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Searching for a Pre-Owned Full-Size Truck? Consider These Great Models

A grey 2018 Ford F-150 is shown parked at a construction site.

Full-size trucks are some of the most popular vehicles in America when it comes to the automotive market. People across the nation love driving a good light-duty or heavy-duty pickup. But the light-duty, full-size trucks from the top manufacturers in the auto industry dominate many of the best-seller lists each year in and each year out. But why is that? What makes so many of these trucks so popular when looking for new and used trucks for sale throughout the marketplace? Well, a lot of it has to do with what you can use the trucks for and what kind of features they provide for truck shoppers.

When it comes to understanding why certain trucks are more popular than others or why certain shoppers veer toward certain brands, it's important to understand what the trucks have to offer. From features and functionality to utility and capabilities, some of the biggest and best truck nameplates on the market have specific features that have become popularized with drivers. We're going to go over why people are drawn to certain models and what features make them worthwhile in the eyes of shoppers.

The Ford F-150

The Ford F-Series is one of the longest-running and oldest truck brands on the market today. These trucks have been around for almost a century. The F-100 series, the predecessor for the F-150, made its debut during the 1950s, which paved the way for the actual F-150 nameplate. The F-150 was made official in 1975, and from there, it was history in the making as the F-150 dominated the market and is now the best-selling vehicle in America. With fourteen generations under its belt, the F-150 is currently available across multiple trims, including daily driving, work truck, and off-road trims such as the Tremor and Raptor.

A lot of its popularity boils down to its design, performance, and utility. That may seem vague, but new or used, an F-150 offers some amazing features. The EcoBoost powertrain line-up offers some of the best fuel economy-to-performance ratio on the market. Not only that, the F-150 has also managed to maintain some of the best towing and trailering stats in its segment.

It's not just the utility aspects that have made the F-150 popular; it's also the versatility in its functionality. You have the Regular Cab, Double Cab, and SuperCrew configurations, along with different bed sizes and trim formats. There's the F-150 Tremor and Raptor trims, as well as the FX4 Off-Road Package to accommodate those who love venturing off-road. And there's the Ford Co-Pilot360 safety suite and Ford SYNC 4 infotainment stack. The safety features also work in concert with the semi-autonomous BlueCruise, which enables you to venture across thousands of miles of roads across North America with hands-free driving.

A white 2019 Chevy Silverado 1500 is shown driving on an open road after viewing used trucks for sale.

The Chevy Silverado 1500

The Chevy Silverado 1500 is one of the most popular full-sized pickup trucks available on the market, and there are a number of features that help make the truck stand out from the competition. The Silverado 1500 started as a trim variation for the C/K brand of Chevy trucks, but in 1999, it became its own nameplate across four different generations. Over the years, different trims and special editions have been made available for the Silverado 1500, with new trims and special editions being made based on updates to the Silverado nameplate, such as the addition of the ZR2 off-road trim during the fourth generation, joining the line-up of the WT, Custom, Custom Trail Boss, LT, RST, LT Trail Boss, LTZ, and High Country trims.

The Silverado 1500 has quite a few noteworthy reasons why it’s popular, including four different powertrains, headlined by the 2.7-liter TurboMax 4-cylinder, which is a renamed version of the 2.7-liter High Output 4-cylinder engine. The Duramax is the popular turbo-diesel, which has consistently received optimizations and enhancements over the years. The Silverado 1500 also utilizes the popular Multi-Flex Tailgate, which features six different functionalities for the tailgate.

The Silverado 1500 sports three cab formats and three bed sizes, including the Regular Cab, Double Cab, and Crew Cab, along with the Short Bed, Standard Bed, and Long Bed. It also has some significant features in the tech department, such as multiple active driver assists made available through the Chevy Safety Assist suite, which works with great features like Teen Driver and other helpful driving aids. The Silverado 1500 also features the very impressive semi-autonomous system in the form of Super Cruise.

The Ram 1500

The Ram 1500 has a long-standing history in the automotive industry. Having been in production since 1980, the Ram 1500 has seen multiple updates, enhancements, and upgrades over the years across five generations. The truck's popularity exploded during the 1990s with the second generation, where the truck adopted its iconic look and grille, now known as the “Classic” Ram. The truck has been known for being a highly dependable and very performance-driven truck thanks to its powerful V8 engines. It’s also available across multiple trims, including but not limited to the Laramie, Big Horn, Rebel, and the highly popular TRX.

