Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

What’s the best full size truck?

Hi, new to the forum, but I’ve been reading a while and decided to join the conversation. I’ve been a shade tree mechanic for years (mostly out of necessity in earlier years). I’ve grown to enjoy working on my vehicles and saving a few bucks, though. Plus I feel like there’s a decent chance I care more about the cars I’m working on than some mechanics might (since I own the car).

So I’ve been driving a Buick for the last several years. 2005 Lesabre that belonged to my grandmother. Not the sexiest ride, but I’ve got to be honest, it’s a pretty darn good car with the old 3.8 V6 and plush ride designed for the elderly folk that the car was designed for lol. My wife owns a 2013 Highlander that we bought new. It’s been a good car too. No problems in 80k miles, other than a pricey cat converter replacement.

On to the topic at hand, I intend to buy a new (or 2014ish or up used) truck. A full sized truck. If this was 20 yrs ago or more, I’d be GM all the way. But these days, I’m not sure. No more 350’s, and the 5.3 is not what it once was! Maybe it’s better, I don’t know. So here are my thoughts on the full size trucks out there. Would love to hear other opinions.

Ford F-150 - I think this is at the top of the list for me. I prefer the 5.0 engine over the ecoboost engines. I feel like twin turbo and direct injection will eventually cost more if I keep the truck a long time. And I will. They’re expensive. For 2018, they all get autostop tech. So…I’d buy used lol.

GM twins - Maybe. Not a fan of the active fuel management. Not sure I love the styling either. Would have to look at them a little closer.

Ram - I don’t know. It pisses me off that Fiat owns them for some reason lol.

Toyota Tundra - This would really be my first choice if price was no problem, but Toyota doesn’t discount very much and the Tundra is pricey.

Nissan Titan - I don’t know much about these. I do know I’m not a real fan of the looks of the latest version.

What are your opinions? I feel like the Tundra might be most reliable, but I really don’t know as we’re not talking about a 4 cyl Tacoma. But the domestics can be had several thousands cheaper. So I’m leaning toward the 5.0 V8 Ford with no cylinder deactivation, no turbochargers.

Long first post!

You say you have been reading for some time. Then you should realize that a forum will have so many personal favorites and biased opinions that asking what vehicle to buy is almost a waste of time.

Well it’s a “discussion” forum. So, yes, there would be varying opinions. And discussion. I’m not looking for someone to make a decision for me, rather I’m interested in other people’s opinions on the topic. And if anyone has experience owning a newer full size truck, would love to hear their thoughts.


how about telling us how you plan on using this truck?

Your answer will justifiably dictate any recommendations I give you

No point recommending a crew cab dually diesel truck, if all you’re doing is driving to and from church

Oh, no. Half ton only. I’m looking for a crew cab (have a family). It’ll be a daily driver and do normal truck duty. The largest load I’ll carry would be a load of firewood. I might tow a small tractor, rarely. Would tow a small trailer with a zero turn mower. I’d also take it on family vacations and the like.

You know what? I need a 4 door, 4wd el Camino! Lol

I have never owned a pickup or a Ford , but I would chose exactly the same 5.0 Ford because of the same reasons you give, plus I particularly dislike GM’s driving position and ergonomics. Ninety per cent of the cars I have owned have been Chrysler products but being owned by three other companies and ending up with Fiat has not been kind to them and some of their recent decisions have been stupid. Taking the Dodge name off trucks, and abandoning the front wheel drive passenger car market except foe tiny Fiats and soft ute Jeeps for example. The Tundra
s nice but overpriced and I don’t know if they ever put a strong enough frame under it. Car haulers complain about not being able to chain them down tightly enough without bending the frame but it was quite a while since I heard that.

I owned a 98 Dodge Ram for years. I bought it new. It was a great truck, really. 360 engine was horrible on gas! But they all were then. My only gripe with it was the trans. I had to have it rebuilt once at 130k miles, and again at 170k. I sold it at around 200k and it still wasn’t shifting right. And I changed fluid and filter every 30k, up to 130k at least. Then I said screw it lol. Kind of turned me off of Chrysler, to be honest. But all makes have issues.

