5 Tips for First-Time Pickup Buyers

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By Jim Travers

Full-size pickup trucks from Ford, GM and Ram continue to lead domestic automotive sales. There's good reason for that. Nothing beats the utility and versatility of a pickup, whether you're a homeowner with a family, a contractor running a small business or someone with an active lifestyle and lots of gear. If you're thinking about purchasing your first pickup, here are five things to consider before you buy.

1. How Will You Use It?

Pickups come in many more varieties than cars, with different bed lengths, two or four doors, a wide choice of interior trims and powertrains, and two-, four- or all-wheel drive. Which configuration you choose depends on your needs, and that will have a big impact on price, fuel economy and handling. The most common pickup configuration is a four-door half ton with 4WD in a mid-trim level. These trucks hit the sweet spot for most buyers, combining room for a family with ample towing and hauling capability, a more carlike ride and better fuel economy than the three-quarter-ton or one-ton trucks. That said, if your plans include work such as plowing or heavy towing, you're going to need a stronger pickup.

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2. Pickups Aren't the Same As Cars

It may seem obvious, but driving and living with a pickup isn't the same as using a car. Pickups are bigger, heavier and more top heavy, and that means they're not going to handle like a car. Backup cameras, electronic safety features and interior creature comforts have made trucks a lot more carlike, but there's still no denying the laws of physics. Pickups take longer to stop and won't carve corners like a sports sedan. Parking can be more of a challenge as well, so make a visit to the local grocery store part of your test drive, along with stopping at home for a test fit in your driveway or garage. Keep in mind that some parking garages won't accommodate pickups at all or charge more if they do.

3. Don't Overbuy

Ads often show pickups slogging through mud bogs or pulling backhoes on trailers to the accompaniment of loud rock 'n' roll. That's all well and good, but most buyers may find trucks equipped for that kind of duty not as livable for everyday use. "Most people overbuy'" said Ram spokesman and truck enthusiast Nick Cappa, who pointed out that even a base six-cylinder full-size Ram half ton puts out more than 300 horsepower and can tow in the neighborhood of 7,000 pounds. Those numbers are typical of domestic pickups and are more than enough for most recreational boats and campers.

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4. Consider Buying From Dealer Lot

With all the options and configurations available for customizing a truck so it's equipped the way you want, your best bet still may be to purchase one from dealer stock. If you're flexible about colors, trim and equipment, you're likely to find deep discounts on in-stock models that can shave as much as $10,000 or more from the sticker price, allowing you to get more truck for your money. And that doesn't mean you can't still customize your truck. Most dealers offer a wide variety of accessories and spray-in bedliners as well as custom wheels and tires; they can roll those upgrades into your financing.

5. Choose Options Wisely

Another big difference between a pickup and a car is the number of available options. Upgraded trim packages, more powerful engines and add-ons both functional and cosmetic can add up fast, and more than double the price of a pickup. These days, some trim level choices on the most expensive pickups can drive the sticker prices to near six-figure territory, and that's before you add any aftermarket accessories. Start by determining your must-haves, such as a cab with four doors or an engine and towing package appropriate for your needs. Then decide whether there's room in the budget for that leather interior or sunroof. With the average transaction price for a new pickup ringing up at more than $40,000, it doesn't take long for those options to hit the stratosphere.

Cars.com photos by Mark Williams

 

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Comments

Most people are not overbuying. Most people buy what they need, want or desire. It's a typical leftist snobs that says most people overbuy and then they tell them what to buy - usually some compact car or small engine. Jeff S was telling us to look at the deals on compact cars the other day. What an elitist.

more recalls are coming,

Ford may be closer to major Explorer recall amid possible carbon monoxide leaks

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ford-explorer-closer-to-recall-possible-carbon-monoxide-leak-police/

Posted by: GMS | Aug 7, 2017 12:08:01 PM

I was just driving through town and spotted one of those poisonous Ford Exploders with a very attractive woman driving it. I remember thinking she may be another victim of Fords slow and sometimes none response to safety issues with their products. Sad really.

I was just driving through town and spotted one of those poisonous Ford Exploders with a very attractive woman driving it. I remember thinking she may be another victim of Fords slow and sometimes none response to safety issues with their products. Sad really.
Posted by: GMSRGREAT | Aug 7, 2017 8:25:07 PM

@GMSUCKS; maybe it was double vision caused by your shaking cheby & the attractive women you saw was in fact johnny dum dum in drag...LOL

Anything but that recalled again Ford. I will NEVER own another Ford EVER.

