If you thought pickup trucks were for poor people, you'd be wrong. Today, the full-size pickup truck—that timeless totem of the dusty-booted, jeans-wearing, drinking-beer-by-the-river dude who's always wooing that pretty girl in ripped jeans—is as much a toy for the upper classes as Mercedes or Audi. According to KBB.com, the average price of a full-size pickup truck exceeded $46,000 in 2016. That's compared to the average price of a passenger car, which is just over $34,000 (and rising). Poor people drive Sentras.
The pickup truck also comprises the top-selling three vehicles in the United States (that's the Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado, and the Ram truck—in descending order). That Ford also manufactures the three most expensive full-size pickup trucks is no surprise: FoMoCo earns 40 percent of its annual profit through its truck sales. So why not extend those margins?
Recently, Ford introduced the first $100,000 pickup truck, the F-450 Super Duty Limited. On this occasion, we decided to reassess truck prices across the industry. So we used configurators on the manufacturers websites and tested the results in various area codes. We limited the search to full-size pickups that can be purchased from dealers, and that have no aftermarket upgrades (of which there are an infinite variety).
Here is the top ten list of most expensive full-size pickup trucks in the world. Ford owns the podium.
10. 2018 Ford F-150 King Ranch - $64,025
On second thought, make it a Platinum. The features of the full-size Ford F-150 King Ranch—an American classic if ever there was one—include a 5.0-Liter, 385-horsepower V-8 with a 6-speed automatic transmission. In the top configuration, the engine mates to a new 10-speed transmission, so we opted for that. The interior comes decked out with heated and vented leather seats in the front and rear, Ford's Sync infotainment system played on an 8-inch display screen, and enough room to fit mature livestock between the driver and passenger. This year's F-150 King Ranch comes with the updated Sync Connect on XLT and higher trims. The tow capacity? A modest 9,100 pounds.
This is the entry level luxury truck for the Ram family—a rugged and comely beast equipped with a 3.0-Liter V-6 EcoDiesel and an 8-Speed automatic 8HP70 transmission. It puts out 420 pound-feet of torque and has a tow capacity of 10,000 pounds. At this price—we're now entering 2017 BMW M3 territory—you get a solid pickup truck with a smooth-riding suspension that sets a highway ride standard for the full-size pickup category.
One of the more subtly-trimmed of the luxury pickups, the Silverado 2500HD High Country—when packing the monstrous Duramax 6.6-Liter V-8 turbodiesel engine—is one of the best-looking trucks on the market. The interior is set up with all the conveniences of a well-planned mancave—heated and cooled seats, copious cupholders, a Blu-Ray entertainment system, a gnarly Bose sound system—and the Duramax mated to an Allison suspension churn out 445 horsepower and 910 lb-ft of torque. That's enough to tow 13,000 pounds with a payload rating of 2,600 pounds.
Similar to the 2500, but with more wheels. This monster Duramax 6.6.-Liter Turbodiesel V-8 will pull 20,000 pounds behind its dually rear axle. How does it do that? Well, it generates 445-horsepower and nearly 1,000 pound-feet of torque. That's how. Other things you get with the top configuration of the Silverado dually is the Allison 1000 6-speed tranny and an immodest curb weight of 7,732 pounds. In the interior, you can choose between jet black or saddle leather seats, an 8-inch color touchscreen, all the driving aids in the Chevy family (park assist, lane departure warning, etc), and heated and vented bucket seats. It's a palace on six wheels.
This GMC Sierra 1500 Denali 4X4 in the crew cab configuration is equipped with the Denali Ultimate package, which adds $6,700 to the price tag and includes "Tri-Mode" power steps, integrated trailer control, and 22" aluminum wheels with chromed-out inserts (among other amenities). At this level of investment—about what you'd spend on a Tesla Model S—you want something special, and where the Denali really shines is the new satin-smooth 8-speed automatic transmission. Combined with the 5.3-Liter EcoTec3 V8 engine, it rockets to 60 mph in less than 6 seconds.
Ram builds a fine truck. We feel that the mid-level entry in Ram's full-size pickup truck family, the 2500 Limited with four-wheel-drive, works nicely with 6.7-Liter Cummins turbodiesel and the 6-speed 68RFE transmission. Standard in this trim level are the excellent Uconnect infotainment system set in an 8-inch touchscreen display. To get up to the price of $72,115, we opted for all the goodies: a 20,000-pound 5th wheel trailer hitch, a spray-in bedliner, clearance lamps, and cargo-view camera mounted atop the cab, and more. This Ram 2500 is workhorse for the well-heeled truck lover.
Under the hood of this Ram 3500 Laramie Longhorn, which costs more than twice the price of the average American passenger vehicle, is the 6.7-Liter I-6 Cummins Turbodiesel and FCA's AISIN 6-speed automatic transmission. This is a handsome and capable truck, with well-earned pedigree of reliability. In the 4X4 configuration, we optioned it with 20-inch polished aluminum wheels, all the bells and whistles on the Ram 2500 shown above, with with an added auto-leveling rear air suspension.
Once you start shopping in the upper reaches of the Ford truck world, you start to glimpse the majesty that is the modern American luxury full-size pickup. The F-250 Platinum that we configured included a 6.7-Liter 4-valve Power Stroke diesel V-8, the new "TorqShift" 6-speed automatic transmission and an off-road package to match the 4X4 drive. We also piled on the options (skipping the 5th wheel towing package, for economy's sake): Ford Telematics, power moonroof, Adaptive Cruise Control and Collision Warning with Brake Support, Sync3, nifty upfitter switches, rear inflatable seat belts, etc., until the outside world starts to disappear behind the panoply of Ford truck luxury. We love this pickup—especially in Shadow Black.
We extracted $8,095 worth of options from the configurator to arrive at the final price of $80,620 for the Ford F-350 Platinum. This is the second-in-command of the Super Duty fleet (see #1 for the Commander-in-Chief). It's big, burly, and unforgivingly awesome. It's the full-size pickup truck version of a gateway drug.
Ford recently unveiled its newest top-shelf full-size pickup truck, and the entire truck world gasped. It costs $100,000! That's what a Mercedes S-Class luxury sedan costs. But the Ford F-450 Super Duty Limited is no ordinary full-size pickup truck. Properly configured, the $100,000 price tag comes with a "satin chrome" grille, panoramic moonroof with a retractable shade, seats that warm you, cool you down and massage you like a boss. There is copious real wood trim, a 10-speaker sound system and Sync3 out the wazoo. You want towing capacity? Go ahead and tow six of those little fancy Mercedes S-Classes, buddy: You have plenty of power.
Fun fact: In addition to earning 40 percent of its annual nut through truck sales, Ford and its F-Series is the number one selling vehicle line up in U.S. households making over $200,000 a year. Luxury indeed.