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Pickup Truck vs Sedan

A photo collage of a sedan and pick up truck.

The difference between a pickup truck and a sedan is clear. A pickup truck is a vehicle in the truck class with a long cab that is great for heavy lifting, while sedans fall in the mid-size vehicle class and are useful family cars.

Both cars are excellent cars, but pickup trucks are the ones with the fond memories of tailgating and long road trips that feel like you have nothing to care about. Still, a sedan can get you there with some high-tech style if you want to, and many do.

If you believe most reports, Americans own one or the other type of vehicle, with pickup truck sales accounting for 20.57 percent of vehicles on the road and 78 percent of one Nissan survey responses indicating they would buy a sedan.

If you are wondering about the differences between the two kinds of vehicles, you might be surprised at how similar they really can be sometimes. The style of the bodies will differ, but at the end of the day, they may be very similar rides. Learn more about the differences between the pickup truck vs sedan right here.

What is a Pickup Truck?

A white chevy silverado 2500 in the road.

A pickup truck is like a combination of a car and a truck, combining a work vehicle’s body with a car’s body. Most car circles recognize that the pickup truck can be mighty, but it is still considered a light-duty truck. The truck is known for having a one enclosed section for a cabin and then a larger open section for cargo and belongings.

The pickup truck is known universally around the world as a work vehicle, as it can tow and carry large weights for heavy work. Still, many people now love the pickup truck as a lifestyle choice and want to use it as their primary car. In the United States, the big three automakers consider pickup truck sales to be among their most valuable sources of profit.

That is because pickup trucks can be comparable in sticker price to other cars but have a higher profit margin. In most cases, they are also more expensive to purchase as well. The pickup truck has always been a practical car that today is making a name for itself when it comes to luxury as well, as it has more bells and whistles than ever before.

What is a Sedan?

Toyota Camry on a showroom

The sedan is a mid-size vehicle and also a compact car. It comes with a three-box style structure with a front, middle, and end. It usually has four doors, with the three sections of the vehicle: the engine, the driver and passengers, and then the cargo section. 

The name of the car, sedan, comes from a type of transportation from the 1600s that involved a chair surrounded by an enclosed box that was carried by people. Today, the sedan has several styles, with the station wagon and hatchback being among the most common. This is a car that is surrounded by an enclosure, in most cases, but for the convertible style of today.

How are They Different? 

There are many different ways in which the pickup truck and the sedan are different. The key difference is that the pickup truck is a larger, longer vehicle with an open cargo section. Both vehicles can have two or four doors, but the size of the vehicle marks the largest difference between them.

Features of a Sedan

There are many different kinds of a sedan, the most popular being notchback sedans, hatchback sedans, fastback sedans, and hardtop sedans. These styles are differentiated by the features of the vehicle. A notchback sedan is one that has a closed cargo trunk with a lid that is horizontal.

The hatchback is a different style, where the enclosure of the trunk lifts from the back instead of horizontally. The fastback is a car that has a curve to it in the rear section of the car. The roof is typically sloped and in one section from the top of the car to where it meets the trunk.

The hardtop sedan is exactly what it sounds like, with a hard roof that is constructed of metal. This is still a very popular kind of car and typically does not include the B-pillar metal construction between the front and rear windows, like the Cadillac. In this kind of body, you will see the driver’s window and the rear passenger window meet in the middle of the body of the car, instead of being separated by a B-pillar of metal construction.

Features of a Pickup Truck

Side view angle of a brand new GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid 2018 model in metallic silver colorway.

There are many different kinds of pickup trucks today, and they all start with the same kind of body. The pickup truck is defined by this body and much more clearly defined by its body than the sedan, which can take on several different styles. The pickup truck has a very clearly defined front cabin and cargo section.

In the front, you are going to find at least two doors, and sometimes four. The space on the interior of a pickup truck can vary, and the number of doors on it does not always matter. A pickup truck with two doors can be even roomier than a pickup truck with four doors if the truck has an inside cab to it with some space.

In addition to options for cab space, the pickup truck comes with a much larger cargo space than any other work or personal-use vehicle. These can come with covers or not, hardcovers or soft tarp-like covers, and typically come with a tailgate. Some of these today have additional built-in trunks built into the bottom floor of the truck to add additional storage.

This storage can be used to ensure some cargo stays waterproof or just serve as an additional storage section for the pickup truck. In addition to cargo space and cab space options, today’s pickup trucks come with a very large range of technical features never seen before on a pickup truck.

Cost Differences Between Pickup and Sedan

This is a white Ford Fusion on display at a car show.

Pickup trucks can be among the most expensive vehicles on the market today, but the right sedan can be as well. Today’s average price for a pickup truck can be as much as $38 thousand. However, it is not unusual for pickup trucks to cost as much as $45 to $50 thousand dollars.  It is estimated that the least expensive pickup truck today is the Chevrolet Colorado for approximately $26 thousand dollars.

Sedans, on average, are much more affordable than a pickup trucks but can get high in cost when considering make and model. A sedan can be purchased for as low as $10 thousand, but it depends on the manufacturer. On average, a mid-size sedan can cost up to $18 thousand dollars. The higher-end sedans will start at $23 thousand and can get as high as $40 thousand dollars.

