Top-Rated 2021 Trucks in Appeal According to Consumers

Jack R. Nerad | Sep 15, 2021

Pickup trucks serve dual purposes. That’s why today's trucks include car-like amenities while providing all of the towing and hauling capability you expect. No matter how you plan to use your next truck, it is likely that you are interested in one that performs well for its owners. And that's what this article is all about. It lists and describes the 2021 model-year trucks that are most appealing to their owners.

2021 Ram TRX Blue Airborne Teaser

So, how do we know that? A lot of research and analysis, that's how. 

Each year J.D. Power asks verified owners of new pickup trucks about their experience with their vehicles. This data is compiled into the annual J.D. Power Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, which measures vehicle owners' feelings about how their vehicles perform in a wide variety of circumstances. From the consumer responses, J.D. Power computes an overall APEAL index score for each model, measured on a 1,000-point scale. The higher the truck's index score, the better it is in terms of overall appeal.

Listed below, you will find the 11 highest-rated, most appealing 2021 truck models, as rated by their owners. The list includes all the truck categories, and the vehicles are listed in ascending order of owner appeal. That means you'll find the most appealing pickup truck at the end of the list. 

11. 2021 Honda Ridgeline - Find the best Honda deals!

2021 Honda RIdgeline Front Quarter View

The Honda Ridgeline is not your average pickup truck. In fact, with the exception of its truck bed and towing capabilities, it's not like a conventional truck at all. Instead of traditional body-on-frame construction, it uses a unibody architecture along with a 4-wheel-independent suspension to deliver capable towing and hauling capacity. At the same time, it provides the comfort, ride, and handling of a crossover SUV. 

Sold only as a 5-passenger crew-cab model, the 2021 Honda Ridgeline features revised styling to give it a bolder appearance. The Ridgeline's only engine is a 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, and torque-vectoring all-wheel drive (AWD) is standard. The truck is available in Sport, RTL, RTL-E, and Black Edition trim levels, each equipped with the Ridgeline’s innovative locking in-bed trunk and dual-action tailgate.

The index score for the 2021 Honda Ridgeline is 826. The Ridgeline receives an appeal award from J.D. Power in the Midsize Pickup segment. 

10. 2021 Toyota Tundra - Find the best Toyota deals!

2021 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro Front Quarter View

The Toyota Tundra is a full-size pickup truck that competes with the Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado 1500, and Ram 1500. It's offered in two cab styles and with three different bed lengths, and yet its variations aren't nearly as numerous as those of its key competitors.

As an example, the Tundra comes with a single engine: a 5.7-liter V8 that produces 381 horsepower. It's matched to a 6-speed automatic transmission, and both rear-wheel-drive (RWD) and 4-wheel-drive (4WD) configurations are available. Toyota offers the Tundra in six trim levels for 2021: SR, SR5, Limited, TRD Pro, 1794 Edition, and Platinum.

This is the final year for the Tundra in its current form. A redesigned Tundra arrives for 2022. 

The index score for the 2021 Toyota Tundra is 835.

9. 2021 Chevrolet Silverado HD - Find the best Chevrolet deals!

2021 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 Heavy Duty Front Quarter View

The Chevrolet lineup of heavy-duty pickups includes the Silverado 2500HD and the Silverado 3500HD. Both trucks are offered in three cab types and give buyers a choice between a 6.6-liter gasoline-fueled V8 that delivers 401 horsepower or a 6.6-liter turbo-diesel V8 that delivers 445 horsepower and an immense 910 pound-feet of torque. Both RWD and 4WD are available across the lineups.

For 2021, the 2500HD is available in several special editions plus the Work Truck, Custom, LT, LTZ, and High Country trims. The 3500HD mimics those offerings and also provides the availability of dual rear wheels.

The index score for the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado HD pickups is 841. 

8. 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 - Find the best Chevrolet deals!

2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Front Quarter View

The Silverado 1500 is the light-duty full-size pickup truck from Chevy, and it competes with the Ford F-150, Nissan Titan, Ram 1500, and Toyota Tundra in one of the most popular vehicle segments in America. It is available in regular cab, extended cab (Double cab), and crew cab configurations with standard RWD and optional 4WD.

When it comes to powertrains, the choices are wide-ranging. You can get a turbocharged 4-cylinder, a V6, a turbo-diesel inline 6-cylinder, and a couple of V8s. Among the changes for the 2021 model year is a newly available Multi-Flex 6-function tailgate. The Silverado 1500 is offered in Work Truck, Custom, Custom Trail Boss, RST, LTZ, LT Trail Boss, and High Country trims.

The index score for the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is 848.

7. 2021 Ford F Series Super Duty - Find the best Ford deals!

2021 Ford F Series Super Duty Front Quarter View

The Ford F Series Super Duty line is the brand's range of heavy-duty full-size pickups. Because the trucks in the Super Duty lineup are typically used for work, they supply commercial-oriented payload and towing capabilities. However, because they’re also used as personal vehicles, they increasingly offer modern technologies and convenience features.

The Ford Super Duty range includes F-250, F-350, and F-450 models. They are available in XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited trim levels. Two gasoline V8s and a turbodiesel are available, along with RWD or 4WD. Ford offers dual rear wheels on several of the Super Duty models.

The index score for the 2021 F Series Super Duty pickups is 852.

6. 2021 Ram 2500/3500 - Find the best Ram deals!

