In April 2020, truck sales surpassed those of passenger cars for the first time in the history of the automobile. We started to worry that we might have to start a #SavetheCars campaign to accompany our efforts to #SavetheManuals. But then, as we tend to do, we started to dream up the trucks we would buy if the demise of the car were to happen. Chevy, Ford, Jeep, Ram, and Toyota: Here are the trucks Car and Driver editors would park in their driveways and take on some epic outdoor adventures:
Eric Stafford's $47,055 2020 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2
Sure, the Ford F-150 Raptor is the best way to accumulate frequent flyer miles without actually boarding a plane. But what if driving anything wearing a Blue Oval makes you sick and you could save up to $12,555 and still soar through the air like a hillbilly Amelia Earhart? Well, if those potential savings tickle your fancy, or if you have a Chevy bow tie tattooed anywhere on your body, you'll champion my decision to choose the Colorado ZR2. Although this jacked-up, wide-bodied pickup is getting a badass makeover for 2021, that version isn't yet included on the configurator.
So, we're stuck with the 2020 model, which—in case you forgot—boasts a 2.0-inch suspension lift, knobby 31-inch tires, electronic locking diffs on both axles, unique front and rear bumpers, and an armored undercarriage. Oh, and the ZR2 features exotic spool-valve shocks by Multimatic that also buoy Formula 1 race cars and Baja 1000 trophy trucks. The standard extended cab starts at $42,595, but we'd spend another $1600 for the crew cab, because otherwise the Colorado is basically a two-seater. We also prefer the speedier 308-hp V-6 over the torquier but pricier Duramax diesel. I drink Busch Light, but the optional Bison package looks trashy even for my taste. Instead, my ZR2 would total $47,055, including $395 for the flashy Kinetic Blue paint and $1850 for the Power package's cat-back exhaust system that pumps up the truck's soundtrack. The $615 bed-mounted spare-tire carrier is also a must have. After all, if you're into off-roading, what better way to show off? — Eric Stafford
David Beard's $68,995 2020 Ford F-150 Raptor
It's no surprise that Jared Gall's dream truck and my build are essentially identical. Though our heads reside in different layers of the atmosphere, our tastes are very much aligned. Unmuffled V-8s, abrupt acceleration, and traversing dirt at high rates of speed are a few shared likes, and the Ford Raptor checks two of those boxes. Few–if any–other production vehicles can reach 60 mph in under 5.0 seconds, spend an afternoon skying out a sand dune or a two-track trail, and then provide a relaxed drive home. The Raptor is so good that other manufacturers won't even contest its greatness.
Spec'ing out the Raptor on Ford's configurator is quite simple. Although I like the looks of the shorter SuperCab, I'd opt for the bigger SuperCrew so my guests have room to spread out before I make them regurgitate their lunch. Good thing all-weather floor mats are standard. I'd probably never use the $1895 beadlock-capable wheels, but they pair nicely with the $395 Rapid Red paint. Hard pass on the sticker packages; the Raptor’s menacing stance alerts onlookers to its breed. I'd even opt to remove the tailgate appliqué at no cost. Ford's got a clever way to spend $10,920 real quick: only offer the Torsen front differential in the Luxury package. I'll be needing that. Also, the integrated trailer-brake controller and other creature comforts will be nice. Lastly, the spray-in bedliner for $595 is a must. All in, I've got an ass-kicking pickup for $68,995. Hold my drink and watch this. — David Beard
Mike Sutton's $60,515 2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave
Going all in on a pickup at the Jeep store opens up a lot of possibilities for the 2020 Gladiator. As a longtime off-roader, opting for the hard-core Rubicon model is tempting, but my choice would be the new Desert Rated Mojave trim for its better suspension, reinforced frame, and slightly softer ride, all of which would be welcome when frequenting Michigan's Silver Lake sand dunes. So, using Jeep's configurator, I spec'd my ideal Desert Rated Jeep.
