When it comes to the most popular vehicles, trucks tend to lead the way. In 2020, trucks accounted for five of the top 10 best-selling vehicles. Despite its high price and poor fuel efficiency, Americans love their trucks. And when it comes to price, things can get pretty crazy with new truck models. So what happened to the cheap van?
Why are truck prices so high?
In the past, trucks were simple work vehicles, but now they have become serious luxury vehicles. It’s not uncommon to see people pay upwards of $50,000 to get behind the wheel of a big truck. And clearly, manufacturers have no problem charging that much.
Modern trucks are often flagship vehicles for some of these brands. Think of the Ford F-150 and the Ram 1500; Ram and Ford have invested a lot of money to build a worthwhile product. But, that comes at a cost. A 2023 Ford F-150 will set you back $33,695, and that’s just for the base XL model.
When I drove the 2022 Toyota Tundra Capstone, its sticker price was over $90,000. Granted, most people probably won’t buy the top version of Toyota’s full-size pickup. Still, the Japanese automaker felt there was enough of a market to justify such a luxurious pickup.
The era of cheap pickup trucks is over, isn’t it?
With some trucks having an MSRP of over $100,000, it’s easy to think that it’s probably impossible to find a new truck under $25,000. But Ford shook things up when Blue Oval released the 2022 Maverick.
The Ford Maverick may be a small truck, but it has legitimate utility. The best part? Its MSRP is $20,995. For the price of a budget car, you can get a legit pickup truck. And that’s probably a big part of why the Maverick is such a popular vehicle. In fact, Ford had to close orders for the 2023 Maverick almost as soon as they opened.
Hyundai has also introduced a relatively affordable pickup in the form of the Santa Cruz. But it’s not as cheap as Ford’s little truck. Still, it’s certainly more affordable than something like the Honda Ridgeline or Toyota Tacoma.
Trucks Aren’t As Simple As They Used To Be
If you compare a new truck to something from the 1980s or even the early 2000s, the difference is really night and day. While most truck manufacturers still make work-spec vehicles, even those have things like touch screens and other modern conveniences.
When you move up to the higher models, the differences become even clearer. From 360-degree cameras to heated seats, a van can easily start to feel like a luxury vehicle. And some consumers take advantage of that by choosing to make the truck their family mode of transportation.
The era of cheap trucks may be over, but that doesn’t seem to make them any less popular. According to CNBC, trucks almost dominate the market. That’s with the median transaction price for a full-size truck at $60,289. That’s significantly higher than where these vehicles used to be.