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Have you looked at a GMC Canyon yet? I had a 19 Denali crew cab long box with the duramax 2.8, the truck was rated to tow 7,700 pounds, although a bit pokey off the line. This truck has tons of torque, and I could easily get 35mpg on the highway. My wife had a crew cab short box V6 version, the engine drive trail combination rips, I’d say better than my F150 work truck with the 2.7. Go do some test drives, and pick what you like. Cheers
My mother in law has the Colorado...and I got one as a loaner when my Duramax went in for first oil change, which was free.

For a family, I'd stick with the full sized trucks. Price isn't that much different, but performance is. Stick with the 1/2 ton's. Extended cabs will work while your kids are young...they will quickly be kicking the back of your seat. : )

Not a fan of rust...and understand why some would shy away from Chevy/GMC. I will tell you in all my years, and owning 8 different GM trucks, I have never had issues with the powertrain. everything from the massively underpowered 305 V8 to the 496/8.1 Big Block (awesome engine!), and now the DMax. Transmissions always solid, engines even better.

I've heard very good things about the Ford turbo v6's...wonder how they will hold up.
 
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I've heard very good things about the Ford turbo v6's...wonder how they will hold up.
Well the 3.5 EcoBoost has been around since 2010.... It isn't like it is a new venture. Like most things they have come out with changes through the years based on what they have learned.

2017 is when the Gen II 3.5 EcoBoost came out but I am not 100% sure if all of them from 2010-2016 were basically the same. The Gen II added injectors in the intake tract to help prevent coking on the backside of the valves that happens to direct injection engines. It still has direct injection as well. It boosted the HP and Torque numbers a bit but they also mated it to a 10 speed transmission at the same time.

For us towing a camper what I like about it is you get the torque way down in the RPM range. With the 6.2l engine in my GMC it didn't develop the peak torque until basically near redline.

2011 GMC Yukon Denali 6.2 403 HP/417lb-ft @4300 RPM
2018 Ford F150 3.5 Gen II 375 HP/470 lb-ft @2500 RPM

I don't miss the HP at all. The difference pulling our camper out of the valley where we normally camp is I would go up that hill wide open throttle and was lucky to maintain 55-60 with the Yukon. Same hill, same camper. 1/2-2/3 throttle and I had to lift off the throttle when I noticed I was doing 72 and still accelerating. With more gears it has an easier time keeping it at lower RPM working the engine less. This truck might be a gas but it drives like it is a diesel.

Towing I would say the MPG is about the same. 7-8 MPG or so towing. However it pulls it so much better that it is like it isn't there.

As for the 10 speed. I hear a lot of mixed opinions on it but keep in mind it is a joint venture between both GM and Ford oddly enough.

The EcoBoost isn't for everyone. So far we are happy with it but to be honest we haven't had it long enough. They still make the 5.0 V8 for those that want a more traditional engine.
 
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I have a 2016 F150 SuperCrew with the 2.7 Ecoboost. I'm happy with the truck so far. Had some issues with the frozen door handles till the recall was performed, and had issues with the power windows. Other than that, it's been great in 2 years of ownership. The rest of the family loves the truck, we choose to drive the truck rather than the wife's Lincoln MKX. More room, rides almost as well. I have a 22 foot boat, and we towed it 400 miles last summer on vacation, and it performed great. Averaged 14.8 mpg with the boat and a bed full of stuff. I was also concerned about rust, and the aluminum removes that problem.

My last few GM vehicles have been problematic, and Mopar has been a mixed bag for me. Our Town and Country was absolutely perfect, and my Durango was a nightmare. YMMV.
 

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I have a 15 F150 Lariat 4x4, I bought new. After I got the "new bugs" worked out, it's been a great truck. I have had no issues pulling anything I want to pull <8k lbs.

Definitely, test drive (perhaps a lot) before you buy. IMO, the newer (2014+) trucks will drive better (more car like) if you have it for DD, then the older ones, which tend to have a more truck like feel (more body roll, stiffer suspensions, etc.), and be much better on gas. This doesn't sound like a big deal, but if you drive a lot, spend a lot of time in it, or travel with your truck (I do), then comfort is important.
 
