Americans love trucks, and the proof is in the sales numbers. For decades now, the best-selling vehicle in the land has been a pickup, the beloved Ford F-Series. There are many different types of trucks available to consumers, so if you’re in the market for a pickup, you’ll have to weigh your options. Here are five choices to consider when you’re deciding which type of truck is the best fit for your needs.
1. Full-Size Heavy-Duty Pickup
If you want a truck with the maximum amount of towing power, you’ll want to look at full-size heavy-duty pickups. Options in this class include the Ford Super Duty F-350, the Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD, the Ram 2500 and the Nissan Titan XD.
The towing capacity of these trucks is formidable. For example, the Silverado 3500HD can pull up to 36,000 pounds when it’s properly equipped. Heavy-duty trucks make sense if you frequently haul horses or large boats, or if you have a small business that requires a vehicle with lots of towing power. Otherwise, these trucks may have more muscle than you actually need.
The full-size light-duty pickup is the best-selling class of truck on the market. It includes popular models such as the Ford F-150, the Ram 1500 and the Chevrolet Silverado 1500.
Don’t be misled by the title “light-duty” — these trucks offer ample power for towing and hauling. For example, the Ford F-150 can tow up to 14,000 pounds. The only trucks that offer more power are heavy-duty options.
3. Midsize Pickup
Full-size trucks can be somewhat unwieldy on narrow streets. With a midsize pickup, you get a smaller truck that’s a more nimble companion when you’re driving in the city or the suburbs. The list of trucks in this segment includes the Ford Ranger, the Honda Ridgeline, the Chevrolet Colorado and the Nissan Frontier. You can expand the cargo space on these models by adding a truck bed extender. Keep in mind that these trucks don’t tow as much as full-size pickups. For example, the Chevy Colorado’s towing capabilities top out at 7,700 pounds.
4. Compact Pickup
Compact pickups are the smallest trucks on the market, and this segment is home to some of the newest and most innovative choices. For example, there’s the Hyundai Santa Cruz, a truck that the brand is marketing as a sport activity vehicle. It’s essentially a compact crossover SUV that has a truck bed instead of a cargo area. In addition, Ford recently rolled out the Maverick, a small truck equipped with a hybrid powertrain. For a sense of how much trucks in this segment can tow, consider the Santa Cruz, a compact pickup that can pull up to 5,000 pounds.
5. Convertible Pickup
If you want a truck that allows you to enjoy the wind in your hair when you’re behind the wheel, you could opt for a convertible pickup. Right now, this segment consists of just one vehicle: the Jeep Gladiator. This vehicle comes with a removable top and removable doors, and it’s just as rugged as its sibling, the Wrangler SUV. It’s a natural fit for off-roading and can tow up to 7,650 pounds.
Now that you know what makes these types of trucks different, you can make an informed decision about which class of truck is the best match for you.
Check out all the truck parts available on NAPA Online, or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on the different types of trucks, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
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I'm a writer and editor who's a regular contributor with the New York Daily News and Carfax, and my content has appeared in over 20 publications. I've written content that covers industries such as automotive, medical, insurance, healthcare, real estate, plumbing, pest control, dental and hospitality.