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The Best Work Pickup Trucks in Canada

The Best Work Pickup Trucks in Canada

For small business owners and contractors who rely on their pickup truck to get the job done, having the right work truck is crucial. In 2023, there are many excellent options across various segments to consider. This guide will provide an overview of the best pickup trucks for work use based on capability, reliability, cost-effectiveness, and technology.

When equipped properly, full-size trucks like the Ford F-150, Ram 1500, Chevy Silverado 1500, and Toyota Tundra provide unmatched payload and towing capacities. Heavy duties such as the Ford Super Duty, Ram 2500/3500, and Chevy Silverado 2500/3500 can haul even bigger loads. For better fuel efficiency while maintaining versatility, midsize trucks like the Toyota Tacoma, Ford Ranger, and Chevy Colorado are compelling choices.

While capability is essential, so is reliability and durability to minimize downtime. Models from Ford, Ram, GM, Toyota, and Nissan have proven they can rack up 250,000+ miles with proper maintenance. It’s also wise to consider safety features, creature comforts, and the latest tech to improve the day-to-day experience.

This comprehensive guide will cover all the key factors in choosing the best work pickup truck for your small business or contracting needs. Whether you require maximum towing and payload, comfort and tech, or simply a reliable daily driver, there’s a truck that will fit your needs and budget.

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Capability: Choosing the Right Pickup for Your Needs

When selecting the best work pickup truck for your business, one of the most important factors to consider is capability. You need a truck that can reliably haul the payload and tow the trailers required for your jobs. Here are some key capability specs to look for:


Payload Capacity – This refers to how much weight the truck can carry in its bed. Payload capacities typically range from 1,500 lbs for midsize trucks up to over 3,000 lbs for heavy-duty models. Know how much equipment, materials, etc. you need to haul and choose a truck with enough payload capacity.


Towing Ability – Make sure to check the truck’s max towing capacity and tongue weight limit. Light-duty trucks can tow around 5,000-10,000 lbs, while heavy-duty pickups can handle up to 35,000 lbs or more. Go with a higher tow rating if you pull heavy trailers.


Truck Bed Size – Beds come in different lengths (5’7″, 6’6″, 8′) and widths (5’7″, 6’6″). Measure your cargo to determine the minimum bed length and width you need. Short beds offer better maneuverability.


4×4 Capability – For accessing muddy, icy, or uneven job sites, a 4×4 pickup with higher ground clearance is a must. Look for solid approach and departure angles to clear obstacles and steep inclines.


Choosing a truck with ample capability means you can confidently take on any hauling or towing task at your work sites.


Reliability & Durability: Pickups That Will Go the Distance

When choosing a work pickup, you’ll want one that can hold up to the demands of the job without constant repairs. While no vehicle lasts forever, some pickup trucks have a reputation for reaching high mileages before requiring major work.

A recent study by iSeeCars examined which pickup truck models were most likely to exceed 200,000 miles. The analysis found full-size trucks from Ford, Ram, and GM dominated the list of longest-lasting pickups. In particular, the Ford F-250, Ram 2500, and Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD were most likely to reach over 250,000 miles.

Opting for a diesel engine can also help boost longevity. Diesels provide tremendous low-end torque for hauling and towing, while often achieving better fuel economy than gas engines. However, diesels do cost more upfront. Brands like Cummins and Duramax have a strong reputation for durability in truck applications.

It’s also worth consulting reliability ratings from J.D. Power. Their annual awards evaluate problems reported by pickup owners across all major segments. Focusing on trucks with high dependability scores can help you find a pickup that will hold up to years of hard use.


Cost-Effectiveness: Balancing Performance With Value

When choosing the best work pickup for your business, it’s important to balance capability and performance with overall value. Full-size trucks like the Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado 1500, and Ram 1500 provide plenty of power, payload capacity, and versatility. However, they also come with a higher upfront cost. Midsize pickups like the Ford Ranger, Toyota Tacoma, and Chevy Colorado are more maneuverable and fuel efficient while still offering decent hauling and towing abilities. Though they have smaller cabs and beds, a midsize truck may meet the needs of many small business owners and contractors.

