By on January 2, 2011

Not to inflame the passions brought on by our CAFE regulations and pickup trucks article, but take a look at this still from a movie called “The Dentist 2”. Keep in mind, this is the very old second-gen Explorer that is busy dwarfing a GMC C-20 full-sized pickup; the modern, D3 unibody 2011 Explorer is a foot longer and three inches taller.

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62 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: Full-Sized Love Edition...”


  • avatar
    Tosh

    You’re just blinded by the magic of movies: It only looks bigger because 1) it’s closer; 2) it’s white; and 3) it’s a wide-angle lens.
    BTW, I totally missed The Dentist 1, so don’t ruin it for me.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Yup about what I thought.  Wish I could have bought a truck that size 4.5 years ago when I was in the market for one.  I want a modernized one though with fuel injection and minor safety improvements.  Otherwise don’t change a thing, I don’t need leather, or power windows, or carpet or any of that sissy crap.

  • avatar
    Sam P

    If that truck is a shortbox, it’s 188 inches long per Wikipedia. The Gen 2 Explorer was 190 inches long in 4 door trim, so the Explorer was slightly longer than a full-size GM pickup from the early 70’s.
     
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_C/K#1967.E2.80.931972
     

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      Also, to add: The old GM full-size truck is very similar in size to the current Toyota Tacoma.
       
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Tacoma#Second_generation_.282005.E2.80.93present.29
       
       

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    Nope, it’s a longbed Sam.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    I remember driving my at-the-time yard truck, an ’87 Dodge D-100, to work a couple years back. It was about the same size as my buddy’s ’07 Dakota and was dwarfed by a visitors ’08 Ram 2500. I don’t know that all this bloat has gained us.

  • avatar
    Crosley

    Shouldn’t it be longer, the Explorer is supposed to seat 5 people and have a cargo area?  Ford also had 2 door Explorers from the same era that were shorter than a full size pickup, that would be more of an apples-to-apples comparison.
     
    I get that trucks are now bigger, but that’s mainly because trucks these days also serve as the family station wagon.  30 plus years ago, trucks were mainly used by people in trades that only used them for work (with the occasional kid riding in the pickup bed in a pinch)
     
    Automakers are building what people want.  I agree that a mini pickup could serve the needs of a lot of people, but automakers are in the money-making business, and Americans WANT big trucks and SUVs.  If CAFE eventually outlaws full-sized pickups and SUVs, the Big 3 will be finished.  That’s the only segment where they trounce the competition and make healthy profits.

    • 0 avatar
      timothymcn

      the extra seats don’t explain the length when you also compare cargo space

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      @Crosley: +1

    • 0 avatar
      Crosley

      timothymcn,
       
      There’s nothing that needs to be explained.  The Explorer has four doors, the pickup has only two.  When you compare a two door Explorer to this pickup, they’re roughly equal in size.
       
      Except the Explorer gets far better fuel economy, it puts out about 90% less in harmful emissions, has modern safety equipment and airbags, and can carry the entire family along with a great deal of cargo.
       
       
      I’m not an SUV fan at all (I’d rather have that pickup) but I really don’t think Americans’ embrace of full-size SUVs is such a crisis in this country.

    • 0 avatar
      timothymcn

      I just mean that the extra passenger space doesn’t explain the extra length, because what you gain in passenger space, you lose from the bed of the pickup
      and obviously the most apples to apples comparison would be pickup vs pickup
      Its just a neat picture, but I’m still shocked that the SUV is larger, and I don’t believe its just because the 2-dr explorer would be a fairer comparison

    • 0 avatar
      jacob_coulter

      I don’t see what the big deal is, you put a camper shell on the truck, and they’re about the same size.

    • 0 avatar
      texan01

      Yup I’ve got a 2nd gen Explorer, and it’s the same length and width as the old FWD ’80s GM A-bodies (Cutlass, Century, Celebrity, 6000) and has nearly the same interior room. Parked next to a 68-72 GM truck and it’s the same length as the short bed models, long beds tend to add an extra 2 feet on on.
       
