It used to be you could either pick a truck, or pick something that was quick. But these days, an increasing number of brands are offering trucks with all of the utility they've long been known for, plus surprisingly good acceleration and top speeds. Thanks to lighter materials used in construction of the truck, and high-performance engines that are often turbocharged, modern trucks no longer have to feel like slow behemoths. Here's a look at some of the quickest trucks on the market in 2020.
The Raptor remains king of quick production trucks, both in its current iteration and the first-gen V8 models. The Raptor gets its speed from a twin-turbo V6 engine that makes 450 horsepower, and it's aided by a race-inspired suspension and 4WD. This second generation of Raptor can be had in both crew cab and extended cab layouts. It can also be equipped with Ford's Pro Trailer Backup system to make hitching a trailer more effortless.
Inside the 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor.
If you want the civilized luxury of a crew cab truck with the power of Ford's Raptor, then consider the Ford F-150 Limited. This model uses the Raptor's 3.5-liter engine to make 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. This makes it one of the most powerful gas-powered light pickups on the market.
Inside the 2019 Ford F-150 Limited. This high-end trim level features luxury amenities in the cabin, including wood trim, a panoramic moonroof, and heated and cooled leather seats that also offer massage.
Nissan updated the Titan for the 2020 model year, bumping the output of its 5.6-liter V8 to 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque. This engine is now paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission that replaces the earlier model's seven-speed unit. To make the Titan as quick as possible, you'll need to get the lightest model, which is the regular cab version with an eight-foot bed. This combination weighs about 350 pounds less than extended-cab models.
Inside the 2020 Nissan Titan. Upgrades over the 2019 model year include an optional nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system, panoramic moonroof, and wifi router.
The Honda Ridgeline isn't as powerful as many of the other models listed here (particularly when it comes to towing and hauling). Still, thanks to its unibody construction -- a rarity for pickups -- and a 280-horsepower V6, the Ridgeline is pretty quick.
The Ridgeline also features a refined interior that's more spacious and comfortable than its midsize truck rivals.
In order to get the most out of the GMC Canyon, you'll need to opt for the 3.6-liter, 308-horsepower V6. With it, the Canyon promises a zero to 60 time of 6.3 seconds and a top speed of 99 MPH (adding the optional Power Package will likely make things a little quicker thanks to an upgraded air intake and exhaust). The Canyon with the optional diesel engine also offers fuel economy numbers that are near the top of its class.
Inside the 2019 GMC Canyon with V6.
The Silverado 1500 was all-new for 2019 and offered several healthy engine choices. Its two most powerful are the 5.7-liter V8 and the 6.2-liter V8. The latter engine gives you 420 horsepower and much stronger performance. From there, you can add the Z71 Off-Road Package, which gives you more traction, an off-road suspension, and a locking differential. A Performance Upgrade package is another option that provides the Silverado with a performance air intake and performance exhaust.
Inside the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71.
To get the most speed and performance from the 2020 Toyota Tacoma, you'll need to step up to the 3.5-liter V6 that makes 278 horsepower, and then pair it with a manual transmission. The Tacoma is one of only a few trucks that offer a manual transmission with a V6 engine.
Buyers can also add the TRD Pro package to give the Tacoma maximum quickness, whether on or off-road. The extra equipment here includes off-road shocks, a TRD-tuned high-performance exhaust and various visual touches.
Inside the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro.
For 2020, the Tundra comes standard with a robust 5.7-liter V8 that makes 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque, plus a six-speed automatic transmission. For handling to go with the quickness, you'll want to get the TRD Sport model, which adds sport-tuned Bilstein shocks, a hood scoop and TRD sway bars on the rear and front.
Inside the 2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Sport.
Like the Silverado 1500, the Sierra 1500 is all-new for 2019 and offers four engine choices. The two most powerful engines are the 5.3-liter V8, which makes 355 horsepower, and the 6.2-liter V8, which produces 420 horsepower. The AT4 trim features several upgrades like an off-road suspension and traction control. If you add the Performance Upgrade package, you'll also get a performance air intake and a cat-back performance exhaust.
Inside the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 with the Performance Upgrade package.
The Colorado ZR2 features upgrades inspired by off-road racing trucks, including desert racing shocks, a two-inch lift, and electronic-locking differentials in both the rear and front, rock rails that protect against body damage, and Goodyear Wrangler off-road tires. Even though a turbodiesel engine is available, you'll get more speed with the V6 engine that makes 308 horsepower, plus the 4WD setup.
Inside the 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2.
The Ram 1500 was redesigned for 2019, and it got quicker thanks in part to being a claimed 225 pounds lighter than the previous generation. This Ram also offers partial-hybrid powertrains. To get the fastest Ram 1500, start with the base trim, which is the Tradesman, which comes with an extended cab and 6'4 bed length. Add an optional E-Locker rear axle to help acceleration and traction. Finally, equip it with the 5.7-liter V8 with the mild-hybrid powertrain, which saves fuel and adds power: 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque to be exact.
Inside the 2019 Ram 1500 Tradesman.
The Ford Ranger has been out of Ford's lineup for a while, but it returns for the 2019 model year with an energetic engine that is quick and competent at both towing and hauling. The only available engine is a turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 270 horsepower, which tops the power of most of its rivals in terms of a base engine. The Ranger accelerates quickly and continues to respond at high speeds with a zero to 60 time of under 7.5 seconds.
Inside the 2019 Ford Ranger.
The Ford F-250 is, unsurprisingly, built for heavy towing and hauling, but that doesn't mean it can't be quick too. Believe it or not, the Ford Super Duty F-250 can scoot from zero to 60 in 7.5 seconds with a two-wheel-drive model and the 4WD model is slightly faster at 7.4 seconds. These times are with the 6.7-liter turbodiesel V8 engine, which makes 450 horsepower and 935 pound-feet of torque.
Inside the 2019 Ford Super Duty F-250.
The Nissan Frontier may linger in the old-school truck market with interior features that are badly in need of an update, but it's a pretty quick truck. The Frontier makes up for being outdated by also being consistent and reliable. Nissan updated the Frontier's powertrain for the 2020 model year, ahead of a full-scale update to the entire truck for 2021. The updates give the Frontier a new 3.8-liter V6 that makes 310 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque, plus a new nine-speed automatic transmission.
Inside the 2019 Nissan Frontier.
Even though most drivers aren't likely to be looking at a heavy-duty truck for its speed, the Ram HD trucks are quite fast for their size. The Ram 2500 can manage a zero-to-60 time of 7.2 seconds and will do the quarter-mile in 15.6 seconds at a speed of 89 mph. The Ram 3500 also manages the zero-to-60 time in a respectable 8.1 seconds. Ram HD trucks are also towing monsters with the 3500 able to pull over 35,000 pounds when properly equipped.