Should You Buy a Truck or an SUV?

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When purchasing a larger vehicle that can both work hard and play hard, trucks and SUVs are your best options. Though there is a good deal of crossover between the two in their capabilities, trucks routinely win in cases of utility while the comforts of an SUV are unparalleled.
Whether you should buy a truck or an SUV depends a lot on your lifestyle–are you looking for a vehicle to take the family car camping in over the summer, or do you need a ride for carpooling to work in style?
To make the decision easier, the car insurance broker app Jerry has compiled a list of key features such as handling, power, seating, and more to see which vehicle outperforms the other.


Winner: SUVs

Given the size of both trucks and SUVs, it’s safe to say that neither will be turning on a dime. The bigger a vehicle is, the bigger the turning radius needs to be—and neither of these two vehicles is economy-sized.
However, due to the longer and wider frames of most trucks, SUVs offer a little more maneuverability in tighter spaces–such as crowded parking lots or narrow city streets.
There is a caveat to this win for SUVs, though. If you’re looking to tow a heavy load, trucks routinely have an easier time shifting extra weight around on highways or up and down driveways.
Here are some of the handling and torque features of popular SUVs: 
ModelPriceHandling: Torque
Mazda CX-30$24,400186 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
Kia Soul$22,485132 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm
Dodge Durango$33,490390 lb-ft @ 4250 rpm


Winner: Trucks

While trucks are more often associated with hard work and heavy loads, both trucks and SUVs tend to come with the same standard powertrain nowadays.
Trucks have a slight edge because of the upgrade options available to them, like improved air induction or exhaust systems. These additions increase engine performance and improve the overall power a truck can generate
Here’s a look at the horsepower of some popular trucks: 
Ford F-150$41,279290 horsepower
Ram 2500$ 41,770410 horsepower
Honda Ridgeline$38,119280 horsepower


Winner: SUVs

SUVs win handily in this category because their third-row seating offers comfortable rear-row options for adults and kids.
While full-sized trucks can offer more comfortable rear-row seating for adults, they still can only seat five to six people in total (and that’s if you’re including the middle seat of the front bench). A standard SUV can easily fit seven to eight passengers—without forcing one of your passengers to squeeze between you and the co-pilot in a space that’s both less comfortable and less safe.
To compound the seating issue, the back row seating for midsize trucks is more cramped and better suited for children than adults. Furthermore, additional seating in trucks often comes at the expense of their best feature–their bed length.
This is the seating capacity for some of the most common SUVs:
Kia Seltos$22,0005 seats
Audi Q3$34,0005 seats
Cadillac Escalade$76,1957 seats

Fuel Economy

Winner: SUVs

While SUVs regularly outperform trucks in terms of gas mileage, you won’t be forgetting how to pump gas anytime soon in either vehicle. Neither trucks nor SUVs are well-known for their fuel economy, and their miles-per-gallon ratings in the city are often equal.
SUVs stand out above trucks because of their superior highway fuel economy (though even that is still well below a standard car).
Trucks perform so poorly in this category because they are geared more for low-end torque as a way to help haul heavier loads. Though some trucks do offer decent gas mileage, the average mileage will drop significantly as the size and capabilities of the truck increase.
Here’s a look at the fuel economy for common SUVs:
ModelPriceFuel Economy
Buick Encore$23,20025 mpg
Toyota C-HR$21,54527 mpg
Hyundai Kona$21,15028 mpg
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Winner: Trucks

It should come as a surprise to no one that trucks have the best towing capabilities of any personal vehicle. As the workhorse of the automotive world, even an un-upgraded truck can still tow several thousand pounds without sacrificing handling ability.
It should be noted, however, that SUVs are not incapable of towing sizable loads. However, most SUVs tow weight-limits cap out at around 2,000-3,000 pounds, while a truck can handle 5,000-6,000 pounds (depending on the model) and ‘fifth wheel’ trailers and RVs.
This is the towing capacity of some of the most popular trucks:
ModelPriceTow Capacity
Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD$50,18520,000 pounds
Ram 2500$50,77023,000 pounds
Ford F-250$48,65524,200 pounds


Winner: SUVs

Because of the inherent work nature of trucks, comfort tends to be a secondary component while SUVs often come with a suite of standard comfort features (i.e. heated & cooled seats, variable climate control, and entertainment options).
Additionally, trucks tend to have rougher rides when driving with a light load or an empty bed because of their heavy-duty suspensions.
Where trucks do outperform SUVs is (as always) towing. Trucks often have a build-on-frame construction—which helps dampen road noise—and their increased towing power makes for smoother rides when moving a heavy trailer or load.
Here’s a look at comfort features for popular SUV models: 
ModelPriceComfort Features
Kia Telluride$31,990Synthetic leather upholstery
Honda CR-V$25,35040+ inches of legroom in second row
Chevrolet Suburban$51,700144.7 cubic feet cargo space with second and third rows folded


Winner: Tie

This category is a toss-up and it comes down to a matter of personal preference.
Given their higher riding profiles, neither SUVs nor trucks are particularly easy to get in and out of. Both vehicles often come with step bars to help passengers climb into the cab, and exiting them can be a bit of a jump. If ease of access is a big concern for you, this might be an important aspect to consider.
As for accessing cargo, SUVs have a lower floor compared to a standard truck bed–which makes for easier loading and unloading. On the other hand, the ability to access cargo from three sides eliminates a lot of digging or unpacking and repacking when you need a particular item.
These are the accessibility features of popular trucks and SUVs:
Chevrolet Silverado 1500$30,595Can be modified to add accessible features
Jeep Grand Cherokee$32,370Wheelchair friendly modifications can be added
Subaru Forester$24,795Can be modified to add accessible features


Winner: Trucks

Despite having ‘utility’ in the name, SUVs are not the handiest vehicle in this match-up. Just as before, trucks are far more utilitarian.
Between the larger cargo space of the bed, the increased towing power, and the ability to install and remove caps for additional cargo protection, SUVs have a hard time competing with multi-functional trucks.
Here’s the cargo storage space for some commonly-owned trucks: 
ModelPriceUtility: Cargo Space
Chevrolet Colorado$26,63049.9 cubic feet in cargo space
GMC Canyon$27,99541.3 cubic feet in cargo space
Jeep Gladiator$36,91035.5 cubic feet in cargo space

Finding affordable car insurance

Whether you decide to purchase a comfortable SUV or a rugged truck, you’ll need to insure your vehicle before you hit the road. Thankfully, Jerry is a car insurance broker super app that will get you quotes from 50+ insurers in less than one minute!
Once you make your decision, Jerry will help with all of the paperwork and even help to cancel your old policy! 
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While trucks are built for ruggedness and work potential, SUVs are the safer of the two. Furthermore, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) Top Safety Pick lists more SUVs than trucks.
Generally speaking, trucks are cheaper than SUVs. However, the cost difference diminishes when you add on comfort/luxury features to match a standard SUV.

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