Choosing the best truck this year is almost daunting. There's way more to consider than towing power and off-roading capability because pickups have to do everything well these days. And even then, every major manufacturer makes machines so good that picking one over the other is more subjective than anything. (That isn't the worst problem to have, of course.)
When taking a look at the current crop of daily drivable workhorses, The Drive's staff evaluated what a truck really needs to be. After much discussion, we agreed that all-around versatility is most important. A truck should not only be able to get you where you want to go, but it should do it in a way that you never question its abilities. That has to be the case if you have a trailer or your family in tow—or both.
The voting was close and eventually, we had to meet face-to-face (via video chat) to pick a winner. Here's the list of rigs that were in the running, signed off on by yours truly, the site's Truck Editor.
Runner-Up: Nissan Frontier Pro-4X
"Nissan’s mid-sized off-road truck has all the equipment you need for legit wheeling without being uncomfortable or egregiously inefficient. It looks cool and easy to work on, and of course, a pickup bed gives you a lot of flexibility in cargo management if you’re willing to get creative.
"This truck basically answers the prayer of 'I wish I could buy my old truck, but new again, and this time with modern comfort and safety plus a better power to fuel economy tradeoff.' Lately, I’ve been thinking that a bit myself, and honestly since driving this Mojave Road run I’ve really been thinking about buying a Pro-4X." —Andrew P. Collins, Executive Editor
Runner-Up: Chevy Colorado
"While the trail I tested the Colorado’s off-road prowess on wasn’t the most challenging, it showed even the mildest of off-road trims—the Z71—is ready for more. Its mechanical limited-slip rear axle, high- and low-range four-wheel drive, underbody camera, and off-road drive modes with hill descent control would’ve been overkill had I not set out on fully inflated road tires. When I did, I found the same characteristics that weakened the Colorado on-road made it agile and confident off it.
"The 2023 Chevrolet Colorado stands out for its full-range refinement, powertrain performance, and affordability, though much of its standout potential remains locked behind options and upper trims. As-is, the Colorado’s value is as the best tow vehicle in its class, with more refinement and more torque in max-tow configuration than the Jeep, at a much lower price to boot. It also makes sense as a softer alternative to the Nissan." —James Gilboy, Staff Writer
Runner-Up: Chevy Silverado EV WT
"Being a work truck, the Silverado EV WT’s interior is pretty plain. There’s a ton of hard-touch plastics and a one-note color scheme. That's OK because the WT’s interior is meant to take a daily beating from boots, tools, and filthy workers. Chevy wanted it to be easy to wash down with a hose and blow out with a leaf blower, so don’t get the WT for its creature comforts unless you're coming from a Squarebody or something. That said, it feels well-built, its touchscreen infotainment system is clear and works well, the seats are comfy, and it was even surprisingly quiet on the road, given that there’s barely any sound insulation in the cab. It’s easily the most comfortable work truck I’ve been in and, while riding as a passenger, I actually forgot it was a work truck for a bit.
"Without question, the Chevy Silverado EV WT is one of the most impressive pickups I've ever driven. When a relatively basic work truck version is this comfortable and capable, it sticks with you. It's quick, surprisingly fun to drive, comfortable, spacious, quiet at speed, practical, packed with useful features, good-looking, and has a massive range. Of course, all of that comes at a cost. It's up to you to decide if it's worth it for your purposes." —Nico DeMattia, Weekend Editor
People's Choice: Ford Super Duty
"Whereas work vehicles used to follow the 'keep it simple, stupid' formula for reliability, the newest ones are increasingly complex for the sake of productivity. The trick is making them adaptable to the nth degree while still being easy to use and durable for the long haul. The 2023 Super Duty was clearly developed with this not only in mind but front and center to craft a package that delivers capability to everyone.
"Respect this truck for what it is and it’s really impressive. The raft of driver and worker-assistance features is both cool-looking and useful, especially for people who might be flying solo. I think it looks great, inside and out, and the spec sheet certainly makes it seem up for big jobs." —Andrew P. Collins, Executive Editor
[Ed. note: The Ford Super Duty also takes home the honor of being our People's Choice winner. In a poll on The Drive's Instagram, 44% of you chose it over the other nominated trucks. Congratulations, Ford. —CT]
Winner: Chevy Silverado HD
Trucks in the year 2023 were all about superlatives. Whichever had the most power, most features, and highest sticker price got the most attention. The new Silverado HD doesn't fit that mold, though, and I believe it's better for it. I'll explain.
It's true that the Chevy's 6.6-liter Duramax diesel is down 30 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque to the mightiest Ford Power Stroke. It's also true that the Bowtie only got a refresh this year whereas the Blue Oval's workhorse technically entered a new generation. But the Silverado HD was able to do so much with a host of thoughtful upgrades that it not only became competitive with the Super Duty—I'll argue that it's better.
Here are some snippets from my review of the truck:
"In my week with the revised Silverado HD, it got more compliments than any other rig I’ve tested. And that’s before anyone saw the drastically improved interior that mirrors the half-ton to arguably become best-in-class. Flipping the narrative like that is an impressive feat for a mid-cycle refresh, and with Ford rolling out the new Super Duty right alongside it, the timing is crucial.
"This Silverado HD does everything so well you (probably) won’t be worried about the power deficit to your neighbor’s Power Stroke or Cummins. The ride is genuinely good because of Chevy’s unwavering allegiance to independent front suspension, and so long as you buy an LT trim or above, the cab finally feels modern. It ultimately boils down to personal taste—Detroit’s Big Three cranks out fantastic trucks—but the Bowtie brand’s entry is more compelling than it has been in years."
I can't oversell how tough it is to fight Ford in the full-size truck space. They're always so good, and that high-output 6.7-liter Power Stroke is a hoss. Truth is, though, that the new Super Duty has been buggy and those problems need squashing before it can compete with something as solid as the Silverado HD, especially since Chevy added a hardcore ZR2 off-road model. Both pickups are strong and, in my opinion, worth buying.
But the Chevy is just too good not to be named The Drive's Best Truck of 2023.