If aiming for maximum value, consider purchasing a slightly used pickup. Letting the first owner take the initial depreciation hit can save substantially on the purchase price. Trucks with 50,000-70,000 miles can still have plenty of life left while costing thousands less than new. When shopping used, be sure to inspect maintenance records, accident history, and the overall condition. Purchasing certified pre-owned can provide added peace of mind. With some hunting, you can find a reliable pre-owned work truck that retains excellent capability without breaking the bank.


Key Brands Known for Quality

When it comes to reliable pickup trucks that can rack up high mileage, certain brands stand out. Toyota has a stellar reputation for longevity thanks to rigorous quality control and engineering. The Toyota Tundra full-size truck is praised for hitting over 300,000 miles without major issues. Toyota’s midsize Tacoma is also known for reliability and above-average resale value.

Ford’s full-size F-150 leads U.S. truck sales and is considered one of the most dependable options. The F-150 features high-strength aluminum body construction and powerful engine choices including an available PowerBoost hybrid. Ford’s Super Duty pickups are workhorses capable of best-in-class towing and payload.

The Ram 1500 offers a smooth ride, refined interior and clever features like the multifunction tailgate. Ram Heavy Duty models live up to their capability claims for demanding jobs. Parent company Stellantis also produces the midsize Jeep Gladiator pickup.

GM trucks including the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra provide classic full-size pickup strengths. The Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize trucks balance maneuverability and utility. Owners praise the durability of GM’s proven V8 engines and rugged suspensions.


Safety Features

Safety should be a top priority when choosing a work pickup truck that will be driven daily for your business. Modern trucks now come equipped with advanced driver assistance systems and technology to help avoid collisions and protect you on the road.

Automatic emergency braking is an essential feature that uses sensors to detect potential frontal crashes and applies the brakes automatically if the driver does not respond in time. This technology can prevent many front-end collisions that result from distracted or fatigued driving.

Other important safety systems include:


  • Lane keeping assist – detects lane markings and steers the truck back into its lane if drifting is detected.
  • Adaptive cruise control – automatically maintains a safe following distance behind other vehicles.
  • Blind spot monitoring – alerts drivers to other vehicles in hard-to-see areas.
  • Rear cross traffic alert – senses approaching perpendicular traffic when backing up.
  • Surround view camera – provides a 360 degree view around the truck for easier parking and maneuvering.


Pickup trucks have high ground clearance for off-road capability. While beneficial for work sites, this also raises the risk of rollover accidents. Electronic stability control and trailer sway control are essential for preventing dangerous loss of stability when towing or hauling heavy loads.

Other passive safety features like side curtain airbags, full-length side guard rails, and high strength steel construction provide additional occupant protection in the event of a crash. Choosing a pickup with the latest safety systems will give you peace of mind that your truck can handle the demands of the job while protecting drivers.


Comfort & Convenience Features

Today’s pickup trucks offer more comfort and tech features than ever before, making them just as livable as a family sedan or SUV. When outfitting your work truck, consider the following:


Cab Size

Crew cab pickups with four full doors provide the most interior room and seating capacity. Extended cabs offer rear jump seats for occasional passengers. Regular cabs maximize bed space but only seat 2-3 people.


Integrated Tools

Look for available built-in air compressors, generators, welder plug-ins, bed storage units, and other job site equipment to maximize utility.


Entertainment Systems

Touchscreen displays with Bluetooth, WiFi hotspots, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, multiple USB ports, and premium audio make workdays more enjoyable. Available rear seat screens and apps keep crew members entertained on long drives.


Gas vs. Diesel Engines

When it comes to choosing between gas and diesel engines in a work pickup truck, there are tradeoffs to consider in terms of power, efficiency, and maintenance.

