2021 Lemon Aid New Car Reviews - Pickup Trucks

Once the purview of farmers and tradesmen, pickup trucks are now a popular transport mode for the typical suburban family. The advent of crew cab body styles, better driving performance, greater refinement and the proliferation of luxury features has resulted in a wide acceptance of pickup trucks as daily drivers for non-commercial users.  

The (literally) big news for 2021 is an all-new Ford F-150, the perennial best-selling nameplate in the full-size pickup segment. Honda's unibody Ridgeline undergoes a mid-cycle refresh for 2021, and in a move that surprised many, Nissan released an all-new Frontier pickup, which will reach the market by the fall as a 2022 model.    

Chevrolet Silverado  Ford Ranger  Hyundai Santa Cruz  RAM 1500 
Chevrolet Colorado  GMC Canyon  Jeep Gladiator  Toyota Tacoma 
Ford F-150 GMC Sierra  Nissan Titan  Toyota Tundra 
Ford Maverick  Honda Ridgeline     

2021 Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra

 


 

 

 

What’s new
Package and packaging changes for 2021.

Performance
The GMC Denali’s 6.2L V8 moves the truck with authority, but with perhaps an excess of vocal enthusiasm. Power is funnelled to the ground via a 10-speed automatic transmission that shifts smoothly enough but proves you can have too many gears, especially as the tuneful exhaust sonically accentuates each gear change. The Sierra’s nicely weighted steering is accurate considering it is a pickup. Handling is predictable and even though the truck features very basic suspension, including a live rear axle, ride is acceptably supple. The brakes are strong enough but braking effort is very high, the pedal has a wooden feel and is too close to the driver for ease-of-use.
Comments
Most of GM's dual nameplate pickup platform will be powered by a the familiar 5.3L and 6.2L V8 engines. The long-delayed 3L inline six-cylinder turbodiesel with 227 horsepower and a stout 460 lb.ft. or torque, finally became available for the 2020 model year. For this new generation of pickup, GM introduced a new 2.7L four-cylinder gasoline turbo engine that produces a stout 310 horsepower. It will eventually supplant the 4.3L V6 that is currently the base engine. Six, eight and 10-speed automatic transmissions are available depending on the engine and trim level of the truck in question.   
GM uses more aluminum in the new Silverado and Sierra, but has not moved to a complete alloy body like the Ford F-150. That said, GM managed to shave about 200 kilograms off its pickups, about two thirds of what Ford saved by moving to an expensive all-alloy truck body, but at a lower cost and with fewer issues related to body repairs after a collision. 
Combined, GM's duo handily outsell the RAM 1500 pickup, but are comprehensively outsold by the Ford F150. Selling two versions of the same platform is an expensive way to market a product. Buyers are buying both the Silverado and Sierra nameplates in equal numbers.   
Pricing
Massive model range with two brands, three cabin styles and a multitude of engines, wheelbase lengths and cargo boxes. Only the base Work Truck, which is of little interest to non-commercial users, is offered with the regular cab body style. Four-wheel drive costs $3800 on the 4.3L Custom and 5.3L LTZ models, and $4200 on the 5.3L LT. On an LT 4X4 powered by the 5.3L engine, migrating from the Double Cab body style to the crewcab costs $1700. On a 4X4 crewcab, moving from the WT to the good value Custom trim adds equipment such as carpeting, cloth seating, cruise control and alloy wheels and a trailering package, which is the minimum equipment required for non-commercial users. The Custom Trail Boss is equipped with hill descent control, a two-speed transfer case and the Z71 off-road suspension package which includes various underbody shields, at a reasonable price. The LT swaps the V6 and six-speed automatic transmission for the 2.7L turbo four and an eight-speed automatic, and adds popular features like a power driver's seat, heated front seats, L.E.D. headlamps and a heated steering wheel, at a temping price. The RST trim looks overpriced. The LT Trail Boss is very expensive but does have the same two-speed transfer case and off road equipment as the Custom Trail Boss. The LTZ adds leather, ventilated front seats, the Advanced Trailering package, blind spot, rear cross traffic and lane departure warnings, and is very good value. The range-topping High Country model is very nicely equipped, but is significantly overpriced. Active safety equipment is optional on most versions. On the Custom and Custom Trail Boss, you can add the Safety Confidence package with forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking, including pedestrians, for $495. The $1095 Safety package adds blind spot, rear cross traffic and lane departure warnings and front and rear parking sonar on the LT, RST and LT Custom Trail Boss trims. On the LTZ and High Country trims, the $1260 Safety Package II adds adaptive cruise control. The 4.3L V6 is standard on the three lower trims, with the 2.7L turbo and 5.3 L-V8 available in many variants, but pricing is variable with no inherent logic. On a crewcab LT model, the 3L, inline six turbodiesel is priced $4830 higher than the same truck powered by a 5.3L-V6. Sierra: The base model is priced $1200 higher than the base Silverado, with the Sierra Denali costing $2200 more that a Silverado High Country. The Silverado is an excellent lease value for 2021. 

