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15 Different Types of Pickup Trucks

A row of three pick up trucks in open field area.

The pickup truck is one of the most popular builds of vehicles in many states, and Americans can’t seem to get enough of them! In fact, the Ford F-150 has been the best-selling vehicle in America for decades.

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History of the Pickup Truck

The pickup truck was born out of necessity in the early 20th century. Farmers and ranchers needed a vehicle that could handle the tough terrain and heavy loads of their work, so they began modifying their regular cars into pickups.

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The first production pickup truck hit the market in 1925, and it was an instant success.

Pickups have come a long way from their humble beginnings (the first pickup cost only $281!) and are now available in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit any need.

There are three main types of pickups on the market today: light-duty, medium-duty, and heavy-duty. Let’s take a look at each one.

1. Light-Duty Pickups

Side view of black Ford F-150 on road.

The light-duty pickup is the most common type. These trucks are built for everyday use and can handle light loads or occasional hauling. Also, they are reliable daily drivers. These weigh about 6,000 pounds and can tow up to 12,000 pounds.

Reasons to drive a light-duty pickup:

  • You don’t need a heavy hauling capacity.
  • They’re great for driving around town or on the highway.
  • You want good fuel economy.
  • They’re easier to maneuver and park than larger trucks.

Examples of light-duty pickup:

  • Ford F-150
  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500
  • GMC Sierra 1500
  • Ram 1500
  • Toyota Tacoma

2. Medium-Duty Pickups

Side view of black GMC Sierra 2500HD on car show.

The medium-duty pickup is a bit beefier than the light-duty. It’s built for those who need more towing and hauling capacity but don’t want the size or cost of a heavy-duty truck.

These trucks usually weigh between 8,500 and 10,000 pounds and can tow up to 20,000 pounds.

Reasons to drive a medium-duty pickup:

  • You need more towing and hauling capacity than a light-duty truck.
  • You don’t need a heavy-duty truck but want more capability than a light-duty.
  • They’re great for driving around town or on the highway.
  • You want good fuel economy.
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Examples of medium-duty pickups:

  • Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD
  • GMC Sierra 2500HD
  • Ford F-250
  • Ram 2500
  • Toyota Tundra

3. Heavy-Duty Pickups

Front view of black Toyota Tundra on car show.

The heavy-duty pickup is the largest type of truck. It’s built for those who need maximum towing and hauling capacity.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, a heavy duty pickup’s starting weight is 26,000 lb, including passengers, cargo, and tow. However, this is heavier than almost anything on the road including construction vehicles.

The EPA has a more modest estimate with heavy duty trucks weighing in at 8,000 lbs. and towing trailers up to 34,000 lbs.

Reasons to drive a heavy-duty pickup:

  • You need the maximum towing and hauling capacity.
  • Has the best height of any other type of truck. You get maximum visibility.
  • You need a truck that can handle the tough jobs.

Examples of heavy-duty pickups:

  • Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD
  • GMC Sierra 3500HD
  • Ford F-350
  • Ram 3500
  • Toyota Tundra

4. Car-Based Pickups

Side view of gray Honda Ridgeline on car show.

The car-based pickup is another type of pickup. It has a distinct body style that is low-profile like a car but with a truck bed. This is a light-duty or medium-duty pickup that is based on a car chassis instead of a truck chassis.

These are smaller and lighter than traditional pickups and are designed for light hauling or occasional use.

Compact Pickup Trucks: Compact pickup trucks are perfect for those who need a smaller truck for hauling around town or for light-duty jobs.

These trucks are typically less expensive than their full-size counterparts and get better gas mileage. However, they may not have the towing or payload capacity of a larger truck.

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Why Choose Compact Pickup Trucks?

  • Low cost
  • Good gas mileage
  • Easy to maneuver in tight spaces

Examples of Compact Pickup Truck Brands:

  • Chevrolet Colorado
  • GMC Canyon
  • Honda Ridgeline
  • Toyota Tacoma

5. Full-Size Pickup Trucks

Front view of black RAM 1500 parked close to RAM shop.

 Full-size pickup trucks are the most popular type of truck on the market today. They offer a great combination of towing and payload capacity, power, and comfort.

Many full-size trucks come standard with four-wheel drive, making them ideal for off-roading or towing a trailer in inclement weather.

Why Choose Full-Size Pickup Trucks?

  • Towing and payload capacity
  • Power and comfort
  • Four-wheel drive capabilities

Examples of Full-Size Pickup Truck Brands:

  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500
  • Ford F-150
  • GMC Sierra 1500
  • RAM 1500

6. Heavy-Duty Pickup Trucks

Front view of red Ford Super Duty on car shop.

Heavy-duty pickup trucks are designed for those who need the most towing and payload capacity possible. These trucks typically have larger engines and can tow up to 19,000 pounds or more.

They also have tougher suspensions and brakes to handle the extra weight. A heavy-duty pickup truck gives drivers security and durability.

Why Choose Heavy-Duty Pickup Trucks?

  • Towing and payload capacity
  • Power and durability

Examples of Heavy-Duty Pickup Truck Brands:

  • Chevrolet Silverado HD
  • Ford Super Duty
  • GMC Sierra HD
  • RAM 2500/3500

7. Luxury Pickup Trucks

Side view of an orange Jeep Gladiator on car show.