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I've owned 3 Ram 1500 quad cab pickups since 2000. They were all terrific trucks and my last one was a 2015 Laramie which was loaded included air suspension. I sold this truck with 50K miles to my son in-in-law for $26K and he luv's it as much I did. My son just sold a 2014 Ford quad cab v8 with 60K miles for $19,500 and it was a terrific truck also. I drove it from Az to Iowa to sell for him as I sold him my Hyundai Sonata and really liked it to. You should easily be able to find a REALLY NICE late model used truck in almost any configuration you wish with your budget! I almost hesitate to make this statement because everyone has their own opinion but I REALLY think the RAM is and has been the best truck out there for the past several years!
 

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I don't think this will be a huge issue for the OP since it doesn't sound like there is a lot of towing in mind but one benefit that I will agree to of a V8 over some of these turbo V6 trucks is engine braking. A V8 does a better job of moderating speed coasting down a hill that even the V6 in tow mode. It isn't bad and maybe some of it is to take better advantage for MPG to coast down a hill but I feel I have to use the brakes a bit more. Though with Adaptive Cruise it is doing it all by itself.

I guess another comment I have about the trailer is I would consider one anyhow. Sure, I now have a pickup so it is less of an issue but even back when I had one before the SUV, I find I use a trailer a lot. It saves wear and tear in terms of hauling dirt or rock. There is no way I would go to the gravel yard and have them load up the bed of my truck. Not only that the trailer has a ramp and is much lower to the ground for heavier items which makes it a lot easier to load and unload. I have had to move big things like refrigerators and stuff that could have gone in the back of the truck but it was so much easier to just put it in a trailer. Also for things like a 4x8 sheet of plywood or sheetrock. While I have the bigger bed, I think the wheel wells would get in the way of them laying in the bed. Never measured it and wouldn't try because I have a trailer. It is nice having the longer bed because the space has come in handy but as I mentioned, personally it wasn't an item high on my need list when I was shopping. Everyone has different needs though. I had narrowed it down to three trucks that were all similar. 2 were 5.5' bed and regular mirrors and the one I bought had the 6.5' bed and towing mirrors. The towing mirrors were the decision point on it. To retrofit them on the other trucks were close to $2K in parts because of the cameras, power extension and other sensors in the mirrors. New OEM mirrors are close to $1K each.
 

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I don't think this will be a huge issue for the OP since it doesn't sound like there is a lot of towing in mind but one benefit that I will agree to of a V8 over some of these turbo V6 trucks is engine braking. A V8 does a better job of moderating speed coasting down a hill that even the V6 in tow mode. It isn't bad and maybe some of it is to take better advantage for MPG to coast down a hill but I feel I have to use the brakes a bit more. Though with Adaptive Cruise it is doing it all by itself.

I guess another comment I have about the trailer is I would consider one anyhow. Sure, I now have a pickup so it is less of an issue but even back when I had one before the SUV, I find I use a trailer a lot. It saves wear and tear in terms of hauling dirt or rock. There is no way I would go to the gravel yard and have them load up the bed of my truck. Not only that the trailer has a ramp and is much lower to the ground for heavier items which makes it a lot easier to load and unload. I have had to move big things like refrigerators and stuff that could have gone in the back of the truck but it was so much easier to just put it in a trailer. Also for things like a 4x8 sheet of plywood or sheetrock. While I have the bigger bed, I think the wheel wells would get in the way of them laying in the bed. Never measured it and wouldn't try because I have a trailer. It is nice having the longer bed because the space has come in handy but as I mentioned, personally it wasn't an item high on my need list when I was shopping. Everyone has different needs though. I had narrowed it down to three trucks that were all similar. 2 were 5.5' bed and regular mirrors and the one I bought had the 6.5' bed and towing mirrors. The towing mirrors were the decision point on it. To retrofit them on the other trucks were close to $2K in parts because of the cameras, power extension and other sensors in the mirrors. New OEM mirrors are close to $1K each.
4x8 sheets of plywood fit between the wheel wells easily on a F150.

Dave
 
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Really hard to beat the aluminum body twin turbo F150’s. I put a 100k miles on a 15 with no problems and drive a 20 for work. Been a GM fan my whole life and had various Silverado’s and Denalis. Very comfortable trucks but lots of gremlins. Since switching to Fords I spend less time going to the dealer to fix this and that. Test drive stuff and get what’s right for you. For 25k I would get anything 2015 and newer.
 