Reliability
Not rated, new vehicle. The new 2.7L turbo four and inline six turbodiesel are new and unproven, as are the eight and 10-speed automatic transmission. The 5.7L and 6.2L V8 engines appear to be reliable.    

Specifications


Body Style: Regular cab, extra cab and crew cab
Occupants: 2, 2/3, 3/3
Engines:
2.7L-4 T (310 HP), 3L-6 TDI (227 HP), 4.3L-V6 (285 HP), 5.3L-V8 (355 HP)*, 6.2L-V8 (420 HP)

Transmissions: 6A, 8A*, 10A* 
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive*
City Fuel Economy:  14.7L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy: 11.2L/100 km


Active safety equipment:

Optional forward collision warning, including pedestrians, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot, rear cross traffic and lane departure warnings and adaptive cruise control


Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/160,000
Country of Origin: United States and Mexico

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Sm. Front Pass.: M

Head/Seat: G

Headlight: P

 

NHTSA Rating:


2021 Ford F-150

 

NEW

 

 

What’s new
An all new Ford F-150 is now on sale.  

Comments

Unlike some of its other product lines that linger well past their expiration dates, Ford keeps its perennial best seller very up to date, and has issued a new F-150 before many expected it. The normally-aspirated 3.3L-V6 and 5L-V8 return, as do the turbocharged 2.7L-V6, 3.5L-V6 and the Peugeot-supplied 3L-V6 turbodiesel. New for 2021 is a 3.5L-V6 hybrid with 430 horsepower and a massive 570 lb-ft. of torque. Regardless of engine or drive system, power reaches the wheels via a 10-speed automatic transmission. Co-PILOT360, with a forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking, including pedestrians, is standard. Options include blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, evasive steering assist and lane keep assist.

While all-new, the styling is clearly evolutionary and only the most devoted Ford fans will be able to spot the latest F-150. Easy-to-spot differences are the headlamps and a slimmer grille, or should we say grilles, as 11 treatments will be offered. The aluminum body returns for the new-generation F-150. Regular, SuperCab and SuperCrew body styles are available once again, as are a variety of cargo bed lengths. Wheelbases run from between 122 inches to 163 inches. The cabin of the previous F-150 was disappointing in design and materials, especially when compared with the excellence of the current RAM 1500, which changed the rules as to what a pickup truck cabin should be. Design and materials have improved and Ford has included the now-expected large-format infotainment screen. Ford has done a lot of research about how F-150 drivers use their trucks and have come up with two novel features, one inside and one outside, to fit the needs of users. Inside, the Interior Work Surface option lets drivers rotate the centre console armrest forward 180 degrees, nestling the gear selector into a recess as the enormous work-dining surface comes to rest. Realizing that many F-150 driving contractors carry a generator in the load beds of their trucks, Ford now offers Pro Power Onboard, a built-in generator with either 2.0 kW or 2.4kW outputs.

