Dye Autos Denver Area Truck and Automotive Blog
Pickup Truck Size Comparison: Which Works Best for YOU
There are a lot of things to think about when considering the purchase of a used pickup truck.
- What size truck is right for me?
- Will I be hauling or towing anything?
- Does my budget fit for what I need?
If you’ve been shopping, you know that a pickup truck isn’t just a pickup truck.
In this guide, we’ll review the three different pickup trucks that consumers purchase the most, along with their specific attributes and uses.
As always, please get in touch with us if you have questions. At Dye Autos, we have over 100 years combined experience selling pickup trucks and we’re happy to help you!
A word about GVWR.
The US DOT puts trucks into classes by “Gross Vehicle Weight Rating” (GVWR) ranked from 1 to 8 (smallest to largest). In our example here, we’re going to cover Class 1, 2 and 3. These classes exist for safety regulation, commercial designation, and registration purposes.
GVWR refers to the maximum operating weight a truck can possibly carry while driving including the truck itself. GVWR classes have nothing to do with what parts the truck is fitted with, how beefy the suspension is, or what the truck looks like. They are solely based on weight.
So if a truck’s GVWR is 10,000 pounds, that’s the most the manufacturer and government have certified the truck to possibly weigh with fuel, passengers, and cargo.
Class 1, 2 and 3 are considered “Light Duty” even though there are the heavy duty pickup trucks in the light duty classification.
Now, let’s talk about the three sizes of pickup trucks so that when you’re out there shopping, you’ll know which type to look at first.
Compact Pickup Truck
Compact pickup trucks are built on a separate chassis frame from their full-size brethren and usually offer a range of four-cylinder and V6 engines. Not as small as past generations, these trucks are sometimes referred to as midsized and it can get confusing.
Today’s smallest trucks aren’t very small at all. As many drivers have discovered, some are really midsize trucks with near full-size proportions.
The most popular compact trucks include the Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, Ford Explorer Sport Trac, and Honda Ridgeline.
Midsize Pickup Truck
Midsize pickup trucks are commonly used as general purpose passenger cars here in Colorado and the U.S. They are popular with construction and tradespeople along with everyday commuters and families. Because of this, there is demand for a pickup truck that is bigger than a compact, yet smaller and more fuel efficient than a full-size pickup. Enter the midsized truck!
The increased popularity of midsize trucks has led to the need for several different configurations and style of cab. Mid-size trucks can usually be found with single, extended, or crew cab configurations depending on what’s offered for the model and based on your needs.
Notable midsize trucks include the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Dodge Dakota, and Ford Explorer SportTrac.
Full-Size Pickup Truck
Full-size pickup trucks are the brawny workhorses of the pickup world.
They are larger and more rugged, and they ride higher off the ground than compacts/midsizes do. They also come in more configurations of cab type, bed size, and drivetrain.
The basic pickup truck is what used to be called the half-ton truck and is now often called 1500-series. Current models in this class include the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Ram 1500, Ford F-150, GMC Sierra 1500, Nissan Titan, and Toyota Tundra. These form the backbone of the pickup truck market. They serve well as work trucks and, for many, as a family car substitute.
Heavier-duty pickup trucks, which may carry numerical designations such as 2500 or 3500, are configured for carrying very serious loads and for hauling fifth-wheel trailers, those with a hitch point in the center of the cargo bed. These are bulky trucks for the most demanding chores, making them great for hauling a huge trailer.
Summing it all up…
We know you have a lot of choices when it comes to where you buy your next pickup truck. That’s why we share our expertise with you so that when the time comes, you’ll consider Dye Autos! Give us a call – we’d love to help! (303) 286-1665.