Trucks and SUVs are mega popular and here's why

From driver vanity to outright capability, there are many reasons why these vehicles dominate the market.

Craig Cole Former reviews editor
Craig brought 15 years of automotive journalism experience to the Cars team. A lifelong resident of Michigan, he's as happy with a wrench or welding gun in hand as he is in front of the camera or behind a keyboard. When not hosting videos or cranking out features and reviews, he's probably out in the garage working on one of his project cars. He's fully restored a 1936 Ford V8 sedan and then turned to resurrecting another flathead-powered relic, a '51 Ford Crestliner. Craig has been a proud member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).
Craig Cole
2 min read

Americans love pickups and SUVs . We just can't get enough of these things. But why have they become so popular, especially these days? Believe it or not, there isn't just one answer to this question, it's multifaceted, and more complicated than you might expect.

Our addiction to these vehicles is a curious thing. Traditional sedans , for instance, tend to be more comfortable, efficient and often much better to drive. Logically, their sales shouldn't be dropping, but they are and have been for decades. This is partly because trucks and SUVs appeal to drivers' vanity, since they're often dressed in macho styling. But underneath that rugged bodywork are vehicles that tend to be far more capable than cars. You can go off-roading in a pickup or crossover. Camping, hauling kayaks and towing your favorite toys are all possible, tasks your average sedan isn't really up to. Honestly, have you ever seen someone tackling the Rubicon Trail in a Corolla?

Beyond that stuff, trucks also got a boost from the government. Back in the 1970s and '80s something called Corporate Average Fuel Economy, CAFE for short, became a thing. It was designed to improve vehicle efficiency, and it did, though automakers ended up building smaller and smaller cars to comply with these regulations. This legislation did not have as much of an impact on trucks, which resulted in a curious shift in consumer demand. Motorists still wanted larger vehicles, particularly with burly V8 engines, so they started buying trucks, though there's more to the story than that.

For all the nitty-gritty reasons why pickups and SUVs have become the preferred vehicle of drivers, particularly in the 21st century, make sure to watch the video embedded above. It's an interesting story and one you're not going to want to miss.

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