Pickup trucks are popular because they are pretty versatile and can be used for quite different purposes – as an everyday vehicle or a rugged vehicle for towing.
Also, pickup trucks are highly customizable – so some people customize it for a variety of roadshows; there are simply no limits to what you could use a pickup truck to do.
There are different types of pickup trucks, ranging from light-duty, medium-duty, and heavy-duty to full-size, mid-size, regular cab, crew cab, extended cab, and electric/hybrid models.
Over the years, pickup trucks have moved from utility vehicles used by handymen and farmers to iconic pacesetters in the automobile industry.
In this article, we will be learning more about the different pickup truck types you should know about!
Types of Pickup Trucks (Based on Towing Capacity)
1. Light-Duty Trucks
- Popular Models: Ford F150, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, and Toyota Tacoma
- Towing Capacity: 6,000 to 7,800 pounds
They are called light-duty trucks because they can only tow a few thousand-pound weights and mostly come with two-wheel drive powertrains; notwithstanding, some light-duty trucks have an option for an all-wheel drive powertrain.
This type of pickup truck is used mostly by tradesmen and handymen such as plumbers, electricians, and gardeners.
Also, light-duty trucks feature smaller engines, shorter wheel-base, and a smaller load bin, while the interior may look closely like that of a mid-size/mid-range SUV.
Of course, there are mid-size and full-size light-duty SUVs, but they are mainly built for on-road applications. Depending on the make and model, the features and drivetrains specs of light-duty trucks vary greatly.
2. Medium-Duty Trucks
- Popular Models: Toyota Hilux, Ford F-350, Nissan Frontier
- Towing Capacity: 12,000 to 16,000 pounds
Medium-duty trucks are a perfect option for people looking to save some grand while still getting a high-performance truck for everyday use and towing heavier tons.
Different people use this type of truck for different purposes; they are agile, off-road worthy, and easily maneuverable, so you can park them almost at any garage.
Full-size medium-duty trucks have sufficient space for a small family, providing ample space for cargo. Craftsmen and handymen also buy medium-duty trucks for their activities. Medium-duty trucks can tow up to 15,000-pound weights, almost double what light-duty trucks can tow.
3. Heavy-Duty Trucks
- Popular Models: Nissan Titan XD, Toyota Tundra, Silverado 1500HD, GMC Sierra 2500HD, and Ram 3500.
- Towing Capacity: 25,000 to 36,000 pounds
Heavy-duty trucks (some brands use the “super-duty” moniker) are extremely powerful trucks capable of moving over 20,000-pound weights easily.
This type of truck is usually the most expensive, and they have the highest towing capacity you can ever get from a pickup. A majority of them as built as full-size vehicles featuring luxurious interiors and higher-end specs.
Heavy-duty trucks are remarkable for their incredible towing capacity and extremely sturdy drivetrains. This type of pickup truck comes with all-wheel drive and V8 engines as standard options while also integrating off-roading features such as diff. lock, advanced torque transfer technologies, and much more. They are the most expensive pickup trucks to buy.
Types of Pickup Trucks (Based on Interior Space)
4. Full-Size Pickup Trucks
Full-size pickup trucks can be medium-duty or heavy-duty trucks. The term full-size refers to the interior space and seating capacity.
This type of truck offers seating space for up to five persons, is built with larger displacement engines (usually V8s), and is equipped with an all-wheel drive system for any type of journey.
Of course, there are light-duty pickups that are built as full-size trucks. The “Full-size” category simply refers to trucks with bigger cabin space for passengers and probably a longer bed for carrying cargo or heavy equipment. Full-size trucks are usually expensive – they are suitable for Families.
5. Mid-Size Pickup Trucks
A little downgrade from full-size models, and a big step up from compact-size trucks, that’s what mid-size trucks offer. Mid-size pickup trucks offer decent interior space and come with impressive features.
Most mid-size pickup trucks offer an all-wheel drivetrain as an optional feature for people who like going off-road. Mid-size trucks can be light-duty, medium-duty, or heavy-duty, depending on the towing capacity.
Explaining mid-size pickup trucks with popular models in the market –the F150 is a full-size truck, and the Ford Ranger is a mid-size alternative. Also, the Silverado 1500 is a full-size truck, and the Chevy Colorado is a mid-size truck. Now, you have a glimpse of what mid-size trucks are all about – interior capacity.
6. Compact Pickup Trucks
While the term “compact pickup trucks” may mean differently in different regions, it mostly refers to small-size trucks that are not as big or spacious as full-size and mid-size models.
This type of pickup truck is basically a two-wheel drive truck with low towing/payload capacity. Also, compact pickup tabs may feature a smaller cab – for the driver and one passenger only.
Most compact pickup trucks have their front panel looking more like sedans than trucks. They are mostly front-wheel drives than rear-wheel drive or AWD. But then, there are exceptions – some compact pickup trucks are pretty powerful, with towing capacity close to that of mid-size pickup trucks.
Types of Pickup Trucks (By Cab Design)
7. Regular Cab
Initially, when pickup trucks were introduced in the 1930s, they were mainly used for towing and moving heavy loads – not necessary to provide passenger space.
So, most early pickup truck models had only one row, which provides space for the truck driver and one crew member (passenger) – these pickup trucks are called regular cab models.
Although most truck manufacturers no longer produce this type of pickup truck model, there are still a number of them in dealerships.
This type of pickup truck is mainly used for transporting goods and loads, hence the limited passenger space. Most popular pickup truck models – including the Ford F-series – revolved from regular cab models to crew/extended cabs.
8. Crew Cab
Crew cab pickup trucks are majorly full-size trucks – they feature four doors, providing enough space for you to five passengers – just like a regular SUV or sedan. This pickup truck has been around for a very long time – actually, since the late 1950s, but became more popular in the 1990s.
A crew cab pickup truck gives you the feeling and comfort of driving a regular passenger car while also having a wide, large cargo space to pack your stuff as a handyman or construction engineer. Crew cabs have very long beds, but you may consider a quad cab model if you need a pickup truck with a longer bed length.
9. Extended Cab
Think of it as a coupe with just one door to access the front seat row and the rear seat row, too. However, extended cabs have a small door to access the “extended” cab row. This type of pickup truck are regular cab model with an “extended” cab – so you have two rows of seats; the front row seat and the rear row.
Don’t get confused thinking this is the same with crew cab models. Crew cab pickups have four large doors like typical full-size SUVs, but extended cab pickups have a small door that leads to the rear seat, which also does not offer much space compared with the rear seats on crew cab models.
Extended cab pickups have longer beds than crew cabs but shorter beds than regular cabs.
These are the various types of pickup trucks that exist today. In some regions, there may be other unpopular categories/types of pickup trucks – but these ones here are globally recognized.
There are equally hybrid and electric pickup truck models, but they are mostly available as special editions.