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4x8 sheets of plywood fit between the wheel wells easily on a F150.

Dave
As I was typing that I was wondering. Carrying a 4x8 sheet of plywood always seems to be the measurement standard that manufacturers would use to gauge how good their bed is so it makes sense. It is good to know if I happen to be at the store on the way home and didn't run home first to get the trailer but it is still easier wrestling them on the trailer than the back of the truck.
 

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You do realize that the beds are pretty much the same width so hauling a 8' piece of plywood in a 6 1/2' bed is no problem at all. You will have 18' hanging over the tailgate in a 61/2 ' bed but that really is no big deal unless you're driving across the country.
The big thing to think about is-- will I appreciate a shorter truck ( 61/2' vs 8' bed) as a daily driver, ie parallel parking, parking in ramps, extra space in your garage, etc vs 18" of plywood fitting flat into the bed or a bed where there is 18" hanging out the rear of the bed once or twice a year?
 

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Don’t let your Tacoma experience sour you on Tundras. The 5.7L V8 Tundra is a good truck.

And Nissan Titans are good trucks as well.

Only downside is that the IBEW here will still not allow a Toyota or Nissan to park in their lot.

I have a long bed, but my criteria was not sheets of plywood, it was 16 foot fence boards.
 

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I have a '15 F-150 supercrew (5.5 ft) bed and many tiny humans. The supercrew size is far and wide the best backseat of any vehicle for car seats.

This is not a knock to non-fords, just saying that the F150 quickly became the prime people mover over the minivan and then the third row SUV.

In our weather, I can get three kids in the backseat, follow them in, sit on the center console, get them buckled, then go out the door and back in through my door. Not only that, it's close enough that a passenger can trivially reach back and hand / take stuff or just generally assist grumpy small people.

As far as the bed size, by the time you drop the tailgate down, there is such minimal overhang of 8' material that it's not worth the complaint. I was annoyed at first because (as previously stated) the 6.5 bed + supercrew is a complete unicorn. I find that I prize the 'garage-ability' of the 5.5 ft bed over the small overhang.

Just measured: 5.5 ft bed + tailgate down = 92 inches. That's only a 4 inch overhang for an 8 ft sheet which for me is fine. YMMV depending on use, but honestly, the truck has become the big family hauler over the minivan in this configuration. If I have one complaint it's the my bike won't quite let the tailgate close if I put the front tire against the front of the bed. I can angle it and close up just fine.
 

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The one and only knock I have with Tundra is this: to get a true crew cab, you can ONLY get the 5.5’ bed. That is it. There used to be a shop in Utah that would stretch them for a decent price but not interested in that. The early ones had frame rust issues but my BIL has a later one and loves it. I am impressed with it too. I rented lots of pickups during my travels for work to get a feel for each one and that is how I decided on the F150. My one real gripe with the F150 is that the standard gears with the 3.5 Ecoboost and the 6 speed trans cause some hunting at 54-58mph where the RPMs lug down in 6th then it will downshift. If you hit the sport/tow button, it goes away but if I were to do it again, I’d have picked the next higher gear ratio over the 3.31s. If i were to have to replace my truck tomorrow, I’d find the same exact trim line in a gas F250. Yes I said gas, only because I work for a heavy truck manufacturer and as a daily driver the diesel is too crazy. I would still tow and the gas will be fine but I don’t need the added drama of diesel. Also note I would pick the added capacity because I have a class A CDL so I need to make sure I’ve got my stuff legal.
 

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Ive owned an 95 Dakota, 03 Silverado, 06 tundra crew cab, 13 tundra double cab with a 6' bed, 15 Ram ecodiesel, and now drive a 2010 Silverado crew cab.

I want my 13 tundra double cab back. 06 Tundra was a great truck just horribly underpowered. Towing my boat I would get 7 or 8 mpg. I'll never own another Chrysler product. If someone gave me one I would immediately sell it. Silverado is in between. I've had issues with both. 03 had a bunch of issues related to crappy welds from the factory on the bed. 10 has had AFM issues like all engines of that genre. The double cab doors that open like a regular door are okay. The ones that open suicide style are a pain as previously mentioned. I'd buy a Toyota tundra over any of the big 3 given the opportunity.

