Trucks vs. Cars: Which Should You Buy?

Choosing a vehicle is no easy feat. With a huge array of new and used cars and trucks available on the market, the decision can be daunting. Having trouble with this decision is common — six in ten auto buyers, when first starting the shopping process, are open to considering multiple auto options. Hopefully, this list comparing the various advantages and disadvantages of cars and trucks will make the process a little easier. When trying to pick a car or truck, new or certified pre-owned, consider the following:

Used options

Whether you are looking at used trucks, used cars, or used vans, there is no shortage of any on the market. However, on the famous list of the top 10 longest-lasting vehicles, all are trucks and SUVs. While the exact reasons why light-duty trucks dominate the list is under dispute, one thing is clear: they stay on the road longer. This fact is especially important to consider when shopping for used trucks — if you are looking at one that is old, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is near the end of its life.

Fuel economy

According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recent harmonization of fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards for light trucks have helped to improve efficiency. Technological innovations such as auto stop and start engines and greater numbers of gears have increased efficiency in both trucks and cars. However, cars predictably have the advantage when it comes to fuel economy. The most efficient cars on the market climb near 50 mpg, while trucks fail to exceed 30 mpg.

Cultural Capital

When it comes to comparing trucks and cars, there is one very simple metric which speaks volumes: popularity. 2019 marked the 42nd consecutive year that the Ford F-Series was the best-selling vehicle in America. The incredible popularity of these trucks speaks volumes about their quality and utility.


Trucks win this one. Having a five- to eight-foot flatbed to load anything and everything into makes for endless adventure potential. You can cram anything from bikes, to appliances, to furniture in the commodious trunks. Need to move? A truck is sure to save you money by avoiding a U-Haul rental.


Here, cars have a leg up. Not only are trucks more expensive, but the price gap is widening constantly. According to Edmunds, the average cost of cars increased 23% up to $33,728, from 2006 to 2016, while the average cost of trucks increased 46% in the same period, landing at $43,277. Those in the market can avoid paying a premium by searching for deals on used cars.

Whatever vehicle you may choose, remember that you get out what you put into it. Make sure to take your car or truck to get regular inspections and repairs, and you likely will not need to worry about purchasing another for years to come.


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