Ranked

Ranked: 5 best pickup truck interiors for the 2021 model year

The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX interior has an impressive interior that rivals the best of the Ram lineup.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The good ol' American pickup truck is more popular than it's ever been, and buyers are shelling out more for them than they ever have. The pickup has become an "only vehicle" for many families and busy professionals, and their feature sets have grown to accommodate the peoples' desires.

Truck MSRPs have drastically increased as they have become more of a luxury vehicle proposition for buyers who were traditionally limited to the confines of a large luxury car or SUV if they wanted to shell out around $100,000 for a new model. Their features match their price tag, with the newest models being equipped with hands-free driving tech and appointed with soft leathers and real wood.

No other group of vehicles better illustrates that point than the five we've listed here, our picks for the best truck interiors of 2021. These pickups put some premium brands to shame, and do so while retaining the high level of capability we've all come to expect.

No. 5 - 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD High Country

2021 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD High Country

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

The High Country is the range-topping trim in the Chevy Silverado line, so the interior finishes better be good. If there's any doubt that the statement isn't true about this year's truck, here's the proof. The 2021 Silverado 2500 HD High Country leaves the factory with standard perforated leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, a memory system for seats and mirrors, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and more.

The 2021 Silverado also picks up several improvements from its predecessor, including standard Hitch Guidance and Hitch View systems for easier towing, and an HD surround-view camera with two trailering views. That's on top of the already excellent existing hardware, which includes an 8.0-inch touchscreen with navigation, Bluetooth, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.

Editor's Note: Photos of the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD High Country are not yet available. The truck is mostly a carryover from the previous model year so the above image of the 2020 version is a good representation of what the 2021 looks like.

No. 4 - 2021 GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali

2021 GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali

Photo courtesy of GMC

Where the Chevrolet's work truck roots show through at times, even in the plush High Country trim, the GMC hides its underpinnings well. It's got all the goodies that the Chevy brings to the table, such as an 8.0-inch screen, and then some. The 2021 Sierra Denali trim's cabin is filled with premium materials, from Forge perforated leather upholstery to premium tufted carpeting throughout.

In addition to its lavish interior finishes, the GMC brings peace of mind with several safety and driver assistance features that include the automaker's innovative trailering functions, an off-road package, and two different driver alert packages. Between them, the two options groups bring lane departure warnings, forward collision alerts, perimeter lighting, blind spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alerts, and automatic emergency braking.

Editor's Note: Photos of the 2021 GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali are not yet available. The truck is mostly a carryover from the previous model year so the above image of the 2020 version is a good representation of what the 2021 looks like.

No. 3 - 2021 Nissan Titan Platinum Reserve

2021 Nissan Titan Platinum Reserve

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

If you can deal with not having the best towing capacity or the most powerful engine in your pickup truck, it's hard to get much better than the 2021 Nissan Titan's interior accommodations. Even without acknowledging anything else about the truck, the amazingly comfortable Zero Gravity seats alone would almost be enough to put the Nissan on our list.

The Titan Platinum Reserve also checks in with the second largest infotainment screen on this list, at 9.0-inches, and comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, navigation, a Fender 12-speaker audio system, a subwoofer, and a top-notch voice recognition system.

No. 2 - 2021 Ford F-150 King Ranch

2021 Ford F-150 King Ranch

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The redesigned 2021 Ford F-150's interior isn't quite as upscale as Ram's, but it's got enough clever and thoughtful features to land it a number-two spot on our list. The 2021 model will still get useful gear like Ford's excellent Pro Trailer Backup Assist, but there are a few new tricks up the truck's sleeve.

Ford is offering a power-retractable gear shift lever, which can fold down into the center console. This allows the armrest to fold open, which forms a flat work surface, ideal for writing and using a laptop. Also, the front seats in some trims can be upgraded with a Max Recline feature, which lets them fold almost flat to form a cot for sleeping.

Elsewhere, the 2021 F-150 can be optioned with a horizontally oriented 12-inch screen, which rivals Ram's vertical unit. The display will run the latest version of Ford's awesome infotainment system, known as SYNC 4. In some trims, that screen will be joined by another foot-long screen to house a digital gauge cluster. It can display navigation information and can be customized to display off-road and performance data.

