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Today’s trucks are more capable than ever. Manufacturers are starting to realize that for many of us, they’re play vehicles, work vehicles, family vehicles, and much more. So, as we use them for more things, we’re seeing more and more cool options show up. If I were to buy a new truck, I’d look to see if I could get all these options on one truck.

Household outlets in the bed

Ford Super Duty with Pro Power Onboard
The F-250 can get Pro Power Onboard outlets in the bed | For

Many trucks come with 120-volt household outlets for powering tools or tailgating supplies. Chevy, Ram and GMC all offer an outlet in the cab, but look for one in the bed. Trust me, it’s awesome in my Ram.

Every Hybrid Ford F-150 comes with the Pro Power Onboard system, which is a clever 2.4-kilowatt generator for running tools or tailgating supplies. F-150s with the system get two household outlets in the bed. A 7.2-kilowatt generator is optional. According to Ford,  2.4 kilowatts of juice is enough to run a circular saw, a miter saw a small air compressor, and a battery charger at once. It’s now an option on Maverick, Lightning and Super Duty.

Trailering assistance

A screen showing Pro Trailer Hitch Assist
Pro Trailer Hitch Assist backs up your truck automatically | Ford

This is one feature I wish my truck had because this Ram driver has a habit of jackknifing trailers while backing up. Ram and Ford now offer great trailer assist systems that removes the steering wheel from the equation. Instead, you hook up a trailer, the system can connect and you use a knob on the dash to steer the trailer left or right. The truck does the rest.

Chevy also has a system that offers a hitch-view camera, as well as hookups for a dedicated trailer camera and extended trailer-length blind spot monitoring.

Trail – and trailer – cams

Every vehicle is required by law to have a backup camera. But, now many trucks are coming with front cameras, underbody cameras, front trail cameras and more. When you’re off-road, these cameras act like a spotter, showing you what you can’t see from the cab. When you’re parking, they can make sure that you don’t ding the car next to you.

Several trucks now offer special trailer cameras that can extend your rear-view mirror beyond the trailer. Extra trailer cameras work with digital “mirrors” to show you what’s behind the trailer, and are available for many of today’s full-sized trucks.

A new tailgate

Ram 1500 Multi-Function Tailgate
Ram 1500 Multi-Function Tailgate | Ram

A tailgate is a tailgate, right? Not anymore. Ford started to add a step into its beds several years ago, which helps you get into a bed on a tall truck. In response, Ram created a tailgate with two doors that can swing open in a 60/40 split out, like a refrigerator, or down like a regular tailgate. Chevy and GMS added the Multi-Flex tailgate that adds a step, or it can be configured to hold extra long stuff in the bed, like long boards.

Toyota’s Crawl Control

This is a Toyota exclusive and its magic if you’ve ever seen it in action. It’s super easy to bury your truck in the mud or sad when you’re off road, and super hard to get out. Usually, that requires tow hooks, a winch, or special boards. Crawl control uses the computers in a Tacoma to figure out exactly where you have traction and it gives tiny bits of power to that wheel until the truck is out.

A Frunk

A person is inflating a tire using a gray 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Mega Power Frunk.
The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning | Ford

We love the frunk, or front-trunk in the new Ford F-150 Lightning. Pickups are great at holding stuff, but no so great at locking stuff, so a frunk makes sense. The Lightning’s even has power ports built in. Hopefully, the new EV trucks from Chevy and Ram will have useful frunks, too.


Big off-Road: New Silverado HD ZR2, Rebel 2500, and F-250 Tremor