Ford has earned a reputation as the top dog when it comes to pickup trucks. The F-150 has been the greatest-selling pickup truck since practically the dawn of man. There's no question that Ford makes amazing trucks that people all over the world love. Their track record may not be perfect, but they certainly produce great trucks when they put their mind to it. However, Ford isn't the only Detroit manufacturer that makes really high-quality pickup trucks.
Ford may be part of the big three automakers, but they certainly have a lot of competition. Dodge has made quite a few really good trucks, too. Like Ford, Dodge has had a few missteps over the years as well. Dodge always seems to be playing catchup against Ford and Chevrolet when it comes to pickups, but Dodge has earned its stellar reputation when it comes to trucks. The Dodge Ram is nearly as iconic as the F-150 at this point. Here's a look at the best and worst that Ford and Dodge have to offer.
These are the ten best and ten worst pickup trucks that both Dodge and Ford have produced. Which one of these trucks is your favorite?
20 Best: Ford F-150
The Ford F-150 is an icon, and it's not only the best pickup that Ford has ever made but also arguably the best auto that Ford has ever made period. It's a solid daily driver, and it fits right at home on the ranch or worksite. It probably won't surprise you to learn that the Ford F-150 is the bestselling vehicle in North America. However, you may be shocked to learn that the F-150 is actually the bestselling vehicle in the entire world. According to Fox News, in the first six months of 2017 alone, Ford managed to sell 519,000 F-series vehicles.
Ever since the first F-Series was sold to consumers in 1948, things have been pretty good. The dependable pickup was heavily inspired by the Ford Model TT pickup that was manufactured in 1917.
Ford has earned its pedigree thanks to over 100 years of quality and dependability. The F-150 caters to a wide array of auto enthusiasts. The F-150 Raptor is ideal for off-roading, and the Platinum series is a perfect fit for those who want a little more class. You can get a diesel or a gas version, and a hybrid version is right around the corner.
19 Best: Dodge Ram 1500
The Ram 1500 is Dodge's answer to the Ford F-150, and frankly, it's a worthy competitor. It may not be as popular or sell as many units as the F-150, but it certainly has a following. The 2019 Ram 1500 is particularly impressive. The half-ton truck has a number of weight-saving technologies in the 2019 model.
According to Car and Driver, the new Ram weighs significantly less than previous 1500 incarnations. It's lighter and significantly more aerodynamic. Dodge has equipped the 1500 with brand-new fuel-saving technology in an attempt to compete against Ford.
They'll have to introduce a hybrid or electric pickup if they really want to be forward-thinking and compete, but so far, this is a good first step. Guess what? They're definitely on the right track because the 2019 Ram 1500 pickup has an e-torque system, which replaces the alternator with a motor/generator unit that can feed energy to a 48-volt lithium-ion battery pack. Dodge calls it a "mild hybrid" and is an eco-friendly step to improve fuel economy. It's certainly possible that the Ram 1500 could surpass the F-150 as America's top pickup truck choice in the near future. We'll just have to wait and see.
18 Best: Ford F-250
If you want something with a bit more power, then the F-250 is the right choice for you. The F-150 can certainly stand its own on the farm, but the F-250 is simply superior, more powerful, and more capable. Assembled in Louisville, Kentucky, the Ford F-250 is about as American as pickup trucks come. It's big, bold, and powerful. The F-250 is also one of the safest vehicles on the road. According to the NHSTA, the F-250 has near-perfect crash-test results. It received a five-star rating in nearly every category, save for the rollover rating and the front-barrier crash rating. It received a score of four stars out of five in those categories and a five-star rating overall.
17 Best: Dodge Ram 2500
The Dodge Ram 2500 is Dodge's answer to the F-250 and, like the F-250, is a solid and dependable pickup. It has more power, more space, and more hauling capacity than the 1500. For Dodge fans, it's the pickup of choice if you need something stronger out in the field or on the job site.
A Dodge Ram 2500 equipped with a bale picker is a common sight on farms all over North America.
The 6.4L Hemi V8 makes the Dodge Ram 2500 one of the most powerful pickup trucks on the market. And, of course, a Dodge wouldn't be a Dodge without an option for a diesel engine.
16 Best: Ford F-350
With 440 HP, the F-350 is an absolute beast. It's America's top choice if you need something with a staggering towing capacity and nearly unlimited power. There's little that this monster of a truck can't do. It's also extremely tough.
It may not seem that way because of the aluminum body, but the F-350 can really take a beating. Like other models in the F-series line, the F-350 comes in a wide variety of different trims. The Platinum trim is for those with more luxurious tastes, while the XL trim is the preferred choice for those on the work site.