The Ram 1500 has maintained the implementation and availability of another highly popular feature, the Multifunction Tailgate. This particular tailgate has a 60/40 split tailgate with side-opening functionality. It allows you to open the gates separately or together in a traditional fold-down state, enabling ease of access into the cargo box. Another big selling point for the Ram 1500 in recent times is the introduction of the Ram 1500 TRX, a highly stylized and powerful off-road iteration of the Ram. It features a lifted suspension, a supercharged V8, and a specially tuned off-road suspension.

Many people love the Uconnect system that comes with each of the Ram 1500 models, giving drivers seamless integration of their smart devices. Over the years, the Uconnect infotainment suite has been consistently upgraded to improve the touchscreen support, wireless smartphone integration, and navigation systems that work in conjunction with the SiriusXM services. Large touchscreen support, digital driver clusters, reliable towing, and the air-suspension system help separate Ram 1500 from the market competition.

The GMC Sierra 1500

Much like the Chevy Silverado, the GMC Sierra 1500 has a long-established presence in the automotive industry, dating back multiple generations. Much like the Silverado, the Sierra started as a trim for the C/K series of pickup trucks, dating back to 1960. In 1988, however, the GMC full-size pickup became more distinct on the GMT platform, which eventually paved the way for the more modern Sierra 1500. It was in 1999 when the GMC Sierra 1500 became its own distinct nameplate, and over each successive generation, the truck has moved increasingly into being a luxury-themed pickup.

Much like the Silverado, the Sierra 1500 has a lot of popular features that people love. One is the Multi-Pro Tailgate, which is actually what set the stage for the Silverado 1500's own Multi-Flex Tailgate. The Multi-Pro Tailgate has six functions, spread across different load stop and accessibility features, as well as different ways to get into and out of the cargo box with ease. The real separating factor for the Sierra 1500 and other full-size trucks is its strong focus on luxury, which is clearly seen on its Denali and Denali Ultimate trims.

These notable trims offer truck shoppers a unique experience themed around high-end luxury for a full-size pickup, and these features have helped the Sierra dominate that segment of the luxury truck market. Leather upholstery, heated and ventilated seats, as well as massage features, and high-quality interior accents all help accentuate the value of the Sierra 1500. Sure, it's still possible to get the Sierra 1500 across other trim types, such as the AT4X for off-road and basic work trims, but it's really the luxury elements that help separate it from the herd.

A black 2020 Toyota Tundra is shown towing a black enclosed trailer on a dirt road.

The Toyota Tundra

The Toyota Tundra has always stood apart from the big three as a more unique full-size pickup. That's because its roots are a lot more recent, and its design is more of a response to the full-size pickup truck norms during the era when it first appeared on the market. The Tundra was introduced as a 2000 model year, originally having rolled off the production line in 1999. While it shares a similar first-generation outing to the Sierra and Silverado, the difference is that it doesn't have any previous history as a trim-line that dates back any further than its first-generation outing. So, it's building its legacy with each new model year.

The Tundra has developed a following thanks to the strong brand value established by Toyota, making it one of the more popular used trucks for sale on the market. People are also drawn to the dependable V6 engines and the TRD series of trims. Toyota has been incrementally adding new functionality and more features to the TRD series, expanding their off-road capabilities and giving drivers more durability and ruggedness. Toyota has also been keen on giving the Tundra facelifts and makeovers over the years, which has helped give it its own distinct look.

When you combine the off-road capabilities with Toyota's focus on reliability, you have a truck that many people look to not so much for having a thousand and one features but mostly for being a cost-effective and very well-designed truck. The addition of features like the Toyota Safety Sense has also made it a great family vehicle as well. You can always rely on it to provide you with a great sense of comfort and safety while also aiding you with active driver assists and great navigational and infotainment systems.

The Nissan Titan

The Nissan Titan is one of the newer nameplates in the popular full-size truck segment. That's because, unlike some of the other trucks with a history that dates back to half a century ago, the Titan, much like the Tundra, was only brought to market after the turn of the millennium. In fact, the first model year Titan made its debut as a 2004 model year. It represented a unique cross-section between a light-duty and heavy-duty pickup, which was relevant to its nameplate fashioned after the titan of Greek mythology.

The Titan and Titan XD have become known for being powerhouse pickups on the road, available in King or Crew Cab configurations. Large, boisterous frames housing V8 engines have made the Titan a choice pick among many shoppers craving exceptional performance. With only two generations under its belt, the Titan hasn't had as many years to hone in on a specific market demographic yet, but it's constantly growing and evolving its feature set and consumer base.

Part of the additional appeal of the Titan is its availability of a V8, perfect for towing heavy cargo and maintaining large payloads. Combined with Nissan's latest infotainment technology and the Nissan Safety Shield, it's not only a truck with great performance and utility but also great family appeal. These features have helped it carve out a segment in the market for being dependable and rugged on the road.