SUV vs. Truck: Choose the Right Options

There are several car classes in the market, including SUVs and trucks. The two are in the same class, with a large to the mid-sized body, ample ground clearance, and off-roading capabilities. In this piece, we look at SUV vs. truck.

If you want to upgrade to a larger car from your sedan, an SUV or truck is a viable option. Some of the benefits you get from them are high performance and sufficient space. In the case of trucks, you enjoy their multi-functionality.

So which one should you pick? Stick on as we look at the SUV vs. truck debate to see which one fits your needs.

SUV Overview

SUV in full is a sports utility vehicle. It is a cross between a passenger and an off-road vehicle. Noticeable features include a roomy interior, a lifted ride height, and a four-wheel drivetrain. Some auto pundits define an SUV as a car built on a light truck chassis.

The history of the SUV goes back to the 1930s, with the production of military vehicles. There are also the four-wheel-drive station wagons that appeared in the 1940s.

Many models followed after that, but many car enthusiasts agree that the 1984 Jeep Cherokee is the father of modern SUVs. It came with a blocky design, which resembled a huge station wagon with significant ground clearance.

After the Cherokee debuted, many models followed, leading to a boom in their sales in the 90s and early 2000s. The early models had a body-on-frame design. Presently, you will find some with a unibody design. Most have luxury features for a smooth ride.

suv car

Pros of SUV

A look at truck vs. SUV pros and cons shows you the car’s respective strengths and weaknesses. We will start with the pros of the SUV, where a noticeable perk is its roominess. SUVs are very spacious and can accommodate up to seven passengers. There are deluxe versions that accommodate nine passengers, like the 2021 GMC Yukon XL.

The other impressive thing about SUVs is effortless handling, which is better than that of trucks. However, the handling capacity is lower than that of sedans. Furthermore, these road beasts have an excellent performance. On average, they have a horsepower of 300. The more powerful types can give over 450 horsepower. They mostly run on the potent V6 and V8 engines.

Most new SUV models have impressive looks. You will notice this feature in luxury models, which extends to their interior. Inside, you get leather seats, adequate legroom, and an up-to-date infotainment system.

This type of car also has a great resale value. The depreciation rate is not as bad as that of standard sedans. With proper maintenance, you can sell your SUV at a reasonable price.


SUV price is a major downside. They are very costly to purchase, making them out of the reach of many people. Additionally, the cost of maintenance is high when looking at refueling and spare parts. The good thing is that they have an excellent resale value.

The other con is that they present a risk of toppling over. It is a common occurrence due to their weight and ground clearance. Newer models come with features to prevent their tipping. The high risk of accidents makes their insurance policies higher, roughly 15-20% above the standard rate.

Truck Overview

When talking about trucks, we refer to pickup trucks and not the huge 16-wheelers. They are like small trucks with an open cargo area. Trucks have been around longer than SUVs, with the first model debuting in the early 1900s. There are larger makes with ample driving height and off-road capabilities.

When they came into the scene, they served as a farm utility to help haul produce to the market. Their construction relied on the chassis of sedans. As the Second World War dawned, many manufacturers stopped producing pickups in favor of heavy-duty vehicles for war.

In the 1950s, there was a change in the truck market. Instead of consumers getting them for farm and construction use, they got them as a luxury statement. Manufacturers shifted from rugged design to smooth cars with plenty of luxury features. The Chevrolet El Camino and Toyota Stout are some of the models that came out at this time. Presently, the truck market is one of the most flamboyant, with many units selling each year. 

pickup truck

Pros of Trucks

Trucks are very versatile, as you can use them as a passenger or commercial utility vehicles. This is true for the SUV pickup combo, which is like an SUV with an open cargo area. They have a good capacity of up to five passengers.

Pickups are very powerful, with an average horsepower of 300. Powerful models may have a value of up to 500 hp and a torque of around 400-pounds per foot. Their superior towing force is ideal for carrying heavy materials; hence, their extensive use in the construction and farming sectors. Also, they can handle different kinds of terrain. Similar to SUVs, they mainly rely on V6 or V8 engines.

New pickup trucks have an amazing look. Due to their aesthetic appeal, you may use them as your daily driven car. Luxury models have a comfy interior, with many features like spaciousness. Trucks present a lower chance of toppling compared to SUVs.


Trucks are expensive to acquire, same to their maintenance. Most have powerful engines, which are guzzlers when it comes to fuel economy. Furthermore, their handling is harder than that of SUVs.

You also have the seating vs. cargo area capacity situation. If you have a double cabin truck, you will have more passenger capacity but a reduced cargo area. The converse is correct for a single cabin truck with less passenger space but a larger bed.

Pickup vs. SUV/CUV: Pros and Cons (YouTube Video)

SUV vs. Truck Differences

Trucks and SUVs have many similarities, as earlier seen. SUV vs. truck differences show you how the two vary.

An obvious contrasting point is their body designs. While some SUVs and pickups share the same chassis base, such as the Toyota Hilux and Fortuner, the body shape is different. For instance, a sports utility vehicle looks like a larger station wagon with an enhanced driving height. On the other hand, a truck has a cargo area, which looks like a bed for carrying loads. You can say the pickup is a light-duty truck.

The other difference is passenger capacity. SUVs have a higher capacity than trucks. A standard SUV has room for at least five passengers. On the flip side, a single cabin truck will accommodate a maximum of three passengers.