      Its also shorter than a standard cab long bed Ranger.

  • avatar
    timothymcn

    Thats truly disturbing. I don’t understand truck bloat – the belt lines keep getting higher and higher – and the visibility worse – for what? Is it just macho looks? How exactly do cafe standards lead to pickup bloat?

    • 0 avatar
      340-4

      +2 for ‘Truck Bloat’.
       
       

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      “Is it just macho looks?”
      Yep, pretty much. Clotaire Rapaille used his reptilian brain model of human behavior to advise the automakers on what would sell. They listened.
      http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6504969393666409775#

    • 0 avatar
      SimonAlberta

      I don’t understand it either.
       
      When I came to Canada from UK 20 years ago all the vehicles here seemed huge. I remember getting confused when spying a BMW 7 series. In UK that seemed like a big car but here it looked like a toy and I actually thought it was a 5 series until I saw the badge. But it didn’t take long for everything over here to seem “normal” and I too started to refer to a Ford Ranger as a “baby truck” with a “puny motor” or even to understand that a “small block” really is quite small even though it weighs nearly as much as a complete car from back home. LOL
       
      Then I broke my neck in a car wreck and bought a full-size Dodge three quarter ton camping van to accommodate my wheelchair lift and I suddenly felt like a king-of-the-road, looking down at all but the most extreme vehicles.
       
      Fast forward to today and I drive a newer version of the same van and I am not even a prince-of-the-road. Now a basic F150’s hood or box-rail is just about level with the middle of my windshield. Truly ridiculous.
       
      Aside from some kind of perception of toughness, power, masculinity or whatever I truly do not see the point. Just checking the oil is a mountaineering exercise and seeing people struggle to lift stuff into the box makes me shake my head.
       
      I’m not saying there is absolutely no place or point to these vehicles but surely as a tiny, tiny niche market only. That they are now becoming the norm is really a bit worrying to be honest. Are we at the limit yet, or is the bigger and bigger trend going to continue?

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      is the bigger and bigger trend going to continue?
       
      Dang I hope not.  At least an old BMW 7 is long and low.  These trucks are stupid big.

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    The explorer isn’t as long as the truck, it’s an optical illusion in the pic. Explorers are not very long, and the cargo area is not very big. The cargo area of a 60’s-70’s station wagon would dwarf an explorer’s. The explorer is taller, but the wagons were longer and wider.

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    According to the wikipedia the length of the longbed truck, like this one is 207.75 inches.

  • avatar
    340-4

    Well, I mean hey, doesn’t the average family need a truck than can function like an industrial vehicle? Plus, who can tow more? Who can out-haul the other? It’s perverse competition with no real tangible benefit to the vast majority of drivers. So they get more and more powerful, taller, more capable, and more luxurious.
     
    Brilliant marketing, in my opinion, that can convince people who commute or do nothing more trucky than driving on gravel or snow or hauling groceries that such a vehicle is the thing to buy!
     
    And, I can go buy one of these behemoths for around $25k, which is less than a car.
     
    Imagine if truck remained trucks – more like the C-20 posted above – and the engineering and marketing resources went into cars and all wheel drive station wagons with advanced materials and powertrains which we are only now starting to see.
     
    We’re going to reach a point within the next decade where trucks return to being trucks – sure, they can make one out of magnesium and carbon fiber with a small diesel inline six that gets 30 mpg on the highway, but what will it cost – $40-50k? Out of reach for just about every American consumer – sorry.
     
    Families will, instead of buying a big truck, simply rent one when they need to haul a boat or camper for a weekend or vacation. They’ll drive more sensible hybrids or the like for daily duty.
     
    Of course, if a company magically develops a cheap, large format battery with a much higher energy density, that’s all out the window, IMHO.

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    Only the tacomas with the biggger cabs, like extended cabs and 4 doors approach the length of the old chevy. And the chevy is several inches wider, and could be had with an 8 foot bed, which was how most were built.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      The standard cab Tacoma (190″) is actually longer than the short bed Chevy (188″) – see links above.
       
      Longest available Chevy of that generation was 217.75″, whereas the longest Tacoma of the current generation (double cab) is 221″. The Tacoma has a 6 foot (approx) bed so it gives up cargo space to the long-bed Chevy with an 8 foot bed.

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    I was referring to the longbeds like the one in the photo.

  • avatar
    mazder3

    I hope this link works. It should lead to a photo of The Hornet Restaurant, in Denver. Parked immediately in front of it is a ~’67 and a ~’07 Ford F-series. The fish eye of the Google camera skews things a bit but it’s interesting nonetheless.
    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=The+Hornet,+Denver,+CO&sll=39.705572,-104.957714&sspn=0.129952,0.308647&ie=UTF8&hq=The+Hornet,&hnear=Denver,+Colorado&ll=39.718015,-104.987497&spn=0.032482,0.077162&z=14&layer=c&cbll=39.718087,-104.987477&panoid=n5xSQjZHaXnogj2zIIxFTQ&cbp=12,106.98,,1,9.45

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “The explorer isn’t as long as the truck, it’s an optical illusion in the pic”

    Exactly. Just like the last one where the oldest and only 2WD of the 3 was placed farther back to make it look smaller and the newest up front to make it look bigger.

    Now go find me that same year Chevy, except make it a 4X4. Stick 20″ wheels on it and then park it next to any new standard cab 4X4 1/2 ton PU w/8 ft bed. Then tell me how bloated(size wise) trucks have become. Heavier, yes.

    My ’93 Toyota 4X4 extended cab next to a 2WD extended cab of the same year looked huge despite the fact that the doors, dash , ect. were all interchangeable. It’s amazing what slightly bigger wheels/tires and a higher stance will do to change just how big something looks.  

  • avatar
    Flybrian

    Is this the wrong time for me to gloat about the bloat of my ’76 LeSabre that has slightly less interior volume and much less trunk volume than the downsized ’77s while being about six zip codes larger?

    • 0 avatar
      tonyola

      Heh – I could make it even worse by comparing it to a 1992 H-body LeSabre. The newer car has more front/rear legroom, more headroom, and a bigger trunk, while being over two feet shorter and five inches narrower, weighing around a half ton less, and getting nearly double the fuel economy. The ’76 does have an advantage in hip and shoulder room, however – it should being as wide as it is.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    People didn’t want bloated goofy trucks until the automakers, spending $500 per vehicle on saturation advertising, told them what to want.  People who parrot the automakers’ mantra that “this is what the public wanted”, is being duped by the automakers.
    Cadillacs and station wagons for people who didn’t want to be seen in Cadillacs and station wagons.  (The latter killed with ridicule by the same automakers.) Something to intimidate others for the bullies.  It’s no coincidence that the grilles of the Dodge pickups resemble a huge predatory grimace.
    The automakers steered people this way because they made huge profits on these crude vehicles, and tied in with that, the trucks were (due to the influence the car makers have over government) exempt from mileage regulation.
    And weren’t the largest of them exempt from some sort of taxation in the US?

  • avatar
    DaveA

    It was not just mere marketing.  Trucks got popular as cars became less usefully – good only for mall runs and fun.  A modern car is good for only ‘people’ transport and not much else (we do not all live in metro areas).  Long gone are the days when a car could do a trucks job.  That said, lets look at mpg.  My current 1/2ton small V8 gets 30-40% better mpg while having twice the hp and plus all the nice safety features that the old trucks never had.  I remember 10 mpg in my 72 Chevy, 11 mpg in my Scout… Current mid sized SUV’s and trucks do no better than a full size 1/2 V8 as far as mpg.  Keep the wheels the stock size and get a 2wd if you can, then they are not that big, comparatively. 

    — 
     

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @DaveA: Good response. If marketing were truly brainwashing people, the big 3 would still on top of the world. After the oil shocks of the 70’s and the enforced mileage mandates of CAFE, domestic cars lost some capabilities. There was a time you could buy a station wagon and tow an airstream behind it, or whatever else you needed to do. But with the mileage mandates forcing the car makers to reduce weight to gain mileage, the cars lost capacity to be all things to all people. Trucks were not subject to those rules, so they retained their load hauling capabilities.
       
      If no one has noticed, all car companies seem to be playing in the big truck/SUV sandbox. But there’s good reason: the vehicles fill a need and make money for the manufacturers. If Toyota and Honda did not see a future in those kinds of vehicles, I’m sure they wouldn’t have bothered coming up with those products.
       
      You may not like trucks/SUVs, but they fill a need for many folks. I personally, think it’s goofy to drive around the mall parking lot in an Armada (an almost ironic name for a SUV), but when I need to get something big from Home Depot, I’m glad my buddy down the street from will let me use his Explorer. I love cars, but I could see myself driving a SUV someday. Just not today.

  • avatar
    M 1

    I sure hope Congress legislates what I should have for dinner before I starve to death.

  • avatar
    skor

    “Merkins need monster sized trucks for the same reason they need casket lifts with half ton capacity.
     
    http://thegazette.com/2011/01/02/larger-in-life-clients-create-challenges-in-funeral-industry/
     

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    I love how people become outraged if I’m driving a bloated out 5.3L V8 Silverado 4X4 Crew Cab monstrosity back & forth everyday to the office that gets an EPA 15/21 MPG. Yeah, I could be compensating for a below average unit… or I could be using the the truck to haul food, clothes and furniture to the needy in remote places on weekends… But if I was to drive a hot pink Chevy Traverse AWD or a lime green metalic AWD GMC Acadia, each getting 16/23 (3.5L V6) MPG to the office… nobody would notice. The ignorance out there is laughable. 

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      “But if I was to drive a hot pink Chevy Traverse AWD or a lime green metalic AWD GMC Acadia, each getting 16/23 (3.5L V6) MPG to the office… nobody would notice. The ignorance out there is laughable.”

      …Or a (gulp) COMPASS!

      I wish my old ’76 Chevy Custom Deluxe got 20 mpg back in the day! That thing got 13.5 no matter how I drove it! And, it was a stripped version, i.e: no A/C, PS or anything else that dragged on the big 292 other than factory-basic stuff. Sure got great biceps and triceps, though! Bought it new and sold it two years later to the very day for almost what I paid for it. Good riddance, too! 

    • 0 avatar
      Philosophil

      It’s possible that people’s outrage is an indication of ignorance.
       
      It’s also possible, on the other hand, that the fact that people become outraged by large vehicles like trucks and monster SUV’s, but are less bothered by compact to mid-size SUV’s may indicate that there are other things besides mpg’s that contribute to people’s reactions to these vehicles, things related more to their massive size (issues of safety, restricted visibility, and so on) and not just their fuel economy.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Philosophil,

      Yes, you bring up some interesting points but not everybody lives in New York City. Lots of open spaces out there… And yes, pickups can block your vision, same as a simi or bus can block mine… so I wait until I can see or I’ll trickle out slowly if I can’t. Anyway, mine and my family’s safely is more important to me than anyone that I don’t know and willfully desides to venture out in a small car or motorcycle (I think they know the laws of physics). Who’s safety do you put above your family’s? The motorcyclist? The bicyclist? Pedestrian? I mean crash safely isn’t a real big concern of mine but even if I did put my family in a Yaris, they’re more likely to get killed by a simi, dump, trash, UPS, Sparklets, Fed Ex, tow truck, school bus or Greyhound than a pickup. But mostly I really doubt most folks realize how fuel efficient full-size pickups are and what pigs mid-size SUVs are.

    • 0 avatar
      Philosophil

      I should probably point out that I personally am not particularly bothered by large trucks and SUV’s. I think their bloated size is generally unnecessary and a nuisance for all kinds of reasons, and I don’t like driving the very large ones myself because I find them too top heavy (and hence don’t feel particularly safe in them), but I don’t go out of my way to criticize those who drive them. I’m just pointing out that there are other reasons (and sometimes good reasons) why some people get agitated by large trucks and SUV’s besides mpg’s.
       
      I used to drive pickups and panel vans all the time in my 20’s as part of my job back then (in Atlantic Canada). I’ve driven a lot of miles over old neglected wood’s roads and such, so I have a fair idea of the limits and capabilities of such vehicles when it comes to those kinds of conditions. Even now I happen to live across the street from a very large corn/soy field, so I’m quite familiar with country living. From my experience, however, I also know that a truck doesn’t need the exaggerated ground clearance and cab/bed height that the new trucks have for most of the tasks for which they’re needed. I’ve driven over lots of very rough wood’s roads with plenty of washboard hills in old rear wheel drive pickups, panel vans, and even large station wagons (e.g., a ’78 Impala Wagon), and have a fairly good sense of just how far you can get in a vehicle like that when you know what you’re doing and take your time. I simply point this out to indicate that I do have some experience with such vehicles and am not talking entirely off the top of my head.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Being up high does give an unstable, top-heavy feeling on the curves but that feeling also makes you drive slower and safer. Being down low or hugging the ground, OTOH… Early ’90s Accords and Civics were light and very close to the ground, inspiring overconfidence. They handled great, up to a point. I lived on a curvy rural road and most of the cars that went through mine and my neighbor’s fences back then, were those Accords and Civics.   

    • 0 avatar
      Philosophil

      I actually agree for the most part.
       
      For my part, while I don’t feel comfortable driving very large trucks/suv’s because of their extreme height, my back also doesn’t enjoy dropping into my 03 Jetta Wagon anymore, so my next vehicle will probably be somewhere in between as far as driver height goes. You can say what you want about the new crossovers (from a driving point of view), but for people with back pain (and other similar issues) the relatively easy ingress/egress they afford is very appealing.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      I don’t have a problem with the characteristics of mid-size SUVs. I don’t care how many MPG they get or don’t get. I just have a problem with those that say I need a smaller, lighter and more efficient pickup without realizing how fuel efficient and light they really are, compared to how bloated cars and those mid-sizers have become. Mostly they need back off and look at how big and bloated their damn Mini Mansions have become. How about down sizing those?

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Classic model bloat or too many truck designers watching too many monster truck shows. My theory is this started when the redesigned Dodge Ram came out in 1992, with the pseudo Kentworth look so the other brands followed. Yes, a great truck ahead of it’s time that incorporated a lot of great features, far better then the previous gen. Then the early 90’s F-150 Aero look was fairly trim ex:F-150 Lightning shortbed nicely sized, but a tad larger than the 80’s 90’s F-Series. it’s 2000’s redesign incorporated some of the 18 wheeler look elements of the Ram, then Chevy’s and GMC got bloated as well Rams 2004 redo put on some weight as the full sized Toyota and Nissan. Even the current Tacoma is way larger than a T-100 which was “almost full sized”

    Redesigns could easily put these on a diet, a nip and tuck of a few hundred lbs to bring them back to roughly where that GMC C-20 was or the size of late 80’s all new GM’s with no loss in cab room, (crew or club) hauling or towing capacity as well as improved fuel economy.

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    Mr T Bird, there was not much difference between the size of the new ram, which was redesigned in 94, not 92, and the 71-93 before it. And the grille and hood were not that tall, it just looked that way because the fenders were LOWER.
    And the newer trucks are not much longer, assuming you are comparing equal cab types and beds, they are mainly taller.

  • avatar
    shaker

    Would it be a stretch of reasoning to posit that tall trucks discourage the female buyer? Hell, I’m 6’4″ and don’t relish the climb into modern truck cabs.

  • avatar
    Autojunkie

    I saw a late model Dakota towing, with a tow bar, an early 80s D150. The Dakota looked much larger than the D150.

    You should take a look at how close the Jeep Patriot is, in size, to the first generation Grand Cherokee.

    Cars do not have to keep getting larger…

  • avatar
    Invisible

    Give truck buyers a break.  In 1970, truck buyers didn’t need to tow 20,000 lbs WHILE hauling 5 kiddies to and from soccer practice.

