Toyota Tacoma
MSRP Price: $15,170 - $27,075

EPA Mileage: 26 mpg Hwy, 20 mpg City

Why We Like It: Few people realize that Toyota sells the cheapest pickup truck in America. Starting at just $15,170, the "Taco" undercuts even the cheapest offerings from the Big 3. Part of the low cost comes from the 2.7-liter inline four-cylinder in 4x2 trim, something you shouldn't expect to use for towing your yacht. Albeit small, that four-cylinder engine gets a healthy 20 city / 26 highway EPA-rated mileage. That's best-in-class performance at the fuel pump (the Tacoma is also the best-selling compact truck in America).

Ford Ranger
MSRP Price: $17,440 - $25,570

EPA Mileage: 26 mpg Hwy, 21 mpg City

Why We Like It: America loves its trucks. While the large F-150 might be the spiritual leader (and, no doubt, the sales leader), the Ford Ranger is the workhorse you'll find performing yeoman service the world over. We really like the drivability of the small Ranger, which has grown in length (the wheelbase is now a lot longer on standard models). It's easy to drive, easy to steer and has better-than-large-truck visibility.

Dodge Ram
MSRP Price: $20,610 - $42,650

EPA Mileage: 20 mpg Hwy, 14 mpg City

Why We Like It: The new Ram debuted in 2009 and some argue it's the best of the full-size pickup market. Although Dodge doesn't sell as many Rams as its Big 3 competitors sell of their large trucks, the horned beast has its fans. The big news on the new Ram is that the suspension is much more sophisticated than most trucks. It features a full multi-link coil spring rear suspension (as opposed to the bouncy leaf springs that most trucks ride on), creating a ride that feels much softer on the road. All the while, the Ram has the oomph to do all the dirty work you'd expect. We especially like the interior finishes on the new Ram -- particularly the aluminum-look surrounds on the center console. This isn't the Dodge Ram of old, that's for sure.

Ford F-150
MSRP Price: $21,380 - $39,010

EPA Mileage: 19 mpg Hwy, 14 mpg City

Why We Like It: Through thick and thin, America's best-selling vehicle has consistently been the Ford F-150. The iconic work truck debuted as an all-new 12th-generation model in 2009, featuring Ford's new tough-look exterior and a raft of interior options. For the first time in the F-150, electronic stability control (ESC) is now standard. What we like most about the F-150 is that it seems endlessly customizable; there are special packages of the truck that suit the most extreme of users: note, for instance, the Harley-Davidson edition and the SVT Raptor edition.

Toyota Tundra
MSRP Price: $23,155 - $42,155

EPA Mileage: 19 mpg Hwy, 15 mpg City

Why We Like It: When Toyota redesigned their full-size Tundra pickup for 2007, they made sure they would no longer hear complaints from people who thought their truck was too small. The new Tundra is huge inside and out. With a host of interesting interior innovations (check out the hanging file folder storage in the center console) and more than a few class-leading safety features (the vented rotors on the 13.9-inch brakes are the sorts of things that give truckers peace of mind when they're towing a huge load), it's now a real contender against the Ram, Silverado and F-150. We like the Tundra's large dials and easy-to-use controls in the interior.

Chevrolet Silverado
MSRP Price: $20,850 - $41,775

EPA Mileage: 19 mpg Hwy, 14 mpg City

Why We Like It: The Silverado, like the Ram and F-150, is an American icon. While a classic, it's no old dog: the Silverado team worked hard to develop their truck to be the most efficient full-size pickup on the road. It has an EPA-rated 21 mpg on the highway, a number that's better than its competitors. The thing we like most about the Silverado? Strangely enough, it's the truck's simple and straightforward exterior design. The Silverado is the least fussy of all the big trucks (perhaps the others feel like they need to overcompensate for something?) and as a result seems the best suited to our tastes.

Honda Ridgeline
MSRP Price: $28,450 - $34,430

EPA Mileage: 20 mpg Hwy, 15 mpg City

Why We Like It: The Ridgeline is, without question, unlike any other truck on the American market. Honda's only pickup features a V-6 engine (there's no V-8 offered, in keeping with the company's green image) and a unibody construction (as opposed to the body-on-frame setup of most trucks). Because it's half SUV / half truck, the Ridgeline has a good amount of interior room, fairly good driver visibility and a much smaller driving "feel." If you've never seen a Ridgeline in action, make sure you check out the storage unit in the bed of the truck. It's a smart way to store valuables in the bed without the fear that someone could nab them in plain view.

Chevrolet Avalanche
MSRP Price: $35,725 - $48,865

EPA Mileage: 20 mpg Hwy, 14 mpg City

Why We Like It: Somewhat like the Honda Ridgeline, the Avalanche offers the compatibility of a sport-utility vehicle with the true utility of a truck bed. Unlike the Honda, however, the Avalanche is built on a body-on-frame chassis and drives more like a truck than a smaller crossover. We like the Avalanche's rear bed -- it's surprisingly tough and resistant. While you'd expect a vehicle that's half SUV and half truck to be good at both but not great at either, we were pleasantly surprised with this truck.

Cadillac Escalade EXT
MSRP Price: $61,420 - $69,000

EPA Mileage: N/A

Why We Like It: Is there a vehicle that makes less sense than the Cadillac EXT? (Okay, probably the Porsche Cayenne, but we digress...) The reality of the luxury vehicle market today is that buyers are looking to have their cake and eat it, too. In the late 1990s and early 2000s this meant that buyers wanted vehicles with more truck-like features while maintaining that sense of luxury and exclusivity. The Escalade EXT is exactly that: half luxury SUV and half truck. Of course, a good number of people have since moved away from the truck-crazed buying patterns of the last decade, but the EXT is still waving its freak flag proudly. Somewhere on the ragged edge of illogical, we tend to consider the EXT to be irrational, fuel inefficient, polarizing and ... just about perfect.

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