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Picking out a pickup? This year's models range from the economically practical to car-like luxury. Three hot picks that cover the spectrum are the heavy-duty GMC Sierra Denali, the midsized Dakota Quad Cab, and Toyota's compact Tacoma.
Not only can you ride in grandeur in the top-of-the-line $44,105 Sierra Denali, you'll have the only full-sized truck on the market with Quadrasteer, a four-wheel steering system. Quadrasteer allows the rear wheels to turn in the opposite direction of the front wheels, providing greater low-speed maneuverability and high-speed stability. Tough enough to tow 10,000 pounds, and with a 6.0-liter V8 that pumps out 325 horsepower and 370 pound-feet of torque, the pickup is close to 19 feet long, with adjustable ride-control suspension and 43.5 cubic feet of cargo space. Transmission is a 4-speed automatic with all-wheel drive.
Don't need that much power? Check out the Dakota Quad Cab. The most popular of Dodge's pickups and hands-down the best in its class, this midsized pickup features four full-sized doors, seating for six, and a bed that handles 38.1 cubic feet of cargo. With the 5.9-liter, V8, 250 horsepower, 345 pound-feet of torque engine, the Quad Cab tows 6,200 pounds. Additional options on base models, such as 4-speed automatic transmission, and bigger engines can boost the base price from a low of $21,250 to $24,000-plus.
If your budget won't stretch that far, maybe the 2-wheel-drive $12,410 Tacoma will suit your needs. One of the most popular compact pickups, along with its competitor, the Nissan Frontier, the Tacoma's twin cam, 2.4-liter, 142-horsepower and 160 pound-feet of torque base engine has a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds. Cargo space is 37.1 cubic feet; the truck seats three. There are 17 different configurations and double or club cab choices available in the Tacoma model line, which combines sheer practicality and value.Editor and consultant Jill Amadio has been reporting on the automotive industry for 24 years.
Editor and consultant Jill Amadio has been reporting on the automotive industry for 24 years.