After Driving A Truck, I Can Say They Still Aren't For Me—But I Can See Why They're For Someone Else

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Photo: Elizabeth Blackstock
Truck YeahThe trucks are good!

Well, folks. The time is here. It’s time for me to audit one of my first-ever collectively despised Jalopnik takes. It’s time to say that I’ve changed my mind and that pickup trucks are not a plague and should not be banned, contrary to my previously stated beliefs.

That being said, I still don’t think everyone and their mother needs one as a daily driver—and I still don’t think trucks are for me.

I had the pleasure of testing a RAM 2500 Power Wagon at the start of the year, and I had a hell of a good time. I actually really enjoyed the experience and all of the features included in my fully-loaded press vehicle. I had a blast taking it off-roading, and it gave me back a little piece of my sanity during a difficult few months. If you want to read more about my in-depth thoughts, you can find them in the form of a review and a lifestyle post at A Girls Guide to Cars.

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Photo: Elizabeth Blackstock
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Photo: Elizabeth Blackstock



I loved it. I could see where I might be interested in opting for a Power Wagon over something like my Mazda 2. But I could never justify it as being my daily driver, nor would I want to even try. I can see why some people might prefer a truck to another kind of vehicle. Maybe you need it for work, or you’re someone who’s consistently hauling stuff around. If you’re doing a home renovation and know you’ll have shit to move around, it makes sense. If you go camping all the time, I could see it.

But I still don’t understand using a truck as just an everyday getting-around machine, which was pretty much what I used mine for. It was terrifyingly big, and even though the pedals were adjustable, it definitely wasn’t made for a short person like me. I needed a boost to get into the bed and was eternally thankful for the running boards on the side of the car. Getting groceries was easy, since there was tons of space for them; getting those groceries out, however, was a whole different story.

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It didn’t make for a very great tooling-around-town vehicle, even in parts of rural Canada where the infrastructure has been designed for larger vehicles. It wasn’t a great road trip vehicle because of the gas mileage. It was comfortable as all hell, but I still wouldn’t want to commute in it, and I felt like I always needed to be on guard to make sure that other vehicles on the road didn’t feel like they were about to get smooshed by a big ol’ truck.

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Photo: Elizabeth Blackstock
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I had a lot of fun with the Power Wagon, sure. But it’s also not something I’d ever buy for myself because it’s not something I feel I need to drive regularly. There’s nothing about my life that requires a big truck, and I still maintain that’s a similar fact for many truck owners. Plenty of people I know that drive trucks could get by just fine in literally anything else.

I will no longer go so far as to say they should be banned, since you could make the “nobody needs this” argument for a hell of a lot of cars (does anyone actually need a luxury sedan when a regular old Honda Civic will do the job?). But I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that these trucks aren’t popular because of their practical features. They’re popular because they’re stupid big and make you feel important.

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Driving a big truck that you don’t need is like going out for drinks with someone that derives a sense of purpose from challenging the whole table to outdrink him and then reveling in their failure. Congratulations on your excellent liver, friend, but if your skill is a stand-in for having an actual personality, I’m not exactly going to be impressed.

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But a small truck, though? Now we’re talking.

And a dog photo for the road.
And a dog photo for the road.
Photo: Elizabeth Blackstock

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.

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DISCUSSION

hammerheadfistpunch
HammerheadFistpunch

But I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that these trucks aren’t popular because of their practical features. They’re popular because they’re stupid big and make you feel important.

Sigh. Here’s the deal. If you have room in your life for a single vehicle most people choose the one that does all our most of what they need. They don’t under buy and fill in with rental cars. For one, driving rental cars sucks, for another it can be expensive if that need is something like towing a boat for a week at the lake or just camping.

The reality is that truck buyers do tow, go off road, haul, etc. They don’t do it all the time and it’s easier to notice the 8 times out of 10 they don’t than the 2 times they do.

You could make the argument that buying something more than you need for 80% of the time is silly. That’s a fair argument. That being said most people do that most of the time. Houses, eating out, etc.

There is some truth to the idea that truck buyers buy on vanity... But it’s that really unlike most other enthusiast car buyers?

Its cool to call out the waste, it’s cool to not like trucks. There is a lot of garbage bias out there about how wrong other people are because they don’t understand. That’s not cool.

Immersing yourself in the culture you have bias against is one of the more effective ways to confront it, so this is a good start. You can see how quickly you can revise your understanding with a little time with another group.