Pricing

Swapping rear-wheel drive for a 4x4 drivetrain on an F150 XLT SuperCrew with a 5.5 foot box will cost you $4150. Using the 4X4 XLT trim as the basis of comparison, moving from the regular cab to the SuperCab costs $3754; with an extra $1650 needed to migrate to the SuperCrew body style. On the SuperCrew body with a 4X4 drivetrain, the lineup starts with the XL, which is really geared for the commercial user rather than private buyers. The XLT, the most popular trim level of the F-150, adds expected features like carpeting, alloy wheels, cruise control, power windows, door locks and keyless entry, at a price that reflects the value of the equipment provided. Moving up to the Lariat, which includes leather seating, navigation, a B&O audio system, heated and ventilated seats, a myriad of other comfort and convenience items, plus a two-range automatic 4X4 drive system and the 2.7L turbo V6 engine, is good value and represents enough luxury for even the most pampered buyers. The King Ranch, Platinum and Limited trims add increasing layers of luxury but are all spectacularly overpriced. The Interior Work Surface option that can turn the centre console into a gigantic work-dining platform, is priced at just $200. On a SuperCrew XLT 4X4, the 2kW Pro Power Onboard option, which is a built in generator, costs $2200, as it forcs the optional 2,7L-V6 turbo engine on the buyer. On the XLT 4X4 SuperCrew, the Peugeot-supplied 3L-V6 turbodiesel costs $8250, with the new hybrid powertrain priced at $5750 on most models. The F-150 is an excellent lease value for 2021. 

Reliability
The aluminum body work may be more difficult to work on than a steel body, with higher parts costs as well as greater labour hours needed to put things right but insurance companies do not seen to be charging extra premium on the F-150. The reliability of the Ford V6 turbo (marketed as EcoBoost) has improved since 2016 but long-term durability is still uncertain. An extended powertrain warranty from Ford of Canada is recommended if you plan to keep your F-150 past the five year/100,000 km powertrain warranty. 

Specifications


Body Style: Regular cab, extra cab and crew cab*
Occupants: 2, 2/3, 3/3
Engines:
2.7L-V6 T (325 HP)*, 3L-V6 TDI (250 HP), (3.3L-V6 (290 HP), 3.5L-V6 T (400 HP and 450 HP), 3.5L-V6 H (430 HP), 5L-V8 (400 HP)

Transmissions: 10A*
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive*
City Fuel Economy: 13.1L/100 km
Highway fuel economy: 10.2L/100 km
Active safety equipment: Standard forward collision warning, including pedestrians and autonomous emergency braking, Optional blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings, a lane keep assist system and adaptive cruise control with stop and go.

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Country of Origin:  United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Sm. Front Pass.: G

Head/Seat: G

Headlight: P

 

NHTSA Rating:


2020 Nissan Titan

 


 

 

What’s new
Mid-cycle update with numerous detail and packaging changes. Chief enhancements for 2020 include a new nine-speed automatic transmission that replaced the previous seven-speed and enhanced safety equipment, including standard lane departure, forward collision, blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings as well as intelligent emergency braking with pedestrian detection and rear intelligent emergency braking. Nissan confirmed that the Titan will return for 2021 but it was not on sale by late April, so might not happen.   

Performance
A 5.6L V8 with 400 horsepower is the sole engine available on the 1500 version of the Titan. This engine provides ample power and torque but is on the noisy side. High fuel consumption. The new nine-speed automatic transmission should improve performance and reduce cruising fuel economy. Unladen, the rear suspension is very stiff, a long-time pickup truck failing that most other makers have at this point managed to eliminate. The suspension of the Titan smoothes out with a heavy load or when towing a trailer. Predictable steering, but some drivers found steering effort higher than expected at low speeds. Braking is very good but pedal effort is high. The multi-view camera on the APA's Titan tester delivers a great view of the vehicle and its environment, making this gigantic vehicle easier to place.

Comments
The Titan's cabin is dominated by a massive dashboard that seems to be part and parcel of vehicles in this segment. Logically arrayed and easy to operate controls. Large, comfortable and very welcoming front seats. The rear seat of the Titan is as roomy as that of GM's Silverado-Sierra twins but its seat is more comfortable.

Pricing
No 2021 pricing is available. 