Luxury pickup trucks are for those who want the best of both worlds – a truck that can handle rugged terrain and heavy loads, but also has all the luxury features of a high-end car.

These trucks often come with premium leather seats, wood trim, and large touchscreens. A luxury pickup gives your the ability to haul and also to ride comfortably.

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They can be quite expensive, but are perfect for those who want to drive in style. Many major truck brands will offer luxury trims for those who want more premium driving.

Why Choose Luxury Pickup Trucks?

  • Comfortable interior
  • Many luxury features
  • Often more affordable than luxury SUVs

Examples of Luxury Pickup Truck Brands:

  • Jeep Gladiator
  • Nissan Titan Platinum Reserve

8. Single Cab Pickup Truck

Side view of green Chevrolet Colorado on car show.

The single-cab pickup truck is the most basic type of truck. It has only one row of seats and no rear seat.

This type of truck is perfect for those who need a truck for work or for hauling around equipment, but don’t need the extra space or weight capacity of a larger truck.

Why drive a single-cab pickup truck?

  • Low cost
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Good gas mileage

Examples of Single Cab Pickup Trucks:

  • Chevrolet Colorado
  • GMC Canyon
  • Nissan Frontier

9. Double Cab Pickup Truck

Side view of gray Chevrolet Silverado 1500 on road.

The double-cab pickup truck is the most popular type of truck. It has a four-door cabin with room for four to five people.

This type of truck offers more space and comfort than a single cab but doesn’t have the towing or payload capacity of a heavy-duty truck.

Why Choose Double Cab Pickup Trucks?

  • More space and comfort than a single cab
  • Good towing and payload capacity

Examples of Double Cab Pickup Trucks:

  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500
  • Ford F-150
  • GMC Sierra 1500

10. Crew Cab Pickup Truck

Front view of white Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD on car show.

The crew cab pickup truck is the largest type of truck. It has a four-door cabin with room for six or more people. This type of truck is ideal for those who need to tow a large trailer or transport a lot of people.

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It is more expensive than other types of trucks, but offers the most space and comfort.

Why Choose Crew Cab Pickup Trucks?

  • Most space and comfort of any type of truck
  • Good towing and payload capacity

Examples of Crew Cab Pickup Trucks:

  • Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500
  • Ford F-250/F-350
  • GMC Sierra 2500/3500

11. Crew Cab Pickup Truck

Side view of brown GMC Sierra 2500 on car show.

The crew cab pickup truck is the largest type of truck. It has four rows of seats and a rear seat.

This type of truck is perfect for those who need a truck for work or hauling, but also want the extra space and comfort of a four-row vehicle.

Why Choose Crew Cab Pickup Trucks?

  • More space and comfort than a double cab
  • Good towing and payload capacity
  • Can seat up to six people

Examples of Crew Cab Pickup Trucks:

  • Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500
  • Ford F-250/F-350
  • GMC Sierra 2500/3500

12. Extended Cab Pickup Truck

Front view of red Ford F-150 on road.

The extended cab pickup truck is a crew cab truck with an extended rear section.

This type of truck offers even more space and comfort than a regular crew cab, making it perfect for those who need a large truck for work or hauling.

Why Choose Extended Cab Pickup Trucks?

  • Most space and comfort of any extended cab truck
  • Good towing and payload capacity

Examples of Extended Cab Pickup Trucks:

  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500
  • Ford F-150
  • GMC Sierra 1500

13. Hybrid Pickup Truck

Side view of gray GMC Sierra 1500 in parking area.

The hybrid pickup truck is a new type of truck that is becoming more popular. This type of truck combines the best features of a gas and electric truck.

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Hybrid trucks are more environmentally friendly than gas trucks and have lower fuel costs.

Why Choose a Hybrid Pickup Truck?

  • More environmentally friendly
  • Lower fuel costs

Examples of Hybrid Pickup Trucks:

  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500
  • Ford F-150
  • GMC Sierra 1500

14. Electric Pickup Truck

Front view of gray Bollinger B1 on car show.

Electric pickup trucks are a new and emerging type of truck on the market. These trucks offer many of the same benefits as other types of trucks, but use electric power instead of gas power.

This makes them more environmentally friendly and can result in lower fuel costs. Why Choose an Electric Pickup but with the added benefit of being environmentally friendly.

However, electric trucks may not have the same towing or payload capacity as their gas-powered counterparts.

Why Drive Electric Pickup Trucks?

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Often cheaper to operate than gas-powered trucks
  • Good torque and acceleration

Examples of Electric Pickup Trucks:

  • Tesla Cyber truck
  • Ford 150 Lightning
  • Rivian RT1
  • Bollinger B1

15. Diesel Pickup Truck

Front view of police theme Ford F-250 on car show.

Diesel pickup trucks are similar to gasoline-powered trucks, but they use diesel fuel instead. Diesel trucks tend to be more powerful and get better fuel economy than gasoline-powered trucks.

However, they can be more expensive to maintain and may produce more emissions than gasoline-powered trucks.

Why Drive Diesel Pickup Truck?

  • More power and better fuel economy than gasoline-powered trucks
  • Often cheaper to operate than gasoline-powered trucks

Examples of Diesel Pickup Trucks:

  • Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500
  • Ford F-250/F-350
  • GMC Sierra 2500/3500