Work Trucks: What You Get in a Basic Full-Size Pickup in 2023

As pickup trucks have become even more capable and well equipped, the humble work truck hasn't been left behind.

2023 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 towing a skid loader on a trailer through a construction site.Chevrolet


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In the past decade or two, pickup trucks have gained considerable popularity as automakers broadened their options sheets to include roomy four-door cabins and all the creature comforts. Forget about the days of skimpy work trucks with uncomfortable bench seats, limited sound insulation, no air conditioning, and a basic radio — if they came with a radio at all. Now even the most basic trucks are comfortable enough that you could use them as family vehicles, which may help explain why they're so popular.

Today's work trucks are well equipped, but some still skip out on some features you might think are ubiquitous. We took a look at what you can expect to find — and not find — on the most affordable workhorses in the full-size segment.

White 2023 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 WT is parked at a construction site.Chevrolet

2023 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

The base Silverado, called the WT or Work Truck, starts at about $37,000 in regular-cab guise. It's one of only two vehicles in the segment — the other being the mechanically identical GMC Sierra 1500 — to boast a four-cylinder engine, though it doesn't give the truck the edge in fuel economy you might expect.

Silverados equipped with the turbocharged 2.7-liter engine making 310 horsepower see 19/22/20 mpg city/highway/combined. This is matched or exceeded by some turbocharged V6 engine options in the competition.

Buyers will likely appreciate automatic emergency braking, a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, and the automatic high-beams, but they might lament the fact that cruise control costs extra and blind-spot monitoring isn't available. Chevy offers the WT in double- or crew-cab form, and selecting anything other than the most basic configuration — regular cab, standard bed — opens the door to a 355-hp 5.3-liter V8.

2023 Ford F-150 XL is parked in a quarry getting rocks loaded in the bed by heavy equipment.Ford

2023 Ford F-150

With a base price of $36,000, the regular cab F-150 XL is the entry point to the F-Series range. An 8.0-inch touchscreen with smartphone-mirroring tech graces the dashboard, and the backup camera has a hitch view that comes in handy when you're trying to attach a trailer. Cruise control is standard, but driver-assistance features such as blind-spot monitoring and lane keeping require additional funds.

The 3.3-liter V6 under the hood produces 290 horses, which is the lowest output on this list. Should you require more power, Ford will equip the regular-cab XL with a 325-hp turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 or a 400-hp 5.0-liter V8 for about $1,300 and $2,600, respectively. Those who choose the extended cab or crew cab XL gain another engine option or two.

White 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 Pro parked on grass in a mountain scene.GMC

2023 GMC Sierra 1500

Though powered by the same 310-hp turbo 2.7-liter four as the base Silverado, the Sierra 1500 Pro wears different styling and GMC badges and demands a slight premium. The opening bid is $38,000. Everything you'd find in Chevrolet's entry-level truck carries over to the Sierra, including the 7.0-inch touchscreen, some driver-assistance tech — forward-collision mitigation, automatic high-beams, lane keeping — and an available multifunction tailgate. Moreover, GM's 355-hp 5.3-liter V8 is available for Pro trim buyers who opt for any configuration other than the regular-cab, standard-bed setup.

2023 Nissan Titan sits parked off road in a badlands landscape overlooking distant mountains.Nissan

2023 Nissan Titan

The $42,000 Titan S is the only full-size half-ton pickup to offer a standard V8. In fact, the 400-hp 5.6-liter V8 is the lineup's only engine. While powerful, it contributes to the model's low fuel economy of 16/21/18 mpg. Inside, you'll find a 7.0-inch display between the analog gauges and an 8.0-inch touchscreen on the center stack. Nissan provides cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, automatic high-beams, and other driver-assistance features on even the entry-level King Cab, along with a spray-in bed liner.

White 2023 Ram 1500 towing a tractor down a gravel road in the countryside.Ram

2023 Ram 1500

For $41,000, shoppers can take home the Ram 1500 Tradesman Quad Cab, complete with a 305-hp 3.6-liter V6 and little else; Ram charges extra for most amenities. The basics are there — power windows, locks, and remote keyless entry — however, unless you upgrade to the 8.0-inch dash screen, you'll have to make do with a 5.0-incher that doesn't support Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. At least you get push-button start. And you can spec a 395-hp 5.7-liter V8, if you so desire, for $3,000 more on the entry-level model.

2023 Toyota Tundra parked in the dirt near a number of stationary railcars.Toyota

2023 Toyota Tundra

Toyota redesigned its full-size truck last year, giving it a bolder look and a 348-hp twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 in place of the V8. The starter Tundra is the double-cab SR, which demands $41,000 and comes loaded with goodies.

While you can't get blind-spot monitoring on that particular model, you can wirelessly connect your phone to the 8.0-inch touchscreen, set and forget the single-zone automatic climate-control system, and let the vehicle's standard adaptive cruise tech handle the stopping and going for you.

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Mike Meredith
Mike Meredith began his automotive journalism career in 1999 when he joined the editorial team of one of the top automotive websites at the time, and he hasn't slowed down since. He attended Trans-Am races as a child, spurring an interest in racing that lasts to this day.