Diesel engines offer superior torque, which is important for towing and hauling heavy loads. The high torque at low RPMs gives diesels impressive pulling power. Diesels also provide better fuel economy, especially when doing a lot of highway driving. This can add up to major fuel cost savings for high-mileage use.

However, diesel engines cost more upfront. The diesel option typically adds $3,000-$5,000 to the truck’s MSRP compared to the gas V8. Diesels also require more expensive fuel and oil changes. And maintenance costs are higher due to the more complex fuel injection and emissions components.

Gas engines provide plenty of power and acceleration for most needs, without the higher diesel premiums. Large displacement V8s like Ford’s 6.2L and GM’s 6.2L offer excellent tow ratings up to 13,000 lbs when properly equipped. And new turbocharged gas V6s give better efficiency without sacrificing capability.

Overall, diesel engines shine for extreme towing/hauling and high annual mileage. But gas engines offer a better value for more typical use. Carefully consider your specific needs in order to choose between gas and diesel power.


2WD vs. 4WD

When shopping for a pickup truck, one of the key decisions is whether you need two-wheel drive (2WD) or four-wheel drive (4WD). The right choice depends on how and where you plan to use the truck.

2WD pickups send power only to the rear wheels. They tend to get better fuel economy than 4WD models, with ratings up to 2 mpg higher on the highway. 2WD also weighs less, improving performance and handling. These trucks are fine for regular roads and commuting but lack off-road capability.

4WD pickups have selectable high and low-range gearing to send power to all four wheels. This allows for better traction on slippery, loose, or uneven terrain. Trucks with 4WD have greater off-road ability to access muddy construction sites or rural job locations. However, 4WD is less fuel efficient and weighs more than 2WD.

For those who need to frequently drive on dirt, gravel, snow, or go off-road for work, 4WD provides the grip and control needed. But drivers who stay on paved roads most of the time can likely get by with 2WD and save on gas.


New vs. Used Trucks

When shopping for a work pickup, one of the biggest decisions is whether to buy new or used. There are pros and cons to each option.

New trucks offer the latest features, technology, and design. You can often customize a new truck to your exact specifications for capability and features. New pickups also come with full warranties and maintenance programs. However, buying new means taking on more rapid depreciation. Brand new trucks can lose 20-30% of their value in the first year alone.

Used trucks cost significantly less upfront. A model that’s just 2-3 years old can sell for thousands less than the new version, while still having fairly low mileage. This makes used trucks extremely attractive from a cost perspective. You skip the initial deprecation while still getting a relatively modern vehicle. However, used trucks come with more uncertainties about prior use, accidents, maintenance, and repairs. You also lose some factory warranty coverage.

When weighing new versus used, think about your budget constraints along with how long you plan to keep the truck. Those wanting to minimize depreciation may go used, while businesses that rack up high annual mileage may prefer new. Newer trucks also offer better fuel economy and capabilities as technology improves. Evaluate the total cost of ownership over your ownership period, rather than just the purchase price.


Top Full-Size Pickup Models

When it comes to full-size pickup trucks, three models consistently rise to the top as the best options for work use – the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, and Ram 1500. These trucks offer the ideal combination of capability, reliability, comfort, and technology.


Ford F-150

The F-150 has been the best selling truck in America for over 40 years and for good reason – it provides outstanding capability for a variety of work tasks. With multiple bed lengths and cab configurations available, payload capacities ranging from 1,670 to 3,325 pounds, and towing capacity up to 14,000 pounds, the versatile F-150 can be equipped to handle almost any job. It’s offered with two powerful turbocharged EcoBoost V6 engines as well as a fuel efficient 3.3L V6 and robust 5.0L V8. The interior offers plenty of tech, including the SYNC 4 infotainment system with a large touchscreen, integrated tools, and available options like a generator and onboard scales. The F-150 provides an exceptional balance of workhorse strength and modern comfort.


Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Chevy has made their Silverado 1500 pickup even more capable and high-tech for work duty. Offered in regular, double, and crew cab styles with short, standard, and long cargo beds, it can be configured for your specific needs. Impressive payload ratings up to 2,250 pounds, along with trailering capacity up to 13,300 pounds enables transporting heavy equipment with ease. The wide range of efficient engine choices includes a torque-rich turbodiesel 3.0L Duramax as well as V6 and V8 gas engines. On higher trims, the Silverado 1500 provides useful tech like a power up/down tailgate, trailering cameras, a rear camera mirror, and a multi-flex tailgate allowing easier loading. The refined, comfortable interior has plenty of space to fit a crew.


Ram 1500

The Ram 1500 pickup has earned a reputation for its remarkably smooth ride quality and plush interior comfort, while still offering the strength required for work. The coil-spring rear suspension soaks up bumps with ease, keeping occupants comfortable on the job site or highway. Its towing capabilities are robust, with a max capacity of up to 12,750 pounds properly equipped. The RamBox cargo management system with lockable compartments integrated into the bed sides is perfect for securely storing tools and gear. Inside, the Uconnect infotainment system provides a large touchscreen with standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Available in multiple cab and bed configurations, the Ram 1500 balances luxury and capability in a versatile full-size truck.


Best Heavy Duty Pickups

When you need maximum capability for the toughest jobs, heavy duty pickups are the way to go. The leading options in this category are the Ford F-Series Super Duty, Ram 2500/3500, and Chevy Silverado 2500HD/3500HD.

The Ford F-250 and F-350 offer best-in-class towing of up to 24,200 pounds along with a high-strength military-grade aluminum alloy body and high-torque Power Stroke diesel engine. The interior is comfortable and high-tech with the latest SYNC 4 infotainment system. Ford’s Tremor Off-Road package adds greater clearance, chunky tires, and skid plates for tackling rugged terrain.

The Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty trucks are built to handle the biggest jobs with a maximum towing capacity of 19,780 pounds. The Cummins turbo diesel provides up to 1,075 lb-ft of torque for impressive pulling power. Ram’s link coil rear suspension ensures a smooth ride when the truck bed is empty. The RamBox cargo management system adds lockable, weatherproof storage along the bed sides.

Chevy Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD models offer 18,500 pounds of max towing capacity along with the Duramax diesel and Allison transmission combo preferred by many heavy haulers. The MultiPro tailgate provides six configurations for easier cargo access and bed extender flexibility. Advanced trailering tech like transparent trailer view and an in-vehicle trailering app simplify towing large loads.

When properly equipped, today’s heavy duty trucks can pull fifth wheel trailers, multi-car haulers, and anything in between. They provide the muscle and stamina needed for the most demanding jobs.


Top Midsize Trucks

When you need a pickup with maneuverability and good fuel economy, midsize trucks are a great option. Here are some of the top midsize pickups for work use:


Toyota Tacoma

The Toyota Tacoma has earned a reputation for reliability and durability, making it a smart choice for small business owners. Available in multiple cab configurations with a choice of 4-cylinder or V6 engines, the Tacoma provides excellent payload and towing capabilities for its size. The Tacoma’s off-road prowess, quality interior, and Toyota’s reputation for low maintenance costs make it one of the best midsize pickups.


Ford Ranger

After an eight-year hiatus, the Ford Ranger returned to the U.S. market in 2019. The current Ranger impresses with its powerful turbocharged engine, class-leading payload rating, and high-tech features. With a choice of extended or crew cab options, the Ranger provides versatility for both work and personal use. Standard safety features like automatic emergency braking add peace of mind. Overall, the Ranger is a smart, modern choice in a midsize pickup.


Chevrolet Colorado

The Chevy Colorado offers excellent utility in a midsize package, with a diesel engine option that provides stellar fuel economy. The Colorado has excellent payload and towing capacities for its class. Available driver assistance features and an easy-to-use infotainment system make it family-friendly as well. With two cab choices and proven reliability, the Colorado is one of the most versatile options for a midsize work truck.