Reliability
Not rated, insufficient data. Predicted reliability may approach that of GM's Silverado/Sierra twins. Nissan replacement parts prices are often surprisingly expensive and parts are less prolific from aftermarket sources than parts for U.S.-branded pickups. Some Nissans have been less resistant to corrosion than other makers. An oil-based anti-corrosion treatment is recommended.  

Specifications


Body Style: Extended cab, crew cab

Occupants: 2/3


Engines:
5.6L-V8 (400 HP)

Transmissions: 9A*
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive*

City Fuel Economy: 15.1L/100 km
Highway fuel economy: 11.1L/100 km
Active safety equipment: Standard forward collision warning, including pedestrians, blind spot, rear cross traffic, lane departure and driver awareness monitors and autonomous emergency braking. Optional adaptive cruise control.  

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/160,000
Country of Origin: United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: NR

Mod. Front: NR

Side: NR

Roof: NR

Sm. Front Pass.: NR

Head/Seat: G

Headlight: NR

 

NHTSA Rating:


2021 RAM 1500

 


 

 

What’s new
Foward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking is standard on the Sport and higher trims for 2021. Pedestrian detection has been added to the Advanced Safety Group. The Sport trim is new and exclusive to Canada. The 10th Anniversary edition of the Limited Longhorn trim is available for 2021. Trailer reverse steering control has been added to the trailer package and a head up display is a new option for 2021. 

Comments
Unlike some pickups that are styled to instill fear in vehicles they are following, the RAM displays a slim and elegant look.
With a massive screen in the middle of the dash, countless comfort and convenience features and supple leather seats, the Limited trim range-topper should called, “Imperial”, after Chrysler's once-storied high-end model. Seating is very comfortable and the amount of available cabin space is astounding. Powered by FCA’s 5.7L “Hemi” V8, the Ram gathers speed quickly and cruises quietly, but like many pickups, exhaust noise is intrusive when running hard. The eight-speed automatic ably harnesses the V8’s power. Equipped with four-corner air suspension, the Ram delivers a supple ride for a pickup. 

Engine choices include the popular 3.6L Pentastar V6, this time equipped with a mild hybrid system which FCA calls eTorque. The belt-driven eTorque mechanism provides 90 extra lb.ft. of torque on launch. The conventional 5.7L-V8 returns, but an eTorque version of it, which produces 130 more lb-ft. of torque on launch, is optional. The revised 3L-V6 turbodiesel has been revised and will be, according to FCA, reliable.    

Pricing

On the Quad cab Longhorn, the 4X4 drive system is priced $4000 higher than the rear-wheel drive version of the truck. On the 4X4 version of the Longhorn, it costs $1700 to move from the Quad cab to the crewcab body style. The 3.6 L-V6 eTorque engine is the base powerplant, The 5.7L-V8 is a $1995 option on the Tradesman and Longhorn, but is standard on the Sport and higher trims. An eTorque light hybrid version of the 5.7L-V8 is a $995 option on the Laramie and Limited Longhorn trims. The 3L-V6 VM Motori turbodiesel is a $3900 option on the Rebel, Limited Longhorn and Limited models. Using the crewcab body style with a 144 inch wheelbase, V6-powered 4X4 configuration as a starting point, the Big Horn, which adds carpeting, alloy wheels and more luxurious trim, is good value compared with the commercial grade Tradesman model, and is really the base trim for personal use buyers. The Sport trim adds a myriad of comfort and convenience equipment and the 5.7L-V8, for a reasonable price. The Rebel model has a more serious, off-road-oriented 4x4 system as well as leather seating, and is very good value. The Laramie is equipped with features such as an Alpine audio system, more luxurious door panels, a power passenger seat and Keyless Go, at a price that reflects the value of its additional equipment. The penultimate trim, the Limited Longhorn adds a wood trimmed steering wheel, navigation, front and rear parking sonar and rear fender liners, for a reasonable price. The range-topping Limited trim is an environment of heightened luxury with premium leather, vast amounts of western-styled stitching, power running boards, wireless cellphone charging, a massive infotainment screen and four-corner air suspension, making it a good value upgrade, despite its nearly $80,000 price tag. Active safety equipment is a bit of a nightmare. A forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, including for pedestrians, is standard from the Sport trim and higher. The Level 1 Safety Group on the Big Horn trim adds a forward collision warning, including pedestrians, autonomous emergency braking, a lane departure warning and a lane keep assist system, for $1195. This equipment is standard starting with the Sport, but other equipment such as blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings, and adaptive cruise control, while available, are often part of big and expensive option packages which discourage buyers from picking them.  The RAM1500 is a good lease value for 2021.

