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The long-overdue triumph of the crew-cab pickup

Why do the people who build extended-cab pickups hate them so much? According to an insider source with whom I recently spoke, it’s because they are significantly more difficult, and expensive, to build than either the regular-cab pickups from which they sprang or the crew-cab designs which now account for the majority of privately-owned trucks.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/02/26/long-overdue-triumph-of-the-crew-cab-pickup

Perfectly stated! For comfortable driving, our 2014 Impala is perfect. Comfortable and great for long trips with the rear seat down. But, for a second vehicle it is an F150 crew cab with Ecoboost 3.5. Great as a second car around town, with rear seat up has essentially a covered trunk area bigger than a car (plus bed if needed and with cover), comfortable, 4-wheel drive for winter snows, and hauls my car trailer; which by the way, might have my 1960s station wagon inside!

Pickups are hot, because they are huge money makers for the manufacturers (the SUVs built on the same chassis even larger profit per vehicle), and so the advertisers figured out how to guide the masses like the sheep they are, to buy them. Many years ago, the only people driving trucks, were farmers and tradesmen, and if they could afford a car too, then that is what they drove when they weren’t working, because trucks were looked down upon by the general public. Yes if you work in construction, farming, etc. you probably need a pickup, but it’s crazy to buy a decked out luxury truck for those kind of conditions, and the average person is better served by a sedan, wagon, mini van, etc. If you need something to occasionally go off road to a campsite, or drive in snowy/icy conditions…buy a Subaru!

I bought a little 93 Ranger for $2,000 for the very reasons you mention. I drive a car as my daily driver. I don’t need a mega-truck with the ability to tow a yacht, I need one to go to the dump on weekends, pick up stuff at Lowe’s and other such chores, and the Ranger fits all of those needs.

I use my little Ranger for more “truck stuff” than my best friend does in his shiny new $55,000 Ram. He is afraid of the first scratch, so he won’t use it to haul stuff. But it sure is impressive looking!

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Ah ha, so you don’t get it, either. Some of us can’t afford to have a separate vehicle for every purpose. We need our vehicles to be more than one thing. The more it does, the better it works for us. That means the family car isn’t exactly suited as a tow vehicle or a hauler of all things large and/or heavy. A pure pickup doesn’t do much good sitting in the garage if it can’t be used other than for utility purposes. Enter the modern pickup: the super crew cab that allows it to perform family duties and utility duties. Just because we have found a way to make one vehicle work for us instead of two doesn’t make us sheep, it makes us smart. My super crew served our family well hauling countless tons of materials and supplies, towing all manner of trailers for recreation and practical purposes and more. I guess I was supposed to put a cubic yard of compost in the back of a minivan? Or tow a Bobcat? I’m neither a farmer nor a tradesman, just a homeowner getting stuff done. I invite you to use a little wider angled lens in your view of others.

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Exactly what tmh just said. Exactly.

You know when I read articles such as this I am amazed sometimes at the ignorance and or arrogance of it. I know the writers are going to have some or all of the bias woven into the story but I have to say that if you simply look beyond big population centers, and not far mind you, you will find that large pick ups are what carry most of your blue collar tradesman and hard working family bread winners.

It is as if the country, according to this story and some of the comments, revolves around the population living in large cities. Of course a large pick up or SUV is not the first choice because of limited space and parking. And to suggest that owners of these vehicles, which I am one with a 2006 GMC crew cab Duramax 4x4, are ignorant is just flat out BS.

My truck is a daily driver. I bought it used in 2011 and it does everything from take my son to school, me to work, family out to dinner, haul a 9K pound 30 ft. enclosed to drag strips from Florida to Pennsylvania and too many other places to recall. It gets 21MPG highway and 12 towing. During the winters here in the Mid Atlantic it has never left me stranded and has pulled many other “more practical” vehicles out of the ditch including two Subaru’s… :slight_smile:

In my humble opinion there is not another more versatile vehicle. It does everything most of the country would need.

