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2007 Pickup Truck Buyer's Guide

Pickup Truck Buying Guide for 2007

by Martha Hindes

Pickup trucks have always been a magnet of sorts for some drivers. They thunder over rough Western terrain where work can be measured in hours of mercilessly hot sun or brutal winter blizzards, where miles are counted in the inches of dust attached to the vehicle's exterior, where an honest day's labor is a countdown from sunrise to sunset and beyond. They're the real-man or real-woman passage from ordinary to extraordinary effort, the grunt force of a job well done, the necessity nothing else on wheels can conquer. Their presence is a given.

With an atmosphere of downsizing and fuel economy running rampant throughout the country, it might seems strange to focus on such large, powerful vehicles with cavernous open bins in the rear and a penchant, at times, for plowing through gallons of gas quicker than someone can scarf down a slurpee. But pickups are purpose designed. Besides the rugged wild outdoor jobs they have serviced for decades, they can hold a pile of lumber for a cottage's new deck, haul a pair of wave runners with ease, and provide plenty of wiggle room for a restless, curious Labrador Retriever on the way to the local lake.

These traits might seem to be unrelated. But they are. Pickup trucks—and large ones at that—are at the crux of a claim for the heart and soul of the traditional and non-traditional pickup truck driver, where macho can matter as much as MPG, and brand loyalty can be as sacred as the vows to one's spouse. Once the turf of such American names as Ford, Chevy, Dodge, they have been joined by output from such offshore names as Honda, Toyota, Nissan and more. And the gauntlet thrown down is making it the best of worlds for someone on a pickup truck buying mission.

Want a vehicle that can deliver the plush interior of a Donald Trump limousine? Try a pickup. Want the ability to go from down and dirty to a trendy party after a quick trip through the car wash? Again, try a pickup. For those extended trips to mountain hideaways, or along countless miles of interstate, there's a full-size crew cab version with the room and amenities of a sedan, and some smaller fry that offer comfort and utility with a lower price and mileage penalty.

At RTM we pick our favorite pickups with an eye to rich variety, multiple purpose and extensive capability. Read on.