Reliability
New vehicle, not rated due to insufficient data. Predicted reliability is average. Avoid the optional air suspension as it has proven troublesome (especially in winter), fails prematurely and is very expensive to repair. The previous iteration of the turbodiesel was unreliable. An oil-based anti-rust treatment is recommended.

Specifications


Body Style: Regular cab, extra cab and crew cab
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
3L-V6 TDI (260 HP), 3.6L-V6 (305 HP + 90 lb.ft. launch torque, standard), 5.7L/100 km (395 HP + 130 lb.ft. launch torque, optional)*

Transmissions: 8A*
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive*

City Fuel Economy: 16.1L/100 km
Highway fuel economy:  11.5L/100 km
Additional airbags: None
Active Safety Equipment: Optional forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot, rear cross traffic and lane departure warnings, adaptive cruise control with stop and go and a lane keep assist system 
Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Country of Origin: United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Sm. Front Pass.: G

Head/Seat: G

Headlight: M

 

NHTSA Rating:


2021 Toyota Tundra

 


 

 

What’s new
All Tundras feature four-wheel drive for 2021. There is a new Trail model this year as well as a number of packaging shuffles.

Performance
The Tundra's 5.7L V8 is strong and flexible but is noisy; with its exhaust system being excessively loud. Good handling overall but the rear suspension can become unstable and some steering wheel shimmy can be felt when in all-wheel drive mode. The automatic transmission works very well in normal driving but needs to downshift frequently to maintain momentum when driven hard. The Tundra's ride is stiff and bouncy when lightly laden but smoothes out with a load in the tailgate or when pulling a trailer. Good brakes. Good visibility.

Comments
Sales of the Toyota Tundra pale in comparison with those of its domestic-branded rivals. IIHS crash test ratings well behind other trucks in its segment. 

Pricing
On the Double Cab body style, upgrading from the SR5 Plus to the TRD Off Road, is reasonably priced if you like its content, which includes L.E.D. headlamps, Keyless Go, Bilstein shocks and front and rear parking sensors. The TRD Sport Premium upgrade does include blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors, leather seating, navigation and a sunroof, but is overpriced. Upgrading from the Double Cab to the Crewmax body styles is the portal to a truly bewildering array models. The Crewcab body style costs up to $1470 more than the Double Cab, depending on the trim level. Compared with the SR5 Plus, the TRD Off Road and TRD Off Road Premium upgrades add blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors, and are reasonably priced if you like the content. On the other hand the TRD Pro trim is significantly more expensive than the Off Road Premium with little content behind the price bump. The TRD Sport Premium is very expensive and moving from there to the Platinum is equally overpriced. The 1794 Edition offers little more than the Platinum but the supplement for stepping up is only $500. The Tundra is a very good lease value for 2021. 

Reliability
Very good reliability. The Tundra's mechanical elements have been around for years and are reliable. Previous generations of the Tundra were vulnerable to rust, with frames, brake and fuel lines experiencing premature rusting. An oil-based anti-rust treatment is recommended. 

Specifications


Body Style: Access (extended) cab, Crew (Double) cab.
Occupants: 2/2, 2/3
Engines:5.7L (381 HP)*
Transmissions: 6A*
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive*
City Fuel Economy: 18.2L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy: 14.2L/100 km
Additional Airbags: Knee airbags for both front occupants
Active Safety Equipment: Standard forward collision warning, including pedestrians, autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and a lane departure warnings. Optional blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings 
Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Country of Origin: United States

IIHS Ratings:

Sm. Front Driver: M

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: A

Sm. Front Pass.: P

Head/Seat: G

Headlight: M

 

NHTSA Rating: