Pickup Truck Or SUV: Which One Is Right For Your Family?

Many people show up on the lot looking to purchase either an SUV or a pickup truck. If you're not much of a gearhead, you might not understand how these options differ aside from the noticeable superficial differences.

Since purchasing a new vehicle represents a significant investment for many people, it's good to go into the process with your eyes open. This guide will help explain some of the more subtle differences between these options so you can make an informed purchase.

Is There a Difference?

Aside from a bed versus a hatch, the primary distinguishing feature between trucks and most modern SUVs is the underlying structure. Trucks continue to use a structural design known as body-on-frame. This design was typical on older vehicles, and it consists of a separate frame with an attached body on top. Body-on-frame designs are heavier but offer more durability for offroading and towing.

On the other hand, modern SUVs use the same unibody designs found on traditional sedans, coupes, and hatchbacks. Unibody designs offer better handling and fuel economy but sacrifice some strength when dealing with the twisting forces experienced when off-roading and towing. Some heavy-duty and offroad-focused SUVs, such as the Ford Bronco, still use a traditional body-on-frame design.

Which One Should You Choose?

Most people prefer either an open bed or a closed cargo area. However, there are more factors to consider, especially since tonneau covers and similar equipment can help protect truck beds from the elements. If you're stuck deciding which is suitable for you, it can be helpful to consider how you use your vehicle every day.

Since most SUVs have fully-independent suspensions and unibody chassis, they tend to offer more comfortable rides and better overall handling. Additionally, trucks typically offer 4WD instead of AWD systems. While both provide added traction, 4WD is often more suitable for offroading, while AWD can better deal with inclement weather on regular, paved roads.

You may also want to consider how you intend to utilize the cargo area. While trucks are the clear champion for hauling bulk goods or unusually-shaped cargo, a large SUV may offer more usable cargo volume than a short-box truck. This extra space can be helpful if you spend more time carrying boxes or groceries than construction materials.

While it's easy to choose a vehicle that appeals to your aesthetic sensibilities, it can pay to remember that both trucks and SUVs offer genuine practical benefits. Thinking carefully about how you use your car can help you select the option that will fit seamlessly into your day-to-day life.

For more information about different cars, like Ford cars, contact a local dealer.