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Picking the best pickup truck can be difficult. There are so many options normally, but these days the segment is changing altogether. Typically, the 2021 Toyota Tacoma and the 2021 Toyota Tundra are near the top of the best pickup truck lists, but they barely cracked the top five on U.S. News ratings. 

2021 Toyota Tacoma Off Road with TRD Lift Kit
2021 Toyota Tacoma Off Road with TRD Lift Kit | Toyota

U.S. News was not impressed with the 2021 Toyota Tacoma or the 2021 Toyota Tundra

2021 Toyota Tundra parked in a field in the mountains
2021 Toyota Tundra | Toyota

The subjectivity surrounding cars and trucks is nearly impossible to get away from. Edmunds, Consumer Reports, KBB, and U.S. News are all professionals who report solidly on these tests, yet they often come up with different results. 

This isn’t because any of them are bad or too subjective or anything like that. It’s just the fact that vehicle assessments are inherently subjective. Whereas Consumer Reports and many others agree that the reliability of the Toyotas by default puts them in the running for the best pickup trucks, U.S. News almost left them out. 

Is the Toyota Tundra a top five best pickup truck? 

An image of a Toyota Tundra outdoors.
Toyota Tundra | Toyota

U.S. News has the 2021 Toyota Tundra in fifth place in its truck ratings for 2021. The full-size truck breakdown is pretty different from Consumer Reports but might be closer to actual sales or perceived popularity. 

U.S. News has the 2021 Ram 1500 as the best pickup truck. Second place went to the 2021 Ford F-150, followed by the Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra 1500, and of course, in fifth, the Toyota Tundra. 

The breakdown of the compact pickup trucks is the same type of lineup. The best compact pickup truck, according to U.S. News, is the 2021 Honda Ridgeline. Second place goes to the Ford Ranger, followed by the Chevy Colorado, and in fifth again, the 2021 Toyota Tacoma. 

Is the 2021 Toyota Tacoma a good truck? 

An image of a Toyota Tacoma, one of the most reliable mid-size pickup trucks.
Toyota Tacoma | Toyota

According to U.S. News, it is a “decent” truck. As far as off-road and adventure purposes, it is pretty tough to beat. The TRP Pro package is pricey but largely agreed upon as one of the best pickup truck off-road factory kits on the market. 

The Tacoma is reliable, strong, and practical. However, U.S. News is hard on the comfort aspects. It feels as though the back seats are too small and uncomfortable. On top of that, the overall ride is said to be jittery and stiff. It also comes with a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine which only makes 159 hp, which is woefully underpowered. 

Is the 2021 Toyota Tundra one of the best pickup trucks?

Even though the Tundra and Tacoma sit in the same place in their respective segments, U.S. News was less impressed with the Tundra than the Tacoma. The only good things they had to say about it was that the V8 is a reliable and strong motor and the seats are spacious. 

USN really didn’t care for the 2021 Toyota Tundra. It has lower than average gas mileage, subpar cabin materials, and a stiff and uncomfortable ride. Cabin materials and comfort are fairly relative and possibly subjective, but the fact that Tundra hasn’t had a significant update in over 10 years is undeniable. 

The outdated clunkiness of the Tundra is really what holds it back from being one of the best pickup trucks. It still managed to get into the top five pickup trucks for U.S. News, but that is almost solely due to its legendary V8. It’s also similar to the Toyota Tacoma in that it is a monster off-roader when correctly configured. 


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