The working man’s vehicle has changed quite a bit over the years. It’s been given more power, more style, and more comfort. It has seen convenience additions like step-up tailgates, and it has seen family-friendly features like DVD entertainment systems. Indeed, it is difficult to argue the current versatility of the pickup truck. If you’re in the market for a new one this year, these are the best pickup trucks of 2012 according to automotive experts at Consumer Reports, Edmunds, Motor Trend, Car and Driver, and J.D. Power & Associates.

1. 2012 Ford F-150        New Model MSRP: $22,990

“If you want a truck with serious towing and payload capabilities, yet as quiet and comfortable as many luxury sedans, then the F-150 should surely be on your shopping list.” The trim selections span quite a large distance, and the price can elevate in a hurry the further up you go, peaking with the extravagant King Ranch model, but there is little negative that can be said about any one of them. The interior is comfortable and functional, yet what’s under the hood can tackle nearly any on- or off-road task you can throw at it.

2. 2012 Dodge Ram 1500        New Model MSRP: $21,820

If you’re currently driving around with the Ram horns jutting out from your hood, kudos to you. You’re one of the many who are fortunate enough to be driving one of the best trucks in the world. While Chrysler has had its share of issues in recent years, the Ram has remained fairly steadfast throughout, and it only seems to be getting better. It earned very high praise for some extremely powerful engines and what is considered to be the best interior of any full-size pickup on the market.

3. 2012 GMC Sierra        New Model MSRP: $22,195

“GM’s full-size pickup trucks (Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra) are aging in the face of newer trucks from Dodge and Ford. Despite this, the GM twins are still compelling because of their excellent engines, tasteful styling, and spacious interiors. Configurable in a zillion different ways, one can be made just the way you want it.” Like most of the GM truck line the Sierra offers a fairly bland interior, but it remains comfortable and functional. The handling is only average, as is the power when compared to models like the Ram or F-150, but that doesn’t mean the Sierra is not capable.

4. 2012 Nissan Frontier        New Model MSRP: $18,740

Leading the way in the little brother category of trucks, the Frontier offers just about everything you can find in one of the big boys, just in a smaller package. It has very nimble handling, which is one of the main reasons most people like the smaller trucks, and it still possesses the rugged durability you’d expect to find in a larger version. The interior is only mediocre, but that’s common for the smaller truck segment. The reliability rating of 9 out of 10 given by U.S. News is the deciding factor here. After all, what should be more reliable than the working man’s vehicle?

5. 2012 Toyota Tacoma        New Model MSRP: $16,875


Where the Frontier fails, the Tacoma succeeds. The interior is a bit plusher and the off-road capabilities are excellent for a small truck, but the reliability is an issue and the exterior style is a bit over-the-top. It did receive a mild refresh this year, but that didn’t seem to help the issues with spongy brakes and poor on-road capabilities. Still, the price is right up the alley of the economy buyer, and the power given from the 4.0L V6 is admirable.

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