Best of 2007

Despite the economic challenges of the past two years, it’s hard not to look back at the past 10 years without calling it the Decade of the Pickup Truck. Sales of full-size pickups hit 2.56 million units in 2004, and Ford’s F-Series trucks remain the nation’s best-selling vehicles, 33 years in a row. and AutoPacific have compiled a list of the Top 10 Significant Pickup Trucks of the Decade from all of the new trucks sold between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2009. These trucks introduced new innovations, pushed the segment into new territory and made the competition sweat while helping their driver’s sweat less. There’s no rank order, but we’ve identified the pickup that was Most Significant, check out these Freightliner truck auctions.

2000 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab


Why it’s significant:
First compact pickup truck to offer four full-size doors and a configuration that prioritized passenger space over cargo capacity.

Crew cab pickups were popular in overseas markets long before they arrived in the U.S. Nissan was the first to offer buyers another choice beyond a regular or extended cab. Buyers loved the idea because entire families could now travel comfortably in pickup trucks on long trips or around town jaunts. The idea quickly gained traction with every manufacturer, and soon the crew cab made up almost half of the mix of all trucks sold.


2001 Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra Heavy Duty with 6.6-Liter Duramax Diesel


Why it’s significant:
Made GM a serious player in heavy-duty pickups and raised the bar for diesel engines.

In 2000, GM held less than 10 percent market share in the three-quarter-ton and one-ton truck segments. Its 6.2-liter and 6.5-liter diesel engines weren’t competitive with the mills in Ford’s and Dodge’s trucks. But GM’s joint venture engineering and manufacturing agreement with Isuzu Motors of Japan changed all of that. With Isuzu’s help, the 2001 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks debuted with the all-new 6.6-liter V-8 turbo-diesel. It broke new ground in horsepower, torque and fuel economy and helped GM jump to more than 30 percent market share by 2002.


2002 Chevrolet Avalanche


Why it’s significant:
Combined the best attributes of a full-size SUV and pickup truck in a single vehicle.

The wild-looking Chevrolet Avalanche debuted as a lightly disguised concept at the 2000 North American International Auto Show, though GM intended to build it to fill the gap between the Suburban and Silverado full-size trucks. Its patented convert-a-cab system made it versatile for carrying passengers or cargo, by offering pass-through access between the cabin and bed and a removable rear window. Unibody exterior styling was unique, as well as the use of a multilink rear suspension and composite bed — traits that would be reused later in the decade by the Honda Ridgeline.


2004 Nissan Titan


Why it’s significant:
The first true full-size half-ton pickup truck from a Japanese automaker.

Japanese car companies had successfully entered almost every segment of the U.S. car and truck markets except the unique domain of the North American full-size pickup truck when Nissan unveiled the 2004 Titan. Sure, Toyota marginally stuck its toes in the segment with its T100 pickup in 1993, but the T100 was too small and underpowered to be a serious contender.

The Titan met about 80 percent of half-ton buyers’ needs with its 300-hp, 5.6-liter V-8, an advanced five-speed automatic transmission and a choice of extended cab or crew-cab configurations. It quickly gained a loyal following, but later years’ sales were hampered by reliability issues with early trucks.


2005 Toyota Tacoma


Why it’s significant:
The best-selling small truck in the U.S.

Small truck sales have dwindled throughout the decade, but Toyota has managed to keep sales of the Tacoma relatively strong and take market share in this neglected segment. Just before the turn of the century, the Ford Ranger outsold Tacoma by more than 2-to-1. Today, it’s the exact opposite. The Tacoma offers a broad lineup of cab, body, wheelbase and engine choices with strong capabilities and excellent performance and refinement. What more could small-truck buyers want if they’re not going to buy a full-size pickup?