Should You Trade your Full-Size for a Mid-Size Truck?


You need a truck, but how big should it be?  How strong does it need to be?  Have you considered that a midsize truck may work just as well for your purposes?1! You can think of it like real estate. Why buy more than you need?

Here’s why you might want a midsize truck and what you should know if you go shopping for one.

Its Capability vs. Your Needs

Pickup trucks are used for many trade purposes.  They are driven by construction workers, site managers, repairmen, trade people, and delivery services. As you evaluate trucks, there are some things you should know before you start shopping.

First, how many people will ride in the truck regularly? Second, how much payload do you carry regularly? Its size, bulk and weight could matter when choosing the right bed.  Lastly, how much do you need to tow?  Once you have established your true needs, you will be able to identify the best truck for you.

Ownership Costs

The first reason that many people buy a midsize is ownership costs.  They want a full-size truck, but they know that buying something smaller keeps their costs down.  If you cut down the cost of the truck, then your down payment — usually the trade in value of your truck — will go further.  

In most cases, fuel economy is better for midsize trucks than for their full-size counterparts. Make sure to compare each one you are considering because fuel economy can vary greatly from brand to brand. You are bound to find a midsize that can reduce how much you spend for gas and how often you have to stop at the gas station.  

These reduced costs make it a better value for individuals and businesses, if the truck can do what they need it to do.

Towing Capability

Many people purchase a pickup truck and overspend for capability they will never use. There’s less chance of this with a midsize truck.  Almost any midsize can handle towing between 3,500 and 5,000 pounds, depending on the brand and drivetrain.

If you can buy the V6 edition or its four-cylinder turbo equivalent, you won’t even be sacrificing very much with a midsize truck.  A new-generation Ford Ranger, for instance, has a tow rating that matches many of the least expensive light duty trucks. That’s the reason right there to test drive.  Another example is the Jeep Gladiator which has high tow ratings. 

If, on the other hand, your trade requires towing in excess of 6,500 pounds, then you probably can’t step down to a midsize. Another consideration is the length of the item you will tow.  Generally it’s best if your truck doesn’t tow anything longer than it is.  

Before you make a final decision, however, keep reading.  There are other aspects to consider.

Cabin Size Considerations

Obviously, if you will seldom use the backseat, then a midsize truck is logical to replace your full-size one. You don’t need to overpay for spaciousness if that’s not a priority in your work.

That said, a midsize cabin can have a full backseat that handles five adults.  Before you give up on a midsize, compare the exact specifications of the larger and smaller truck’s cabin. Make sure that if you are spending more, the extra space is truly worth it.

Commuter Considerations

If your truck is also your daily commute, that’s a good reason to choose a midsize. For starters, there’s better fuel economy. However, it’s more than that.  A midsize truck is smaller and can fit into more parking spaces.  You’ll get it parked quicker and be on the job sooner. 

Furthermore, it can maneuver in traffic that would be daunting for a full-size truck.  It’s more like changing lanes in a small SUV.  Being nimble in traffic has its advantages when you are on the road a lot.  Every bit of time savings is extra time in your work day or extra time when you get home.

Bed Size Considerations

For some pickup shoppers, the smaller midsize bed is a deal breaker.  They want something wide enough and long enough to carry bigger, longer items on a regular basis.  However, it will be worth choosing a midsize if that doesn’t describe your needs.  

If it’s only occasionally that you need to carry six-foot pieces of plywood, you can probably make the smaller bed work for your purposes.  You can lay the gate flat and stretch your surface area. Or, you can use a small trailer to tow what you need.

Balance the Fleet

If you have an actual fleet of trucks, whether it’s 5 or 50, it only makes sense to add some midsize trucks. You’ll want to look for the more fuel efficient kind. Then you’ll want to assign them to the workers or managers with the least need for hauling capability.  

Likewise, if you are in trade and a partner has a full-size, maybe you could cut back to a midsize.  Your partner’s large truck can handle the more difficult loads while your truck helps you both save money by reducing fuel waste.

It may not mean that the midsize truck replaces the large pickup trucks in the fleet. Rather, it may mean that there are some midsize trucks available to do lighter duties. This creates a blended fleet that allows fleet managers to choose a less expensive option for a lighter duty task.

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