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    baab…..most of the extra length in your newer truck is in the cab. Remember how trucks from the 60’s-70’s were small inside the cab, with practically no legroom? And the seats were almost bolt upright and uncomfortable, and the steering wheel was almost into your chest?
    Over the years the automakers moved the firewall forward, resulting in more legroom and a better driving position, and moving the instrument panel and steering wheel further away from the driver, making the cab more spacious, as well as increasing safety.
    If you look at the front end of a modern truck from the side it’s not really very long, just high up. It’s probably about the length of say, the hood of a nova or dart from the 70’s. The length of the average fullsize truck with standard cab is still way short of most fullsized cars of the 70’s, even with the 8 foot bed, and they are better on gas than a 6 cylinder compact from the 70’s.
    Sure the old trucks were cool, but not comfortable to drive for long distances, and they rode pretty badly. I’m sure most people that were around back then remember the sayings like “this thing rides like a truck” or “this thing drives like a truck.” Not so much anymore, trucks have come a long way.  The old trucks had flexible frames, you could literally see the bed and cab move in separate directions even over mild road imperfections. That was why they developed so many rattles, from all of that flexing.
    Part of the reason for the increased weight of the newer trucks is that they now have heavier boxed frames that eliminate the problems I just mentioned with the old trucks. They also now have crush zones built into the front sections of the frame, so even though they weigh more than the older models they probably don’t pose much more of a danger to cars, if any over the older trucks for that reason.
    I remember that a lot of the older 4×4’s sat about as high as some of the newer ones. Our neighbors back in the day had a 68 or 9 chevy 4×4 and that sucker sat pretty high, it came that way from the factory.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Moparman426W: You are correct on every level I can see. We had the C/10 short bed stepsides as our “jeeps” in the Air Force 40 years ago and everyone loved them, but they were indeed small in the cab, not meant for traveling in. My 1976 Chevy and my 1980 Dodge were standard cabs, and not much more room in them than the older Chevys. I have no issue with those who want to drive a pickup for any reason, but the major peeve I have is the people who drive them. Trucks are so easy to drive that they insulate the driver from the road and speed is deceiving and too many drivers think they own the road, whether aware of it or not. As fas as “flexible frames” go, I don’t have a problem with that either – it’s the nature of the beast, the manufacturers – with their increasing efforts to stop the flexing have probably contributed more to trucks’ weight gain more than anything. Safety considerations count for some of that – knowing what was inside my doors on the Chevy and Dodge (nothing) gave me pause and cringes of getting T-Boned. That partially explained the reason trucks got expensive back in the seventies – they could charge a lot more and make a huge profit because of lack of said safety measures. Closest thing to free money that existed!

    • 0 avatar
      baabthesaab

      You’re right, of course, and I don’t really disagree, except that I think the cab only accounts for about half the extra length in a pickup. Considering that they are no longer designed around a straight six engine (sigh), I think there is extra room in there. In my older trucks the cab was cramped – I drove with my knees splayed out and my chin resting on the steering wheel, but there was room under the hood for a lawn chair next to that engine. As for height, the ’67 generation 4wd GMs were a HUGE step LOWER than anything we had known previously, and the ’73 generation lower still.
      Please don’t misunderstand that I agree that the new ones are better than the old to an unmeasurable degree. They’re just longer and heavier, with the same cargo volume – generally much greater GVWR, though.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “I remember that a lot of the older 4×4′s sat about as high as some of the newer ones.”

    I’ll argue that most the newer ones w/IFS sit lower than the older ones with a solid axle, provided the same size wheels are on both trucks.

    “Current mid sized SUV’s and trucks do no better than a full size 1/2 V8 as far as mpg.”

