Pros and Cons of Owning a Pickup Truck

Weekend trip to the lake? Major home renovation project? Road trip through the rough roads of nature? You need a car that can support you in all your endeavors. So maybe you’re wondering whether it is time to invest in a pickup truck. Look no further, we’ve put together a list of pros and cons to help you decide whether this vehicle is the right choice for you.

Pros of a pickup truck

1.    Pickup trucks are large and powerful
2.    Safety is a priority
3.    Pickups can handle any kind of terrain
4.    High Ground Clearance
5.    Storing and transporting goods is easy
6.    5th Wheel Capabilities
7.    They are the most bang for your buck

Cons of a pickup truck

1.    Maneuvering a pickup can be problematic
2.    Pickups are not the most cost-efficient vehicles
3.    Gas mileage may not be what you are used to
4.    Cargo or supplies left in your pickup can be easily stolen or lost
5.    Handling a pickup truck is no easy feat

Pros of a Pickup Truck

Let’s explore each of the pros in more detail.

1.   Pickup trucks are large and powerful

One major advantage of owning a pickup truck is its sheer size and strength. Weighing up to an average of 7,000 pounds compared to 3,300 pounds for a sedan, pickup trucks are less likely to face serious damage in roadside accidents.

Beyond just physical strength, pickup truck engines are known to be much more powerful than the average car. All aspects of a pickup, including its wheels, axles, shock absorbers, etc. contribute to its overall strength. Heavy-duty pickup trucks can generate up to as much as 450 horsepower and 1000 lb-ft of torque allowing them to carry bigger and heavier loads. With that kind of strength, it’s no surprise that pickup trucks come with nicknames like “Road Kill” or “Beast”.

2.   Safety is a priority

 In recent years, safety and protective features have become a focus in truck manufacturing. Modern day trucks therefore have the benefit of advanced safety features such as smart braking technology, increased passive safety measures, and stability control systems, in order to ensure the drivers and passengers are protected at all times. The pickup is also built to be robust and sturdy. Its durability gives it a physical protective advantage in addition to all of the modern-day vehicular safety features, ensuring minimal damage in the case of an accident.

3.   Pickups can handle any kind of terrain

Pickup trucks have a full frame construction and are considered 4-wheel drives. The full frame construction gives the pickup truck increased torsional flexibility making it ideal for off-roading. As 4-wheel drives, pickup trucks can supply torque to all 4 wheels in a manner that gives the truck extra traction on rugged or rough terrain. The combination of these features found in pickup trucks makes it the optimal vehicle for handling a variety of driving surfaces and withstanding all weather conditions. So the next time you venture out to rocky trails and unforgiving roads, a pickup truck may be your best choice.

4.   High Ground Clearance

Off-roading with a pickup truck is made even better because of its high ground clearance. High ground clearance means there is a greater distance between the ground and the underbelly of the truck. Maintaining this distance minimizes the chances of the pickup truck getting scratched up and damaged on uneven ground. It also provides the driver with higher and more elevated visibility of his/her surroundings.

5.   Storing and transporting goods is easy

This is probably the first characteristic that comes to mind when people think about pickup trucks. Whether it’s hauling supplies for your next home improvement project or moving furniture from your old place to your new one, one of the most practical advantages of a pickup truck comes from its transportation capability. There are 3 different sizes for pickup truck beds. Short beds are 5’8” long, standard beds are around 6’5” long and a long bed is 8’ long. Regardless of which bed size you choose, however, your pickup truck will provide ample space to store and transport heavy cargo and materials.

6.   5th Wheel Capabilities

In addition to hauling, pickup trucks have the power of towing. The unique advantage that pickups have over SUVs is that they can tow a 5th wheel. A fifth wheel is usually mounted on top of the bed of the pickup truck right above the rear axle, where most of the weight is supported. Because it is attached on top of the bed vs behind the bed, towing a 5th wheel minimizes the sway between the pickup truck and the attached RV or boat, etc. Fifth wheels also have the added benefit of handling heavier loads. Therefore, any trailers can be attached to the pickup via fifth wheel and be towed easily and with minimal sway, allowing for a more stable and safe ride.

7.   They are the most bang for your buck

A pickup truck packs a lot of utility into one vehicle and therefore, can offer a greater price to performance ratio. The average transaction price for a mid-size pickup truck was calculated to be around $33,000 in 2018. However, this includes features such as towing, hauling, a stronger and more powerful engine, a roomy interior, off-roading capabilities, etc.

