Here Are the Best-in-Class Standard and Optional Half-Ton Pickups

December 03, 2019 by Chad Kirchner

Half-ton pickup truck manufacturers fight tooth-and-nail to win new customers and retain the ones they have. To do that, they carve out a space for each model in different specification areas. That way the automakers can brag that they offer “best-in-class” performance.

There isn’t one single truck that is best-in-class for everything. But depending on what the buyer wants, some trucks offer better starting equipment than the other makes. Here’s a breakdown of the best in class rankings for what people get purchasing a standard truck without options. also researched the best-in-class if the buyer starts configuring options.



2020 Nissan Titan

The 2020 Nissan Titan has best-in-class standard horsepower with the 5.6-liter V-8 making 400 horsepower. The standard 5.7-liter V-8 engine in the Toyota Tundra comes in second place with 381 horsepower. The Ram 1500 comes standard with a 48-volt eTorque system attached to a V-6 engine making 305 horsepower, putting the truck in third place for horsepower.


The 2020 Nissan Titan’s V-8 generates 413 pound-feet of torque, giving the truck best-in-class torque for the full-size pickup truck category. The Tundra again comes in second place with its V-8 engine making 401 pound-feet of torque. There is a tie for third place, both the Silverado and Ram 1500 generate 305 pound-feet from their respective V-6 base engines.



2020 Ford F-150

The entry-level Ford F-150’s 3.3-liter V-6 and Ram’s mild-hybrid entry level 3.6-liter V-6 tie for first place in fuel economy. Both make 22 mpg combined following the EPA’s testing guidelines. Both also tie at 25 mpg on the highway, with the Ram doing a tiny bit better in the city with a rating of 20 mpg to the Ford’s 19 mpg.

Taking third place is Chevrolet’s 4.3-liter V-6 base engine. Its combined rating is 17 mpg, with 21 mpg in the city and 16 mpg on the highway.


The 2020 Toyota Tacoma comes standard with a V-8 engine and rear-wheel drive. The extended cab base truck is also the maximum towing version of the truck. As a result, the Tundra ends up with the highest standard tow rating at 10,200 pounds.

Coming in second place, thanks to its standard V-8, is the Nissan Titan. In base, two-wheel drive trim, the Titan is rated to tow 9,350 pounds.

In third place is the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado base rear-wheel drive. Powered by the 4.3-liter gasoline V-6, the truck is rated to tow 7,900 pounds with a regular cab.


2020 ram 1500

2020 Ram 1500

Ram’s 1500 with the eTorque V-6 engine, which is the base engine, has a payload rating of 2,300 pounds. That earns it first place on this list. The Chevrolet Silverado with the 4.6-liter base V-6 is rated at 2,250 pounds.

Third place goes to the 2020 Ford F-150 with the 3.3-liter V-6. It’s rated for 1,990 pounds of payload in base trim.


The 2020 Ram 1500 Classic just barely ekes out the lowest starting price at $29,640, including destination charge. The Ram, built on an older vehicle architecture than the 2020 Ram 1500, is just ahead of the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado, which has a starting price of $29,895 with destination charge. The Ford F-150 in base trim starts at $30,090 with its destination charge. Coming in third place is the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500, with a starting price including destination of $31,195.

What follows is the rankings with options.


The Ford F-150, either in Raptor configuration or Limited trim, comes with a 450 horsepower EcoBoost V-6 engine. That puts it in first place for the most horsepower.

The Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra tie for second place by offering a 6.2-liter gasoline V-8 that makes 420 horsepower.


The Ford F-150, again, wins the battle for torque with the engine that comes in the F-150 Limited and Raptor. It produces 510 pound-feet of torque.

The Ram 1500 with the EcoDiesel comes in second place with 480 pound-feet of torque from its 3-liter engine.

The GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado tie for third place with their 3-liter diesel engine making 460 pound-feet of torque.



2020 Chevrolet Silverado

The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra tie for first place with fuel economy. Both trucks, in rear-wheel drive with the 3-liter Duramax I-6 diesel are rated at 33 mpg in highway driving, 23 mpg city driving and 27 mpg combined.

Coming in third place is the 2020 Ram 1500, in rear-wheel drive, with the EcoDiesel 3-liter V-6 which is rated at 32 mpg on the highway, 22 mpg in the city, or 26 mpg combined.


The Chevrolet Silverado, when properly equipped, can tow up to 13,400 pounds. The F-150 comes in second place, with a max towing of 13,200 pounds. The Ram 1500 rounds out the list with a maximum towing rating of 12,750 pounds when properly equipped.


Ford’s F-150, with the V-8 in maximum payload configuration can carry a massive 3,270 pounds in the bed. The Ram comes in second place with 2,300 pounds. That is all followed by the Chevrolet Silverado with 2,250 pounds of available payload.


While most won’t buy based on trim starting price, the Ram 1500 in Limited trim starts at $53,465 for a rear-wheel drive 3.6-liter V-6 model with options going up from there. The 2020 GMC Sierra Denali trim starts at $54,700 with the 5.3-liter V-8 and rear-wheel drive.

The king of starting prices is the 2020 Ford F-150 Limited. It starts at $67,485. It has the most powerful engine, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost from the Ford Raptor. It also comes standard with most of the F-150’s optional equipment, but still only has rear-wheel drive. Four-wheel-drive is an upcharge.

Chad Kirchner October 16, 2019
While pickup trucks are getting more expensive, it’s still possible to find a good value for under $20,000 if you know where to look.

3 Responses

  1. Bruce Vick

    I notice how you completely left Ford out of the first several comparisons in this article???? Obviously its HP and torque would have fallen within the top 3 in each category, yet your somehow bias left them out. I see this often in your articles, and it makes me wonder are they sponsored articles by who pays for top billing?? They sure do not seem fact based most of the time unfortunaetly.

    • Jerry Hirsch
      Jerry Hirsch

      We just go by the numbers. No automaker has sponsored this post. We don’t favor one brand over another. You can look up the data yourself.

  2. Vince

    LOL…They Totally left Ford out of this. F-150 high output 3.5L V6 maxes out at 450hp and 510 lb.-ft. of torque. F-150 also has best in class payload 3270 and best in class towing 13,200.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.


Subscribe to our mailing lists

Choose one or more topics: