Beyond Brute Force: The Unmatched Versatility of Today’s Pickup Trucks

Beyond Brute Force: The Unmatched Versatility of Today's Pickup Trucks

The early days of pickup trucks had them relegated to worksites, but today’s trucks offer much more than brute force work.

Some pickup trucks are now made to be more luxurious than the traditional work-type vehicles. In addition to high-class qualities, trucks come in several sizes, including compact and midsize models. Trucks are made to do just about everything today. Some pickup trucks are great for off-road adventures with incredible 4WD packages that can take on some of the most hardcore trails.

Whether you’re taking your family on vacation or ready to pull a heavy work trailer to the job site to get some serious work done, a pickup truck is the vehicle you want to drive.

Pickup trucks are large and powerful

The sheer size and strength of pickup trucks are the greatest advantages of these vehicles. Most trucks weigh up to 7,000 pounds or more, compared to much lighter sedans that typically don’t reach over 3,300 pounds. The size and build of trucks make them more capable and less likely to face serious damage in roadside accidents. Most pickup trucks offer impressive towing power, with heavy-duty trucks reaching more than 35,000 pounds of towing power.

Pickup trucks have long-lasing engines

Most sedans and SUVs can drive to last up to 200,000 miles, with some lasting a little longer. Pickup trucks are known to achieve much greater mileage figures. These big work vehicles have massive, strong, and powerful engines offering impressive work figures. The engines aren’t the only part of trucks built to last. Most trucks have larger wheels, axles, shocks, and frames than SUVs and cars. Automakers understand truck owners will likely use these vehicles for heavy-duty jobs, including construction, farming, forestry, and ranching.

Engines come in several varieties

Today’s trucks utilize several types of engines. Truck engines have evolved to include turbocharging, hybrid electric motors, and diesel power. Heavy-duty diesel trucks are the most powerful, with engines from Cummins, Duramax, and Power Stroke, while small, hybrid engines offer compact truck owners better efficiency and enough power for occasional truck stuff.

Many trucks are made to tackle the trails

Can sedans travel on off-road trails? Most cars can’t travel far off of paved roads, but most pickup trucks are ideal for tackling various off-road challenges. The most off-road-ready trucks come with specialized items for trail riding. Traditionally, pickup trucks come equipped with either 2WD or 4WD layouts, with the 4WD models made for off-road adventures. With the addition of unibody trucks, some models now offer AWD systems instead of 4WD packages. These AWD systems still allow these trucks to tackle some moderately rugged or rough terrain.

Off-Road Truck Features

  • Specialized shocks
  • Independently lockable front and rear differentials
  • Skid plates
  • Tow hooks
  • Off-road suspension package
  • Rock rails
  • Beefier tires

Some truck lineups have several off-road trims

Higher ground clearance is added to most pickup trucks to increase off-road angles and make trucks more capable on the trails. Some trucks are put to work on farms, ranches, and as rescue vehicles, which makes this added ground clearance important to the job at hand. Some truck lineups have several off-road trims offering higher ground clearance than other models. The Ford F-150 comes to mind, with the Raptor, Tremor, and FX4 adding different levels of off-road capabilities. These trucks are made to tackle the toughest terrain and can be useful when flood waters rise, roads become obstructed, or tough obstacles are in the path.

Storing and transporting large items is easier

One of the greatest benefits of pickup trucks is the open bed in the rear. Unlike cars and SUVs, trucks are sold with a bed without a roof, which means unlimited height options for toting large and tall furniture and appliances. When you think about buying a truck, the first things that might come to mind are the items you can carry and haul in the bed.

The compact truck world is changing the automotive landscape

Compact trucks are making a comeback. The Ford Maverick hit the market in 2022 and quickly became a popular choice for consumers looking for a small, capable vehicle. Some shoppers who might have bought a sedan or SUV chose the Maverick for its small size combined with useful pickup truck capabilities.

While not quite as popular as the Maverick but just as useful, the new Hyundai Santa Cruz is another compact truck that’s reviving this small truck class. Many automakers are turning away from sedans in favor of small SUVs and, more recently, compact trucks. Other automakers are working on new compact trucks to compete with the Maverick and Santa Cruz. These small trucks are excellent for delivery services and owners who only need occasional truck capabilities.

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