15 Best: Dodge Ram 3500
The Dodge Ram 3500 is as capable as the F-350 and, perhaps, even more so. The 3500 is the ultimate pickup workhorse. It has a phenomenal towing capacity of up to 30,000 pounds. That's a lot of lumber and construction equipment. It can easily tow a full trailer of cattle or horses, and its three-link suspension means drivers are treated to a comfortable ride no matter what they're towing.
Consumers have a choice of 6.4L Hemi VVT V8 or a 6.7L Cummins turbo diesel.
The Hemi puts out 410 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque, while the Cummins diesel puts out 385 hp and 930 lb-ft of torque. No matter the engine, you get a whole lot of power. The 3500 excels thanks to its power and towing capacity.
14 Best: Ford F-450
It's hard to believe that there's an F-series truck more powerful than the F-350, but there's a truck more powerful. Enter the F-450. According to Car and Driver, the F-450 has an astonishing 32,500 pounds towing capacity. This means the F-450 is rated best in class when it comes to towing capacity.
You don't get a whole lot of choice like you do with outer F-series models, but that's OK. It comes as a crew cab with a long bed and dual rear wheels. The F-450's iconic Power Stroke diesel puts out 440 horsepower and 925 lb-ft of torque.
13 Best: Dodge Dakota
You may think that being on this "best of" list is based solely on power and strength, but that's simply not the case. If it were, why would the sporty Dodge Dakota be on the list? The Dakota hasn't been off the market for too long. The last production year for this mid-size pickup truck was 2011, but plenty of people already miss this truck. Its demise comes down to this: Americans simply grew tired of compact trucks. It had a pretty good 25-year run, albeit with a few hiccups along the way, but the third generation Dakota, in particular, was a very solid truck. It was the first work truck to feature rack and pinion steering, and it has an impressive legacy thanks to its use by numerous police and fire departments.
12 Best: Ford Raptor
The Ford Raptor is the pinnacle when it comes to off-road vehicles. There's no better pickup to drive through the desert. There's nothing quite as fun as seeing huge clouds of dust fly high into the sky behind you as you race across rugged terrain.
The Raptor is technically an F-150, but it's also so much more.
The widebody panels, specialized tires, all-wheel drive, and beefy dampers mean this truck is totally comfortable off-road. The 450hp twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 engine can push this truck from zero to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds. That's something an ordinary F-150 simply can't do.
11 Best: Dodge D/W series
The D/W is another truck from the past that we sorely miss. This precursor to the Ram first launched in 1961, and it's a very iconic and stylish-looking pickup. The D-series introduced a lot of firsts when it comes to Dodge pickup trucks. The first generation D-series, which was assembled in Warren Michigan, was the first Dodge pickup to feature an alternator rather than a generator for electrical power. It was almost the first pickup to introduce a crew-cab/four-door body style. This is a historic Dodge pickup that's influenced many Dodge trucks to come after it. Without the D/W series, there would be no Rams.
10 Worst: Ford Thames Trader
Not every truck Ford has produced has been a winner. America's truck leader has produced few duds as well. The Ford Thames trader is bland and boring. That may be the point of a commercial truck like this, but it's so dull, it's hard to say anything good about the Thames Trader. Manufactured by Ford UK from 1957 to 1965, the Thames Trader was big, bulky, and about as ugly as a truck could get. To be fair, it was a fairly useful truck, and London Transport even had five double-decker buses in use that were based on the Thames Trader. The bizarre forward-control cab of the Thames Trader is the main reason it's on the worst list. It's about as ugly as a truck can get.
9 Worst: Dodge Ramcharger
The Dodge Ramcharger, which was almost identical to the Plymouth Trailduster, was manufactured from 1974 to 1994. This SUV/truck simply looks unappealing. It looks fine with a roof over the box, but without it, it looks downright bizarre.
There was even an option for additional rear bench seats, which made the Ramcharger look like a strange hybrid between a truck, an SUV, and a convertible.
By the time the Ramcharger reached its third generation, it wasn't even sold in the United States. The Ramcharger didn't even have a passenger seat standard in its first two years of release. Dodge called it a basic utility vehicle, which sums up this truck perfectly. It's just basic.
