The 20 Best High Performance Pickup Trucks of 2023
Since its invention back in the 1920s, the pickup truck has always been the go-to choice of those looking for a utility workhorse, with high payload capabilities and excellent towing capacity. But in recent times, with the advance of technology, pickup truck makers started equipping their “horses” with high performance engines and the latest and greatest tech and luxury features, making them more than just tools for farmers.
The modern pickup truck market now comes with plenty of options that appeal to a wider range of population, not just the utilitarian focused folks. Some people are looking for luxury and comfort, others for supercar-matching high performance engines and raw speed capabilities, and the modern pickup truck is able to deliver all that, going way beyond its original intended purpose.
And when we say market, we mean around 69% of all the passenger vehicles sold in the United States before the pandemic hit. Even more interesting is the fact that in 2020, pickup truck sales exceeded normal cars in sales for the first time in the United States. These figures show an interesting trend. People are transitioning from normal cars to pickup trucks as their main transportation vehicle.
Since that’s the case, let’s take a look at which are the most desirable high performance pickup trucks in 2022.
- 20. Nissan Titan XD
- 19. ROUSH Ranger
- 18. Chevrolet Silverado 1500
- 17. Chevrolet Colorado ZR2
- 16. Toyota Tundra
- 15. Mil-Spec Automotive Ford F-150
- 14. Ram 2500
- 13. GMC Hummer EV
- 12. Tesla Cybertruck (Tri-Motor)
- 11. Rivian R1T
- 10. Nikola Badger
- 9. Ford F-150 Lightning
- 8. Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro
- 7. ROUSH F-150 Nitemare
- 6. Shelby F-150 Super Snake
- 5. Hennessey Velociraptor 6×6
- 4. Hennessey Maximus 1000 Jeep Gladiator
- 3. Hennessey Goliath 800 Supercharged
- 2. Ram 1500 TRX
- 1. Ford F-150 Raptor
20. Nissan Titan XD
Covering the middle ground between a light pickup truck and a heavy duty one, the Nissan Titan XD is the perfect choice. It’s affordable, provides ample room inside and comes equipped with a big and powerful 5.6L V8.
Ride comfort is unexpectedly good, and there’s a nice range of safety features. The truck comes in 4 trim levels, with the most popular of the bunch being the PRO-4X.
Unfortunately, there’s no diesel option and doesn’t look as stunning as other competitor’s offerings, but considering the base price of below $50,000, it’s well worth the money.
19. ROUSH Ranger
There’s Ford’s entry level pickup truck, the Ranger, and there’s the ROUSH Ranger, which transforms it into a super capable off-road machine, with a ROUSH Fox 2.0 Performance Suspension System, custom 18 inch sating black ROUSH wheels, and all terrain tires.
But that’s not all. The ROUSH package makes the Ranger look a lot better with a dual-tip Performance Cat-Back exhaust, ROUSH Grille with dual LED light bars, and custom fenders.
Inside, the improved Ranger features premium leather, quilted-stitched seats, custom gauges, floor liners, and plenty of interesting features such as auxiliary lighting, retractable aluminum bed cover, multiple interior vaults, and a wide range of stripe and graphics packages.
18. Chevrolet Silverado 1500
The mean and lean looking Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is a very capable truck available in no less than 9 trim levels, so it can fit a wide range of buyers.
The truck is an affordable one, with a base price starting around the $35,000 mark, but offers several engine choices, and comes with high tow ratings.
The downside is its interior, which is lacking compared to the competition. Ride quality could also be better. The off-road trims are quite good, and the advanced driver assistance features are impressive, making this a good overall pickup truck.
17. Chevrolet Colorado ZR2
A more performance focused pickup truck from Chevrolet, the Colorado ZR2, brings together a rugged exterior and a luxurious interior. It features a touchscreen infotainment system, with 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot and wireless chargers.
Outside, it boasts a redesigned front-end, flared fenders, and a Multimatic suspension setup that allows the ZR2 to be extremely playful in the dirt and even muddy situations.
Powered by a 3.6L V6, the ZR2 is capable of towing 5,000 lbs.
16. Toyota Tundra
The Toyota Tundra brings a new hybrid engine option, a revised and smoother suspension, upgraded infotainment system, and many safety features as standard.
Among the 10 trim levels, the most interesting is the SR5 CrewMax 5.5′ Bed 3.5L 4WD, powered by a 3.5L V6 Twin-Turbo engine. The pickup is powerful enough, and it comes with plenty of features to impress anyone.
