I think trucks are brilliant. I didn't up until a few days ago but having driven almost every full-size pickup on the market (Toyota wasn't interested), I've come around. I used to think they were for the type of person that owns a farm or operates an oil company. Someone who is obligated to wash their shirt after work on account of it being more blood and dirt than actual clothing material. I was wrong. Very wrong. Every one of the trucks I drove was like driving a large luxury vehicle. Or perhaps a more apt comparison would be a minivan. They both can haul a great many things and when similarly equipped, cost roughly the same.
This is probably rubbish. Photo: Toyota
There is no argument to be had that if you want the most practicality per dollar, a people carrier is what you're looking for. The seats are vast and move in twenty directions, they are quiet and comfortable, they have large, functional infotainment centers and they can manage loads of cargo. Sound familiar? These are all phrases that can apply directly to any modern, mid-sized pickup as well. However, Americans buy around 40 billion pickups for every, one minivan. I think there are two reasons for this; the first is that being American means eventually owning a truck and eventually shooting your neighbor, and the second is that supposedly, minivans aren't cool.
This is brilliant, cheaper than the Tundra as well. Comes with more stuff, too. Buy this. Photo: edmunds.com
It's this last bit that I struggle with the most. We all know that practicality isn't cool, if it were the rich kids of Instagram would have a dozen followers to share, and game shows would feature contests between washing machines instead of contortionists. Yet despite this, there are many millions of people who believe pickups to be cool and minivans to be the embodiment of awful, soul-sucking, insert-politicly-charged-phrase-here misfortunes. I can no longer see the difference between them at all. They are exactly the same in every way, aside from the van getting better MPGs and being able to keep your payload dry and being better equipped and being cheaper. They are both, however, horribly useful things. They should both be equally cool, or equally lame.
So why then, if they are the same in every way, do folks continue to buy a new truck every half second rather than the minivan? Is it because, like the pointless and stupid crossover, the pickup gives its occupants a sense of safety that doesn't actually exist? Perhaps it's the illusion that sitting up higher allows you to see the road ahead more clearly? This notion can be dismissed straight away as the driver won't be paying attention to the road anyway, so the height of the car is irrelevant. Maybe, as was recently pointed out by my non-contributing contributing editor at large Patrick, the truck outsells the van because clean up of the cargo area can be done with a hose or heavy rainstorm. To clean a minivan requires a vacuum, and that's chores. No one likes chores.
I think where the truck scores major points is when you have to haul very smelly things. Simply chuck whatever it is in the back and let the rest of the world deal with it. I can't imagine that the average truck enthusiast does this sort of thing regularly but even just one trip with a bed full of your neighbor's carcasses could be worth the price of admission alone. Saves the Hoover as well. You might be screaming at your monitor about towing at this point, which is fair, except minivans can tow almost anything that you would need to be towed as well as a truck can. The Dodge Promaster will handle your jet skis as well as your Dodge Rebel. Sure, the Sienna can't tow the Space Shuttle but the Tundra supposedly can. So, if you need to haul the former hopes of civilization through downtown Los Angeles or the not-so-fresh remains of your latest kill, purchase a truck. If however, you need to do literally anything else, buy yourself a minivan. Whatever you do, don't buy a crossover.