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A red 2024 GMC Canyon AT4X is shown parked off-road.

Best Truck Buys for 2024

There’s no denying the rise in popularity of pickup trucks over the last few years. A study by Experian found that the segment grew by more than four percent in two years, rising from 16 percent of all new vehicle registrations to 20.4 percent in early 2023. That’s an eye-catching statistic, but it’s not the most important trend in today’s pickup market. While pickup sales have increased, so has the average price. Over the last 10 years, the average price for a new pickup increased some 53 percent, ballooning from $28,100 in 2013 to $42,000 today.

Much of this can be attributed to the rise of new off-road models and luxury-oriented trims, which quickly inflate the price tag with their heavy-duty components and next-generation tech and convenience features, but the higher prices can be a little confounding for the average buyer. Despite this historically high average price, there are still some real values to be had when searching the pickup market. From a midsize pickup that has been called one of the industry’s best-driving to an ever-reliable Toyota and the full-size job site MVP that is the Ram 1500, read on as we explore three of our top picks for the best truck buys of 2024.

GMC Canyon

The midsize truck segment represents a sweet spot for many drivers. These pickups are large enough to put in some real work while remaining agile enough for some of the more delicate truck-related tasks you’ll face behind the wheel. The go-to segment for those seeking a reliable off-road truck, it’s little wonder that the midsize segment has seen such rapid growth over the last decade. Case in point: according to a study by S&P Global Mobility, midsize pickup truck sales more than doubled between 2013 and 2023, growing from 1.6 percent of all new US vehicle sales to 4.4 percent today.

When it comes to midsize pickups, the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon rank neck and neck for one simple reason—they’re basically the same truck. General Motors owns both the Chevy and GMC brands, and the company’s midsize pickups are essentially twins, at least from a mechanical perspective. The two trucks feature distinct exterior designs—which makes them more fraternal than identical—but if you’re a fan of the Canyon, the Colorado is certainly worth a closer look (and vice versa).

For the purposes of this list, we’ll focus on the Canyon, which, for our money, is just a little more aesthetically pleasing. Of course, aesthetics aren’t usually the first thing on buyers’ minds when they start exploring the pickup segment, so let’s drill down and take a closer look at the stats that matter. Some drivers might be disappointed to learn that the 2024 Canyon only comes with one engine option—the 2.7L inline-four. That might sound small, but in context, it seems much more powerful.

The 2.7L engine, which produces 310 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque, is actually the same L3B engine you’d find under the hood of Chevy’s full-size pickup in the Silverado 1500. If that’s good enough for the full-size Silverado 1500, it should be more than enough power for GMC’s midsize pickup. Paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive, the Canyon’s inline-four manages to produce more power than some V6 options found in the Toyota Tacoma, Jeep Gladiator, and Honda Ridgeline, which just goes to show that cylinder count isn’t everything.

Car and Driver dubbed the second-generation Canyon as “the best-driving body-on-frame vehicle on sale today,” and the third-gen model looks to be no different. Between its responsive steering and crisp braking, the Canyon gives drivers a real sense of confidence behind the wheel, which can make all the difference when you’re navigating tough off-road terrain or trying to complete a particularly hairy towing or hauling project. Speaking of off-road fun, half of the Canyon’s trim ladder is occupied by off-road-focused trims from the entry-level AT4 to the AT4X and new AT4X AEV, which is a collaboration between GMC and off-road and overland vehicle parts and accessories brand American Expedition Vehicles (AEV). The AT4X AEV is priced a little steeply at $65,995, but for just $44,595, drivers can get a taste of the off-road lifestyle with the AT4, which comes complete with Hill Descent Control and a transfer case shield, four-wheel drive with an automatic-locking rear differential, a two-speed AutoTrac transfer case and a Drive Mode Selector with new Off-Road and Terrain modes.

The Canyon might not be the sort of towing and hauling beast you’d find in the full-size segment, but it holds its own with a respectable 7,770-pound max towing capacity. That number drops to 5,500 lbs for the off-road AT4X trim, but that’s more than a fair tradeoff when you consider its enhanced functionality. The compact Canyon makes up for it when it comes to fuel economy, with an EPA-rated 19 MPG city and 23 MPG on the highway when optioned as a rear-wheel drive version in the Elevation trim. Most importantly, the Canyon is extremely affordable, with a starting price that’s almost $10,000 lower than some entry-level pickups.

A green 2024 Toyota Tacoma is shown parked off-road.

Toyota Tacoma

As so many automakers rush to meet the demand for midsize trucks, the market has become inundated with models ranging from the blah to breathtaking. That said, there’s one model that seems to find itself at the top of the heap time and again—the Toyota Tacoma. Much of the pickup’s success can be attributed to Toyota’s reputation for reliability, with the Japanese brand boasting the lowest lifetime maintenance costs of any major automaker. According to a study by, the typical Toyota’s 10-year maintenance costs are as low as $5,996, putting it in the top spot ahead of Mitsubishi, Honda, and Mazda. Lifetime maintenance costs are an important metric to consider when shopping for any vehicle, but especially pickups, which tend to stay on the road for a lot longer than your average car or crossover SUV.

2024 is an exciting year for the Tacoma, as it ushers in the model’s fourth generation. As one might expect, that means a full slate of upgrades for the best-selling pickup, including new powertrain and trim options, a new body-on-frame platform, and a host of cutting-edge tech features.

