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Peter Gavrilov
Peter Gavrilov

Truck Buying Guide 2017

Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Honda Ridgeline: The Ridgeline might not be the typical pickup truck, but it is capable, efficient, roomy and comfortable. It's also incredibly clever, with plenty of bed compartments that give you secure storage without forcing you to buy a camper shell. This Honda boasts an impressive towing capacity and a bed in which you can lay a 4-by-8 sheet of plywood flat. It's also the best riding and driving truck in the class, but it can still handle rough dirt roads thanks to its well-engineered suspension. Truck purists might cry foul, but unless rock crawling is your top priority, the Ridgeline is one of the best midsize trucks on the market.

truck buying guide 2017


Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado: The Colorado is exactly what you expect from a midsize pickup truck. It does everything that full-size trucks do, just on a smaller scale. This Chevrolet offers a full range of bed and cab combinations, as well as a selection of engines that include a torquey diesel and a gasoline V6. There's also the ZR2 package, which turns the Colorado into an off-road monster.

Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Toyota Tacoma: The Tacoma is the oldest truck on this list, yet it's still one of our favorites. Much of that has to do with the fact the Tacoma still offers a great combination of capability, design and toughness. It's one of the better trucks when it comes to off-road driving, and the TRD Pro option adds even more off-road tech. The Tacoma's interior might seem basic, but it offers all the features you need in an easy-to-use layout. Factor in the Tacoma's proven record for reliability and this truck is definitely worth considering.

Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 GMC Canyon: Everything we had to say about the Chevy Colorado applies to the GMC Canyon because, under the skin, they are basically the same truck. The same range of engine and body configurations are available, meaning the GMC can be tailored to fit your specific needs. The Canyon goes further, though, with its own styling and a host of upgrades to the interior that include improved materials and more high-end options. The Canyon costs a little more than Colorado, but if you spend a lot of time in your truck you might find the upgrades worth it.

Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado: The Silverado offers a full range of body styles, multiple engines to choose from and lots of optional features. Not only does the Silverado have an impressive maximum tow rating, but it's learned a few new high-tech tricks. An optional mild hybrid system returns a few extra mpg, and the standard Teen Driver system sends you a notification if someone borrowing your truck is speeding or has gotten in an accident. The Chevy Silverado is a capable, user-friendly truck, and a strong pick in the class.

Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Ram 1500: The Ram 1500 has been a consistent favorite among our editors for its refined ride, quiet cabin and all-day comfort. It also delivers the versatility and capability of a full-size truck, with a selection of body styles and engines that include the only high-torque diesel in the class. There's also the Rebel 1500 package that adds extra off-road ability. Our year with a long-term diesel Ram 1500 tester proved not only that it's a desirable truck for work or play and a good road-trip companion, but it's also capable of handling whatever you can throw at it.

Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 GMC Sierra 1500: Everything we said about the Chevy Silverado 1500 applies here, and then some. Under the skin, the two trucks are identical, but the Sierra 1500 offers some extra comfort-oriented features, topping out in Denali trim with its unique styling, luxurious cabin and standard 6.2-liter V8. The same variety of cabin, bed and drivetrain configurations are available to customize this GMC to your needs. The Sierra is a trusty, competent truck with a little extra to offer those who like high-end features.

Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty: The entire range of Ford Super Duty trucks has been fully redesigned for 2017. Interior quality and ride and handling have been greatly improved, and a heaping helping of new convenience and technology features make the big Fords pleasant to live with day to day. Both the F-250 and F-350 get a range of body styles and bed lengths and lots of great options. The optional diesel V8's 925 pound-feet of torque makes it more like an earthquake than an engine. For the heaviest of duties, Ford offers the F-450, the only 4500-series pickup truck available to regular consumers. This massive truck can tow conventional trailers up to 21,000 pounds, or up to 31,200 pounds with a gooseneck trailer, and has a widened front track that allows for a tighter turning radius. This is the most serious of serious trucks.

Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 Ram 2500/3500: The big Ram trucks have a lot to offer buyers, from the practical workhorse Tradesman trim to the luxurious Limited to the mountain-conquering off-road 2500 Power Wagon. With their coil-spring rear suspension, the Ram 2500 and 3500 offer the most compliant ride of any HD truck, but the 3500 can still tow up to 31,210 pounds thanks to the optional 6.7-liter diesel engine that produces 900 lb-ft of torque. We love the Ram for its comfort and capability, and the deep customization options mean there's a Ram 2500 or 3500 to fill every need.

