 5.0 which ever is available for most towing and give it a test drive before I make a final decision if it comes out before next fall.
Two things I would want to comment Mike on your list is one I wish though that the 2004 F150 was there instead of the 09 (which was mentioned) and I think a mention of the 03 Hemi (which someone made a list of their own of) should be noted as well since back in the day I cannot remember another engine reaching that high in hp and torque as well until couple or so years later. Other than that awesome list and a good decade for trucks.

Why no HSV Maloo?
Or don't they sell it in the states?

are you shure the titain isn't based off of the ram? because i saw some articles that were speaking of the spacifics and how they are related. not just talk of the future but of the current aging titain model. also how the titain shares some chrystler components. for exapmle has any1 noticed that the titains talights are nearly identical to those of the jeep grand cherokee?

Great list, if you have the brains required to read it in its context and arent just looking for a chance to impose your personal brand loyalties on everyone else. The list is about significance and as such I pretty much agree, or at the very least can see the point of view offered.
Oh and to EagleXYZ, the Titan WAS not ever based on the Dodge Ram! The next generation was going to be a joint project between Nissan and Dodge, not the first generation as you incorrectly mentioned and that makes it the FIRST full size half ton entry from Japanese manufacture... ;)

@ Truckman, It is always a good idea to wait at least one year to see if any new engine is reliable and all the bugs have been ironed out. NEVER a good idea to buy an unproven engine as it could be in the shop for lots of recalls and not towing your trailer like you would like it to be doing. Every new powerplant goes through growing pains (even the awesome Duramax had problems with first production.) The Cummins engine is the most sought after true workhorse diesel with a reputation for being the longest lasting engine had a few problems when chenged over to new emission regs, but that has all been ironed out( took two years) and now runs clean and as reliable as ever. Good Luck with whatever you choose, but be careful with first generation engines or transmissions. Coming from a 23 tear Master Technician and Auto repair inspector.

OOps that should read 23 year tech(although lots of tears over the years thats for sure)

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