I guess I’m wondering if there are any horror stories out there with the newer 1/2 tons reliability wise. I may be getting old, but I swear I don’t think they build them as well as they did 20 or so years ago. Automakers are too concerned with saving weight and engine gimmicks to save 1/2 gallon of fuel per month. But it’s forced on them.

I have a 2013 F150, 4x4, standard cab, short bed with the 5.0.
Purchased new, now have 47,000 miles on it. Absolutely ZERO problems.
It gets about 17 MPG and I have a heavy foot.
I shopped on line, there was an equivalent Dodge at same price, but no GMs in my price range. I was tempted by the Dodge but have had bad experiences with Dodge dealers in the past-of course every dealership is different, some good, some bad.
The possible benefits of Dodge or GM is, as I have read, is superior ride quality over Ford.

so the highlander you bought new has higher miles so you had to pay for cats on your own? 80k+ miles? no warranty?
who is driver #1 on each car?
how many miles do you drive the buick? will you drive the truck the same miles?

Brother-in-law sculptor recently bought a '17 F150 with the base V6 for $26k. He said he had no problem hauling a 1200# piece of granite (but no mountain driving).

I’ve heard good things about Kenworth-Albanys from friends in the business.

Have you considered Honda Ridgeline? It’s the closest to a 4 door, 4WD El Camino you’ll find, and it would do more, and better, and last longer.


We bought the highlander new. It had just over 80k miles when the cat failed. Emissions warranty is 80k, so we paid out of pocket to replace it. It has around 90k now. My wife is the primary driver.

I drive the Buick. It’s got a little over 150k miles. I commute 60 miles round trip daily. I don’t see that changing, unless something unusual happens.

A Honda Ridgeline would really suit my needs 99% of the time and would be a great vehicle no doubt. In all honesty, I’d prefer a more traditional style truck (cab on frame, rwd, and a little more room in the bed).

I am curious how they compare to domestic 1/2 tons as far as pricing. You’d almost assume the Honda would be cheaper since it’s unibody construction (I think?), but I bet price is similar. I did consider the Tacoma as well, but it’s a mid size that costs about the same as a domestic half ton. Less room, less power, similar price. Although reliability (at least in the past) was excellent.

I once bought a beat to death 99 Tacoma (4 cyl, 5 speed) with 287k miles from a guy at the scrap yard where I was working at the time. He drove up, asked what scrap autos were bringing, and stated that if he couldn’t get $300 for it, he’d just keep it. I asked if he had a title and he did. I gave him $300 and drove it home with the AC blowing cold. It needed a bearing on one of the idler pulleys, a radiator, 4 tires, and a thorough cleaning. I found $20 in change scattered in the truck underneath all the cheap cigar wrappers, ashes, razor blades (weird, I know), and various other bits of trash. This has nothing to do with anything other than it did instill the thought in my mind that Toyota’s must be pretty reliable. That truck looked like it had been intentionally abused, but mechanically, it was fine. I drove it for several months 100 miles a day. One coworker always commented that it was “the ugliest truck he’d ever seen” lol.

We seem to stick to GMC at work, so those are the most I am familiar with, they seem fine, from buds the Chrysler and dodge seem the most prone to trouble, in the 6 to 10 year range, but The hugliest (love hate) truck I drove for around 30 years, tannish ford with red ford letters on the tailgate.

What state are you in? Is rust an issue? The new fords have alum boxes. Less rust issues?

Razor blades to cut the ends off of the cigar to smoke them :slight_smile: I remember doing a thorough cleaning of my old Solara after I bought it (pulled the seats out, trunk lining spare tire out, everything) and found two 20 dollar bills hiding in the car

Along with the rest of the sheet metal, I believe.

In my neck of the woods, even the oldest, ugliest highest mileage Tacoma would go for WAY more than $300