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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New American pickup truck

The new 2021 Ford F-150 is an all-around performer

The Ford F-150 got a complete overhaul for 2021.

Chris Teague

The Ford F-150 is one of the most popular vehicles of all time, coming in second only to the Toyota Corolla in lifetime sales. That makes the F-150 a vitally important model for The Blue Oval, so it's not surprising that it takes updates to the truck very seriously. That was absolutely the case with the all-new 2021 F-150, which sees a load of new tech, evolutionary styling changes, and an impressive new PowerBoost hybrid engine option.

2021 Ford F-150 A new hybrid powertrain option is a headline feature for the new F-150.Chris Teague

Ford offers the F-150 in a staggering number of trim, bed lengths, and powertrain options. Trims include XL, XLT, Lariat, Tremor, King Ranch, Platinum, Raptor, and Limited. Powertrain configurations include:

  • 3.0-liter turbo diesel V6 with 250 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque
  • 3.5-liter PowerBoost hybrid V6 with 430 horsepower and 570 pound-feet of torque
  • 3.5-liter EcoBoost turbocharged V6 with 400 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque
  • 5.0-liter V8 with 400 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque

I spent a week testing the F-150 King Ranch with a SuperCrew cab and the new hybrid powertrain. Pricing for the base F-150 XL starts at just under $31,000, but my King Ranch test truck checked in at $77,125 after a $1,695 destination charge. That bottom line price includes almost $16,000 in options, such as a $1,995 King Ranch chrome package, a $1,495 twin-panel moonroof (worth it), a $1,005 FX4 off-road package, and more.

To find out if the new F-150 justifies its price tag, let's take a closer look at what makes it tick.

2021 Ford F-150 Though new, the 2021 F-150 sports familiar styling.Chris Teague

Powerful, efficient hybrid engine

Don't let the word "hybrid" fool you here – this is a serious powertrain. The PowerBoost twin turbocharged V6 and 35 kW electric motor produce a combined 430 horsepower and a whopping 570 pound-feet of torque, while a ten-speed automatic transmission pairs seamlessly with the engine and delivers smooth, almost imperceptible shifts. The hybrid setup feels a little clunky at low speeds, as the gas engine and electric motors trade off propulsion duties, but it's not a constant issue and does not detract from the truck's overall driving experience.

Depending on the configuration, the F-150 can extend to over 20 feet in length. It's also around eight feet wide, so there's no getting around the fact that it's not ideal as an urban commuter. Even so, the truck's quick, responsive steering makes it feel slightly smaller than it reads on paper, and it offers excellent outward visibility, which makes it less likely that you'll bump into, or run over, an unseen obstacle.

When equipped with the hybrid powertrain, the F-150 also comes standard with a generator built into the bed. A 2.4 kW Pro Power generator is standard, but the system can be upgraded to a 7.2 kW unit for just $750, which is a tremendous bargain in the world of generators. During the winter storms that ravaged Texas earlier this year, there were several reports of people using their new F-150s to power heaters, refrigerators, and other vital household systems while much of the state's power grid was down. Thankfully, my time with the truck was far less dangerous and dramatic, but the generator did get put to use charging my battery-powered chainsaw and tiller while helping a friend clear a small plot of land.

2021 Ford F-150 The new F-150 can be had with a giant 12.0-inch touchscreen.Chris Teague

User-friendly tech and an ultra-plush interior

I've always felt that Ford SYNC 3 was one of the best infotainment systems on the market, and the latest SYNC 4 software improves on that already successful formula. The base F-150 XL runs the system on an 8-inch touchscreen, but my King Ranch test truck came with an available 12-inch display. The screen itself is bright and responsive, and the software's simple, intuitive menu structure makes the whole package less distracting to use while driving. The system offers wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, Bluetooth, SiriusXM radio, HD radio, wireless smartphone charging, and the King Ranch I tested came with an options package that included an upgraded "B&O Sound System Unleashed."

If you had even a slight doubt that pickup trucks are really just lifted luxury cars with towing capabilities, the new F-150 will change your mind. The King Ranch trim comes with soft, exceptionally comfortable leather upholstery, and the front seats offer 10-way adjustability that allows the driver to dial in a near-perfect seating position. At this trim level, the front buckets come with heating and ventilation, but my truck came equipped with the $4,650 601A High package, which brings a massage function with a handful of different programs. It also adds a power tailgate, power-deployable running boards, a better B&O stereo, and 20-inch wheels. The options group is far from cheap, but after a few minutes spent being massaged at a traffic light, the price tag will likely feel like much less of an issue.

Ford stepped up the safety game with the F-150 for 2021. The truck now comes standard with the Co-Pilot360 package, which includes automatic headlights and high beams, a lane-keeping system, pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, forward collision warnings, and a rearview camera with hitch assist. The XLT trim and above come with blind spot monitoring and a reverse sensing system, and the King Ranch trim adds adaptive steering, adaptive cruise control, evasive steering assist, intersection assist, and navigation.

2021 Ford F-150 The King Ranch trim features an over-the-top interior with soft leather and premium finishes throughout. Chris Teague

Pricey, but worth the money

Full-size pickup trucks are excessive in many ways, but there's no denying that they are some of the most useful vehicles on the road today. My need for a pickup truck is limited, as I don't tow and rarely haul anything that a midsize SUV can't carry. The cost of a full-size pickup truck, both to buy and operate, is hard to justify for me, but for someone who truly needs a full-size pickup, the PowerBoost-equipped F-150 is a compelling option.

At 24 mpg all around, fuel economy is solid, and the refinement of the powertrain means that there's no operational penalty for choosing the hybrid. On top of that, towing capability climbs to 12,700 pounds when the truck is equipped with an optional trailering package. All of that adds up to an F-150 that earns its price tag and looks good while doing it.

2021 Ford F-150 In case you forgot which F-150 trim you bought.Chris Teague

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The QX60 is all-new for 2022.

Infiniti

Infiniti has released detailed specs and features for its all-new QX60 SUV. The upscale family hauler will land later this year with a reasonable starting price, updated tech, a nicely appointed cabin, and plenty more. The automaker offers its new SUV in four trims, each of which is available with all-wheel drive: Pure, Luxe, Sensory, and Autograph.

The QX60 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 295 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is available, and all models get a new nine-speed automatic transmission. Infiniti says that the gearbox has a low first gear that helps deliver better acceleration and power off the line, and taller upper gears for smoother cruising on the highway. The revised all-wheel drive system is more responsive and engages more quickly than the system in the previous model.


2022 Infiniti QX60 The QX60 gets leather and several luxury features as standard kit. Infiniti


An upgraded interior is in the cards for the new QX60, as all models now get leather, heated front seats, and a heated steering wheel as standard equipment. Front passengers' backsides are treated to Infiniti's excellent zero-gravity seats and a stiffer second-row seat frame reduces vibration and noise in the cabin. Infiniti says that the cabin itself has more sound-deadening materials and thicker glass in the second row, which together yield a 7 percent improvement in noise on the highway.


2022 Infiniti QX60 A digital gauge cluster comes on all but the base model.Infiniti


A 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen is standard that runs wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Six USB ports, nine speakers, HD Radio Bluetooth, voice commands, and SiriusXM radio are also standard. All but the base Pure trim level come with a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, and the top Autograph model gets a 10.8-inch full-color head-up display and a smart rearview mirror.

The new QX60 goes on sale this fall in the U.S. and Canada. Pricing starts at $47,875 for the base Pure model and tops out at $64,275 for the top Autograph AWD trim.

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