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2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 High Country vs. 2019 Ford F-150 Limited vs. 2019 Ram 1500 Limited

Car and Driver logo Car and Driver 12/26/2018 Jared Gall
a car parked on pavement near a forest: Pickup trucks aren't just about hard work anymore; they're about having fun in comfort. We find out which of these three is the best enabler.© Marc Urbano Pickup trucks aren't just about hard work anymore; they're about having fun in comfort. We find out which of these three is the best enabler.

In 2017, Americans bought more full-size pickups than people did new vehicles, period, in all but the three largest markets in the EU.

We buy an outrageous number of these thingsabout 2.3 million that year alone. But here's a theory: We don't buy pickups in these quantities because we are more productive than our beret-wearing brothers across the Atlantic.

It's not that we have so many more contractors, farmers, and tradespeople who need pickups. It's that Americans have more toys. It's estimated that 50 to 60 percent of the world's pleasure craft are sold here, as are more than 40 percent of the world's snowmobiles. Boats need to get to the lake, and snowmobiles to the trail. And few of the cars that race at the country's 1339 drag strips, road courses, and ovals drive there themselves. Americans need these workhorses for weekend duty, but that doesn't mean we want them to clomp around like Clydesdales. That's why each of the examples here is its respective maker's highest-trim, daily-use crew-cab model.

a car parked in a parking lot: Ford F-150 vs Chevy Silverado vs Ram 1500: Which One Is Better?© Marc Urbano Ford F-150 vs Chevy Silverado vs Ram 1500: Which One Is Better?

Chevrolet's Silverado is all-new for 2019, with new bodywork on a new frame. The optional V-8 fitted to this example displaces 6.2 liters like the brand's top offering from last year, but the engine, too, is fresh. Whereas last year's 6.2 saved fuel with a cylinder-deactivation program that shut off four cylinders under light loads, the 2019 engine runs a new scheme from supplier Delphi that can drop as many as six cylinders when conditions are right, running the engine on anything from eight to two pots. The Silverado tested here is the as-much-as-you-can-spend High Country version, which includes a two-speed transfer case, automatic stop-start, dual exhaust, body-color bumpers, LED lighting, and leather seats (heated and ventilated up front, heated outboard in the rear), and bases at $57,795. With a barrage of driving assists, 22-inch wheels, the upgraded engine (versus the base 5.3-liter V-8), and power-operated running boards, this one stickers at $67,420.

Research the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 | Find a Chevrolet Silverado 1500 near you

It's a big year in the full-size-truck marketthe Ram 1500 is also new. Its 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, now available with a 48-volt motor-generator assist, nestles in a redesigned frame wrapped in fresh bodywork. Crew-cab trucks like the one here get a nice bump in rear legroom, too. There isn't a super-giganto Mega Cab yet, but the Rolls-Roycian 45.2 inches of stretch-out space means that the Ram sports 65 cubic feet of rear-seat room. Limited 4x4 models like this one, which base at $58,390, also boast an interior with such extraordinary attention to detail that it's hard to believe this truck could possibly roll out of a factory by the hundreds of thousands. A 19-speaker Harman/Kardon stereo, a suite of active driving assists, a panoramic sunroof, and the 5.7-liter Hemi with the optional eTorque 48-volt hybrid system jack the price for this one up to $69,190.

Research the Ram 1500 on MSN Autos | Find a Ram 1500 in your area

a car parked on the side of a road: Ford F-150 vs Chevy Silverado vs Ram 1500: Which One Is Better?© Marc Urbano Ford F-150 vs Chevy Silverado vs Ram 1500: Which One Is Better?

That seems like a lot until you peek at the Monroney for our Ford F-150. Wholly reimagined in "military-grade" Faygo can for 2015, the F-150 got a slight facelift last year that included a new grille and upgraded engines. Ford went a step further with the latter for 2019 by making the full-bore, Raptor-spec twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost with 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque standard in the top-of-the-line Limited model. (Lesser trims make do with 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet.) At a base price of $72,055, the F-150 Limited comes preloaded with a panoramic sunroof, massaging front seats, power running boards, and assorted luxury trappings. This one arrived fitted with a tailgate step, a towing package, and a smattering of bed accessories that raised its price to an eye-watering $74,865.

Research the Ford F-150 on MSN Autos | Find a Ford F-150 near you 

With even the lowest as-tested price here creeping up on $70,000, these are undeniably lifestyle accessories more than tools. So we put them to work hauling their brands' respective sports cars to Pittsburgh International Race Complex, about 40 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Because these trucks aren't just about hard work; they're about having fun in comfort. Let's see which is the best enabler.

From the January 2019 issue

Continue Reading:
• Chevrolet Silverado 1500 High Country
• Ford F-150 Limited
• Ram 1500 Limited
• View Final Scoring, Performance Data, and Complete Specs [PDF]

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