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I need to clarify my comment…I was referring to what this writer was referring to about the industry as a whole and others in the “Twitterverse”, not what he thought.

Another reason pickups dominate the American and Canadian marketplace. Actual leg room. Most cars have a huge intrusive consols that jut leftward, meaning anyone over 6 feet tall has to sit side saddle, with no room to relax the right knee. Sitting in most cars, one feels like one is in a space capsule, so claustrophobic. Pick up trucks have basically replaced the traditional full sized American sedans that dominated the market place in the 50s 60s 70s.

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You, geok86, clearly do not understand how much pickup buyers do use their trucks for things that sedans, wagons, mini vans and yes, even Subarus cannot do. Sure, owning a truck you’re going to likely put many miles on while not ‘using’ it for truck things, and fellow motorists such as yourself will heavily judge when they see you not hauling and not towing, but have you been to any storage facility anywhere in America lately? They are booming businesses ever expanding and full of boats, RV trailers and all sorts of other things that people own. People who, on weekends, vacations or as a part-time lifestyle, are pulling and towing those items all over. you can’t do any of that with a sedan, mini van, wagon, or Subaru. Certain large SUVs could do some of that work, and do, but I suspect people like you whine about those as well. So, please do everyone a favor and get over yourself.

On a recent drive my 18 year old son asked “What is THAT” pointing to a vehicle in a front yard? I answered “It’s an El Camino, maybe 1978. It’s a car based pick-up” He further stated “What an incredibly stupid idea. If you want a car get a car, if you want a truck get a truck.” Defending what I thought were cool vehicles, I said “It was for people who wanted car comfort with some pick-up functionality”. He said “Just get a truck”. This while we drove home in our 2018 high series super crew pick-up.

I have a 1997 F-150 extended cab as my daily driver. It might have been hard to build but it is not hard to live with. I’ve always been a sports-car guy but I love my truck. In fact, I sold my like-new Audi A6 because I never used.

I bought a new F150 last year to replace my 2005 Explorer. I ordered it because so many of the trucks on the lot were either stripped (XL) or loaded (King Ranch, Platinum) and didn’t max out the towing abilities. I didn’t want leather (why does anybody; cold in winter, hot in summer) and I wanted a bench seat (I didn’t want the console with floor shifter; I already have a sports car). The XLT with the big package fit the bill.

In keeping with this discussion, I got the crew cab; also the longest bed available. It is VERY roomy in the back and we use it when we’re traveling with another couple. Yes, it’s like a limousine when it comes to maneuvering but the sports car contrasts that. The extra length makes a big difference in towing stability. It gets gas great mileage (22 highway, 19 around town) partly due to its aluminum body (only 4800 pounds) and its twin turbo V6 & 10 speed transmission (which is no slouch in Sport mode).

I am a tool collector so the bed gets used (not abused) to haul my finds. If the load gets particularly big, heavy, or dirty, I use one of the two utility trailers. I do use it as a daily driver in the winter months as the sports car is useless.

I am sure there are a lot of people out there that don’t use their pick-ups to haul much of anything and others who use them a lot more than I do but crew cabs are a godsend. I had to rent a truck once and it was a standard cab; I practically broke my nose when I turned around to look out the back window.

geok86 is correct – to a degree. There are always exceptions! Some use/buy a truck for what it was intended, and some have one because they can’t afford or don’t have space to park two vehicles. Although they burn a lot more gas than a mid size sedan, it is still sometimes more economical in the long run to have only one vehicle that does all, and if “all” includes relatively heavy towing or hauling duties, a crew cab truck is the best choice. There are LOTS of people who do nothing more than haul there weekly garbage off in their full size decked out crew cabs though, and are careful about doing that! Haul something that might scratch the bed liner? NEVER!! Many drive the big trucks and SUVs because they feel safer, but sedans are just as safe in most instances. Not if you get caught between a couple semis, but even a Smart car is just as safe in most instances (ever see the insurance test video of a Smart bouncing off a concrete wall and the test dummies showing no more damage than most other cars?). Full frame vehicles transfer more impact, crumple less. Less damage to the vehicle than a typical sedan, but that may mean more damage to you.