No. 1 - 2021 Ram 1500 Limited Longhorn Edition

2021 Ram 1500 Limited Longhorn 10th Anniversary Edition Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

If you're sitting in a German luxury sedan right now, conflicted about needing a pickup truck but not sure if you can live with a utilitarian vibe, fear no more. Ram thoroughly updated its 1500 line of light-duty trucks in 2019 with interiors and tech that could almost make a Mercedes-AMG engineer quake in their boots.

Plush leather upholstery, heated and cooled seats, an optional panoramic sunroof, and what is arguably the best infotainment system on the market are just a few of the headlining features here. Oh, and let's not forget that the Ram can be equipped with a 12-inch infotainment touchscreen, a unit which is capable of running two apps in split-screen views. That's a huge plus and allows the driver to do things like change climate settings while watching navigation directions.

If you need more capability, Ram's got you covered there as well. The automaker took that award-winning premium formula and applied it to its heavy-duty trucks as well. That means that you can get all of those lust-worthy features while also towing up to 35,100 pounds with the Ram 3500 (19,780 pounds in Ram 2500 models).

Pictured above is the 2021 Ram 1500 Limited Longhorn 10th Anniversary Edition, a special edition model that tops the Ram 1500 lineup.

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Electric vehicle concepts

Nissan shows off new concepts and plans for future EVs

Nissan showed off a group of funky concept vehicles at the announcement.

Nissan

Nissan is approaching the release of Ariya, its brand-new EV, but there are plans for much more in the automaker’s near future. Today, the Japanese company announced Nissan Ambition 2030, its plan to develop electrified vehicles and become a more sustainable company. Beyond new vehicles, the roadmap includes investments in battery recycling and charging infrastructure, new battery tech, and more widespread safety technologies.

Nissan Ambition 2030 The automaker plans for 50 percent electrification by 2030.Nissan

Nissan’s plans include 23 new electrified models by 2030. The target covers 15 new EVs and a target of 50 percent electrification. The automaker says it plans to launch a proprietary solid-state battery by 2028, and notes that it will develop a pilot production facility in Yokohama, Japan by 2024. Solid state technologies are not yet commercially viable but will offer faster charging times and better energy densities than lithium ion battery packs.

Nissan Surf-Out Concept Surf-Out is a concept truck with super funky styling.Nissan

While the focus was on the news of its electrification plans, Nissan’s concept vehicles stole the show. The Surf-Out concept truck features a long, low cargo surface and unique all-terrain tires. Typical of concept cars, the Surf-Out’s styling and design are over-the-top. The cabin is surrounded on three sides by glass and open to the bed in the rear. Instead of a grille, there’s a glass panel with an illuminated Nissan logo. It's unlikely Surf-Out or the other concepts shown will make it to production unchanged, but they show that the automaker is looking to explore bold designs with its electrified vehicles.

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New electric pickup truck

GMC Hummer EV deliveries to start soon

Hummer EV deliveries will start in December.

GMC

This year has turned out to be as difficult for automakers as 2020 was, if not much more so. The pandemic is still a major factor, and to make matters worse there's a global microchip shortage that heavily impacts automakers' ability to build tech-heavy vehicles. GMC has a big launch left to handle in 2021, and according to a recent call with journalists, it's proceeding as planned. On a recent call with reporters, GMC exec Duncan Aldred noted that Hummer EV pickup deliveries are on track to begin in December. He also elaborated on the truck's EPA range numbers.

2023 GMC Hummer EV The trucks will deliver up to 329 miles on a charge. GMC

The Hummer's EPA range lands at 329, not far from the 350 miles General Motors targeted for the vehicle. Those are the estimates for the limited Hummer Edition 1, which carries a six-figure price tag and gobs of bells and whistles. Aldred said that other models coming later on will offer longer range estimates when they hit the roads sometime in 2023.

A staggering 80 percent of reservations GMC has gathered so far are for the Edition 1 model. Almost half of the 125,000 people who have inquired about the Hummer EV have placed the refundable $100 deposit and the SUV's first year of production is completely sold out.

2023 GMC Hummer EV The Hummer EV's first year of production is sold out. GMC

When it hits the streets later this year, the Hummer EV will be just in time to face off against a growing crop of EV trucks and SUVs. Rivian recently began delivering the R1T electric pickup truck and will continue with the R1S SUV next year. The Ford F-150 Lightning is coming in 2022, and General Motors itself has a Cadillac EV rollout to handle in 2022. Chevy and GMC will show off electric versions of the Silverado and Sierra pickup trucks on January 5 and GMC will push the Hummer SUV EV in 2023.

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