Conclusion – Summary of Key Factors for Choosing the Best Work Pickup Truck

When it comes to choosing the best work pickup truck for your small business or as a contractor, there are several key factors to consider:


First, assess your capability needs – payload capacity, towing ability, truck bed size, off-road performance, and chassis configurations. Choose a pickup that can handle your specific job requirements.

Look for proven reliability and durability in top truck brands known for quality, with powerful yet fuel-efficient engines that will go the distance.

Balance performance with value. While heavy-duties offer maximum capability, lighter-duty full-size and midsize trucks can provide the sweet spot between power and price.

Prioritize modern safety features like collision avoidance and consider convenience options like in-vehicle tech and storage solutions.

Finally, determine whether new or used, gas or diesel, 2WD or 4WD makes the most sense based on your budget and needs. Weighing all these factors will lead you to your ideal work truck.

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Questions About Work Pickup Trucks in Canada

The Ford F-150 is generally considered the best pickup truck for work in Canada. It has the highest towing and payload capacities in its class, as well as an available Power Stroke diesel engine that provides plenty of torque for hauling and towing heavy loads. The F-150 also offers a comfortable interior and innovative features like the Pro Trailer Backup Assist system.

Some key features to look for in a Canadian work pickup include:


– High towing and payload capacities – Look for trucks with at least 5,000 lbs of towing and 1,500+ lbs of payload capacity. The more the better for hauling equipment and materials.


– Four wheel drive (4WD) – 4WD helps maintain traction in slippery conditions like snow, mud, loose dirt, etc. Important for Canadian winters.


– Diesel engine option – Diesels provide more low-end torque for towing and hauling. They also tend to be more fuel efficient when not under heavy load.


– Crew cab – The crew cab provides seating for 5-6 people, allowing you to fit more workers. The extra cabin space also provides storage for tools, gear, etc.


– Technology features – Look for features like blind spot monitoring, back up cameras, traction control, lane keep assist, etc. These help improve safety and capability.

According to consumer reports and surveys, Toyota and Ford trucks consistently rank as the most reliable pickup brands in Canada. The Toyota Tacoma and Tundra have stellar long-term reliability ratings, as does the Ford F-150. Other relatively reliable options include the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, and Ram 1500. Stay up to date on maintenance and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for severe duty operation.

Most modern pickup trucks are very capable in Canadian winters, especially if equipped with four-wheel drive (4WD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). Trucks tend to have high ground clearance for snow and their rear-wheel drive layout is excellent for maintaining traction in slippery conditions. Equipping winter tires, adding weight in the bed, and adjusting driving habits for the conditions also helps pickup trucks handle ice and snow safely and effectively.

You can expect a combined fuel economy of 18-25 mpg from most full-size pickup trucks in everyday driving conditions in Canada. However, equipped with a diesel engine, properly loaded, and driven conservatively, some trucks like the Ford F-150 can achieve 30+ mpg on the highway. Factors like cab style, bed length, towing frequency, road conditions, and driving habits significantly impact real world fuel economy.

In Canada, brand new full-size pickup trucks range from about $35,000 CAD on the low end, up to $80,000+ for high-end models. However, more reasonably equipped trucks suitable for work purposes typically cost between $45,000-$65,000. Shopping for a 1-3 year old used truck can provide big savings, usually 20-40% less than new. Do research to find the right balance of price, capability, tech features and overall value.

For reliability and capability, many consider 2014-2018 to be an exceptionally good period for pickup trucks in Canada. This spans the 12th generation F-150, the K2XX platforms for GM trucks, and the 5th generation Ram 1500. Each brought improved power, efficiency, tech features, and more refinement over earlier models. That said, properly maintained trucks from 2010+ model years make great Canadian workhorses, while older trucks can also be good value if inspected carefully before purchase.