8 Worst: Ford Ranchero
There's a reason coupe utility vehicles went the way of the dodo. The combination of a pickup truck with a station wagon is so unappealing, it's a shock that vehicles like the Ford Ranchero lasted as long as they did. Much like the El Camino, which Chevy released to compete with the Ranchero, the Ranchero simply screams white trash. The Ranchero is a stain on Ford automotive history, but surprisingly, these weird trucks are moderately collectible. There are simply much-better Ford trucks and cars that vintage auto enthusiasts could enjoy. However, it's best not to completely forget the Ranchero. Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it, and we wouldn't want the Ranchero to make a comeback.
7 Worst: Dodge Ram 50
Japan is a world leader when it comes to autos. However, not everything Japan makes can be as good as the Nissan Skyline GT-R. Take the Dodge Ram 50, for example. This compact pickup may have been right at home in Tokyo, but when it hit the streets in the USA, it was a dud.
The Dodge Ram 50 was a Dodge import built by Mitsubishi, and in Japan, it was known as the Mitsubishi Triton.
The Dodge Ram 50 used Mitsubishi’s 2-liter and 2.6-liter four-cylinder engines, and it had a paltry maximum payload of just 1,400 pounds. It may have been powerful enough for Japan, but in the USA, it just didn't cut it.
6 Worst: Ford Explorer Sport Trac
The Ford Explorer Sport Trac has the dubious distinction of being Ford's first mid-size pickup truck. It was fairly sporty, but it certainly wasn't powerful. The body and chassis of the Sport Trac were almost identical to the Ford Explorer SUV. The Sport Trac was a huge misfire for Ford. It was simply inferior to its competitors, the Toyota Tacoma and the Dodge Dakota.
If there was a truck made for a soccer mom, this would be it.
It was kind of a pointless vehicle. It couldn't haul anything, and customers would have been better off simply sticking with the Ford Explorer since the Sport Trac was basically an SUV anyway.
5 Worst: Dodge Ram Daytona
The Dodge Ram is a masterpiece. The Ram Daytona, not so much. A pickup truck with a spoiler is just wrong on so many levels. The 11-inch rear spoiler on the Daytona makes it stand out, but not in a good way. If you want something flashy that screams performance, you should be buying a muscle car like a Charger or a Challenger. The Daytona is a pickup with an identity crisis. It's a pickup that thinks it's a muscle car. The Daytona nameplate is iconic and typically associated with the Dodge Charger, but it just seems out of place when attached to a Ram pickup truck.
4 Worst: Ford Courier
No good can comes from a Japanese import pickup truck. There's a big difference between Toyota making a pickup specifically for the western market and Ford or Dodge importing a Japanese pickup and rebranding the truck. Like the Dodge Ram 50, the Four Courier is a Japanese pickup with a new nameplate.
First introduced in 1972, the Ford Courier pickup is nothing more than a Mazda B-Series.
Like many other small pickups, the Ford Courier died out. Westerners simply had no need for a tiny pickup that couldn't haul anything. The Courier was eventually replaced by the Ford Ranger, but that soon went extinct, too.
3 Worst: Dodge Ram Rumble Bee
Why does Dodge have such a fascination with trying to turn a perfectly reasonable pickup truck into some kind of high-performance speed demon? This Ram pickup was inspired by the Dodge Super Bee muscle cars and had the same paint job and styling as the Dodge Super Bee Chargers and Challengers. A mere 3,700 Rumble Bees were made in 2004, with an additional 3,700 units made the following year. Dodge simply won't let this idea die, and they even made a Ram 1500 Rumble Bee concept truck in 2013. Dodge might never learn from past mistakes when it comes to these terrible mashups.
2 Worst: Ford Bronco
There may be no fanbase more passionate and loud than the Bronco fanbase. Ever since the Bronco ended its production run in 1996, fans have been clamoring for this multi-purpose truck to make a comeback.
Fans will finally get their wish when the Bronco returns for the 2020 model year. But should it? The best way to describe the Bronco is overrated.
Its boxy design is the opposite of sexy, and there are far better choices, like the Raptor, if you want to go off-road. The Bronco may be an automotive icon, but that has more to do with its infamous past as OJ's getaway vehicle than actually being a quality automobile.
1 Worst: Dodge Dude
If Dodge wanted the Dude to be the epitome of power and toughness, then why exactly did they make Don Knotts the spokesperson for this truck? The Dude was simply a sport package for the D100, but the D100 was a solid and dependable pickup. It certainly didn't need a special trim package consisting of a special tailgate, bumblebee stripes, and Dude emblems. It certainly didn't need a limited edition lime-green paint job either. Once again, Dodge proved that they refuse to let the past die. In 2004, they released another monstrosity with the Dude nameplate: the Dodge Durango Dude.
Sources: allpar.com; jalopnik.com; caranddriver.com
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