Japanese manufacturers like Honda and Toyota have carved out a special niche in the truck segment creating good looking, well equipped and most importantly, reliable products. Today we’ve rounded up our top three picks from the two brands, which are made right here in North America.
The best-selling mid-size Tacoma, assembled in Texas and Baja California, is currently in its third generation and about to enter the 2020 model year with a bunch of upgrades including a fresh hexagonal mesh grille and different alloy wheel designs.
Sold in no less than six trim levels and 30 different configurations, which includes the entry-level SR and rugged TRD Off-Road, there are also two powertrains offered: a 2.7-litre four-cylinder and a 3.5-litre V6, mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.
Straddling the line between car and truck is the Honda Ridgeline. Based on the same platform as the Pilot and Passport crossovers and put together in Alabama, the vehicle features similar styling cues such as the chrome bar-topped flying wing grille and black protective trim running underneath the bumpers, wheel arches and doors.
A unibody construction and compact 1,626-millimetre-long cargo bed means both driving and parking in the city is no problem. Inside, the rear seat cushions can flip up — similar to the Magic Seats in the Fit hatchback — to carry awkwardly shaped items such as a flat-screen TV or bicycle.
Fun fact: the Tundra was the first full-size pickup to be built by a Japanese automaker in North America back at the beginning of the new millennium. Now produced in Texas, customers can choose from a trio of bed lengths ranging from 1,676 to 2,469 millimetres. All grades seat five passengers.
Either a 4.6-litre or 5.7-litre V8 is found under the hood, latter including a standard 144-litre fuel tank and rated with a towing capacity of up to 10,000 pounds. This year an available SX package provides a blacked-out treatment to the grille, wheels and more.