If you haven’t been living under a rock, or more importantly, actually pay your taxes, then chances are you’ve heard about or felt the effect of the TRAIN law on the local automotive market. To save you the confusing computations and guidelines, let’s just say that most passenger vehicle prices have gone up, while utilitarian vehicles enjoy a lower pricing scheme, and hybrids stay the same. With that in mind, we’ve noticed something interesting, and with the help of some feedback from some people and our page, we’ve decided to answer a pretty popular question: Should I get a pickup or an SUV?
Now, we’re talking about midsize SUVs here, as they are a good chunk of the market and are a common choice among most Filipino families. It also happens that almost every pickup available on the market today shares the same ladder-frame chassis and most components with their trunk-able (That’s not a word, but we can make it one) counterparts. Engines are also identical across the two markets, offering solid diesel engine options. While some entry level pickups from the big players may start below a million pesos, the top variants get very close to midsize SUV price ranges, with some even splitting down the middle. So we can see how a person willing to spend around P1.5 million would ask the question. It all depends, really, on what type of buyer you’re talking to.
Let’s talk about what they have in common. Aside from the aforementioned chassis structure and engines, both types of vehicles are capable off-road. Top variants offer four-wheel drive capability and terrain management features, with a few more bells and whistles depending on the manufacturer. The higher ground clearance also makes these types of vehicles easier to get into for some people. Towing a trailer or attaching a bike rack is also not a problem, as the engine and structure are conducive for heavy loads. Both also offer a commanding presence on the road and a taller seat height. Also, in terms of aftermarket upgrades or accessories to increase the capabilities on and off-road, there’s a myriad of options to choose from. On to each vehicle’s perks.
Midsize SUVs have the upper hand of a few things against pickups, most notably, cabin space. Having seven seats is almost always the case in a midsize SUV, as is being taller and wider in some cases. For a family of five to seven people, it’s a no brainer when it comes to comfort. There’s also the advantage of having a closed trunk that you can keep things safe and away from the elements and prying eyes. It’s also apparent that, with the midsize SUV wars brewing once more, that manufacturers seem to be equipping the latest technology and safety equipment in their SUVs first. Things like adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, and automated emergency braking are the little things that help make driving safer and more stress-free, and they happen to be on most of the upper ranges of midsize SUV manufacturers today.
The tradeoff, however, is that SUVs are heavier than pickups, so the fuel efficiency numbers get a bump down. You also can’t expect to haul a scooter or motorcycle in the trunk, or anything dirty for that matter, unless you like cleaning up a mess on carpeted floor.
How about pickups? The main advantage of a pickup is the long and open bed that allows you to transport almost anything. There’s a reason why pickups are chosen as vehicles for construction companies and contractors; it’s a no fuss load and go type of vehicle. They also happen to be lighter than SUVs, and usually have better mileage. Thankfully, the technology and creature comforts are starting to trickle down into the pickup range, with active and passive safety features like lane departure warning and blind spot indicators being available in some brands.
Now come the disadvantages. You’ll be limited to five seats, and it’ll be a tighter fit when compared to an SUV. There’s also the issue that pickups can feel bouncy when not fully loaded, which could affect comfort and driving dynamics. Something to also consider is that pickups are long and tend to be trickier to park in certain situations.
We could go on and on about the quirks between specific brands and models, but when it comes down to it, it all depends on the type of driving and lifestyle you have or plan to have at the time of purchase. If you’re looking for a solid family vehicle with extra seats and creature comforts then a midsize SUV is for you. Those who are eyeing a pickup will most likely have opportunities to haul more stuff and will appreciate the long, open bed.
Delve deeper into what each brand offers and what kind of trim levels suit you and your needs the best. The good thing is that the market is so competitive, that there’s a pickup or SUV for anyone. In my opinion, however, a top end midsize SUV will meet anyone’s needs and tick all the right boxes for a new vehicle purchase; a pickup would just be a little too utilitarian for my taste.