The 2 Most Dependable 2015 Pickups Aren’t Toyota Trucks

Toyota’s pickup trucks have long been regarded as the business’s most dependable, practical vehicles. With long-lasting powertrains and nearly unrivaled build quality, there’s no question they can stand the test of time. However, it seems the competition of 2015 pickups has crept up on the Japanese giant.

When J.D. Power revealed its dependability award winners for 2015 model year pickup trucks, there were two clear champions. The Toyota Tacoma unsurprisingly took home the top prize in the midsize pickup class. The victor wasn’t the Toyota Tundra for the large light-duty pickup segment. Instead, it was America’s own Chevrolet Silverado 1500.

How did J.D. Power determine a winner among 2015 pickups?

A blue backend of a Toyota Tacoma, which also makes 2015 pickups.
Toyota Tacoma | Getty Images

J.D. Power’s Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), now in its 33rd year, measures several automotive issues. Using a national sample of three-year-old randomly selected owner vehicles, the study covers 177 parameters, from transmission smoothness to the longevity of seat bolstering. Issues are measured in problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). For 2018, the overall industry average improved to 142 PP100, up from 156 PP100 the previous year. In the top-ranked brands, Toyota tied for eighth place with BMW. Yet, Chevrolet came in sixth place, tied with Hyundai.

One of the critical factors J.D. Power found is that vehicle residual values are significantly affected by better long-term quality. J.D. Power Vice President of Vehicle Analysis and Analytics Jonathan Banks explained the demand for used vehicles is driven by dependability. “Improving dependability ultimately supports new vehicle sales and provides a better perception of the brand,” he said.

Why did J.D. Power choose the 2015 Toyota Tacoma?

The Tacoma received top marks in quality, reliability, and resale value, outmatching the Nissan Frontier, Chevrolet Colorado, and GMC Canyon. J.D. Power explained that owners enjoyed the smoothness of the Tacoma’s transmission, which came in three configurations. A four-speed automatic, a five-speed automatic, and a six-speed manual could be mated with rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. Interior storage spaces were also pleasurable for owners, with 38 cu-ft in extended cab models. The Tacoma has four cu-ft more than the GMC Canyon, enough for an extra 30-gal backpack. Nevertheless, owners were also impressed with the overall feeling of safety when at the wheel of Toyota’s midsize pickup truck.

Toyota’s Tacoma came with a base 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine providing an inconspicuous 160 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque. While it didn’t give as much grunt as its 4.0-liter V6 sibling, it could achieve a respectable 20 mpg combined. More importantly, the engine had a relatively short list of faults; therefore, proper maintenance makes a long-lasting ride. Although Tacomas have a particularly dull and low-rent interior, it boasts a tranquil cabin.

Why did J.D. Power choose the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500?

Although the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado failed to challenge the Ford F-150 on driving experience, it outmatched it in other categories. Overcoming the Toyota Tundra, Ram 1500, and GMC Sierra, the Silverado was awarded for its quality, reliability, and resale value. The Audio, Communications, Entertainment, and Navigation (ACEN) segment was the most troublesome category for vehicle owners in the 2018 VDS. Built-in Bluetooth connectivity received the second-highest frequency of complaints at 7.7 PP100. However, that’s where the Silverado shined.

Owners appreciated the Silverado’s voice recognition and Bluetooth systems, a characteristic among all Chevrolets. Although the Silverado’s top-spec, 420 hp 6.2-liter V8 is impressive, owners thought the cabin comfort was more notable. J.D. Power asserts that the vehicle’s HVAC system and overall interior quietness makes the Silverado a top choice as a used pickup truck. Even though the Silverado is much larger than the Tacoma, its fuel efficiency is much the same. Chevrolet’s EcoTec3 5.3-liter V8 engine offers an impressive 20 mpg combined, better than any full-size pickup.

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