Ranking vehicles is always an interesting way to see how a tester or group of testers thinks and values certain aspects of cars and trucks differently. What’s so interesting about the way that Edmunds ranked pickup trucks is the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz, and the 2022 Honda Ridgeline are both quite popular choices for ranking first in their sub-categories. However, ranking the 2022 Ford F-150 first among the full-size pickups is kind of strange, but I don’t think it’s a bad choice.
What are the best pickup trucks, according to Edmunds?
Starting the rankings is the Hyundai Santa Cruz. The Hyundai ranked first among the best small pickup trucks. Its funky style and refreshing design pair well with its minimal footprint and exceptional fuel economy. The Santa Cruz feels very much like the truck of its time.
Edmunds made an equally expected decision with the midsize pickup truck rankings. Leading this sub-category is the 2022 Honda Ridgeline. This truck wins so much that we should start calling Michael Jordan, or maybe just “sir.” Anywho, the Honda Ridgeline’s undeniable pragmatism makes it a hard truck to beat, despite its softness.
Lastly, and most strangely, Edmunds ranked the 2022 Ford F-150 in the number one spot for the full-size truck category. While the F-150 is without question the most popular pickup truck of all time, most automotive journos don’t tend to rank them that high. The second layer of weirdness is that both the other trucks are modern, sleek, and nearly genre-bending. So, why did Edmunds go with the old F-150? Let’s investigate.
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is the best small pickup truck
Edmunds found more to love than hate with the new, bizarre little Santa Cruz. That list of pros includes comfortable ride quality and agile handling, a Powerful turbocharged engine option, an Impressive assortment of technology features, and a cool, weird bed.
The cons are far less compelling than the pros. Edmunds mentions the lack of rear visibility, steep prices with upper-level trims, and poor legroom in the back.
What makes the Santa Cruz so special is that it is a seemingly perfect marriage between the utility of a pickup truck and the comfort, ease, and fuel economy of a crossover SUV. Think of the Hyundai Santa Cruz like a Subaru; they are massively capable off-road, but that doesn’t make them proper off-roaders. The Santa Cruz is the same. Yes, it can’t tow a ton of weight and probably won’t do much rock crawling, but it can do everything enough to be useful.
The 2022 Honda Ridgeline is the best midsize pickup truck
Edmund’s and nearly every other car publication love the 2022 Honda Ridgeline. It makes sense. It’s efficient, friendly, practical, reliable, and forgettable. However, we don’t mean that as a dig. In a way, the perfect truck should be out of the way. It should do what you want. So much so that you almost forget what all it’s doing for you.
Like the Hyundai, the Honda Ridgeline is not a tough-guy monster truck that will tow a million pounds and conquer Moab. It will keep you comfortable on the road with independent suspension all around, handle like a sedan, and give you 23 mpg from a 3.5-liter V6.
The Honda Ridgeline is a great truck because it gives most customers exactly what they need with no extra stuff. It is the ultimate test of pride for many truck customers. The truth is, where most of us, to be honest with ourselves, the Honda Ridgeline is the right truck for our needs.
Those of you who the Honda Ridgeline doesn’t work for know who you are. However, there are undoubtedly a few who count themselves among the ranchers with their HD Rams, who would be happier with the Honda if they allowed it into their lives.
The 2022 Ford F-150 is the best full-size pickup
Now, for the weird part. Edmunds went full efficiency, not popularity – that is until the big boys needed a champion. Here is where all bets are off. The full-size pickup truck segment might be the most disagreed upon automotive category.
On the one hand, the 2022 Ford F-150 is an easy choice to make; it’s the most popular pickup model ever; it just got a massive series of updates and is monstrously powerful in the proper configuration.
Most publications tip their hats to the Ram trucks as they pass. However, Edmunds is going in a different direction, at least in this one category.
The F-150 makes more sense as the winner for more than just its popularity. The 2022 model has an enormous engine selection; 7 choices, including the crazy cool Power Boost Hybrid. If that weren’t enough, the 2022 F-150 has a max towing capacity of 12,400 pounds when equipped with the Max Trailer Tow Package.
This truck has so much going for it. However, the thing that turned many other publications off the F-150 was marred history of reliability. While Edmunds is aware of this unfortunate fact, it clearly didn’t think it was enough of a problem to ignore its many benefits.
Edmunds’ favorite pickup trucks make perfect sense but are still strange
Hopefully, by now, you know what I mean by “strange.” It is too common for car reviewers to want to follow what others have written. There is also the other side which is blatant contrarianism that can also happen. This ranking feels like neither. Edmund’s choices feel strange because they make a lot of sense without feeling contrived. We may disagree on Edmunds’ ranking, but it feels honest and practical.