Trucks are so darn expensive I bought a 2010 silverado with 92k on it. Its my hunting/fishing/towing rig. I keep it parked in the shop. Actually out shampooing the carpets in it right now since hunting season is over. I drive a sedan everyday. I can buy 5 sedans with 100k miles on them, drive them to 300k, and ditch them for the price of one truck. Hoping in 8 years my boy will get this truck, and I'll get a 2500 crew cab, longbed to set me up for retirement.
 

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Really hard to beat the aluminum body twin turbo F150’s. I put a 100k miles on a 15 with no problems and drive a 20 for work. Been a GM fan my whole life and had various Silverado’s and Denalis. Very comfortable trucks but lots of gremlins. Since switching to Fords I spend less time going to the dealer to fix this and that. Test drive stuff and get what’s right for you. For 25k I would get anything 2015 and newer.
I must have been very lucky with my Chevy/GMC's...have owned eight through the years...not many gremlins for me.

My 2004 Silverado had issues with the CD changer...replaced it three times under warranty...I'm thinking design flaw. Aside from that, pretty damn solid.

I think all vehicles are going to have some issues...heck, even my Hondas had a few things go wonky.

Find something you like, and drive it!
 

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10 has had AFM issues like all engines of that genre.
We quickly traded off our 2011 Yukon Denali when out of the blue it decided it was a good idea to consume over 2 quarts of oil. The earlier ones (07-10) were really known for this issue. Partly because when they would deactivate cylinders the oil would slip past the rings because the cylinder isn't pressurized from combustion. Supposedly they fixed this in 2011 but I guess not. Though it was pretty good up to 165K when we traded it off and it developed this interesting trait.

Another fun one that you would think they could figure out by now is the faulty oil pressure sensors. Even my 03 Avalanche I had developed a funky pressure sensor. Changing a sensor shouldn't be that hard but it was located between the engine and the firewall. I just left it go on the Avalanche until the knock sensors failed and I had to take out the entire intake manifold. Then it was easy to change the oil pressure sensor.

I see they are now doing the cylinder deactivation on the 2021 5.0 in the F150s.
 

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I have a 2014 F150 SuperCrew (4 door). Looks like others already convinced you to go with the 4 door model. Not sure if this has changed with the new F150 but on the 2014 if you got the SuperCrew you were limited to the smaller ~24gallon fuel tank, the SuperCrew got you the 36 gallon tank. May not be a big deal for you since does not sound like long trips are in your future but if they are the extra size is great. Course I have the Raptor which gets a whopping 13mpg so I will take every gallon i can get.

Other thing with the SuperCrew that sold me (i dont have kids i have dogs), is the rear seat area with the seat folded up is a very WIDE flat floor. My dog kennel fits perfectly in that space.

Also the 5.5' bed is plenty for 4x8 sheets of plywood. If you are picking up sheetrock either bring a sheet of plywood or buy a cheap OSB with the sheetrock.
 

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One thing we learned when Dirty was looking for a truck, there are dealers importing Chevy trucks from Canada. Those trucks aren't covered by any GM warranty and GM isn't responsible for any recalls in the USA. We ran away from that pretty fast. They weren't selling them at a discount either.
 

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I must have been very lucky with my Chevy/GMC's...have owned eight through the years...not many gremlins for me.

My 2004 Silverado had issues with the CD changer...replaced it three times under warranty...I'm thinking design flaw. Aside from that, pretty damn solid.

I think all vehicles are going to have some issues...heck, even my Hondas had a few things go wonky.

Find something you like, and drive it!
Hmm
92 Sierra trans went at 90k miles
97 Silverado inside door handle decided to break. Front end wore out way too early
02 Silverado window motors quit, driver seat controls quit, transfer case quit
04 Tahoe window motors quit, rear defrost quit, transfer case started making noise
14 Sierra shark fin antenna leaked, windshield leaked, mice got into heater core from wide open intake.
16 Denali HD shark fin antenna leaked, windshield leaked, sold it back to dealer
Bought a Super Duty
I’m not dogging GM. Just wanted to try something different and decided Ford because I drive them for work and didn’t have said gremlins. Some knucklehead at the dealer cracked the oil filter housing torquing it on there resulting in a couple free oil changes on a 15 F150 I drove and my 20 is problem free at 8k so far
 
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