“What truck should I buy?” It’s a question consumers ask themselves every day, but what would technical director Frank Markus drive? Keep reading for the answer, and see other editors’ picks here.
What pickup truck would I buy? None of ’em. Ever. No thanks, not for me. That’s because, like the vast majority of normal urban/suburban 9-5’ers I know, I do not need a truck every day. Nor once a month. Not even quarterly. Sure, modern trucks are quiet, plush, have great sound systems, nice wood and stitching and all, but I don’t want to climb way up into a truck and “haul air” everywhere I go, struggling to squeeze into parking spaces, just so I can bring that load of mulch home every spring or pick up the plywood and drywall required for my semi-decadal major home-improvement projects. Ever since Lowe’s and Home Depot started renting pickup trucks (or often handier yet, drop-side flatbeds) at $19.99 for 75 minutes, I’ve banished the thought of ever sentencing myself to full-time truck ownership.
All the big-box DIY stores near me seem to have picked the Ford F-Series Super Duty as their rental truck of choice, so that’s the one I’ve had the most exposure to. These are not King Ranch models, obviously, but for 75-150 minutes I’m perfectly prepared to “rough it” in a vinyl-swathed, rubber-lined sea of black plastic. And seriously, for my annual spring mulch-fest, being able to pull alongside the beds and lower the appropriate drop-side makes the mulch-spreading task vastly easier than shoveling from the back of a conventional pickup truck, or wheelbarrow-ing a 3-cubic-yard pile of mulch dumped on a driveway, or lugging individual bags of mulch around. And because my local stores only rent heavy-duty spec trucks, I need not bust out the owner’s manual and try to guestimate whether three yards of moist shredded hardwood would likely squash the bump-stops on whatever half-ton pickup I’d have chosen for its ride quality.
What about those occasions when I might need a truck for a weekend to haul something up to my lakeside country house? U-Haul rents Chevy Silverado 1500 work trucks for $19.99/day plus $0.69/mile. But considering my 160-mile round trip, I’ll spend less renting from a peer-to-peer vehicle-sharing service like Turo. That site currently lists eight pickups in my area that range in size and price from a 2018 Chevrolet Colorado ($74/day) to a 2017 Ford F-150 or 2018 Ram 1500 ($135/day); these rental options include 750-1,000 free miles. Of course, if you buy yourself a highly desirable car or SUV, chances are you might find a close friend with a truck who’d be willing to swap you for the weekend as long as you return it clean and full of gas.
See, there are loads of ways to get your occasional trucking chores done without signing on to the full-time care and feeding of a big oafish truck. Trust me—you’ll be happy I talked you down out of full-time pickup-truck ownership.
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