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You would be forgiven for thinking of Japanese trucks as the more budget-friendly option. After all, both Nissan and Toyota broke into the North American pickup market by undercutting the Detroit Three. But in 2023, your cheapest full-size pickup truck option is the Ram 1500 “Classic,” which starts at $31,270. A Nissan Titan will run you at least $40,350. Read on to find out why Nissan is charging nearly $10k more than Detroit.

Why are Detroit trucks cheaper than Japanese pickups?

Today, the Nissan Titan and Toyota Tundra are the same price as similar configurations of the half-tons out of Detroit. What’s more, Ford, General Motors, and Ram build stripped-down versions for fleet buyers. So the Titan and Tundra are far from the cheapest 2023 full-size pickup trucks. In fact, they have the highest MSRPs of the bunch.

Nissan Titan pickup truck parked on a mountain top 4WD trail.
2022 Nissan Titan | Nissan

Neither Nissan nor Toyota are saving money by moving manufacturing out of the U.S. While the Titan and Tundra may have components engineered in Japan, they are both assembled in the United States. The Titan is made in Canton, Mississippi, while the Tundra hails from San Antonio, Texas. In fact, many parts suppliers for the Tundra rent space on the same campus, so some experts consider it the most “American-made” pickup truck.

Neither Toyota nor Nissan offer their half-ton truck with a “regular” two-door cab or a cheap entry-level engine option. You can get the latest generation of the Tundra with a full “crew cab” or a smaller “double cab” with four regular doors. But every Tundra has Toyota’s new twin-turbocharged 3.4-liter V6 (similar to Ford’s EcoBoost). On the Titan, you can choose between a crew cab or the “King cab,” which has rear-hinged rear doors, but you’ll have to pay up for the 5.6-liter V8.

What is the Ram 1500 “Classic?”

The cheapest full-size 2023 pickup truck is not truly a 2023 pickup truck. The $31,270 Ram 1500 “Classic” is a freshly-built fourth-generation Ram 1500 targeted at fleet buyers.

Red Ram 1500 Classic entry-level work pickup truck on a white background.
2022 Ram 1500 Classic | Stellantis

At this price, you get a two-door “regular” cab, steel rims, no chrome, no carpets, and no cloth seats. The entry-level “Classic” is a 2WD with the 305 horsepower “Pentastar” V6. You can, of course, upgrade any of these components of the Ram. But configuring it more like an entry-level Nissan or Titan will increase its price accordingly.

One reason Ram may continue building its fourth-generation 1500 is because it only offers its fifth-generation truck with four-door cabs–just like the Tundra. All of the Detroit Three sell some form of stripped-down, two-door work trucks targeted at commercial fleet operators. But Toyota and Nissan don’t bother competing in this market.

How much is a full-size pickup truck in 2023?

After the supply chain problems of 2020-2022, all the automakers increased their 2023 full-size pickup truck MSRPs by several thousand dollars. You’ll pay at least $31,270 for a work truck and closer to $38k if you want a four-door cab.

Gray Toyota Tundra pickup truck parked on a dirt lot, a locomotive in the background.
2022 Toyota Tundra | Toyota

You can see how all the current advertised 2023 MSRPs for your full-size pickup truck options break down in the table below. You can also see Edmunds’ estimated total, which may include fees not included in the MSRP.

ConfigurationManufacturer’s Advertised MSRPEdmunds’ Estimated Total
Ford F-150 XLRegular cab (2-door)$33,835$35,735
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 WTRegular cab (2-door)$36,300$37,480
GMC Sierra 1500 ProRegular cab (2-door)$37,200$37,157
Ram 1500 “Classic”Regular Cab (2-door)$31,735$31,445
Ram 1500 TradesmanQuad cab (small 4-door)$38,555$38,295
Toyota Tundra SRDouble cab (small 4-door)$38,965$39,049
Nissan Titan SKing Cab (rear suicide doors)$40,350$41,495

Next, find out the cheapest half-ton pickup truck with top reliability scores, or see how the Ram 1500 Classic stands up to a towing test in the video below: