By Mark Williams
Clearly, the people at Forbes.com understand the finer things in life. In fact, they recently identified the 12 most expensive SUVs and pickup trucks sold in the U.S. (using pricing info from our friends at Cars.com).
Among the SUVs listed is a Porsche Cayenne for $162,000, a Mercedes-Benz for $125,000 and a Land Rover for $117,000. As you might expect, pickup trucks make up the bottom five, ranging between $68,000 and $53,000.
An important distinction has not been made, however. With the exception of engine size and the resulting speed down a quarter-mile racetrack, none of the SUVs on the list, functionally speaking, offers anything more than an SUV for half the price or, in some cases, a quarter of the price. They won't carry more people, won't haul more payload, won't climb steeper hills, won't get better fuel economy, won’t tow more and likely won’t be any less comfortable. In those examples, the value for what you are getting seems to be in the eye of the buyer, who wants to get something more "impressive" than his neighbor.
The same cannot be said for the last five trucks on the list, all of which are pickup trucks: the Ford F-350 4x4 crew-cab dual-rear-wheel King Ranch, the GMC Sierra 3500 HD 4x4 DRW Denali, the Chevy Silverado 3500 HD 4x4 DRW crew cab, the Ram 3500 HD 4x4 DRW Laramie Longhorn Mega Cab and the Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson 4x4 SuperCrew Styleside, which is the only non-one-ton of the group.
With each of these five trucks, I would argue that you could not get the towing, carrying capability and comfort anywhere else in or out of the segment. If you look at pickups that cost half as much, or even if you look at pickups that cost just $10,000 less, you would have to make huge sacrifices, whether it’s towing, hauling or bringing your family along in comfort for a long trip. The same cannot be said about the luxury SUVs.
It seems the definition of real value is a quantum leap different for an expensive SUV than it is for an expensive pickup truck, especially when you compare that many of these high-priced pickups are being used not to just show off wealth but in some cases are being used to haul fifth-wheel campers, horse trailers and more that are worth double or triple the cost of the pickup itself.
No offense to luxury owners of the elite SUV crowd, but I'm guessing they never find themselves in situations where they're carrying or towing anything remotely as expensive as the vehicle they're driving. Now where’s the value in that?