If you feel like you’ve been seeing more pickup trucks on the roads than ever before, you’re on to something. As a result, and especially if you’ve never owned one, you may have been wondering, “Why do people drive pickup trucks?” From the ability to haul things, to a pickup trucks resale value, to just having space – this article dives into answering this question.
Pickup trucks have become more popular than ever. In the United States in 2020, pickup trucks have outsold passenger cars for the first time. There are many reasons people drive pickup trucks, the most common being for work. Many businesses rely on trucks for their utility.
But, you probably have a more specific question: “Why are every day people, commuters, buying trucks?” If you asked them, they’d likely be glad to tell you (truck people love to talk about their trucks). But since you’re here, let’s go down the list of possible reasons many are choosing to ditch the sedan, and SUV, to get into a truck as their daily driver. You may realize that you, too, should get one for yourself!
For quick reference, a table of contents with links to each is provided:
Table of contents
- Interior Space (especially in Full Sized pickup trucks)
- The views of the road ahead, beside, and behind
- Ground clearance
- The ability to haul stuff
- The ability to tow things
- Many modern pickup trucks are more luxurious than passenger vehicles
- Some pickup trucks resale value are outstanding
- They look cool
- Safety is better versus smaller vehicles
Interior Space (especially in Full Sized pickup trucks)
People, especially Americans, love having space. Inside of a pickup truck’s cabin, especially full sized pickups, drivers find this personal space. We compared the average interior dimensions of the top 5 full sized pickups to the top 5 selling sedans in the US. Check out the charts below to see the differences in Headroom, Legroom, Shoulder Room, and Hip Room.
Interior Dimension Comparisons Top 5 Full Sized Pickups
|2020 MY (Model Year)||Headroom||Legroom||Shoulder Room||Hip Room|
|Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra||43.0||44.5||66.0||61.2|
Interior Dimension Comparisons Top 5 Selling Sedans and SUV
|2020 MY (Model Year)||Headroom||Legroom||Shoulder Room||Hip Room|
|Honda Civic Hatchback||39.3||42.3||56.9||53.7|
|Headroom||Legroom||Shoulder Room||Hip Room|
|Percent Larger (Full Sized Truck vs. Sedan/Small SUV)||5%||3%||12%||12%|
Analyzing the interior numbers
By looking at the chart, you can see the difference in interior space. Full sized SUV’s such as the Chevy Suburban, Chevy Tahoe, and Ford Expedition would have near identical space as the full sized trucks. However, people are choosing trucks for this increased interior space space, PLUS the things full sized SUV’s don’t provide.
Headroom and Legroom, when compared against each other, do not seem to have a huge difference. But for truck people, it’s about the torso space – the shoulders and hips. When compared, the numbers explain clearly why people drive pickup trucks.
The views of the road ahead, beside, and behind
This reason doesn’t need statistical numbers. The logic behind it is obvious. Drivers of pickup trucks can see around the cars ahead of them much easier than lower positioned sedans. This alone comforts many drivers, and is a common reason people also choose to drive full sized SUVs.
Pickup truck windows are usually large and square. As compared to sedans, coupes, and hatchbacks whose roof pillars often obstruct vision, a pickup driver can simply see more. It’s quite comforting and confidence building.
What’s more, pickup truck side view mirrors are generally much larger, often up to 75% to 100% larger than a standard passenger car’s side mirror. Glances into mirrors are very easy, and is another reason why people drive pickup trucks.
Pickup trucks generally have a higher ground clearance. This clearance allows for more confidence when a person may have to go off road, whether for fun or by accident. Having extra ground clearance is useful in time of bad weather as well. In heavy downpours, partially flooded streets stand less chance to immobilize a driver. In instances of heavy snow, the extra ground clearance allow for a better chance at traversing through piled up snow.
Further, a pickup truck with ground clearance (just like Jeep Wranglers), have an advantage on sunny days as well. Pickup trucks with 4 wheel drive are able to head out into the sandy beaches, where allowable. The Outer Banks in North Carolina, for instance, only allow 4WD vehicles with clearance to enjoy the experience of taking your vehicle onto the beach.
