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Should you drive a pickup truck or pick a different vehicle type? Would you be better off behind the wheel of an SUV, or does the capability and functionality of a truck make sense for your driving needs? In America, pickup trucks hit the top three spots for sales consistently, with the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, and Ram 1500 being the three most popular models. Still, is this the right vehicle type for you? Let’s discuss.

Pro: Pickup trucks are made to tow heavy loads

2023 Ford Super Duty Pulling a Heavy Trailer - This is one of the most capable pickup trucks offered
2023 Ford Super Duty Pulling a Heavy Trailer | Ford

Trucks are much more capable of towing heavy trailers than any other vehicle type. Some full-size SUVs come close, but you’ll need a heavy-duty pickup truck if you’ve got a 5th-wheel camper or livestock trailer. Although half-ton trucks are the most popular, the one-ton models can be equipped with strong diesel engines and pull well over 30,000 pounds.

There isn’t an SUV on the road that can reach these towing levels. Car and Driver tells us the Ford Super Duty can now tow up to 40,000 pounds when equipped with the 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 diesel engine.

Con: You’ll spend a lot of money on fuel

Big size and power don’t come cheap. One place you’ll spend a lot to drive a pickup truck is for fuel. Of course, this applies to large trucks, which typically average around 25 mpg. If you don’t need massive towing figures, the 2023 Ford Maverick XL FWD Hybrid can hit up to 42 mpg, which is a huge change in the truck market.

Pro: Truck beds offer the cargo versatility other vehicles can’t

2023 Chevy Silverado 1500 Truck Bed
2023 Chevy Silverado 1500 Truck Bed | Chevrolet

In any other vehicle, the roof limits the height and dimensions of the cargo carried in the rear. Pickup trucks do things differently with an open-air truck bed that can carry big and bulky materials in the rear.

You can easily carry a load of dirt or gravel or load up a refrigerator for your garage. Truck beds are versatile, and one of the greatest benefits of owning them. In addition to the open-air feeling, most trucks, like the Chevy Silverado 1500, offer several tie-down cleats to secure the load.

Con: Seating is limited to five or six in pickups

All current pickup truck models are limited to a maximum of six passengers. These passengers are seated across two rows in a crew cab build. This cab style typically results in lower towing capacity and a short bed, which reduces the truck’s capability.

Some SUVs offer three rows of seats, and all minivans have three rows and room for at least seven passengers. If you need more room for passengers, you’ll want to look at some three-row SUVs like the Kia Telluride or GMC Yukon.

Pro: Pickup trucks offer much better engine power than other vehicles

The only way to reach the same power levels you’ll find in some of the largest pickup trucks is to look at high-powered sports cars. Yes, a few SUVs hit top power numbers; the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk with the Hellcat engine comes to mind.

Once again, we see diesel engines reign supreme. The Chevy Silverado HD uses a massive 6.6-liter Duramax V8 diesel engine that delivers 445 horsepower and 910 lb-ft of torque. That’s pretty impressive, but it’s not even the most powerful diesel engine.

Pickup trucks have distinct advantages over other vehicle types but come with a few compromises that could make SUVs, sedans, or minivans more practical for your driving needs.

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