When you begin adding options and upgrading engines and technology, the prices are going to go even higher. This is the case with both the pickup truck and the sedan. Additionally, you have to factor in gas mileage, insurance rates, and all other factors of car ownership when determining what car or options is the most affordable car to get for you.

Benefits of Pickup Trucks and Sedans

Every car on the market has its share of benefits, but pickup trucks and sedans are crowd favorites for a reason. Each has its own set of unique benefits that makes car lovers want to buy them. They both have benefits that are, to many, considered to be benefits that outweigh the costs of the other vehicle as well.

The pickup truck, for example, has the benefit of ample cargo space. This is the reason that most people buying a pickup truck get a pickup truck. It can offer the same amount of interior cabin space as a sedan if you get a larger pickup truck with four doors and a back cab.

On the other hand, a sedan is a smaller vehicle that is more family-friendly with fewer worries about how many people can fit inside the car. It makes for an ideal family car or car for anyone. The sedan is to much more attainable than the pickup truck in every factor.

Brief History of Each Vehicle

The first gas-powered engine for a car was made in 1886 by a man with the last name of Benz, and by the early 1900s, America had learned of a man named Henry Ford. Today, most in America are driving either a pickup truck or a sedan. The history of each is fascinating.

The History of the Pickup Truck

An old and classic 1926 Ford model T, the first Ford pickup truck.

The first pickup truck was invented by Henry Ford in 1908 and was called the Ford Model T Runabout. Over 15 million Ford Model T vehicles were made in their day, in a history that spanned between 1908 and 1927.

In 1908, the Model T was affectionately called the Tin Lizzie and was a way of life and transportation for many Americans. Soon, the agriculturists and farmers in the country would begin modifying their Model Ts, a now frequent pastime of millions.

The History of the Sedan

There has been much debate over when the first sedan was made. The word sedan comes from the word sedia, which refers to an enclosed chair that was used all over the world to transport people from as early as the 1600s. In 1899, a man by the name of Renault Voiturette modeled a sedan of this nature with an engine, and this would be the first four-seater vehicle that would be called a sedan.

In 1912, the Studebaker Four and the Studebaker Six were the next sedans on the market. Most of the first sedans were created with a closed top, a unique feature of vehicles at a time when putting a motorized engine and wheels on metal was the most important innovation for this vehicle. When sedans were constructed with roofs, it was another significant invention and marker of economic progress for the country.

Today, both vehicles have maintained their initial structural integrity, and every country that makes cars has continued on its path of constant innovation. Today’s sedans and pickup trucks don’t look that much different than they did in 1908, but they drive as a twenty-first-century ride should.

Unique Technology Found in These Vehicles Today

A photo of white honda civic hatchback sport car in the car show.

Four wheels and an engine aren’t enough to get most people excited about a new vehicle anymore. To sell a car, today’s automotive manufacturers are constantly on the hunt for the tool that will make the next model year that much more successful.

For today’s car buyers, a cabin fully loaded with technology is the way that is happening. Both sedans and pickup trucks have their share of exciting tech to use to enhance safety and make driving more enjoyable.

The Pickup Truck

The pickup truck today is not what it used to be and can come fully loaded with a wide range of smart features and technology that makes picking up cargo easier. For the Ford F-150, for example, a scale system has been added to its rear suspension so that drivers can measure the payload in their cargo bin. That is the maximum weight the F-150 can manage while still showing the driver where the weight in the car needs to be redistributed.

In this Smart Hitch tech, once the cargo is loaded, the scales display the weights on the onboard infotainment center. There are also built-in LED lights on the tail lights of the truck that measure the weight as it is added.

Trailer backup assists are also found on many newer models of pickup trucks. This is for the driver who gets a pickup for towing items. All turns and backing up will be monitored and shown on the onboard infotainment display from manufacturers like Toyota and Ford.

To go into reverse, some models offer straight path technology that makes it simpler to control the vehicle and its trailer. In other models, like some Ford models, the backup assist is managed with a knob on the dashboard.

The Sedan

To list all of the technology automakers are adding to sedans would take hours, but there is some worth noting. Most safety features are added to make driving more affordable and efficient. A remote parking assist feature is common in many models of sedans today. Here, the car can be pulled in and out of a parking spot without any driver in it at all.

Blind-spot monitoring is another common technological feature on many sedans. Lane assist and lane keeping technology also help to keep drivers more aware and safe on the roads. In some vehicles, technology like the Predictive Efficient Drive helps users be more comfortable in the car with smart technology that detects their driving habits. GPS navigation systems are also common features in sedans today.

Choose a Pickup Truck

Side view image of Ford Ranger in orange color driving in the mud with mountain background.

If I have owned a pickup truck in my life and loved it, my favorite choice here is the pickup truck. This is an enjoyable ride and comes with a wide range of practical features you can’t get in any other vehicle. While the sedan is a good choice for a large family, a pickup truck can be a special ride that offers what you need no matter where you are driving. It’s a ride with power too, and that never hurts.

Related: Pickup Truck vs Crossover