TRUCK OR MINIVAN FOR A FAMILY

Minivans are not as popular as they once were, but pickup trucks are selling like never before. Of course, these are two very different vehicles, so they’re not really competing for the same buyers, right? Well, actually, since a crew cab pickup can seat as many as six people there might be more overlap than you’d imagine. Can a truck be as good as a minivan for a family?

PRACTICALITY


If your entire idea of practicality is how many people you can cram into a vehicle, then most minivans will come out on top over a crew cab pickup. But how many of us actually need seven or eight seats on a day-to-day basis? If practicality means all of the extra cargo room you can get with the seats folded down in a minivan, compare that (and the ability to hold heavier, more rugged cargo) with the bed of a full-size truck.

But if by practicality you mean go-anywhere, do-anything capability because you live where driving conditions can be less than ideal at times, a pickup leaves any minivan trailing in its wake. Even without going as far as a four-wheel drive model, the high ride height of a truck means you can negotiate tracks and trails you’d never attempt with a minivan. If you do opt for four-wheel drive, the sky’s the limit in terms of capability.

FLEXIBILITY

Most minivans will offer lots of clever ways of configuring seats in order to meet a wide variety of needs. But once again, won’t most of us find the configuration that suits us for the majority of the time and leave a vehicle set up that way? A pickup might not have the flexible seating configurations of a minivan, but few vehicles on the market can claim to be as flexible overall as a pickup truck. A pickup can fill the role of a family hauler, a comfortable commuter, an off-road trail warrior, or any type of lifestyle vehicle you want it to be. You can drive to the office in a pickup every day of the working week, and load it up with family and friends and tow a trailer at weekends for adventures in the wilderness. No minivan on the market can hope to match that.

DESIRABILITY

If we’re going to be honest, people tend to buy minivans because they need them, not particularly because they want them. It’s almost like a rite of passage that a family gets to the point where cool vehicles become out of the question, and the practicality of a minivan becomes an inevitability. But if you don’t need more than six seats, what on earth could be cooler than a pickup truck? Of course an SUV or large crossover can do the job, but even they don’t have the cool factor of a big, bold pickup.

CONCLUSION

If you think pickups are just for hunting, shooting, and fishing then think again. For a family of up to six people they can be a practical, versatile, and much more desirable alternative to a minivan. If you need seven or eight seats you will have to abandon the idea of a pickup as your main family vehicle, but otherwise, surely a truck should be an enticing option to consider.

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• Elizabethtown, KY

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Swope Family of Dealerships 37.714827, -85.878970.