When it comes to the best truck for the money, it depends very much on your idea of what constitutes the best. Is it best handling on-road and off, best standard equipment, best passenger and cargo-carrying capability, best towing, best fuel economy, or a combination of all these? Looking for a compact or full-size or something in-between? With a staggering array of configurations, options, and corresponding prices, it’s hard to know where to start to select the overall best truck for the money.

We’ll give it a try, aided by comments from automotive experts – and the facts. Here is our choice for the Best Truck for the Money:

Chevrolet Silverado 1500

With a starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $20,850 to $41,775, the 2010 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 full-size pickup wins the hearts and minds of many serious truck buyers. Of course, there are the Ford F-150 and Dodge Ram 1500 aficionados as well, and we’re not discrediting the serious chops these contenders have. In fact, the more intense the competition among automakers for best truck, the better the results for consumers.

To wit, the Chevrolet Silverado, according to most reviewers, is an extraordinary combination of comfort, capability, and ruggedness. Available in three body styles, three different bed sizes, and four different engines (including choice of three V8s), rear- or four-wheel drive, Silverado 1500 carries a long list of standard and available options. For work or play, Silverado 1500 proves that driving a full-size truck can be pure pleasure. And its towing and hauling ratings are top-notch.

Edmunds comments: “The 2010 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is an iconic American vehicle for a reason – it’s one of the best full-size trucks you can buy.”

Jalopnik says: “For folks looking for a straight-up tough and simple pickup with massive towing power and a well-sorted six-speed auto, the Silverado will more than satisfy.”

Consumer Reports names the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 as its 2010 Top Pick in the Pickup Truck category, commenting: “The crew-cab 4WD model is a well-rounded pickup with a roomy cabin, generous payload capacity, decent ride quality, available full-time 4WD, and, on higher-end models, very good interior fit and finish.”

Car and Driver notes Silverado 1500 has “best-in-class range of engines, respectable interiors, huge range of models and features, solid towing,” and, new-for-2010, Silverado features “cam phasing and E85 capability for gas V-8s, standard curtain and side air bags on all models.”

Talk about V8 power? Here’s what Left Lane News has to say: “The V8 is as smooth as we’ve come to expect from General Motors; if there’s one thing the Detroit automaker knows how to do, it’s create a smooth and powerful V8. GM’s new Hydramatic six-speed slurps its way through the gears and always seems to be in the right place, especially when in tow/haul mode. The transmission seems perfectly matched to this application, delivering soft and unobtrusive shifts fitting for a big truck.”

Finally, Motor Trend’s Truck Trend sums up the 2010 Chevrolet Silverado as “The Benchmark Pickup.” With its tongue-in-cheek 4-star rating (translate: “Fuel For Your Soul”), editors clearly give kudos to this full-size pickup.

What’s your choice for Best Truck for the Money?

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