If you’re considering buying your first pickup truck, here are five things to consider before you buy.
5 Tips for First-Time Pickup Buyers
1. How will you use it?
Pickups come in many more varieties than cars, with varying bed lengths, cab sizes, a wide range of interior trims and powertrains, and two-, four- or four-wheel drive. Which configuration you choose depends on your needs, and this will have a huge impact on price, fuel economy, and handling.
The most common pickup configuration is a four-door half-ton with four-wheel drive in mid-level trim. These trucks hit the sweet spot for most buyers, combining room for a family with ample hauling and towing capacity, a more casual ride and better fuel economy than three-quarter-ton or one-ton trucks. However, if your plans include work such as plowing or heavy towing, you will need a more powerful pickup.
2. Pickups are not like cars
It may seem obvious, but driving and living with a pickup truck is not the same as using a car. Pickup trucks are larger, heavier and more top-heavy, meaning they won’t handle as well as cars. Backup cameras, electronic safety features, and interior amenities have made trucks more like cars, but there’s still no denying the laws of physics: Pickups take longer to stop and won’t swerve around corners like sports sedans. Parking can also be more difficult, so visit your local grocery store as part of your test drive, along with stopping at home to test fit in your driveway or garage. Keep in mind that some parking garages will not accommodate pickups at all (make sure you know the exact height of your truck before getting into one) or charge more if they do.
3. Don’t overbuy – choose your options wisely
Ads often show pickups driving through mud bogs or pulling rigs on trailers to the accompaniment of loud rock and roll music. This is all well and good, but most buyers would find trucks equipped for this type of task not very livable for everyday use. “Most people overbuy it,” said Nick Capa, parent and spokesperson for the Stellantis family, and truck enthusiast, noting that even a full-size Ram half-ton six-cylinder makes over 300 horsepower and can tow nearly 7,000 pounds. These numbers are typical for domestic vans and more than adequate for most recreational boaters and campers.
Another big difference between a pickup truck and a sedan is the number of options available. Upgraded trim packages, more powerful engines, and functional and cosmetic additions can quickly add up to, sometimes double the price of a pickup. These days, some of the trim level options on the most expensive pickups can push sticker prices into the six-figure territory, and that’s before any aftermarket accessories are added.
Start by identifying the must-haves—such as a four-door cab or engine and towing combination for your needs—and then decide if there’s room in the budget for a leather interior or sunroof. With the average bargain price for a new pickup already running at around $45,000 per Cars.com inventory, it won’t take long for these options to reach the stratosphere.
4. Consideration of the application
But even if you sort it out, it won’t be easy to find what you want. It used to be that you could go down to your local dealership and find dozens of trucks outfitted in a variety of configurations lying around and ready for wheels and handling; The epidemic put an end to it very effectively thanks to A. There aren’t a lot of big trucks anymore, and there certainly aren’t any more big deals to be had with thousands of dollars in incentives on the hood.
These days, you’ll likely pay at least the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (if not more on popular models), but you may be able to avoid additional fees if you’re willing to order and wait for your truck. Building. This has some benefits: First, you can get exactly the truck you want with the options you want (provided the brand can build the configuration you want; the constant shortage of chips makes that difficult). Second, you won’t pay a “get it now” premium on anything the merchant owns.
If you sure You have To get a truck now, however, you’ll need to be flexible on the model, trim, powertrain, color, and other options you want. Expanding your search to a much larger geographic area will help you locate something more easily.
5. Do you have to go electrified?
They’re just starting to hit the market, but electric pickups are big news. Ford’s F-150 Lightning, Rivian’s R1T, and GMC Hummer EV are set to be joined in 2023 by the Chevrolet Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV, with the Ram 1500 EV at the back. Be aware that electric pickups don’t behave like gas or diesel pickups—they drive differently, are generally more expensive, are heavier, can’t quite tow or tow conventional trucks, and can be difficult to use due to recharging requirements. As they become more popular and technology improves, parity ability will likely occur, but for now, they’re still a niche product. Choosing one means you need to be aware of those pros and cons before you spend some money for one.