J.D. Power Car Ratings:The Best Trucks of 2021

Christian Wardlaw | Dec 21, 2021

If you’re wondering what the best trucks of 2021 are, J.D. Power can help. Every year, we survey thousands of verified new truck owners, asking them what they like and dislike about their vehicles after 90 days of ownership. Based on this feedback provided by consumers just like you, we can determine which trucks offer the best quality, which are the most appealing, and which rate highly in both categories at the same time.

2021 New Truck Ratings

Contrary to what some may think, J.D. Power ratings are not based on the subjective opinions of automotive experts. Instead, verified owners of the rated vehicles provide the millions of data points that J.D. Power analyzes and summarizes in the annual Initial Quality Study (IQS) and Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study.

Effectively, the results of these studies are rooted in the experiences and feedback from people who are just like you, and they help guide new-truck buyers as they decide which model to buy.

What is the best truck to buy in 2021?

Based on the results of the J.D. Power 2021 IQS and APEAL studies, your best bet in a new truck might be a Ram:

  • Ram 1500Top-ranked in its segment for overall appeal
  • Ram 2500 Heavy DutyTop-ranked in its segment for quality
  • Ram 3500 Heavy Duty—Top-ranked in its segment for quality

Are you looking for a different kind of vehicle? Be sure to check out the best cars of 2021 and the best SUVs of 2021.

All the Best Trucks of 2021 for Overall Quality

According to the J.D. Power 2021 Initial Quality Study results, three pickup truck models receive awards based on what the people who actually own them think of their overall quality. You will find them listed below in alphabetical order by make and model.

2021 Jeep Gladiator

2021 Jeep Gladiator Texas Trail Red Front Quarter View

The highest-quality midsize pickup truck of 2021 is the Jeep Gladiator. Based on the Jeep Wrangler, the 2021 Gladiator boasts a fortified frame explicitly made for duty underneath a pickup truck. It seats five people and has a 5-foot cargo bed, and it can haul up to 1,700 pounds of payload and tow as much as 7,650 pounds. Multiple trim levels are available, equipped with a gasoline or a turbocharged diesel V6 engine and a manual or automatic transmission.

Learn more about the top-rated 2021 Trucks in Quality

2021 Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty

2021 Ram Power Wagon 75th Anniversary Edition Front Quarter View

The highest-quality large heavy-duty pickup truck of 2021 is the Ram 2500/3500. It comes in regular cab, crew cab, and Mega Cab styles, the latter offering significant rear-seat room. Buyers choose from up to six trim levels, including the 2500 Power Wagon, a dedicated off-road-oriented model. The Ram 3500 offers a dual-rear-wheel (DRW) configuration, and the truck’s maximum capabilities measure 6,570 pounds for payload and 37,100 pounds for trailering.

Learn more about the top-rated 2021 Trucks in Quality

2021 Toyota Tundra

2021 Toyota Tundra TRD PRO Lunar Rock Front Quarter View

The highest-quality large light-duty pickup truck of 2021 is the Toyota Tundra. In its final year before the completely redesigned 2022 Toyota Tundra arrives, the 2021 Tundra comes in Double Cab and CrewMax cab styles with short and standard cargo beds. Five trim levels are available, all powered by a robust but thirsty 5.7-liter V8 engine. The maximum payload capacity is 1,730 pounds, and the 2021 Tundra can tow up to 10,200 pounds.

Learn more about the top-rated 2021 Trucks in Quality

All the Best Trucks of 2021 for Overall Appeal

In the J.D. Power 2021 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study, three pickup truck models receive an award for their overall appeal, based on what the people who actually own them think of them. They are listed below in alphabetical order by make and model.

2021 GMC Sierra 2500HD and 3500HD

2021 GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali Front Quarter View

The most appealing large heavy-duty pickup truck of 2021 is the GMC Sierra HD (Heavy Duty). It comes in 2500HD and 3500HD series, and in Regular, Double, and Crew Cab styles. Five trim levels are available, and buyers choose between a gasoline 6.6-liter V8 or a turbocharged diesel 6.6-liter V8 engine. The 3500HD series offers a DRW configuration. Depending on how you equip the Sierra HD, it can haul up to 6,523 pounds of payload and tow as much as 36,000 pounds.

Learn more about the top-rated 2021 Trucks in Appeal

2021 Honda Ridgeline

2021 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E Front Quarter View

The most appealing midsize pickup truck of 2021 is the Honda Ridgeline. Available only in crew cab configuration with 5-passenger seating, the Ridgeline has a 5-foot cargo bed, a locking in-bed trunk, and a dual-mode tailgate that drops down or swings to the side. Four trim levels are available, each equipped with a V6 engine and torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system. The Ridgeline tows up to 5,000 pounds and carries up to 1,583 pounds of payload.

Learn more about the top-rated 2021 Trucks in Appeal

2021 Ram 1500

2021 Ram 1500 TRX Blue Front Quarter View

The most appealing large light-duty pickup truck of 2021 is the Ram 1500. Available in two cab styles and six trim levels, the Ram 1500 can tow up to 12,750 pounds and carry up to 2,320 pounds of payload. Buyers choose between gasoline V6 and V8 engines and a turbodiesel V6. Additionally, a version called the Ram 1500 TRX is available, equipped with a supercharged V8 making 702 horsepower. This high-performance off-roader can blaze across a desert at high speed, just in case that’s on your agenda.

Learn more about the top-rated 2021 Trucks in Appeal

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