By Chris Chase
Full-size pickup trucks are an important vehicle segment in Canada, with just half a dozen models making up an outsized percentage of the country’s annual new-vehicle sales.
You can trace much of the full-size pickup’s popularity to relatively recent improvements in comfort and fuel economy, which have helped make these trucks more common as daily drivers.
The same traits have solidified the pickup truck’s status as the workhorse of the auto industry, with countless tradespeople relying on them to keep their small businesses profitable. If you’re one of the many people who need a truck to do your job, low maintenance costs could be an important factor in helping you decide which model to buy.
Tracking down that information is not easy, so we talked to the industry experts at Vincentric, who have an inside line on the factors that affect what it costs to maintain a vehicle. They drew from a well of data to create a list of the five full-size trucks from the 2020 model year that promise the lowest maintenance and repair costs through the first five years of ownership.
Vincentric looked at factors like the manufacturers’ maintenance schedules and the costs of unscheduled maintenance and labour. They also considered the truck’s warranty to see which brands include some free maintenance as part of their coverage.
Here are the results of Vincentric’s deep dive into the full-size pickup truck class. One of the things you’ll notice about this list is that it includes trucks from just three of the six brands that compete in the segment.
Not represented here are GM’s Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, and the Toyota Tundra.
- 2020 Nissan Titan XD – $5,318.99
Introduced in 2017, the Titan XD is Nissan’s first attempt to crack the heavy-duty pickup market dominated by the domestic truck makers. The XD is designed to handle heavier towing and payload jobs than the regular Titan, but it is not as capable as the domestic brands’ heavy-duty pickups.
Nissan refreshed the Titan XD for 2020 with updated styling and a new powertrain consisting of a 5.6L V8 engine (400 hp/413 lb-ft of torque) and a nine-speed transmission.
The Titan XD’s towing capacity with a standard hitch is 4,894 kg (10,790 lbs), and maximum payload is 1,016 kg (2,240 lbs).
Nissan doesn’t provide fuel consumption estimates for the Titan XD because Natural Resources Canada doesn’t mandate them for heavy-duty trucks, which are classified as commercial vehicles.
Trim levels are SV ($60,998), Pro-4X ($67,998), and Platinum Reserve ($78,398).
Nissan’s warranty provides basic coverage for three years/60,000 km (whichever comes first) and covers the Titan XD’s powertrain for five years and 100,000 km.
- 2020 Nissan Titan – $5,362.59
While the Nissan Titan differs from the Titan XD in some noteworthy ways, they share a lot of parts – including the engine and transmission – which accounts for their similar projected maintenance costs.
The light-duty Nissan Titan’s towing and payload figures are 4,204 kg (9,270 lbs) and 717 kg (1,580 lbs) respectively.
Here, the line starts with S trim ($50,498), and moves to SV ($57,498), Pro-4X ($64,498) and Platinum Reserve ($74,898).
Nissan’s fuel consumption estimates are 15.1/11.1 L/100 km. Warranty coverage is the same as we listed above for the Titan XD.
- 2020 Ram 1500 Classic – $5,847.04
In 2019, Ram introduced an all-new generation of its 1500 pickup, but kept making the old version as the 1500 Classic.
The 1500 Classic comes in Tradesman, ST, Express, SLT, Night Edition, and Warlock trims. Prices start at $35,520 and top out at $52,720.
Engine choices are a 3.6L V6 (305 hp/269 lb-ft) and a 5.7L V8 (395 hp/410 lb-ft), both of which are matched with an eight-speed transmission. Fuel consumption is estimated at 13.9/9.6 L/100 km (city/highway) with the 3.6L engine and 2WD, and 14.5/10.2 with 4WD. V8 ratings are 15.7/11.0 with 2WD and 16.2/11.6 L/100 km in 4WD configuration.
Maximum towing capacity is 4,858 kg (10,710 lbs), and the payload rating is 871 kg (1,920 lbs).
The 1500 Classic is backed by three-year/60,000 km warranty coverage, while the powertrain is covered for five years/100,000 km.
- 2020 Ram 1500 – $5,864.89
Despite its similar name, the Ram 1500 is distinct from the 1500 Classic thanks to its more technology-intensive design. The two trucks use the same 3.6L and 5.7L engines, but this newer design adds a mild hybrid system to improve fuel economy and add low-end power. This version also offers a 3.0L turbodiesel V6 (EcoDiesel) that promises some of the best fuel efficiency in the full-size truck segment.
For all its differences, the Ram 1500 shares enough with the 1500 Classic that the projected difference in maintenance and repair costs is less than $20 over five years.
Ram doesn’t specify how much performance the eTorque system adds, listing the same power figures for the 3.6L and 5.7L engines here as it does in the 1500 Classic; the EcoDiesel makes 260 hp and 480 lb-ft.
The eTorque system does make a difference in fuel consumption, though. With it, the 3.6L is rated at 12.2/9.7, while the 5.7L eTorque estimate is 14.2/10.9. A non-eTorque version of the 5.7L engine is ranked at 16.2/10.5 L/100 km (city/highway) with 2WD and 16.1/11.0 with 4WD. A Ram 1500 with the EcoDiesel and 4WD is rated at 11.1/8.0 L/100 km.
Prices range from $44,545 to $77,045 for trim levels including Tradesman, HFE, Big Horn, Sport, Rebel, Laramie, Longhorn and Limited.
The Ram 1500 is covered by the same warranty as that listed above for the 1500 Classic.
- 2020 Ford F-150 – $6,125.84
The last entry in Vincentric’s list of full-size trucks with the lowest maintenance costs is the Ford F-150. The F-Series, as Ford refers to its full range of big trucks, is one of Canada’s best-selling vehicles overall. The 2020 F-150 is the final year for a generation introduced in 2015 with the segment’s first-ever aluminum bodywork.
Ford offers a wide range of gas engines, including a 3.3L V6 (290 hp/265 lb-ft), a 2.7L EcoBoost turbocharged V6 (325 hp/400 lb-ft, a 5.0L V8 (395 hp/400 lb-ft), and a 3.5L EcoBoost V6 with 375 hp and 470 lb-ft. You can also choose a 3.0L diesel V6 with 250 hp and 440 lb-ft.
Transmission options are 6- and 10-speed automatics, depending on which trim (XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, Limited, and Raptor) you choose. Prices range from $32,339 to $85,329.
Diesel fuel consumption is the F-150’s most impressive, at 11.1/8.3 L/100 km (city/highway). The 2.7L V6 promises the best gasoline economy, at 12.0/8.9 L/100 km with 2WD and 13.1/10.2 with 4WD.
Ford’s basic warranty covers the entire truck for three years/60,000 km. Powertrain coverage depends on which engine you choose: Gas engines are warrantied for five years/100,000 km, and the diesel is covered for five years and 160,000 km.