Trucks & SUVs

Consumer Reports Doesn’t Recommend its Best Rated Pickup Truck

Consumer Reports doesn’t always give great ratings to pickup trucks. Oftentimes it seems things like a smooth ride, upscale interior, and fuel economy are rated on the same scale for pickup trucks as for passenger cars. In fact, Consumer Reports doesn’t even recommend its best rated pickup truck in the full-size truck segment.

The best full-size pickup trucks in 2021 are all rated pretty low. The winner in the class did earn a very high road test score but didn’t do great in other areas like predicted reliability. That said, it’s a great pickup truck that critics typically shower with praise. So why isn’t it recommended by Consumer Reports?

The best full-size pickup truck according to Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports ranks the 2021 Ram 1500 as the best full-size pickup truck in 2021. However, it received only a 63 overall score. In spite of the low overall score, the 2021 Ram 1500 still earned the top spot. It’s the best full-size pickup truck according to Consumer Reports, and the official review praises this truck with comments like “the Ram can satisfy the needs of even the most demanding commercial driver while providing surprising levels of comfort and tranquility.”

2021 Ram 1500 Limited EcoDiesel parked
2021 Ram 1500 Limited EcoDiesel | Stellantis

Critics agree that this is one of the best pickup trucks ever. That said, while it’s the best full-size pickup truck according to Consumer Reports it isn’t one of the two 2021 pickups that the publication actually recommends. The Honda Ridgeline and the Jeep Gladiator have respective overall scores of 80 and 65. They are the only two trucks that made the recommendation cut for the 2021 model year.

If you really dive into Consumer Reports ratings, you quickly see that full-size pickup trucks just aren’t recommended very often. The smaller compact pickup class earns more recommendations. Perhaps smaller trucks are considered more practical or merely perform better on the broad scope scale that Consumer Reports seems to rate every vehicle on––whether it’s a Honda Civic or a Ford F-350. Either way, the only two recommended pickup trucks belong to the smaller truck class.

2021 Honda Ridgeline HPD in the sand
2021 Honda Ridgeline HPD | Honda

Is the 2021 Ram 1500 a good truck?

Oh yeah, this is a good truck. Critics rave about its smooth ride and luxurious upper trim interior options. The 2021 Ram 1500 offers plenty of packages. Buyers can customize their pickup trucks and really make them their own. Consumer Reports tested both the gasoline V8 model and the V6 diesel version.

A silver 2021 Ram 1500 Big Horn four-door full-size pickup truck turning in a city intersection
2021 Ram 1500 Big Horn | Stellantis

The 2021 Ram 1500 earned an incredible road test score of 83 out of 100. This is a fantastic Consumer Reports road test number for a pickup truck. In fact, the 2021 Ridgeline is the only truck that achieved a score this high. These two winners in their respective classes earned the same high road test score. So why is the 2021 Ram 1500 recommended by Consumer Reports too?

Pickup truck reliability

The one area that the 2021 Ram 1500 really fell short in is reliability. With only a 2 out of 5 rating for predicted reliability, it’s difficult to earn a recommendation. Both the recommended compact pickups boast above-average reliability ratings. In fact, the Ridgeline earned 4 out of 5 and the Gladiator earned 5 out of 5 for reliability. So these trucks made the cut in every category and come recommended by Consumer Reports.

Questionable reliability scores hold back the 2021 Ram 1500. Although Consumer Reports hasn’t released specific reliability trouble spots, its overall reliability ratings don’t earn over 3 out of 5 all the way back to the 2011 model year. As a whole, the 2021 Ram 1500 is one of the best rated pickup trucks of 2021. However, it did not quite meet the specifications for an official badge of recommendation.