Unless you’re a contractor or a delivery driver, you probably have little use for a single cab truck anymore. Even, then a single cab or extended cab can be too limiting. That means you need a crew cab pickup truck.
A crew cab pickup is a four-door pickup that can seat five or six people. Different companies will have different names for their crew cabs. I’m going with a broad description of a crew cab here. Some auto journalists and industry folks will split hairs about what actually constitutes a crew cab, but to me, if a truck has four doors that have hinges on the front of the door and enough seats for five to six people, it’s a crew cab.
The benefit of a crew cab is obvious: more seating. That said, you’ll also find more storage and amenities in crew cab pickups, which is a major plus for trucks with this configuration. While just about every truck on sale today is offered with a crew cab, not all of them are worth your money. Let’s take a closer look at the ones that are.
2020 Ford Ranger
Ford brought the Ranger back to the U.S. in 2019. This new model is based on the Ranger T6 that’s available globally, but with some minor tweaks for the North American market. I’ve driven a crew cab version of the truck and found it to be quite nice. The truck is offered in three trim levels all of which come in the five-passenger crew cab configuration.
The Ranger comes with either two or four-wheel drive and a 270 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Ford offers its Co-Pilot suite of safety and towing technology that includes things like trailer sway control, a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring, and more.
The SYNC3 infotainment system with an 8-inch screen is available (top two trim levels), and as you climb the ladder, you’ll notice the truck becomes much more luxurious. You’ll also notice that the price tag shoots up considerably as well. Add anything to the Ranger, and you pretty quickly get far from its $24,410 starting price tag. And I have to note, the crew cab version starts at $26,810.
2020 Honda Ridgeline
As far as trucks go, you usually think about towing and payload, and the Honda Ridgeline certainly doesn’t win that constant argument among truck manufacturers. But here’s the thing, the truck tows 5,000 pounds and Honda told me that is as much as more than 90 percent of people ever tow. So, it doesn’t appear to be all that important. With that settled, you can turn to things like the interior and how smooth the drive is. This is where the Ridgeline shines.
The truck is as comfortable as a Honda Pilot. There’s plenty of room inside to stretch out, and because it’s a unibody construction, it actually drives more smoothly and car-like than any other pickup truck on the road. The infotainment system is just okay, but it has a generous 8-inch screen. The model is offered in four different trim levels, and a crew cab is standard for all of them. Also, the unique tailgate the swings sideways as well as down like a traditional tailgate and the large storage space under the bed make it exceptionally useful.
The engine on the Ridgeline is a staple in the Honda lineup. It’s a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. New for 2020 is a 9-speed automatic transmission. This is the non-traditional pickup truck, but when you drive it, you start to wonder why truck makers are clinging to tradition in the first place. It has a starting price of $33,900.
2020 Jeep Gladiator
The Jeep Gladiator is new for 2020. Recently, I had a chance to test drive it both on the road and off, and I have to say the truck is good in both environments. It’s a true off-road machine even in its lower trim levels. The Gladiator isn’t the most spacious of mid-size trucks out there, but it’s by far the coolest. You’re essentially getting all that you would with a Wrangler but with a truck bed, too. I know that the Jeep people will sputter “But they’re different!” Yes, I know, but it looks and feels like a Wrangler with a bed on it.
The Gladiator is available in only crew cab form (much like the Ridgeline). So you get the five-seat capacity no matter which of the seven trim levels you go with. The interior is styled like the Wrangler and is comfortable if you fit midsize trucks. Jeep’s Uconnect infotainment system is one of the best in the business, and Gladiator gets the latest iteration with up to a 7-inch touchscreen.
Under the hood of the square-jawed truck is a familiar engine for FCA vehicles, the Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 that makes 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Jeep is going to add a 3.0-liter V6 that will put out 260 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque but as of the time of this writing, it’s not out yet. No matter what engine or trim level you get, if you off-road, this is the crew cab pickup truck to buy. Jeep has a starting price of $33,545, but you can easily go well beyond that by going up in trim or adding a few options.
2020 Ram 1500
Ram’s 1500 pickup is the best full-size truck on sale today. I’ve driven it a few times now, and the truck is quite clearly putting the competition to shame. It offers a much more inviting interior than Ford, Chevy, and GMC, or any other full-size truck. It gets FCA’s excellent Uconnect infotainment system with up to a 12-inch screen if you want it. In crew cab form, the truck can be equipped like a work truck or rival luxury vehicles.
In terms of engines, you can get your truck with a variety of V6 or V8 options. There’s a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque and utilizes mild-hybrid eTorque tech. There’s a 5.7-liter V8 that makes 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. There’s also an eTorque version of this engine that has the same power output. Finally, Ram offers a 3.0-liter turbodiesel engine that puts out 260 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque. You can get any engine to power either two or all four wheels.
Those engines connect to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Ram offers its 1500 in six different trim levels. As you climb the ladder things get pretty pricey quickly. The lowest level is the Tradesman and starts at $32,145 with a quad cab, which is like a shorter crew cab. The full crew cab is available on the Rebel and up, which starts at $44,535.
2020 Ford F-150
Even though a new Ford F-150 is likely coming in 2021, the current pickup truck from the Blue Oval still manages to be one of the best out there, especially with a crew cab. You can still get a basic F-150 with a regular cab, but most folks opt for the spaciousness and modernity of the company’s crew cab pickup. I can see why.
