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Truck Versus SUV: Which is Right for You?

Truck Versus SUV: Which is Right for You?

Posted at Mon, Sep 18, 2023 6:45 PM

Truck Versus SUV: Choosing the Right Ford Vehicle for Your Needs

You’ve decided you’re going to get a new truck. You’ve done your research online and made your decision: an F-150. Good choice. Best-selling truck in America. It’s got a substantial bed for the items you need to haul. Maybe you’ll get the XLT trim with the optional EcoBoost® V6 engine. You even know what color you want. 

Then you go to the dealership for a test drive and what do you hear but the siren song of a sweet little SUV. It’s bigger inside than the truck and has some really comfy-looking seats.

Uh oh.

You’re not the first shopper to find him/herself torn between a Ford truck and an SUV. We know choosing between two exceptional vehicles is difficult, but you can make the process easier by evaluating your driving and lifestyle needs –and talking to your Mullinax sales team member, of course.

Trucks and SUVs have many characteristics in common. They’re built on similar platforms though SUVs are generally smaller and lighter and have a shorter wheelbase and overall length. You can haul and tow things with either one that would overwhelm a family sedan.

But there are significant differences as well. Trucks are made to work and are the go-to vehicle for many small businesses. They accommodate larger payloads and offer considerably more towing capacity than SUVs. And despite the fact they often haul hay and horse trailers, they are designed to be driven on asphalt.

SUVs are intended to hit the dirt – and snow and sand. Their higher ride height and center of gravity give them the edge in uneven, off-road conditions.

Their smaller size makes them at home in the city and are more maneuverable in traffic and parking situations than trucks. You can seat more passengers in an SUV, too, and enjoy a smoother ride in more comfortable seats.

Comparison Chart: Trucks and SUVs

If you have your eye on a truck, here are some of the advantages a pickup can offer you:

  • Power: The engine in a truck outpaces what the SUV has under the hood and is about as powerful as you can get in a consumer vehicle, especially if you choose the diesel upgrade.
  • Bed space: Truck beds come in varying lengths but all of them accommodate large objects – furniture, lumber, power tools, work gear – better than the cargo space of an SUV. The configuration of the bed makes loading and unloading items easier and bed liners and covers help protect the space from the elements.
  • Towing: Trucks take the prize for towing power. Some full-size pickups can tow more than 20,000 pounds. SUVs top out around 9,000 pounds. If you need to haul a camper, boat or something larger, like a horse trailer, a truck is your best choice.

That truck is ticking the boxes so far, but you have other factors to consider, including:

  • Drivability: Trucks are great on open roads or in wide-open spaces. SUVs do better in the tight confines of city traffic.
  • Cabin comfort: Talk about variability. While some pickups, generally smaller ones, can be bare bones, higher-end vehicles feature every automotive luxury you can name. In general, however, Trucks tend to have less cabin space and a rougher ride, especially for passengers. 

SUVs, even the affordable ones, rate higher for roominess, amenities and other factors that make the driving/riding experience more pleasurable. Also, can you fit the kiddie car seats and the family fur baby in the truck – comfortably? Something to think about.

  • Safety: A truck’s larger size tends to make it safer than many other vehicles on the road. While SUVs tend to have the edge in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) safety ratings, compare ratings before making a decision. Look especially at front-crash prevention systems and automatic emergency braking equipment, which can help you avoid accidents,

And finally, cost of operation, which goes beyond basic budgeting and your monthly payment:

  • MSRP: Truck owners can catch a break here. Prices of particular vehicles depend on size and features, but, in general, trucks cost less than SUVs.
  • Maintenance and repair costs: These figures can vary a lot depending on the vehicle and your usage. While an SUV that’s frequently used off-road may need more frequent maintenance, on average, trucks are pricier to keep on the road.
  • Insurance: Size, usage, vehicle construction, a whole range of risks factors come into play. SUVs have a higher center of gravity and a greater tip-over risk, so trucks tend to have the edge when it comes to insurance coverage. The best strategy is consulting your insurance agent before making a purchase.
  • Fuel efficiency: In general, the larger the truck and the more capabilities it offers, the more fuel it’s going to burn. Before making a decision, check the miles per gallon of the particular vehicles you are considering. 
  • Trade-in/resale value: Trucks win this category. High demand and a reputation for durability and longevity mean trucks retain 58.8 percent of their value after five years, compared to just over 50 percent for SUVs – and both outdo cars.

As for SUVs, here are some aspects of ownership to think about while the salesperson gets the keys for your test drive:

  • Passenger room: SUVs prioritize passenger space – and comfort – over cargo. You have room for the family, the pets and the car seats, plus USB ports and Wi-Fi for all your devices. Plus, if Fido is a large breed, he’ll appreciate the extra head room. Some sedans and hatchbacks aren’t tall enough for larger pups.

SUVs also are easier to get into and out of.  The higher ground clearance of many trucks can make climbing into the cabin more difficult for the kiddos – and many adults and even Fido, large breed that he may be.

  • Maneuverability: SUVs are mostly smaller and easier to drive, especially in town.
  • Gas mileage: Depending on the particular models, SUVs tend to get better gas mileage than trucks.
  • Adventure: If you hear the call of the wild, an SUV will let you hit the trail(head) with ease. A locking four-wheel-drive system provides the off-road traction to keep yu moving.

So the choice comes down to your vehicle needs and wants, as well as how you plan to use your new ride. Test drive both and discuss the options with your Mullinax sales team member. We look forward to helping you find the vehicle that’s right your you.

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