While these individual features can be found separately in alternative cars, pickup trucks offer every feature within one single vehicle. Integrating all of these components into one pickup truck makes it quite the bang for your buck.

In our opinion pickup trucks are the perfect overall vehicle when it comes to reliability, functionality, and style.

Cons of a Pickup Truck

Let’s explore each of the cons in more detail.

1.   Maneuvering a pickup can be problematic

The average pickup truck is about 17 feet long and has a very wide wheel base. Therefore driving or parking your vehicle can take some getting used to. Your pickup will also end up taking a good amount of space in your garage or on the street where it is parked.

So even though the size of pickup trucks have great utility, maneuvering your giant auto-machine through narrow lanes or attempting to find parking spots in congested cities might be more of a migraine than it is worth.

2.   Pickups are not the most cost-efficient vehicles

The cost of maintenance for pickup trucks can skyrocket if the truck is not under warranty. Pickup trucks have larger and more hefty engines, bodies and various other elements. Although these robust components contribute to the power, utility and performance of a pickup truck, fixing them up can become a costly ordeal.

3.   Gas mileage may not be what you are used to

Fuel expenses can become a huge burden with pickup trucks. While modern engines are being designed to improve fuel economy, trucks are still far from the best. Compared to the 50 miles per gallon for an average hybrid car, fuel-efficient pickup trucks still take last place in gas-guzzling with an average of 22 miles per gallon. Not to mention, with gas prices on the rise, you might end up spending more than your wallet may be comfortable with.

4.   Cargo or supplies left in your pickup can be easily stolen or lost

Although a huge advantage of pickup trucks is the sheer amount of stuff you can throw into the bed, you have to be careful not to put anything too valuable. Auto burglary in some states is defined as breaking into a locked car with the intent of theft. An uncovered bed does not fall under the “locked” category therefore, leaving your haul vulnerable to local thieves.

Open beds also expose your cargo to any and all types of weather conditions. Rain, snow or wind could easily damage your belongings and create more of a mess than you intended.

With an uncovered bed, you also run the risk of losing some items on the road every time you drive. If this is a concern for you, getting a bed cover may be something to look into.

5.   Handling a pickup truck is no easy feat

The handling of a pickup truck is much different than that of a sedan and might take some time to get used to. Because of its size and weight, a pickup truck has stronger inertia, which means it will be much more resistant to turning than smaller vehicles. This is why pickup trucks are known to be a “stiffer ride” than smaller and more compact vehicles.

Pickup trucks also have a higher center of gravity, making them more prone to leaning over if turns are taken too fast. Be prepared to make wide turns as you’ll need plenty of space to clear the curb with your pickup. Essentially, the high ground clearance and size of your pickup makes it much more difficult to get a smooth ride as opposed to a small vehicle that sits close to the ground.

Alternative to a Pickup truck?

So is a pickup truck your only option? Take all of the pros and cons that we’ve discussed and think about what you specifically need from your pickup truck. Maybe the cargo that you need to haul can fit inside the trunk of a van or a minivan where it would be much more hidden and difficult to steal. You could also look into SUVs or crossovers, many of which have similar towing capabilities as pickup trucks.

Additionally, many SUV seats can be folded, allowing you to opt for more trunk space and greater hauling ability. Contrary to popular belief, many compact cars also provide the same amount of storage space as pickup trucks. Take a Kia Soul for example. As a compact car, it will be a more cost-efficient purchase and will also provide around 62 cubic feet worth of storage. Compare that to an average ½ ton pickup truck that provides about 67.5 cubic feet worth of storage and the difference is minimal.

As you can see, there are many options out there for you to explore. While a pickup truck has a great variety of uses for many different occasions, it is not the one and only car that can fulfill them.

Is a Pickup truck the right choice for your needs?

Is a pickup truck the right choice for you? Only you can decide. Essentially, it all comes down to utility. Assess what you personally require from a car and you may find that one of the alternative vehicles may be a better fit for you and your auto needs. However, if a pickup truck sounds like it is the one and only perfect car for you and your lifestyle, go for it! Either way, the auto industry has a myriad of choices for you to select from. Take your time to decide if a pickup truck is right for you and enjoy the ride.

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