The ability to haul stuff
One reason people drive pickup trucks is for the obvious reason of having the open bed a pickup truck provides. These beds, which can be as short as 5 feet, and as long as 8 feet, allow drivers to be able to haul almost anything they’d want to buy, on a moments notice.
Pickup truck drivers are way less likely to be dependent upon others for help in situations where a sedan cannot haul an item. Anything from a couch to a dresser, or from firewood to home improvement projects – most needs are covered, simply by having a pickup truck.
Many new homeowners quickly find out that they need a truck to conveniently handle many of the every day needs homeowners face. With pickup trucks being as, or more, comfortable and luxurious as most sedans, these people make the move to owning a pickup truck in short order.
Another point to consider is that with a bed cover and a bed rug bed liner from places such as Truck Hero, a pickup truck ends up having trunk space that doubles that of any sedan, including large SUVs!
The ability to tow things
While for most pickup truck owners the need for towing something is not an every day affair, the ability comes into play more than you may expect. Outdoor recreational activities have been on the rise in recent years. Many people have acquired toys such as boats, jet skis, etc. These things are best towed by pickup trucks.
As we mentioned homeowners in the last section, many homeowners find owning an open landscape type trailer to be a valuable addition to the house. They conveniently haul extra things, such as the riding lawn mower, garbage to the dump, moving the kids into their college dorm, etc. The options for utilizing truck beds and trailers seem endless.
Many modern pickup trucks are more luxurious than passenger vehicles
In case you haven’t actually been inside a pickup truck in the last 15 or 20 years, these vehicles are not the same as your father, or grandfather’s pickup trucks. Today’s modern pickup trucks tout technological innovations and luxury most every passenger sedan would envy.
Rising pickup truck prices reflect the innovation and luxury accordingly. Pickup trucks today can drive themselves hands free, stay centered in lanes by themselves, and offer emergency braking technology. They can back up trailers on their own. They have 360 cameras with birds eye views of themselves on big screens in the console.
Trukbed’s own 2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost Hybrid has a 7.2 kW on board generator factory optioned and built into the bed of the truck. This generator can power a house. Pickup truck manufacturers are coming out with innovations every year that make deciding to ditch the sedan a no brainer for many.
Many trucks, even mid-level trims, are outfitted in leather and very well equipped. If a pickup truck driver doesn’t use their truck for any other purpose than the mere comfort and luxury, this is still a very solid reason why people drive pickup trucks.
Some pickup trucks resale value are outstanding
As the public recognizes the overall great value and utility that comes from owning a pickup truck, the market values follow accordingly.
As there are so many fleet construction pickup trucks who are minimally outfitted, these trucks tend to weight heavily out of favor for pickup truck depreciation rates. When these trucks are factored into data, it would seem trucks depreciate faster than passenger cars. And it is true.
But take the fleet factor out, and look deeper, you will find that the Toyota Tundra, and Toyota Tacoma have much less depreciation than most passenger cars. Along those lines, well optioned Ford and Chevy full sized pickups hold their values extremely well, too.
They look cool
Let’s face it: it has been true since the 50’s, and remains true today. Trucks just look cool. And not just “man” cool. More women, year over year are driving pickup trucks. The coolness of a pickup truck is accepted among both genders.
Pickup trucks are iconic. They are a part of Americana. Aside from all the practical benefits, pickup trucks just draw you to them. It’s mystical for many.
Safety is better versus smaller vehicles
Pickup trucks are very safe. When a driver is in a pickup truck, they are higher from the ground and in a very durable machine. Collisions with other cars, stray animals such as deer, or even trees can be much less severe.
This list hopes to answer the question: “Why do people drive pickup trucks?”
The list is not exhaustive, as everyone has unique needs and reasonings. I would be interested in hearing in the comments section from other pickup truck drivers – Why do YOU drive your pickup truck?