2021 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty Front Quarter View

The Ram 2500 and Ram 3500 are the heavy-duty full-size pickups from Stellantis, and they go head-to-head with similar trucks from Chevrolet, Ford, and GMC. Like other heavy-duty pickups, they are designed for commercial hauling and towing chores, but they are increasingly purchased by people who use them for personal use.

The Ram 2500 and 3500 are among the most refined and comfortable of the heavy-duties, equipped with either a coil-spring or air suspension. They are offered in regular cab, crew cab, and extended crew cab (Mega cab) models with a pair of bed lengths. Engines include a gasoline V8 and two turbodiesels. The Ram heavy-duty line has seven trim levels: Tradesman, Big Horn, Lone Star, Power Wagon, Laramie, Limited Longhorn, and Limited.

The index score for the Ram 2500 and Ram 3500 pickups is 863.

5. 2021 GMC Sierra HD - Find the best GMC deals!

2021 GMC Sierra 2500 Heavy Duty Front Quarter View

Another entrant in the heavy-duty pickup truck segment is the GMC Sierra HD. It's a kissing cousin to the Chevy Silverado HD lineup and offers the same engine options including a 401-horsepower 6.6-liter gasoline V8 or 6.6-liter turbo-diesel V8 generating 445 horsepower. Rear-drive is the standard configuration with 4WD widely available.

For 2021 the GMC Sierra 2500HD and 3500HD are available in Sierra, SLE, SLT, AT4, and Denali trims. The AT4 and Denali are offered in crew cab styles only, and an X31 off-road package is available on SLE and SLT trims. 

The index score for the GMC Sierra 2500HD and 3500HD is 865. The Sierra HD receives an appeal award from J.D. Power in the Large Heavy-Duty Pickup Truck segment.

4. 2021 Ford F-150 - Find the best Ford deals!

2021 Ford F-150 Front Quarter View

Completely redesigned for the 2021 model year, the Ford F-150 has been the single bestselling vehicle in America for more than four decades. Its key competitors are the Chevy Silverado 1500 and Ram 1500. 

Beyond the new exterior styling, the most obvious design change in the F-150 is the available 12-inch infotainment touchscreen display and an accompanying 12-inch digital instrumentation screen. Both come standard on many of the truck's upper trim levels.

The F-150 offers a choice between multiple engines, including a gas V6, turbo-diesel V6, two different twin-turbocharged gas V6s, and a traditional V8. For the first time, you can even get a hybrid version of this truck. Naturally, the F-150 comes with RWD or 4WD, and in regular cab, SuperCab, and SuperCrew body styles. Trim levels include XL, XLT, Lariat, Tremor, King Ranch, Platinum, Raptor, and Limited.

The index score for the 2021 Ford F-150 is 872. 

3. 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 -Find the best GMC deals!

2021 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Front Quarter View

Mechanically, the GMC Sierra 1500 is very similar to the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, but the two truck lines from General Motors offer different exterior and interior styling. A GMC differentiator is the upscale Denali trim that is one of the most luxurious of the full-size light-duty pickups.

The Sierra 1500 is offered in Base, SLE, Elevation, SLT, AT4, and Denali trims. The AT4 is the dedicated off-roader in the bunch, although 4WD is available across the lineup. Additions for the 2021 model year include wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto. The acclaimed MultiPro tailgate has become standard on SLE and Elevation trims.

The index score for the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 is 877, in a tie with the 2021 Nissan Titan. 

2. 2021 Nissan Titan - Find the best Nissan deals!

2021 Nissan Titan

The Nissan Titan is a full-size light-duty pickup truck that competes with the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Ford F-150, Ram 1500, and the Toyota Tundra. One of its key differentiators is the fact that it offers the most standard horsepower of any pickup in its class. The 400-horsepower 5.6-liter V8 is the only engine offered in the Titan.

Rear-drive is the standard configuration with 4WD an option. The Titan XD is the version to get if you need beefy towing and hauling capabilities. An off-road-oriented trim — PRO-4X — equips the Titan with hill descent control and an available electronic-locking rear differential. In addition to the PRO-4X, the Titan is available in S, SV, SL, and Platinum Reserve trim levels.

The index score for the 2021 Nissan Titan is 877, in a tie with the GMC Sierra 1500.

1. 2021 Ram 1500 - Find the best Ram deals!

2021 Ram TRX Front Quarter View

The Ram 1500 is the Stellantis entry in the wildly popular light-duty full-size pickup truck segment. Two different versions are on sale. The Ram Classic is the old, previous-generation model that serves as an affordable way for buyers to get into a new full-size light-duty truck. The Ram 1500 is the newer design, now a few years old but evidently no less appealing.

And, for the 2021 model year, the Ram 1500 lineup adds the new TRX off-road performance truck with a supercharged V8 generating more than 700 horsepower. Most Ram buyers, however, choose one of the truck’s mild hybrid powertrains in V6 and V8 format, or the conventional V8 or turbo-diesel V6.

For the 2021 model year, in addition to the Ram TRX, the Ram 1500 comes in Tradesman, HFE, Big Horn, Lone Star, Laramie, Rebel, Limited Longhorn, and Limited trim. It is available as a Quad Cab or a crew cab with two bed lengths. Both RWD and 4WD versions are available.

The index score for the 2021 Ram 1500 is 884. The Ram 1500 receives an appeal award from J.D. Power in the Large Light-Duty Pickup segment. 

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