Q: How much can you spend on a truck these days? A: Way more than you think
There’s a school of thought that suggests the truck is actually America’s most popular SUV. Certainly, most trucks can be bought in a basic work or fleet spec so it can be used purely as a tool, but many, many, people use them as daily drivers as well as fun and family vehicles at the weekend. Once you start going up the trim levels, a lot of trucks reach a premium or even luxury level inside to blend with that utility. Add to that the off-road ability with a 4x4 option or specific packages and a back seat in the cab, and all that’s different to an SUV is that the cargo area isn’t covered. As a result, people spend a lot of money on trucks.
That got us thinking… how much can you actually spend on a truck? We took that questions seriously and spent some time hitting every option, package, and accessory we could to find out how much buyers could theoretically spend on their favorite trucks.
The Ridgeline starts at $29,990 while the top of the range Black Edition comes in at $43,420. AWD is standard with the trim along with the 3.5-liter V6 engine. Honda includes the Sensing package here and the Black Edition is already packed out with things like ambient lighting and a skid plate, so there wasn’t a lot of option ticking to do and we topped out at just $48,323.
The Tacoma has a nice starting price of $25,700 in SR trim, so we went for the TRD Pro level at $42,810 before options. That gave us a double cab with a 5-foot bed to start with. Carbuzz spec would leave the 3.5-liter V6 with a manual transmission, but the auto is more expensive so we ticked it. The Tacoma was the first truck we came across where white wasn’t the most expensive color, but there are only three basic paints to choose from. We added the desert air intake as it's the only package offered, added chrome oval tube steps, alloy wheel locks, floor liners, then kitted out the bed, added the deck rail camera, exhaust kit, black alloy wheels, and all the extra trimmings to find we had spent $52,725.
The Colorado starts at $21,300, but we wanted it kitted out for off-road fun with the ZR2 package. With 4WD, the long box, and 3.6-liter V6 options ticked, that put us to $42,395. We added the ZR2 Bison package and the power package, among many others, the off-road sports bar and lights, the Bose system, the removable roof rack, and fender flares. That put us at $55,220 before a small discount.
Toyota’s grown up truck starts at $31,520. The Tundra's Platinum trim starts at $50,530, comes with the CrewMax cab and a 5.5-ft bed while being powered by the 5.7-liter V8 and Toyota’s 4WDemand system. For whatever reason, choosing white paint requires optioning the moonroof package, so we did that and were only at $51,725 as we hit the accessories. After going nuts kitting out the bed, interior, and exterior, we were still around $55,000 before starting to add TRD goodies like brakes, suspension, air filter, a skid plate, and sway bars. That put us up to $62,145 in total after delivery.
The Tradesman trim Ram 1500 starts at $33,190. We went all-out with the Limited trim 4x4 Crew Cab with a 6’4 box. That put us at $58,435 before choosing other options. We wanted nothing less than a 5.7-liter Hemi V8, and E-locker rear axle, plus an extended fuel tank, so those boxes all got ticked. We also ticked the off-road, towing, and the advanced safety equipment package. The Ram doesn't have an option tree quite like Ford F-150 but we still reached $67,585.
Nissan’s Titan starts at $30,690. We upped the ante and went for the Diesel King Cab Pro-4X so we could option the 5.0-liter Cummins diesel engine. That got us to a base price of $52,340 before packages. Choosing white paint got us spending money before adding the utility, convenience, and premium package to bring us up to $59,020. After accessorizing the hell out of the Titan, we ended up with a price of $65,567.
Ford’s base model F-150 XL starts at $28,155 and is so basic that the key features list include an AM/FM radio and a clock. Going up the trim level to Limited starts at $67,135. We selected the SuperCrew 4x4 option with the 6/12’ box as the 8’ box isn’t available with SuperCrew. With SuperCrew, we couldn’t add the FX4 Off-Road Package either, but with White Platinum paint, the wood interior and Bang & Olufson sound system package, the technology package, the aluminum cross-bed toolbox, and all the trimmings, then every smaller option box ticked, we reached a price of $73,999.
GMC will sell you a Canyon for $21,500 but we went for the more popular Sierra and the top of line Denali trim. The Sierra starts at $29,600 but you’re looking at $54,700 for the Denali. We went straight for the 4WD upgrade and got the 6.2-liter V8 the Silverado won’t let us have with 4WD. We added the Denali Ultimate Package and the Performance Upgrade Package, as well as a cargo and protection package. Once we kitted out the bed and interior, hit the white paint option, upgraded the brakes and suspension, then ticked as many accessory boxes as possible, we had spent $74,705 of our imaginary money.
You can get into a Silverado for $29,895 if you want a regular cab with a long bed. We had a decision to make pricing up a Silverado though. We went with the 6.2-liter V8 and 4-wheel drive, then once we ticked the box for High Country trim we had already spent $61,040. Choosing the High Country package meant we couldn’t get the Z71 off-road package, but we carried on and upgraded the brakes followed by as many bells and whistles inside and out as we could. Chevy will let you tick every box for every style of toolbox at once so we were sensible here, but still reached an end price of $80,750 with destination charges and before a $1000 discount.
The Tradesman trim is just $34,445 but the Laramie Longhorn trim comes in at $58,840 with the 4x4 option ticked. We wanted the monstrous torque capacity and extra cost of the 6.7-liter Cummins diesel engine matched to the AISIN 6-speed auto. We also optioned the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating to be 14,000 lbs, and the Max Tow Package to make it a dually. After adding as much as we could after that, we topped out at $81,310.
What if you want a bigger Ford truck? Well, you could get into the base model F-250 XL for $33,150 but we ticked the F-450 option and went from there with the CrewCab, 8’ box , the 176-inch wheelbase option, and got all of that in Limited trim. That got us going at $86,505 with the 6.7-liter V8 diesel and 4-wheel drive, but we added the FX4 package and heavy service suspension. By the time we added the heavy duty alternator, spray in bed, 5th wheel hitch kit, trailer camera, and every accessory we could tick that wasn’t a bike and kayak or kayak rack, we hit $101,86.