QOTD: Luxury Car or Loaded Truck?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd luxury car or loaded truck

Yesterday’s first-drive review of the 2019 GMC Sierra Denali and its macho sibling, the AT4, sparked some debate in the comment section. Yes, it’s true that the Denali-trimmed version sports a grille capable of blinding airline pilots if the sun hits it just right. One of you even said the mass of gleaming chrome was ostentatious enough to make Liberace blush.

And yet automakers build these high-end trucks because customers can’t seem to get enough of them. After all, who’s foolish enough to turn down an opportunity to grow margins by plumbing the depths of this high-profit market? From these comments, a question materialized: If handed a stack of cash totalling $60k to $70k, what would you buy — a nice, respectable, and perhaps even sporty luxury sedan, or one of the gilded luxo-dozers offered by Ford, Ram, or GMC? And why?

It’s a question capable of polarizing a group. On one side, you have those who feel a luxury pickup is wholly unnecessary — a gas-guzzling, overly large, gauche status symbol that, no matter how much technology an OEM throws at it, won’t deliver the sporting driving experience and ride quality enjoyed by a Jag owner.

On the other side, you have those claiming a top-end pickup is just as capable of coddling your refined ass, with the added benefit of go-anywhere ruggedness and the safety that comes from driving a mile-high, 5,000-pound-plus vehicle. The advent of technology has eliminated the blind spots and most of the parking difficulties that plagued pickup owners for years.

With a modern drivetrain and up-to-date suspension, a modern pickup needn’t be the hard-riding, poor-steering, loud experience of yesteryear. The Sierra Denali didn’t make anything a chore, but neither did the Ford F-150 King Ranch I tested last year. Both stickered above $60,000, after options.

Then again, despite their pleasing on-road manners, no full-size pickup will carve a corner like a Jaguar XF S AWD, Cadillac CTS V-Sport, or BMW 540i xDrive. Even cushier sedans targeted at a more sedate clientele will run away from these trucks, just not if the going gets rough. But how often do we actually cut loose on the road?

So here it is: You’re handed a blank check that covers the purchase of one vehicle costing between $60k and $70k, give or take a couple grand. Do you go the traditional sedan or coupe route, or buy the vehicle that’s capable of doing everything, though perhaps not completely well?

[Images: Ford Motor Company, Steph Willems/TTAC]

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  • Flipper35 Flipper35 on Aug 29, 2018

    I would take a high end truck over something like a Rolls/Bently/large Mercedes/BMW. Over a truck I would take a sporty car like a CTS-V or F type or for sure the new Alfa. SRT Charger probably as well. For those days I need to haul something, I would go to Menards or Lowes and rent a pickup.

  • RocketScience RocketScience on Aug 29, 2018

    Can I break the rules too? For 70 grand... I'd spend $35K on Mustang GT and $35K on a Tacoma for winter driving.

  • SCE to AUX I charge at home 99% of the time, on a Level 2 charger I installed myself in 2012 for my Leaf. My house is 1967, 150-Amp service, gas dryer and furnace; everything else is electric with no problems. I switched from gas HW to electric HW last year, when my 18-year-old tank finally failed.I charge at a for-pay station maybe a couple times a year.I don't travel more than an hour each way in my Ioniq 1 EV, so I don't deal much with public chargers. Despite a big electric rate increase this year, my car remains ridiculously cheap to operate.
  • ToolGuy 38:25 to 45:40 -- Let's all wait around for the stupid ugly helicopter. 😉The wheels and tires are cool, as in a) carbon fiber is a structural element not decoration and b) they have some sidewall.Also like the automatic fuel adjustment (gasoline vs. ethanol).(Anyone know why it's more powerful on E85? Huh? Huh?)
  • Ja-GTI So, seems like you have to own a house before you can own a BEV.
  • Kwik_Shift Good thing for fossil fuels to keep the EVs going.
  • Carlson Fan Meh, never cared for this car because I was never a big fan of the Gen 1 Camaro. The Gen 1 Firebird looked better inside and out and you could get it with the 400.The Gen 2 for my eyes was peak Camaro as far as styling w/those sexy split bumpers! They should have modeled the 6th Gen after that.