Skip to main content

Pickup trucks occupy a strange slice of the automotive world. We expect them to be strong, tough, go-anywhere workhorses, yet so many truck owners never need any one of our expectations actually to be met. Most people don’t tow or go off-road or need to haul loads of stone, as the commercials suggest. That said, why do 2WD pickup trucks give us the stink face? More of us should probably consider buying a 2WD pickup truck. 

Front angle view of orange 2023 Ford Maverick, the only pickup truck under $25,000 recommended by Consumer Reports
2023 Ford Maverick | Ford

What’s the difference between 2WD and 4WD? 

Most cars and SUVs send power to only two out of the four wheels. Cars often send that power to the front two wheels, whereas SUVs might more commonly send the power to the rear tow wheels. That is where we get the terms front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive

4WD is most commonly found on off-road vehicles such as trucks and certain SUVs. 4WD is good for maintaining traction in low-traction environments like snow, mud, sand, dirt, and even towing or hauling. This is why most pickup trucks have a 4WD setting. 

Are there still 2WD pickup trucks? 

These reliable Toyota trucks and SUVs include the Tundra pictured here
A 2013 Toyota Tundra | Toyota

Although 2WD pickups used to be far more common, a few of these casual pickups are bopping around.

Probably the most famous 2WD pickup on the market right now is the massively popular 2023 Ford Maverick Hybrid. Yes, the Ford maverick Hybrid, which also happens to be the base configuration for the model, only comes in 2WD, FWD to be exact. While I admit this does feel weird, it really isn’t a bad thing. 

The 2023 Ford Maverick is the cheapest new pickup truck you can buy. Part of what makes this model so affordable is its lack of AWD or 4×4. This limited driveline also has another benefit, gas mileage. The 2023 Ford Maverick Hybrid can go 37 miles on one gallon of gas. Try beating that with your monster truck. 

While the Maverick might not be the best fit for all truck needs, given its 4.5-ft bed, there is also the 2WD Chevy Silverado. Toyota also makes a version of the Toyota Tundra Hybrid in 2WD.

If you ever dream of buying an old pickup truck, you’ll quickly notice that most of them are 2WD. There is no shortage of old Chevy pickups set up with only rear-wheel drive. 

Although the Chevy pickup truck doesn’t offer quite the same savings upon purchase or at the pump, what it offers is a less-popular model that might be easier to find in this crazy car market. J.D. Power even recommends it. 

Are 2WD pickup trucks worth it? 

Midsize trucks that cost less than $25,000 out-of-pocket like the Hyundai Santa Cruz
A 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

4WD has plenty of benefits. If you ever plan to go off-road, drive in the snow, haul heavy loads, or pull a stout trailer, 4WD is the only way to go. However, many truck owners never do these truck things and could save money on fuel and purchase prices by going with a 2WD model. 

Look, a FWD hybrid pickup truck isn’t going to satisfy a ton of truck people’s needs and, more importantly, wants, but there is good value there for the right buyer. 2WD pickup trucks used to be the norm. 4WD trucks were more expensive and, as such, less common. However, these days AWD and 4WD are more common because the components have gotten cheaper, and new technologies have made these vehicles easier to use.  

Maybe 2WD could be a good fit for how you use a pickup truck. It’s at least worth the consideration.