Is a Pickup Truck Your Next Family Car?

Pickup trucks used to be all work and no play, but not anymore. As their advertising is sure to point out, they still haul, carry, tow uphill and drive through mud. However, with all the features and amenities available inside the cabs of new pickup trucks, they can offer the same comfort as any sedan, minivan or SUV. Choose a model with a four-door cab, and a pickup truck can seat a family of five.

1. Newer Trucks Have Plenty of Passenger Space In The Cab – Do You Need It?
The passenger space in pickup trucks has grown so much over the years that a family of five can comfortably fit in many models. The most popular truck model in America, the Ford F-150, is available with a two-seat regular cab or a four-door, five-seat “SuperCrew” cab. Similarly, the Toyota Tacoma offers a two-seat regular cab, a two-door, five-seat “Access” cab and a four-door, five-seat “Double” cab. Both models offer storage behind the front seats and cargo flexibility by having rear seats that fold up, flat against the seat backs. With a 40/60 split in both models, it is easy to customize the seat configuration for different numbers of passengers, even when carrying cargo inside the cab.

2. A Truck Offers More Options, Like Transporting Cargo
Pick-up trucks are made to transport cargo. However, for years the only options were to expose your cargo to the elements in the open truck bed or cover it yourself with a tarp unless you bought an add-on, like a truck bed cover or enclosure. Newer models offer additional space inside the cab. The Ford F-150 has a flat-load cab, which means when you fold up the rear seats in the bigger cabs, cargo can be slid into the back of the cab without any door lip or raised edge in the way. The Chevy Silverado also has an extended cab. The rear door on this model opens wider than an average car back door, swinging completely out of the way if cargo is being loaded behind the front seats.

3. Look For Family-friendly Features In A Truck
In some models, the interior has been designed with a family in mind. All extended-cab models of Toyota trucks, both the Tacoma and the Tundra, are available with LATCH anchors for child safety seats. The Toyota Tundra and GMC Sierra offer optional rear-seat DVD players. The Ford F-150 is available with up to 30 different storage spaces inside the cab, including an optional locking center console space large enough for hanging files and a laptop. That kind of space may have been designed for running a business, but it is a feature worthy of running a family. Keep permissions slips, receipts, coupons and school paperwork organized and handy or take your laptop and the bills with you to soccer practice or a piano lesson.

Trucks are gradually getting better gas mileage. The newer the truck, generally the better the mileage. If most of your driving is local, a truck can be a good options. As a rule, trucks make poor commuter vehicles. If gas savings is what you are after, a truck is not the best option. But trucks are becoming more than ‘trucks’. They are gaining more and more family-friendly features, such as rear-seat LATCH anchors, offered in more models. As the trend of bigger and more comfortable cabs continues, more families who need a truck may find they don’t need anything else.

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