On the downside, configuration options, and especially the powertrain options are fewer than its competitors.
15. Mil-Spec Automotive Ford F-150
Another improved version of the already tough and high performance Ford F-150, is the Mil-Spec Automotive off-road outfit, making the truck super rugged and more powerful.
With this one the Raptor gets a wide body kit, flared fenders, custom steel bumpers, a high performance dual side Cat-Back exhaust, 20″ Black Rhino Arsenal alloy wheels, off-road auxiliary lighting, and a ten speed transmission.
If that wasn’t enough, the guys made a custom setup to squeeze the most out of the powerful 5.0L V8 engine, which got it from the original 450 hp to 675 hp, which is outrageous.
14. Ram 2500
The full size heavy duty Ram 2500 doesn’t disappoint at all, no matter if you take it on asphalt or off-road. It’s a beast of a truck and can tow a whooping 20,000 pounds, powered by a 410 hp 6.4L V8 engine.
Beyond the beast powers and exterior looks, the Ram 2500 features a nice and smooth suspension for a comfortable ride, and an opulent interior to match its ruggedness.
13. GMC Hummer EV
Going on the electric side of things, we’ve got the GMC Hummer EV, which is an impressive vehicle if you only care about power and off-road capabilities, and don’t mind the budget.
The Hummer EV lacks in towing and payload capability, and only comes in 1 trim levels, which may disappoint some people. Driving range is good enough for an electric off-roader, with 350 miles. Expect the latest driver assist and safety features, and a spacious interior.
Overall, it’s a promising pickup, but if you want it for serious work, you might want to look somewhere else.
12. Tesla Cybertruck (Tri-Motor)
With its otherworldly aesthetic, the Tesla Cybertruck is a true oddity in the automotive industry. There’s nothing like it on the road. The truck is extremely angular, geometric, and incisive in its design, but its performance is what’s truly overwhelming.
It’s capable of 1,000 ft-lbs of torque, 800 horsepower, and an acceleration from 0 to 60 mph in less than 3 seconds. All that is possible due to its Tri-Motor, the high-end powertrain variant.
With a range of over 500 miles, and capable of towing a max 14,000 lbs, you can’t deny this is a true beast. And it handles off-road very good as well.
11. Rivian R1T
Rivian is a new player in the automaker world, and their first vehicle, the R1T, is an all electric pickup truck that promises a lot. If you’re a fan of Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman and their motorcycle adventures, you’ve seen the Rivian R1T in action in South America in their latest series, Long Way Up.
The electric pickup has impressive off-road manners, good towing capability, and a superb and high tech interior. It comes powered with either dual or quad motors, so it’s extremely powerful and worthy of heavy duty work.
The only downsides are the limited availability and the high price.
10. Nikola Badger
Another futuristic and high performance electric beast, the Nikola Badger makes use of high end fuel cells instead of the traditional batteries found in most electric vehicles, which is an interesting and more advantageous solution for heavy duty trucks such as this one.
If you’re wondering what the difference is, what you should know is that batteries store electrical energy for use afterwards, while fuel cells generate energy by converting available fuel, which is hydrogen.
One of the biggest advantage of fuel cells is range, and Nikola Badger leads the way with a 600 mile range. Other figures are sub 3 second 0-60 mph, 906 horsepower, and 980 ft-lbs of torque.
9. Ford F-150 Lightning
While it may not have the most ground breaking design, the Ford F-150 Lightning is still an impressive EV, ready for rugged terrain and heavy duty work, having similar capabilities with its gas powered sibling.
Probably the biggest advantage over other electric pickup trucks is the pricing, which starts just a little bit above the $40k mark. But that base package brings a tradeoff, as it doesn’t have enough useful range.
Features are plentiful and technology is advanced, and it can even act as an emergency power bank for your… home.
8. Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro
The Japanese at Toyota have always been a top choice, and they continue to deliver high quality and high performance pickup trucks. Their Tacoma was already good enough, but to push things even further, they allowed their in-house tuning team (Toyota Racing Development) to play some more.
The result, the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, is more rugged and more capable off-road than any Tacoma before. The truck now features a revised front fascia and LED headlights, a 1/4″ thick aluminum skid plate, Rigid Industries LED fog lights, electronically locking rear differential, 16″ TRD Pro black alloy wheels with Kevlar-reinforced Goodyear Wrangler tires, TRD-tuned FOX internal bypass shocks.
