Three pickup trucks made the Car and Driver 10Best Trucks and SUVs list, the Ram 1500 (top left), Rivian R1T (top right) and Ford Maverick (bottom left).   -  Photo: Work Truck (Ford, Ram, Rivian, Car and Driver)

Three pickup trucks made the Car and Driver 10Best Trucks and SUVs list, the Ram 1500 (top left), Rivian R1T (top right) and Ford Maverick (bottom left). 

Photo: Work Truck (Ford, Ram, Rivian, Car and Driver)

Car and Driver named the 2023 Ram 1500, 2023 Rivian R1T, and 2023 Ford Maverick to its 10Best Trucks & SUVs list for 2023.

According to a release, previous winners were invited to defend their crown. And this year, three pickup trucks made the list covering all sizes: small, medium, and large.

To earn a 10Best win, a vehicle must prove itself against contenders as diverse as the automotive industry. Car and Driver's criteria remain the same: every winner must deliver exceptional driving engagement, offer indisputable value and/or practicality and fulfill its mission better than its competition.

The Car and Driver Winning Trucks

Let's dig into the top three trucks and what helped them make this year's list: 

Ram 1500

According to Ram Trucks., the 2023 Ram 1500 Limited and Ram 1500 TRX were submitted for evaluation. This marks the fifth consecutive year the Ram 1500 has earned this award. The award applies to the entire Ram 1500 lineup.

“For everyone looking for a full-size pickup, which is a lot of Americans, the Ram 1500 meets all your needs and exceeds expectations. Its coil-spring rear suspension provides luxury SUV-like ride quality, making the bouncy competition feel like farm trucks,” said Joey Capparella, senior editor, Car and Driver. “The Ram’s interior is its most impressive and delightful attribute featuring carefully selected materials, including leather, metal trim, open-pore wood and the kind of attention to detail we’d expect from a luxury sedan.” 

The Ram 1500 features coil-spring rear suspension and an optional 5.7L V-8 engine. Plus, you can't forget the supercharged Ram 1500 TRX with a 702 hp 6.2L V-8., 

This is the fifth year in a row the Ram 1500 has been named to Car and Driver’s 10Best. 

Ford Maverick

According to Car and Driver, the Ford Maverick makes a strong case for a compact pickup.

“The cab doesn't require a big climb to get into. Loading its bed doesn't mean lifting heavy cargo four feet off the ground. And the sightlines allow you to see what's in front of you. Easy to own, easy to use, and easy to live with, the Maverick proves that when done right, a compact truck is the ‘just-enough truck,’ ” said Joe Lorio, deputy editor, reviews and features for Car and Driver.

According to the Car and Driver Release, the Ford Maverick may lack the body-on-frame construction of its bigger siblings, but with up to 1,500 pounds of payload capacity, this isn't a truck in name only.

The 250-hp turbo 2.0L 4,000-pound max rating can handle real-life tasks. At the same time, the standard front-wheel-drive-only hybrid powertrain tugs just 2,000 pounds but achieves 42 mpg city, according to the EPA. Additionally, according to Car and Driver, the optional turbo four can send the all-wheel-drive Maverick to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds. 

Rivian R1T

The medium-sized pickup truck, the Rivian R1T “is the best-driving pickup we’ve encountered,” according to K.C. Colwell, executive editor of Car and Driver.

Car and Driver noted that, with 835 horsepower, the Rivian R1T is also the most powerful vehicle — pickup or not — to make 10Best. 

The Rivian R1T features four motors, one per wheel, to move the vehicle’s 7,150-lbs. to 60 mph in as few as 3 seconds. According to Car and Driver, one reason the R1T is so heavy is its 128.9-kWh battery pack. That power source nets a 75-mph highway range of up to 280 miles. 

“While the R1T is rated to tow a massive 11,000 pounds, it can't do so for long on a single charge. In our testing, the truck went only 110 miles, pulling a 6,100-lb. camper,” Colwell added. Car and Driver also noted the interior, futuristic design and overall comfort inside the cabin and luxury additions including adaptive dampers and air springs. 

Car and Driver noted that Rivian has two other battery sizes coming, both a smaller and larger version, as well as a less-powerful two-motor version that is expected to start at under $75k. 

In august, Rivian announced that it would be discontinuing the R1T Explore package, the least-expensive trim offered at that time. 

How to Win the Car and Driver Award

Car and Driver evaluates each contender versus its peers using a 100-point scale. To make the list, each vehicle must:

  • Deliver on its intended purpose better than its competition.
  • Offer great value.
  • Be entertaining to drive.

Any truck, SUV, or van with a base price higher than $110,000 was excluded from consideration, based on the editors’ belief that a high price should guarantee excellence.

Car and Driver's 10Best winners represent the smartest, most entertaining vehicles customers can buy today. They are picked after an exhaustive evaluation of this year’s new or significantly refreshed models and last year’s defending 10Best honorees.

Car and Driver editors drove, measured, tested, and scrutinized more than 55 cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans for two weeks.

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