    Exactly! And for of those of us that tow, fullsize vehicles offer more capability & durability. Plus they are more comfortable and safer to drive while towing.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Why should trucks be immune to the disease that cars have been suffering from for years?  Percent-wise, I would bet that the dimensional expansion of the Accord in every dimension (weight, height, length, width) is greater than that of the F150 or Ram truck….the Accord and its brethren have gone from sleek and stylish to obese in 3 generations.  Put another way, all cars and trucks have gone from kate moss to Kirstey Alley….and I for one am sick of it.  My neighbor parks his 2007 A-4 sedan next to my 1999 A-6 Avant…and his is the bigger vehicle in every dimension…

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      “Put another way, all cars and trucks have gone from kate moss to Kirstey Alley….and I for one am sick of it. ”
       
      And it’s not just for safety reasons. The current BMW 3-series is tiny compared to the current Accord, but still scores high in safety ratings. Do Americans (and other new car buyers around the word) really demand substantially bigger cars in every succeeding generation?

  • avatar
    Philosophil

    Most trucks are no longer simply working vehicles, many are now family vehicles. I think the reason the big 3 turned their attention to developing trucks as family vehicles is precisely because professionals, farmers and many others still need trucks as working vehicles and the manufacturers knew that it would be tougher to extend the same kinds of safety, emissions and fuel standards to trucks as they did with cars (precisely because it would put undue restrictions on those who need them for their work).

    Because emissions and other standards that trucks have to meet are generally lower than those for cars, manufacturers saw trucks (and SUV’s) as an opportunity to produce a family vehicle that was cheaper to produce and still garnered a share of the family market, while at the same time skirting the more challenging regulations on cars. Of course I’m speculating here, but I think this was the primary reason why manufacturers started to make trucks with more car-like interiors–produce a relatively versatile family vehicle with all the comforts of a car at the same price point as many family cars while at the same time being able to avoid the costly requirements needed to satisfy the stricter emissions and other standards associated with the production of cars.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    I’ve worked in construction and driven 20-year old F-350s, 10-year old F-550s, new and almost-new F-250s and their GM equivalents… and I like the old ones more.

    It comes down to one specific thing: the height of the bed sides.  I shouldn’t need a ladder or a crane to grab my stuff out of the back!  At least I can climb though – a lot of our superintendents are 50+ years old.  They’ll never admit it, but some of them would find it easier to use a smaller truck.  By “smaller” I’m talking about height.  We need long beds and a decent load rating (in the bed, not towing).

    We don’t need tremendous towing capacity.  It can come in handy, but isn’t that what the larger models are for?  We always had an F-550 flatbed on hand, but it’s not like every carpenter and engineer needs all that much capacity.  One of our competitors gave its engineers Tundras (previous-gen, back when it was a “7/8s” truck) and it never seemed to be a problem for them.  Engineers would probably be fine with 4×4, 4-seat Tacomas.

  • avatar
    geeber

    Yes, the old trucks were smaller…but not because people were somehow more responsible or sensible in the 1960s. Instead of driving around in huge Silverados and F-150s, they drove around in huge Caprices and LTDS and Fury IIIs and Montereys and Bonnevilles and Ninety-Eights with big-block V-8s that got about 10-12 mpg in good conditions.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      My ’79 Impala wagon with a 350 V8 and 3-spd automatic regularly got over 20mpg (Imperial) on the highway. It could do so with 6 people in a nice conversational grouping, and carry all their luggage in the weatherproof cargo area.
       
      How come most of the rest of the world manages to carry and tow things around without using pickup trucks?  When the ego-driven factors are left out, truck design becomes vastly more efficient and functional.  Where are the best cargo vans coming from now?

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    When my wife and I were shopping for a replacement for our Blazer I decided to look at the new Explorers.  Even in the dealer lot I had a hard time telling the difference between the Explorer and Excursion unless they were side by side.  Dittos for most late model domestic Pick-ups, the ride height on them is amazing.  Doesn’t anyone load their trucks by hand anymre? 

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

      “Doesn’t anyone load their trucks by hand anymre? ‘

    Ever shovel 2500 lbs of 1 1/2” river rock into the bed of a PU at a dusty, shadeless, landscaping yard in 90 degree heat? Neither have I! ….LOL

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