Ask Jack: A Truck Without Consequences?

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
ask jack a truck without consequences

Sixteen thousand, five hundred miles. In ten months. It would be fair to say that I’m getting a lot of use out of my Silverado “Max Tow”. What that number doesn’t make plain, however, is how much effort I put into not driving the truck. Unless the hitch is in use or there is some kind of load in the bed, I don’t take it out of the driveway.

This is not sitting well with my wife, the infamous Danger Girl. She point outs that we should be able to get a quarter-million miles on the truck and it makes very little sense to use something that is plainly more expensive to run, such as my ZX-14R, rather than the Silverado. All I can say in response is that I feel guilty using a three-ton-plus vehicle for the drive to work or dinner. It’s a mild form of mental illness, I suppose.

Not everybody is crazy like me. Which brings me to today’s “Ask Jack” questioner, who is in a rather unique position to go truckin’ like the Doo-dah man.

Bobby writes,

What’s worse than a rich kid asking you what car to get? It’s probably when somebody is getting a free car lol. Or in my case, a free truck lol. I’m being sent to Texas for a work assignment that would last maybe two years, possibly three. Living in the city I never had a truck and didn’t see the need. Basically, I can have a three-year lease paid by the company for a truck. The new Ram looks pretty good, but I remember you bought the Chevy. What should I do?

This was a remarkably terse email, so I’m going to make a couple of assumptions. I’m going to assume that the would-be company truck in question is a half-ton full-sizer, most likely a crew cab. So we can leave stuff like the Ridgeline and the Dodge Power Wagon out of this. I’m also going to assume that Bobby isn’t able to get something like a Tahoe RST or a Range Rover instead of the truck.

Given what an outsized presence half-tons have on both the American road and the American economy, it’s kind of odd to think that there are relatively few entries in the marketplace. They are:

* Ford F-150

* Silverado/Sierra


* Toyota Tundra

* Nissan Titan

Did I forget any? Who cares if I did, because these are the only trucks that matter.

Right off the bat, I think we can forget about the Nissan Titan. It looks weird and I can’t see what it offers that the other trucks don’t. Sure, there’s that mid-size diesel, but… nah.

Normally the Tundra would be the next to go, but it happens to have a bit of an inside line here because it’s actually built in Texas. You never know. It might come in handy if Bobby has to deal with people who earn some or all of their living from the Toyota presence here.

My experience with the Silverado has been outstanding but there’s no point in leasing the old model and the new one isn’t available yet.

So I think this is a three-way fight between the local-favorite Tundra, the default-choice F-150, and the new Ram. Given that this is a company-paid lease and not a long-term personal purchase, I would find it very hard to say no to the Ram. It looks good, it will ride better than the others, and it has some utterly gobsmacking infotainment options. Last but not least, it might be cheaper to lease than the others thanks to incentives. So in Bobby’s shoes, I’d order myself a crew-cab Ram with every option in the book, and I’d make sure I’m in Amarillo by morning.

That’s a country song, in case you don’t know as much about country as I do. I know a lot about country music now. I’m a truck owner, you see.

[Image: © 2018 Matthew Guy/TTAC]

Join the conversation
2 of 83 comments
  • Lou_BC Lou_BC on May 09, 2018

    If the company is picking up (no pun intended) the tab on a new pickup, order the most loaded variant that he can get his hands on. It does not say who is paying the fuel bill or associated expenses. I assume that the company will cover that so it really doesn't matter the kind of mpg. If he has to cover fuel expenses or if he is uncomfortable driving a full sized truck then he can get a Colorado/Canyon or Tacoma. The Canyon can be had in Denali trim for the same price as a mid-spec full sized truck. If the only option is a full sized truck, get a short box i.e. 5.5 box if he doesn't need to haul anything or as stated, isn't comfortable with the size.

  • Olddavid Olddavid on May 10, 2018

    Is this some parallel universe? I come here and read a buy-it recommendation from Baruth that specifies the convenience of the "infotainment" for a truck? I thought it was Jalopnik that sold their soul.

  • Readallover I always found it hilarious that my parents`friends who paid up for the luxury and exclusivity of a M-B were shocked and disappointed when they went to Europe and found their car was significantly cheaper AND widely used as cabs over there.
  • Laszlo I own a 1969 falcon futura 4 door hardtop, original inline 6 and c4 transmission and it still runs to this day.
  • BklynPete So let's get this straight: Ford hyped up the Bronco for 3 years, yet couldn't launch it to match the crazy initial demand. They released it with numerous QC issues, made hay for its greedy dealers, and burned customers in the process. After all that, they lose money on warranties. The vehicles turn out to be a worse ownership experience than the Jeep Wrangler, which hasn't been a paragon of reliability for 50 years. The same was true of the Aviator, Explorer, several F-150 variants, and other recent product launches. The Maverick is the only thing they got right. Yet this company that's been at it for 120 years. Just Brilliant. Jim Farley's non-PR speak: "You don't get to call me an idiot. I get to call myself an idiot first."Farley truly seems hapless, like the characters his late cousin played. Bill Ford is a nice guy but more than a bit slow on the uptake too. They have not had anything resembling a quality CEO since Alan Mulally turned the keys over to Mark Fields - the mulleted glamor boy who got canned after 3 years when the PowerShi(f)t transaxles exploded. He more recently helped run Hertz into the ground with bad QC and a faulty database that had them arresting customers. Ford is starting to resemble Chrysler in the mid-Seventies Sales Bank era. Well, at least VW has cash and envies Ford's distribution reach and potential profitability.
  • Mike Beranek This guy called and wants his business model back.
  • SCE to AUX The solid state battery is vaporware.As for software-limited pack capacity: Batteries are obviously the most expensive component of an EV, so on the rare occasion that pack capacity is dramatically limited (as in your 6-year-old example), it's because economies of scale briefly made sense at the time.Mfrs are not in the habit of overbuilding pack capacity just for fun, and then charging the customer less.Since then, pack capacities have been slightly increased via software because the mfr decides they can sacrifice a little bit of the normal safety/wear margin in the interest of range. We're talking single-digit percentages, not the 60/75 kWh jump in your example.Every pack has maybe 10% margin built into it, so eating into that today (via range increases) means it's not available to make up for battery degradation tomorrow. My 4-year-old EV still has its original range(s) and 100% SOH, but that's surely because it is slowly consuming the margin built into the pack.@Matt Posky: Not everything is a conspiracy to get your credit card account, and the lengthy editorial about this has nothing to do with solid state batteries.