The Pros and Cons of Pickup Trucks
Updated on September 29 2023
The venerable pickup truck has seen a resurgence over the past couple of years. Pickups started life as utility and commercial vehicles for farming and work duties. Now, pickup trucks are the preferred choice of buyers looking for a safe, stylish, and do-it-all driving machine.
Are you considering a pickup truck for your next ride? Before taking the plunge, it's better to understand the pros and cons of pickup trucks and why this vehicle may be the right choice for your active lifestyle.
Need a Workhorse? Choose a Pickup!
It's easy to understand why pickup trucks are becoming the preferred choice of transport for many Filipino families after the MPV. Pickups are bigger and sit higher off the ground, perfect when navigating flooded streets or pockmarked roads. In addition, most pickup trucks have a body-on-frame ladder chassis that makes them indispensable when towing or hauling heavier cargo.
But First, A Short History Lesson
The pickup truck we know today can trace its history back to 1902 when the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company (based in Pontiac, Michigan) built a one-ton truck for carrying heavy items and supplies. Then, in 1913, the Galion Allsteel Body Company made a pickup truck based on the Ford Model T's chassis by installing hauling boxes at the vehicle's rear.
It wasn't until the 1950s that consumers began looking at pickup trucks as lifestyle vehicles. The Ford F-Series remains the best-selling vehicle in North America today, followed closely by the Chevy Silverado and Ram 1500 – both of which are also pickup trucks.
Back on home soil, the Ford Ranger accounted for 67-percent of overall vehicle sales by Ford Philippines in 2019, meaning two out of three vehicles Ford sold were Ranger pickup trucks. And in 2020, Isuzu Philippines Corporation became the top brand for utility vehicles and light-duty pickup trucks for the 22nd year in a row, led by the unbreakable Isuzu D-MAX.
Pickup Trucks: The Pros
When it comes to pickups, the pros will usually outweigh the cons. So here are the advantages of owning or driving a pickup truck:
A. Pickup trucks have loads of power to spare, especially those equipped with turbocharged diesel engines.
B. Pickup trucks can tow heavier and larger loads for work and play. For instance, the Nissan Navara has a 1,000 kg payload and has a towing capacity of up to 3,500 kg. Meanwhile, the Isuzu D-Max has a higher 1,070 payload rating, but it can also tow up to 3,500 kg. Try that with a standard hatchback or sedan.
C. Pickup trucks have enough room for a small family with four doors and five seats. As a result, the pickup truck offers a more practical and versatile solution than a comparable SUV. Plus, you can stow all your cargo in the bed while still enjoying creature comforts like air-conditioning, power amenities, and more.
D. Trucks have higher ground clearances, which can only mean good things when driving on Philippine roads. Of course, pickup trucks are not impervious to the dangers of deep floods, but the higher ground clearance makes it less stressful when crossing six to 12 inches of flood water.
E. Superior off-road capabilities. Most pickup trucks have 4WD or all-wheel drivetrains and chunkier tires (and higher ground clearances) to conquer inhospitable terrain like sand, mud, or loose gravel.
Pickup Trucks: The Cons
Admittedly, the cons of pickup trucks are far and few in between, but there are certain disadvantages to owning or driving one.
A. Pickup trucks are less fuel-efficient than a sedan. With heavier bodies and robust underpinnings, pickup trucks are not as fuel-efficient as a small sedan or hatchback like the Mitsubishi Mirage or Toyota Wigo. However, the availability of diesel engines will slightly offset this fact.
B. Parking can be a chore. Pickup trucks have a long bed in the rear and are wider than a car, making them trickier to park. But then again, modern trucks are usually equipped with backing sensors and a rearview camera to make parking less of a hassle.
C. High maintenance costs. Larger vehicles have bigger and heavier components than a sedan or hatchback, which means the spare parts are more expensive and require higher labor costs. Also, diesel engines require more frequent oil changes, especially under heavy usage scenarios.
D. Stiffer ride quality. Most pickup trucks have leaf-spring suspension in the rear. Leaf springs are ideal for carrying heavy cargo but are not known to deliver a smooth and calm ride.
The workhorse pickup truck is slowly evolving right before our very eyes. Modern trucks are now home to a bevy of modern technology and safety features like touchscreen infotainment systems, advanced driving aids, and more.
If you want a pickup truck, knowing the pros and cons will help you make a more informed buying decision.