Ford offers seven trim levels, six engines, and two or four-wheel drive. The first is the 3.3-liter V6 that makes 290 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque. The second is the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 that makes 325 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. The third is the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that makes 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. The fourth is the high output version of the 3.5-liter that makes 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque. The fifth is the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 that makes 250 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque. The sixth is the 5.0-liter V8 that makes 395 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. Engines connect to either a six-speed automatic transmission or a 10-speed automatic transmission.
The F-150 is the perfect work vehicle and family vehicle with a crew cab. It’s a kind of do-it-all machine, and it’s been the best-selling truck on the market for decades. There’s a reason for that, it’s because the truck is good. You get SYNC3 infotainment, tons of driver and towing assist features, and a comfortable cabin with easy-to-use controls. There’s little not to like. And the truck comes with a starting price of $28,745. I have to note the crew cab starting price is $35,285.
2020 GMC Sierra 1500
You might expect the see the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 listed here. It’s a good truck, but the GMC Sierra 1500 is the same truck with some better features, so it wins over its sibling. The GMC Sierra 1500 offers top-quality interior in most trim levels and impressive technology. I’ve driven the new version and I think it slots in third place behind Ram and Ford. It’s still a very nice truck, especially with a crew cab.
GMC sells models with two and four-wheel drive. The company offers five different trim levels. With those trim levels comes a selection of five different engines. First is a 4.3-liter V6 that makes 285 hp and 305 lb-ft of torque. Then comes a turbocharged 2.7-liter four-cylinder that makes 310 hp and 348 lb-ft of torque. Next is a 5.3-liter V8 that makes 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. Then, there’s a 6.2-liter V8 that makes 420 hp 460 lb-ft of torque. Finally, there’s a 3.0-liter Duramax turbodiesel I6 that makes 277 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque.
There is some cheapness to the materials in the cabin, but otherwise, it’s a very spacious and comfortable pickup. GMC also offers exclusive optional features like the CarbonPro bed made of carbon fiber and the MultiPro tailgate with a Kicker audio system. The truck starts at $31,195 with a regular cab. Jump up to the double cab and you’re at $34,860, and up to the crew cab puts you at $37,260.
Heavy Duty Trucks
2020 Ram 2500 and 3500
The Ram 2500 and 3500 heavy-duty pickup trucks are the extreme towing machines of Ram’s lineup. Both offer essentially the same package just with different ratings for towing and hauling. You can get these trucks with a crew cab and they are massive machines of awesomeness. The new heavy-duty version of the Ram trucks is just as slick as the 1500 from Ram just bigger and more powerful.
What that means is you get a high-tech and extremely comfortable monster of a pickup truck. Ram offers the heavy-duty trucks with two or four-wheel drive and with three engine choices. You can get a 6.4-liter V8 that makes 410 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque. The other option is a 6.7-liter turbodiesel that makes 370 hp and 850 lb-ft of torque. The third option is the same engine but tuned differently and it makes a whopping 1,000 lb-ft of torque.
Ram sells six different trim levels, so that means you can get your hardcore towing machine as a basic work machine or decked out like a luxury yacht. The price tag for the regular cab base 2500 model is $33,895, but this article is about crew cabs, and the price for the crew cab 2500 model starts at $37,450. If you climb the trim ladder and start adding options, you can get really close to six figures quickly.
2020 Ford F-250 and F-350 Super Duty
Ford’s Super Duty for 2020 is a wildly impressive machine that achieves class-leading numbers in hauling and towing. The truck is a massive reminder of why Ford sells the most pickups. In crew cab form, there’s tons of room in the F-250 and F-350. Like with any other manufacturer, the two designations are essentially the same truck just with some different ratings.
Ford sells the truck with two or four-wheel drive and with a 6.2-liter V8 that makes 385 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque as the base engine. It connects to a six-speed automatic transmission but the 10-speed is available. Next up is a mighty 7.3-liter V8 that makes 430 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque. The strongest of them all is the Power Stroke diesel 6.7-liter V8 that makes 475 hp and a class-leading 1,050 lb-ft of torque.
Inside, you’ll find it is just as inviting as the F-150 but with more space. There are six different trim levels for both the F-250 and the F-350. Each step up adds additional technology and better materials. The Limited trim will rival most luxury vehicles without breaking a sweat, and the SYNC3 infotainment system and the plethora of driver and towing assistance tech are excellent. The price for the F-250 base model is $33,705, but if you want a crew cab, you’re going to be paying $37,295. It only goes up from there all the way to six figures.
2020 GMC Sierra 2500HD and 3500HD
Last but certainly not least, we have the GMC Sierra 2500HD and 2500HD. Built to make towing easy, the GMC (and its Chevrolet counterpart) offers some of the best trailering technology in the world. I reviewed the GMC Sierra HD recently. It is a really nice truck. In crew-cab form, it’s massive and comfortable. There’s some General Motors cheapness in the interior, but otherwise, most of the machine is epic.
GMC sells the Sierra HD (both the 2500HD and the 3500HD with either two or four-wheel drive. There are a two engine options. The standard is the 6.6-liter V8 that makes 401 hp and 464 lb-ft of torque. Then there’s the 6.6-liter Duramax diesel V8 that makes 445 hp and 910 lb-ft of torque. The gas gets a six-speed automatic transmission, and the diesel gets an Allison 10-speed automatic transmission.
The GMC might not have the all-out best towing numbers, but its comfortable cabin and killer trailering technology makes it one of the best if not the best heavy-duty pickup trucks on the road. The equivalent Chevy isn’t quite as special and lacks the CarbonPro bed and MultiPro tailgate, but otherwise, it’s just as good. GMC sells the Sierra 2500HD with a starting price of $37,395 but that’s with the regular cab. Add the crew cab and you’re looking at $40,195.