The average pickup truck in Canada lasts between 200,000 to 300,000 kilometres, or about 15-20 years, before requiring major repairs. With proper maintenance and care, many trucks reach 500,000+ kilometres. Factors impacting longevity include climate exposure, towing/payload frequency, road conditions, accident history, and consistency of scheduled maintenance. Diesel-powered trucks also tend to outlast their gas-powered counterparts.

It depends on your specific cargo, towing, payload and passenger needs. Smaller midsize trucks like the Ford Ranger or Chevy Colorado can haul modest loads while providing better fuel efficiency and maneuverability. For more substantial towing and hauling needs, most choose a full-size truck like the F-150, Silverado 1500 or Ram 1500. One-ton heavy duty trucks like the Ford Super Duty or Chevy Silverado 3500 can manage extreme loads of 10,000+ pounds.

For versatility, a standard 6.5 or 8 foot bed is ideal for most work truck needs in Canada. The longer the bed, the more cargo and materials you can haul. But the shorter 6.5 foot bed is easier to maneuver and park while still carrying 4×8 sheets flat on the floor. Short 5.5 foot beds are better suited to off road use. You can also opt for an insert or topper to create a covered cargo area when needed.

It depends on your needs. Extended cabs with rear suicide doors provide some extra storage while maintaining a shorter overall length for maneuverability. Crew cabs have four full-size doors and room for 5-6 adults, allowing you to carry more crew members or tools. But the longer wheelbase slightly reduces payload capacity and turning radius. Consider how often you need to carry multiple passengers versus maximum cargo.

Some top productivity-boosting features for Canadian work pickups include:


– 110V/400W power outlets – Run power tools and equipment from the truck


– Integrated trailer brake controller – For smooth, safe towing


– Spray-in bedliner – Protects the bed from dents/scratches


– LED cargo lighting – Illuminates the bed for loading in the dark


– Rail and cleat tie downs – Secure cargo of all shapes/sizes


– Lockable storage under rear seat – Keep high-value tools out of sight

4WD or AWD is highly recommended for Canadian pickup trucks that will be used for work. 4WD helps maintain traction in snow, ice, mud, slippery dirt, and other challenging conditions that work trucks often face. This allows you to access job sites and haul loads more reliably year-round. 2WD trucks can still be effective in some regions/applications, but confirm it will meet your traction needs before deciding.

For work applications, choose a pickup with an available low-range transfer case rather than a full-time AWD system. This gives you the versatility of 2WD for normal driving to maximize fuel efficiency, with the option to engage 4WD Low as needed for severe traction scenarios when hauling and towing. Trucks like the F-150 offer selectable drive modes to fine tune traction, while Ram provides a limited slip rear differential for extra grip in 2WD.

Diesel engines provide tremendous low-rpm torque ideal for towing and hauling heavy loads. The upfront cost is higher, but diesel fuel contains more energy per gallon. Trucks like the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel or F-150 PowerStroke achieve 20-30% better fuel economy versus gas trucks when loaded near maximum capacity. Diesels also tend to have higher resale values. But gas engines are cheaper to buy and maintain – so weigh your needs versus operating budget.

Look for at least a 3 year, 60,000 km bumper-to-bumper warranty and 5 year, 100,000 km powertrain warranty. Some brands like Hyundai and Mitsubishi offer superior 5 year/100,000 km comprehensive coverage. Extended protection plans can provide longer coverage periods too. Ensure the warranty will cover commercial/fleet use without exclusions. Extended coverage provides peace of mind for costly repairs down the road.

The Ford F-150 Raptor, Ram 1500 TRX, Jeep Gladiator, Toyota Tacoma TRD-Pro and Chevy Colorado ZR2 are among the top pickup trucks for Canadian off-road use thanks to specialized suspensions, all-terrain tires, protective skid plates, higher ground clearance and advanced 4WD systems. These enable climbing rocky trails and powering through mud while hauling gear or small trailers. Some other trims like the Silverado Trail Boss also have credible off-road credentials.

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