Handling is another area to look at. Here, we see that the sports utility car is better than the pickup. However, the former performs well when it comes to toppling risk. The pickup is less likely to tip over than a sport-utility.

SUV vs. Truck Family

SUV vs. Truck Family

After looking at SUV vs. truck Reddit reviews, you should go for an SUV if you want a family car. It is very spacious and comfortable, with an average capacity of seven passengers. Moreover, there is enough cargo space to store your luggage. Your family will enjoy the infotainment features of this car type, like charging ports and a music system available in most new models.  

The truck also brings its best, more so the double-cabin varieties. They have a seating space of five, perfect for a small family. You have a large cargo area in the back for your luggage. Some trucks have a lid for the bed to protect your luggage from elements like rain and dust. In the SUV vs. truck family debate, the former is the most suitable.

Truck vs. SUV Off-Road

Truck vs. SUV Off-Road

On the truck vs. SUV off-road discussion, you get a hint on why the former got the sports utility tag. SUVs are better in off-road driving due to their even weight distribution. Coupled with power, they handle rough roads better.

Trucks will also handle rugged terrains, though they are at a disadvantage due to uneven weight distribution. It leads to poor handling on such terrain.

SUV vs. Truck for Camping

SUV vs. Truck for Camping

Another significant area to look at is SUV vs. truck for camping. Sports utility vehicles have a slight upper hand due to their sufficient passenger capacity. Moreover, you may use the seats as extra sleeping space.

The downside is that these vehicle types have small cargo space. It means it may fail to accommodate utilities like the tent and cooking equipment. However, with a roof rack, you get more space.

A truck is an excellent camping companion, with a lot of space on its bed. The cargo bed can hold a lot of items without straining the car. This vehicle type is versatile as you can use the cargo area for cooking, sleeping, or as a seating space.

In short, for camping needs, go for a pickup, particularly if you have a large load. An SUV will come in handy if there are many passengers.

SUV vs. Truck in Snow

Driving in snowy conditions is very challenging, and some cars cannot make it through. SUVs and trucks can tackle snow, with engine power and ground clearance being contributing factors.

According to many car enthusiasts, the SUV will do a good job in snow. It comes on top, courtesy of the same features that make it a good off-roader, weight distribution, and horsepower. Trucks are also excellent on snow, especially with some modifications on wheels and weight.

Should I Buy A Truck Or an SUV?

Picking between a truck and an SUV should be straightforward, depending on your preferences. Looking at the difference between SUVs and trucks, you can see each has strong and weak spots.

With both of them, you have an assurance of power and off-road suitability. Their price is almost the same, so it is not a critical consideration if you have your budget set. You may look at their respective carrying capacity, where the SUV is better due to sufficient passenger space.

Also, look at the SUV vs. pickup cargo space discussion, where the latter is a perfect choice. It has a bigger cargo area, capable of accommodating large loads. The SUV-truck combo gives you a balance of seating and cargo-holding space. It is the go-to option for many who have difficulty picking between the two.


Q: Is A Truck Safer Than An SUV?

Safety is a crucial area to look at when getting a new vehicle. When focusing on safety when looking at the truck vs. SUV debate, we can say it is a tie. Trucks have a lower chance of tipping over than sports utility cars. Even so, they have poorer handling when leveled against the other car type. This makes them pretty risky on rough roads.

SUVs have better handling but have a higher risk of toppling over. When behind the wheel, you have to be very careful, primarily when tackling corners.

Q: Why Do People Call SUVs Trucks?

SUVs and trucks are different vehicles, though people confuse them to be under the same classification. A probable reason for this is due to the first SUVs having a truck chassis. Other similarities include fuel economy and the type of engine used.

Q: Why Do Trucks Cost More Than SUVs?

A focus on the Ford F150 vs. SUV price debate you realize the truck costs more. Generally, trucks have a higher price than sports utilities. Among the reasons is that pickups are very durable; thus, they will last you for a long time. Their construction targets rough roads, like those in farms or construction projects.

Their versatility also plays a role in their price. You can use a truck as both a commercial and passenger car, particularly the double-cabin varieties.

Q: Which SUV Is Most Like A Truck?

The first SUVs had a truck chassis and operated as one. Presently, some SUVs are very similar to trucks. Here, we look at their drive force and loading capacity. The Ford Bronco is one of them and comes with a pickup and full SUV version. Production of this robust car halted in 1996 after 30 years on the scene. It made a comeback in 2020 with improved features.

Q: Why An SUV, Is Not A Truck?

An SUV is more like a large station wagon with ample interior space. It is not a truck as it does not have a bed, which is the cargo holding area. It bears many similarities to a truck, like a torque horsepower and, in some models, the construction base.

Final Word

Should I get a truck or SUV? This is a question many people have when upgrading to a more potent vehicle. In this article, we look at either vehicle class to better understand them and their differences.

Your choice depends on factors like consumption, passenger space, luggage capacity, and handling. We touch on all of them to see the befitting automobile. Get the most suitable one and enjoy the service it will provide.

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Hi there, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I worked as a Mechanic and Mechanic Supervisor for over fifteen years at Global Rebound Automotive companies - Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others. Now, I enjoy my new role of leading a team of automotive experts (in their respective fields) and publish new content on a regular basis on my website and social media.

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