Why Edmunds Recommends the 2017 GMC Sierra HD: The Sierra heavy-duty trucks also get the new diesel engine this year, and they offer solid build quality, a refined and quiet freeway ride, and capable hauling and towing capacities. The GMC Sierra 2500HD and 3500HD take the qualities of the Silverado and make it a little more pleasant to live with.

Toyota dominates midsize pickup truck sales. During the first quarter of 2017, the automaker sold almost twice as many Tacoma pickups as Chevrolet did Colorados. However, this sales performance does not align with the Tacoma's performance in the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study.SM Despite a complete redesign for 2016, the Tacoma ascended from its fourth-place, bottom-of-the-segment ranking in the 2015 APEAL Study to no higher than third in the 2016 APEAL Study.To learn more about why this truck is so popular in spite of its apparent lack of appeal, we evaluated a 2017 Tacoma Double Cab Shortbed in TRD (Toyota Racing Development) Off-Road trim with 4-wheel drive (4WD), an automatic transmission, floor mats, tow package, and a Premium and Technology package. The price came to $38,974, including the $960 destination charge.

Before we discuss the results of our evaluation of the 2017 Tacoma, it's helpful to understand who buys this pickup truck and what they like most and least about it.The Midsize Pickup segment is not a large one, and last year just four models were available. In addition to the Tacoma, buyers could choose the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, and the Nissan Frontier. Among this quartet, the Tacoma ranked third overall in the 2016 APEAL Study, behind the second-ranked GMC and highest-ranked Chevrolet.Tacoma buyers are primarily men (87%), which matches the segment average. Their median age is 55 years (vs. 57 years) and their median household income is $96,471 (vs. $95,245). More Tacoma buyers identify themselves as price buyers (26% vs. 23%) or performance buyers (24% vs. 20%) than the segment average.Expectedly, Tacoma buyers are less likely to prefer to buy a vehicle from a domestic company (44% vs. 57%). Additionally, they are slightly less likely to agree that their first consideration in choosing a vehicle is miles per gallon (60% vs. 62%), and they are slightly less likely to agree that they are willing to pay more for a vehicle that is environmentally friendly.Styling matters more to Tacoma buyers, who are slightly more likely to agree that they like a vehicle that stands out from the crowd (80% vs. 77%). This aligns with the finding that just 32% of Tacoma buyers agree that a vehicle is just a way of getting from place to place (compared with 36%).Buyers say their favorite things about the Tacoma are (in descending order) the exterior styling, interior design, driving dynamics, visibility and safety, and infotainment system. Buyers indicate their least favorite things about the Tacoma are (in descending order) the climate control system, storage and space, seats, engine/transmission, and fuel economy.

As standard equipment, the 2017 Tacoma TRD Off-Road is equipped with an Entune Premium infotainment system including App Suite and an embedded navigation system. It features a flush tablet-style surface, a 7-in. display, and both power/volume and station tuning knobs. Honda should take note of this design, even if I kept forgetting that I needed to press "Apps" in order to get to the main menu rather than "Home."It is easy to set up and use this system, and to pair an iPhone to the Bluetooth connection. The system includes voice recognition and is Siri-compatible, but if you want Apple CarPlay or Android Auto you're out of luck. Also, the narrow, touch-sensing slivers that Toyota employs for favorite radio station pre-sets are often impossible to use with accuracy in a bouncy truck like this one.The system does not provide natural-voice recognition. That means you can't push the talk button and conversationally ask for directions to a specific restaurant in a particular city. However, if you're patient enough to follow the prompts, it will understand you most of the time. When it doesn't though, its time to ask Siri.

Relatively speaking, Tacoma buyers do not like this truck's drivetrain, which must come as a shock to Toyota given that the top engine choice is a new and fairly sophisticated design.A 2.7-liter 4-cylinder engine is available for the 2017 Tacoma, offered only for select SR and SR5 trim trucks. That means most people will buy one with the significantly more powerful 3.5-liter V-6 motor.To maximize fuel economy as much as possible, the V-6 employs Atkinson-cycle combustion, direct fuel injection, and variable valve timing. It makes 278 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 265 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,600 rpm, and is paired with a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic transmission. As installed in the test truck, it was rated to carry 1,175 lbs. of payload and tow 6,400 lbs. of trailer.Engine/Transmission 041b061a72


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