A 3.6-liter V-6 is currently the Gladiator's only engine choice, but I'd pair it with the optional and well-tuned ZF eight-speed automatic transmission ($2000) with remote start ($495). Visually, I'd go with Hydra Blue Pearl paint ($245), because fat-tired Jeeps always look good in bold colors. I'd also want the forward-facing trail camera ($595); the extra protection from steel step rails ($1050); a black three-piece removable hard top ($1295) with a headliner ($555); the Premium LED Lighting group ($1195); and 17-inch polished and painted wheels ($995) wrapped with no-cost all-terrain tires, which have better road manners than the available mud tires. For pickup duty, add $950 for a lockable three-piece tonneau cover, $895 for a cargo bed management system, $495 for a spray-in bedliner, and $350 for the Trailer Tow package. I'd pass on leather upholstery for the standard cloth sport seats, but I would spring for keyless entry ($495) and the $995 Cold Weather package's heated seats and steering wheel. Throw in the upgrade Alpine audio system ($1295) for the 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment system, a set of auxiliary switches ($295), and the $895 Jeep Active Safety Group's blind-spot monitors and parking sensors, and I should be set. What started as a $45,370 Gladiator Mojave is now an excellent $60,515 donor platform for a 1000-hp Hennessey Maximus conversion. – Mike Sutton
Maxwell B. Mortimer’s $64,130 2020 Ram 2500HD
For my "dream truck" selection, I wanted to find something powerful, capable, and rugged—enough to drive through more than a few wimpy puddles or down a dirt road, anyway. And since the Ram Rebel TRX has yet to go into production, I had to find something that would satisfy all of my needs. Naturally, I gravitated towards the new 2020 Ram 2500 Power Wagon, but after a bit of consideration, I decided that the 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 just isn't quite enough for me, despite all the excellent suspension and drivetrain components that truck offers. Instead, on the configurator, I opted for a Ram 2500HD Big Horn crew cab with the 6.7-liter Cummins turbo-diesel, which is not available in the Power Wagon.
I tried to take it easy on the options, adding only the Maximum Steel Metallic paint ($200), a nine-speaker Alpine audio system with a subwoofer ($495), and a limited-slip rear differential ($495); the Premium Lighting Group, which gives you LED headlights, taillights, and fog lights ($995); and the Level 2 Equipment Group ($4195), which includes 18-inch aluminum wheels, a leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel, the 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment with navigation, heated seats, power-adjustable pedals and power-folding mirrors, remote start, and a bunch of other helpful odds and ends. However, I wouldn't stop there because for $17,549 more I'd have my dealer send it in to AEV for the AEV Prospector XL conversion. Talk about a dream truck. — Maxwell B. Mortimer
Connor Hoffman's $46,168 2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro
There's a large piece of real estate in my heart devoted to Toyota trucks. I'm the owner of a fourth-generation 4Runner and obsessor over J60 and J80 Land Cruisers, so the Tacoma TRD Pro is the obvious choice for me here. I used the Toyota configurator to spec my ideal truck.
The TRD Pro Taco is only available as a double-cab with a five-foot bed, and if I didn't select the optional six-speed manual transmission, I'd have to have a little talk with myself. Unfortunately, I can't get the Cement Gray exterior color, which looks so good on the TRD Pro 4Runner, but Army Green is also one of the best colors on any car ever. I'm going to add the $725 Desert Air Intake package, a.k.a. a factory-installed snorkel; pass on the running boards, duh; and add all-weather floor liners ($169), the emergency assistance kit ($59), and a black tailgate insert ($160). All in, I'm looking at $46,168, which doesn't include the LED light bars, larger set of BFGoodrich K02 tires, and rooftop tent that I'll be adding later. I'll be looking forward to tossing the camping gear and Yeti cooler in the bed and bringing my dog along for some epic outdoor adventures. — Connor Hoffman
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