The capable off-roader is powered by a 3.5L V6 with all the electronic gizmo possible, such as TRD Crawl Control, hill start assist control, and Multi-Terrain Select with five power modes.
7. ROUSH F-150 Nitemare
The ROUSH F-150 Nitemare is not your usual pickup truck, as it was customized to have excellent street manners. The truck’s 5.0L V8 has received an upgrade in the form of ROUSH’s TVS R2650 supercharger system, and the dual tip Cat-Back exhaust, which push the total horsepower of this pickup to a whooping 650.
The Nightmare comes with a sport lowering kit as well, 22″ seven spoke satin black wheels, and a custom front bumper cover and grille with integrated lighting.
6. Shelby F-150 Super Snake
The Shelby F-150 Super Snake is a wonderful combination between the traditional American muscle car and the top selling American pickup truck of today’s market, the Ford F-150.
The Super Snake brings 770 horses to play, placing it among the fastest trucks that money can buy. Only there’s a downside. Production is limited to only 600 units.
5. Hennessey Velociraptor 6×6
Coming from Hennessey Performance Engineering, you should expect nothing but the best from their new creation, the Velociraptor 6×6. It’s the ultimate pickup truck, with all the bells and whistles in terms of features, tech, and power. And it costs more than a house.
The limited edition 6×6 truck features an updated engine capable of 600 horsepower and 602ft-lbs of torque thanks to Hennessey’s turbochargers, air to air intercooler, custom stainless steel cat-back exhaust system, and revised ECU.
The Velociraptor comes with 20″ Hennessy wheels, high end FOX suspension, high intensity LED auxiliary lighting, and the custom Velociraptor front bumper. But there’s more available as optional. Armoring systems, bigger wheels, and Brembo brakes.
All that if you’ve got at least $350k to spare.
4. Hennessey Maximus 1000 Jeep Gladiator
Another Hennessey creation, the Maximus 1000 Jeep Gladiator, is the much improved version of the stock Jeep Gladiator which by itself wasn’t such an impressive and capable off-roader.
Thanks to Hennessey, it now is. It’s got a new cooling and fuel system, revised ECU, a custom stainless steel exhaust system, and an unbelievable 1,000 horsepower and 933ft-lbs of torque from its 6.2L Hellcat V8.
To be able to take you anywhere, they’ve fitted an upgraded suspension system, and 20″ Hennessey wheels with BFGoodrich all-terrain tires.
3. Hennessey Goliath 800 Supercharged
The Goliath 800 Supercharged is another take of Hennessey’s on the perfect muscle pickup truck, using the GMC Sierra as a base vehicle.
The monster has a better acceleration than some supercars, being equipped with an upgraded 6.8L supercharged V8 capable of 805 horsepower and 812ft-lbs of torque.
The interior of the Goliath is a match for its rugged and mean looking exterior, with bespoke seats, quilted stitching, and embroidered headrests.
2. Ram 1500 TRX
The Ram 1500 TRX is the modern reincarnation of the American pickup truck, muscular and full of top notch tech and features. There’s a nice flat bottom steering wheel, aluminum paddle shifters, a 12″ touchscreen infotainment system, premium Harman Kardon sound system, steering angle sensor, onboard Dyno, and launch control, among other fancy features.
The truck is powered by a 6.2L 702hp V8 and equipped with Bilstein Black Hawk E2 shocks, which means it’s ready to take you anywhere, no matter the terrain.
1. Ford F-150 Raptor
Coming back down to Earth from Hennessey’s creations, we’ve got the number one top selling pickup truck in the United States right now, the Ford F-150. It’s not for nothing that everybody loves it.
Its improved variant, the F-150 Raptor, sports some of the most high-tech features and off-road setup in a production car, among which we’ve got a FOX Live Valve Racing Shox, low-speed, low-traction Trail-Control cruise control, Dynamic Hitch Assist, Curve Control, and AdvanceTrac with roll stability control.
On the outside, there’s an aggressive front grille, aluminum skid plate, LED lighting, and flared front fenders. When it comes to power, it delivers. The twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 is capable of 450 horsepower and 510ft-lbs of torque. Add the factory tuned off-road suspension system, and you’ve got a match for those aftermarket modified pickups right from the factory.
There’s no doubt: for more and more people, bigger is better, and that can be seen in the sales of pickup trucks, whether for family use or heavy duty off-road works.
From decent pickups to non-sensical beasts, there are plenty of high-performance options out there in 2023.
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