We’ll start under the hood, where you’ll find a turbocharged 2.4L four-cylinder engine, regardless of the trim. Toyota has tuned the inline-four depending on the trim to create a wide variation between them; on the entry-level SR, the 2.4L turbocharged engine can make around 228 hp, but that number shoots up to 278 (along with 317 lb-ft of torque) when you move to the SR5 and above, which are powered by the engine’s iForce variant. The iForce Max ups the ante even further with 326 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque, which is achieved thanks in large part to its hybrid setup that sees the inline-four assisted by an electric motor and a small nickel-metal hydride battery. All the Tacoma’s trims come paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, but three of them—the SR, the TRD Sport, and the TRD Off-Road—can be ordered with a six-speed manual transmission. This is good news for drivers who like to row their own gears. Rear- and four-wheel drive are both on offer for 2024, making it easier than ever to customize the Tacoma to fit your own unique driving needs and style.

The Tacoma has long been popular with the off-road set, and Toyota has made the hobby even more accessible with four off-road trims to choose from. The TRD PreRunner, TRD Off-Road, Trailhunter, and TRD Pro give drivers the ability to get far, far off-pavement. The Tacoma’s off-road trims are also surprisingly affordable. The TRD Pre-Runner is a real bargain at around $30,000, but even the range-topping TRD Pro is expected to cost around $50,000. That’s a significant chunk of change, to be sure, but it represents a significant value in a segment where some off-road pickups cost $10,000 to $15,000 more.

Despite its modest asking price, the TRD Pro is still loaded with all the gear off-roaders have come to expect in their trucks. This includes 33-inch Goodyear Territory R/T tires, underbody skid plates, an upgraded off-road suspension with a disconnecting front anti-roll bar, and 2.5-inch dampers with remote reservoirs. The Off-road trim also significantly improves the cabin, switching out the standard 7.0-inch gauge cluster for a 12.3-inch digital version. Then there are the seats. Heated and cooled front seats come as little surprise, but the same can’t be said for the Tacoma’s IsoDynamic seats, which use an air-over-oil system to provide unparalleled comfort in bumpy off-road scenarios.

A white 2024 Ram 1500 is shown parked near a horse.

Ram 1500

Ram Trucks might only do one thing, but they do it extremely well. While most automakers have at least a few pickup trucks in their lineup, Ram specializes in the segment, and the results speak for themselves. The full-size pickup segment is one of the most competitive and includes some of the country’s best-selling vehicles—not just pickups—like the Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado. While these brands might trade on brand recognition and customer loyalty, Ram surpasses both automakers with its own full-size offering in the Ram 1500.

From its towing and payload capacity to its heavy-duty construction and surprisingly luxurious interior, the Ram 1500 sets a high bar for the rest of the full-size segment. Critics have praised the truck for its exceptional handling and ride quality, attributes which allow the Ram 1500 to best many of its competitors. A rear coil-spring suspension represents a dramatic improvement over the leaf-spring design found on most of the Ram 1500’s competitors, which sort of makes you wonder why so many brands are sticking with the more old-fashioned approach. Interior tech is another area where the Ram 1500 punches well above its weight, with an optional 12.0-inch infotainment display and standard 8.4-inch screen that both come standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.

Creature comforts aside, a pickup will always be judged on its power, and the Ram 1500 holds its own in that category as well. Drivers can choose between a 3.6L V6 or 5.7L V8. Both engines are paired with a 48-volt hybrid system and offered with an eight-speed automatic transmission and offer some 305 and 395 hp respectively. Those who aren’t sold on the merits of the hybrid setup can opt for a purely gas-powered V8, but you’ll end up paying for it with the extra trips to the pump. In terms of towing, the Ram 1500 can heft around as much as 12,750 lbs without breaking a sweat. Add in a payload capacity of 2,300 lbs, and you’ve got the second-most-powerful full-size half-ton pickup on offer for 2024, behind only the F-150.

Like many of today’s pickups, the Ram 1500 is eminently customizable. Drivers looking for a reliable work truck can spend as little as $41,415 on the Tradesman trim, but a long list of trims and optional equipment packages make it easier than ever to build the full-size pickup of your dreams from the ground up. The Level 1 and Level 2 packages are a great place to start, adding an air suspension with selectable ride height, remote start, front and rear parking sensors, hands-free entry, a 115-volt power outlet, and more. The Ram 1500’s Safety and Convenience package adds all the modern amenities for a worry-free ride, including automatic high-beam headlights, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keeping assist. Those who expect to put their truck through its paces on the job site will appreciate the optional Multifunction Tailgate, which can be opened in a number of ingenious ways, supports up to 2,000 pounds of cargo, and comes standard with a rugged spray-in bedliner. The brand will introduce an overhauled 1500 model for the 2025 model year, but we see no reason to delay starting your Ram journey.

Pickups have come a long way since the bare-bones work trucks of the past. Today’s pickup models are often just as luxurious, comfortable, and tech-heavy as any other vehicle on the road, making the segment increasingly alluring to a broader set of drivers. Between an increased ride height and four-wheel drive, towing ability, and visibility, there are lots of reasons to make your next vehicle a pickup, but sifting through all the models on offer can be difficult. From the GMC Canyon and Toyota Tacoma with their well-appointed interiors and off-road-ready trims to the brawny workhorse that is the Ram 1500, some trucks tend to rise to the top when you start sifting through the reviews and awards lists. If you have your sights set on a new mid- or full-size pickup for 2024, these three models are a great place to start.