Should You Buy a Truck or an SUV

Cat person or dog person? Gryffindor or Slytherin? Batman or Superman? Pepsi or Coke? These are the great debates or our time, and everyone seems to have a preference. Among these questions, but perhaps not so easily answered, is this one: Am I a truck person or more of an SUV type? The answer really comes down to what’s important to you.

One point of clarification we’d like to make. We assume you’re weighing the difference between a pickup truck and a large SUV. Heavy duty trucks are so trucky that they out-truck the pickup trucks. And compact or subcompact SUVs often have more in common with hatchbacks and sedans than they do with trucks. But large SUVs and pickup trucks have a lot in common, so it’s on that comparison that we’re laser-focused for this article.


Don’t get us wrong, a pickup truck with two rows and four doors can seat lots of people, even up to six passengers in some models. But that doesn’t beat the large, three-row SUVs. These behemoths can seat seven, eight, and even nine people sometimes. While it’s true that the third row very seldom offers much legroom, kids in car seats don’t mind that at all. If you have family or friends that number more than six, the SUV is what you need.

But maybe you were talking more about comfort. You might think that SUVs should win hands-down. And they often do just that. But there are some upper-tier pickup trims that double down on comfortable seating and all the amenities. So if it’s simply a matter of comfort, you might find a pickup will do you just fine, though pickups are often pricy at that range, which brings us to our next point.


Trucks are everything from minimalist workhorses to luxury wagons. But, on average, trucks are slightly more affordable than large SUVs. According to Kelley Blue Book, a full-size truck, on average, goes for $46,500. If you’re looking at compact trucks, that number dips to $32,000. A large SUV, on the other hand, sells for $60,000 on average. Buying used or lower-trim SUV models can help defray some of these costs. But chances are you’ll pay less money for a truck than for an SUV. By the way, trucks usually boast better fuel economy than SUVs as well. So if it’s just a question of money, trucks are probably the way to go.


Trucks are designed to be rugged haulers and towing machines while SUVs are family-friendly beasts. So it comes as no surprise that SUVs will take the potholes with fewer cabin-rattling bumps. If you do buy a pickup, you’ll notice trucks actually drive a little smoother with a big load in the back, which brings us to our next category.


This is the truck’s specialty, its joie de vivre. If you regularly haul or tow heavy loads, get the truck. The best pickup truck in this task can tow up to 13,200 pounds when properly equipped, and can haul up to 3,270 pounds. On the SUV side, we’re not familiar with any SUV that pulls more than 9,000 pounds.

If you want to seat a lot of people and give them the smoothest ride, the SUV is your ticket. If, on the other hand, you’re looking to haul a ton or more and want the best deal, you’re a truck person

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