That's your loss. Ram's reliability is well below Ford and I could have bought two Ford for what you paid Fiat.

in drag...LOL

Posted by: Lionel | Aug 7, 2017 9:07:25 PM

In drag, in a Ford. Makes sense.

That's your loss. Ram's reliability is well below Ford and I could have bought two Ford for what you paid Fiat.


Posted by: Dave Z. | Aug 7, 2017 9:26:52 PM

Really? Even if that was true can you tell me what truck Ford has to compare to my 15 A.E.V Prospector???

NOTHING!!! THEIRS ONLY ONE POWER WAGON.

ALL GUTS
ALL GLORY
WORST RELIABILITY IN CLASS
RAM!!!!

"Of course, the terrible reliability ratings from Consumer Reports might grab your attention as well, especially if you’re paying $42,740 to start on a Ram 2500"

The Most Overpriced Trucks on the U.S. Market
https://www.cheatsheet.com/money-career/most-overpriced-trucks-on-the-u-s-market.html/?a=viewall

"I'd love to find a truck page that didn't allow comments. This page has the worst comments section of any forum or anything I've ever been too. Pathetic." ---- Posted by: RAM MAN | Aug 7, 2017 5:16:33 PM

It's not the fault of the comment section, it's the fault of the editors who don't moderate the comments. There are usually a few intelligent comments in these forums but they tend to get overwhelmed by the childish posturing of those who feel they have to one-up their supposed rivals.

I've never been up charged at a parking lot because BIG is normal here in Texas!

Half ton is plenty good for my daily needs. Occasionally I may need a HD to haul more than my 1500 can and I rent one from Home Depot; $17 for 90 minutes.
No need to strain my equipment!

"That's your loss. Ram's reliability is well below Ford and I could have bought two Ford for what you paid Fiat."
---- Posted by: Dave Z.

Think about what you just said, Dave. You could have bought two Fords for what he paid Fiat? You're clearly saying Fords are so cheap and unreliable that you would need to buy two Fords to get the value of one Fiat. That's a perfect example of the kind of childish commentary these boards have devolved into. You have no concept of the reliability of a Ram or other Fiat product other than what other people say. This includes the review rags such as Consumer Reports and JDPower. We've all seen multiple times where writers' prejudices come through in those articles even though the groups themselves claim impartiality. We've also seen how third parties will intentionally misread an unrelated quibble as a major complaint.

I am not "brand loyal" as many here profess to be. I've owned vehicles from all of the Big Three though I will admit I've not owned many Asian or European vehicles (one of each, actually.) I do have my own prejudices, I admit; but they're due to personal experience with these brands as well as perceptions of the management of these brands. Again, as I said much earlier, they each have their strengths and they each have their weaknesses. It's ok to like one over the other but that doesn't mean what you think is good will necessarily be good for someone else.

Please. PLEASE! Stop this bickering and discuss the topic at hand like adults. You're hurting this website with such noise and could end up forcing this site to shut down if you continue; then you'll get NO news about your favorite toys.

No need to strain my equipment! Posted by: Stevadore | Aug 8, 2017

@Steveador

Whatever you do, do NOT strain your equipment. It'll make you walk like John Wayne if you do.

Tip #6 - Don't make your purchase decision based upon the comments section of this site!

tip #6...don't buy a GM truck

Tip #6 - Don't listen to Lou in the comments section of this site!

Tip number 6...

Buy a fire extinguisher to go with your Ford!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nyo6RbggUI

Do not buy GM ,Ford, Ram or Toyota none are highly regarded as far as their owners are concerned.
too many problems and too many break downs.

Do not buy GM ,Ford, Ram or Toyota none are highly regarded as far as their owners are concerned.
too many problems and too many break downs.

I've been wanting to purchase my own truck, and I actually learned quite a number of things just by reading this article. I agree that one must not overbuy accessories for their truck that aren't really necessary. I will definitely keep this in mind when I finally decide to buy my very first truck. Thanks for the tips.

This is really informative that the way you describe I’ll really appreciated your work.hope i’ll come back to get some more information .

This is really informative that the way you describe I’ll really appreciated your work.hope i’ll come back to get some more information .

After reading this blog post I can safely say I am better equipped to buy a truck than before..

excellent tips



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