Pickup truck sales have only increased over the years, even with more consumers turning towards smaller, environmentally-friendly cars. The consumer market is still turning towards a pickup truck for its size, space, and function. And the mid-size pickup is a blend of function and economy, but not every consumer thinks a mid-size truck is worth the buy. What’s the misconception behind mid-size trucks that turns people away? Here’s the real truth about today’s mid-size truck market, and why the mid-size truck isn’t what it used to be.
The biggest misconception about mid-size trucks
Though the sales numbers prove more people buy full-size trucks, there is certainly a niche for consumers who need an open-bed, and not necessarily a full-size truck. Smaller trucks from automakers like Nissan, Toyota, Colorado, Ford, and even Honda trail behind in sales, but when compared to when mid-size trucks first hit the lineups, it seems the “smaller truck” has caught on.
Mid-size trucks once were small, compact trucks only meant to fit the necessities. And it wasn’t the truck you were looking for if you wanted power and performance.
But today, a lot has changed in the truck segment. Designs have revolutionized, options have grown, and trucks are no longer reserved only for work efforts. According to Business Insider,
“compact pickups that were once on sale… have grown to become midsize trucks.” What used to be extra-small pickups have “grown in size and were smaller compact pickups in the not so distant past.”
Because smaller pickups are now the norm, they’ve developed the same changes the full-size pickup have: better power, more space, and improved function. According to Edmunds, “today’s smallest trucks aren’t very small at all.” In fact, most of today’s mid-size trucks come with “near full-size proportions.” The mid-size pickup is no longer reserved for short, budget-seeking drivers. In fact, mid-size trucks are designed for city dwellers and country folk alike, families, laborers, adventurers, and more.
The benefits of a mid-size truck
It’s true that a mid-size pickup doesn’t have the same power as a full-size truck, but that’s just simple science. While a large, full-size pickup may need that 400 hp to function as a workhorse, the smaller-built, mid-size simply does not. Power isn’t always everything either, with most of these trucks matching acceleration and braking of the full-size rivals.
According to AutoTrader, “despite the power and size differences between midsize and full-size trucks, towing capacities aren’t as different as you might think.” Many of today’s mid-size trucks come pretty close to matching the payload and towing capacities of full-size trucks, and unless you plan on towing 12,000 lbs, why do you need all that capability?
Mid-size trucks no longer skimp on interior space either. This is probably the most common misconception. In the past, some of the smaller trucks just didn’t have enough room and felt cramped.
Now, nost are available with five- or six-passenger cabins, with plenty of leg-room and the same interior features you’d find in a full-size truck. Mid-size trucks also have lower starting prices and better gas mileage than the other giants on the market.
Why bigger isn’t always better
Consumer Reports ranks most new, smaller trucks with higher ratings than its most popular, full-size trucks. In fact, the 2020 Honda Ridgeline and 2020 Ford Ranger receive good overall Consumer Reports scores of 74 and 65, respectively.
The top-ranked, full-size Ram 1500 and Toyota Tundra on the other hand only receive overall scores of 68 and 62. In a world where mid-size and compact trucks were once nowhere near the realm of full-size trucks, things have certainly changed.
The Honda Ridgeline, a pickup truck based on a car-body design, even takes Car and Driver’s number-one recommendation for best, new mid-size pickup truck. Car and Driver state that the Ridgeline “is the most fuel-efficient in its class,” and also “has the most rear cargo space.” And its interior is as roomy and comfortable as the road’s best SUVs.
The Jeep Gladiator is another new, mid-size truck that has everyone’s heads turning. As a design blend of Jeep and truck, the Gladiator offers luxurious interior and plenty of leg/headspace. But it’s off-roading capabilities and power only add to the appeal of its truck bed in the back.