I just bought a well taken care of 2005 Expedition to pull my camper rather than use my (getting beat looking!) 2003 Tundra work truck. I do like the extended cab/suicide door design – haul tools in the back seat to protect from rain and theft. Main family car is a 2013 Escape. We only drive the Expy when camping or if we need the room, maybe once a month. If you can afford two vehicles that’s the way to go, but many use the truck as the second vehicle. I have to shuffle vehicles around in my driveway when taking the Expy out. Inconvenient, but then we don’t use it that much…

I bought a used 08 Sierra and am currently selling that to buy a used 2011-2014 Ford F-150 with the 5.0. I have a restomod 92 mustang and need a truck to haul it to shows, drag strip, etc. I hated trucks for the longest but love them now. Plan on boosting the f150 with a twin turbo kit. Should make the truck a lot of fun. Just hope my truck isn’t faster then my mustang.strong text

Enjoyed reading the article AND the comments. I thought I’d share a conversation I had with Hagerty several years ago; it revolved around my then recent purchase of an '89 Mustang GT Convertible and my wish to insure it through Hagerty. At the time it was borderline whether or not Hagerty would insure it as it wasn’t old enough yet and was still considered a daily driver by the rep I spoke with at the time. While going thru the application process I was asked what my daily driver was and when I responded that it was a four door dually one ton the reps response was that “nobody uses a 4 door dually as a daily driver!” My how times have changed! And yes I understand this article is about SRW 1/2 ton 4 doors, I have a '17 GMC that looks just like the one in the article.

I’ve owned pick-ups for 45 years. The first few were regular cabs (74, 77, 81 F-100s) because the extended cab was a rarity and, I thought, unnecessary. My first extended cab (1989) was still a two-door - way inconvenient for passengers or anything else in the back seat. Another extended cab came along in 1996, but it only had a rear door on the passenger side - better, but not great. The first crew cab was purchased in 2006 and stuck around until late last year - it was replaced with a Super Duty crew. Why so much truck? I haven’t used a truck as my daily driver since 1990, but all of the other activities in life demanded a truck. Being in healthcare it is imperative (and expected) that you get to work no matter the weather - enter 4-wheel drive. I know they make four-wheel drive cars, but there is nothing like ground clearance and the ability to haul five adults to the hospital. The 2006 crew did that for 12 years with no problems - ever. In the last few years we added a trailer to the mix to haul the cars to shows and the F-150 struggled from time to time to climb the mountains while towing. The Super Duty fits the bill for everything. It hauls the trash to the landfill, it hauls everyone to the hospital in bad weather, it pulls the trailer with no problem, it hauls all sorts of yard and building materials, and it hauls my family to the local restaurants from time to time. It’s not a daily driver, but it goes somewhere at least once a week. Don’t need it everyday, but more days than not.

Well said. I enjoy driving my RAM Limited but also need a truck as a homeowner. I also do occasional towing so my RAM is perfect for me. I don’t want a stripped down work truck I want a first class, every option, high tech truck that drives like a Bentley.

Funny story: I was writing a repair estimate on a dual cab pick-up (Ford?) back in the 70’s, but the Mitchell manual didn’t list the rear door. So I called the dealer’s parts department, and they told me there was no such thing as a dual cab pick-up in their line-up. So I called the insured and discovered that he had bought a brand new truck and an extra cab and had the dealership weld them together to make a crew cab. Which explained why the rear doors looked so funny. He must have also lengthened the frame? Proving that the demand for crew cabs goes way back. I also remember the first time I inspected a crew cab Ford with a long bed. It was a long hike from the front bumper to the rear.

You say some us can’t afford to have a separate vehicle for every purpose. Do the math. A new crew cab pickup is probably around $50,000, used are around $25K to $30K I am guessing. I bought my Ford Ranger 4X4 (standard cab) for $10K and my Miata for $8K, that leaves $7K to $32K left over.