Not Your Dad's El Camino
In an earlier article we learned that when it comes to buying a new vehicle, oft times compromises must be made where a couple will have to agree on an SUV that has a truck-like feel to it in order to keep peace in the family.
While this can be difficult when one of the two is a die-hard truck fan, the economic reality of what you can roughly expect in monthly payments toward buying a new truck today somewhat softens the angst after the car budget numbers are crunched and you realize that you might be putting yourself and your family at risk of getting into some serious truck debt with a new truck purchase.
However, there is another alternative solution: car-like trucks.
Consumer Reports Rates a Few Car-Based Pickup Trucks
That solution is looking into buying what CR analysts characterize as "car-based pickup trucks" that offer the best of both worlds between an SUV and a pickup truck described as the melding of a small SUV and a pickup truck into one vehicle.
In a recent analysis of popular vehicles to buy and those to avoid, CR analysts recently released among their varied recommendations a few car-based pickup trucks. Their research found three notable vehicles and the reasons why you should avoid one in particular and consider two others with one as a popular alternative and the other a money-saving under-the-radar alternative that may appeal to some new vehicle shoppers.
Below is a summary of their analysis of their recommendations:
CAR-BASED PICKUP TRUCKS
To Avoid: 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz---the specs provided for this model include a price range of $25,450 - $40,320; CR MPG reveal of an overall 24 / City 16 / Hwy 34 mpg; and, is rated #4 of 10 in the compact pickup trucks category.
Why CR analysts recommend this as a model to avoid is despite that it “…drives like a car, with responsive handling, a comfortable ride, and easy maneuverability” and “…performed well in our road tests,” their experts point out to its below-average predicted reliability as cause enough to not recommend this model. They added that the base engine is an under-powered 2.5-liter four-cylinder, although an uplevel model can be had that possesses a powerful turbo four-cylinder.
A Popular Alternative to Buy: 2023 Honda Ridgeline---the specs provided for this model include a price range of $38,800 - $46,230; CR MPG reveal of an overall 20 / City 13 / Hwy 29 mpg; and, is rated #3 of 10 in the compact pickup trucks category.
Their recommendation to choose this model as a car-based pickup is based on a predicted respectable reliability rating of 3 out of 5 (the aforementioned Santa Cruz is 2 out 5) and owner satisfaction rating of 4 out of 5. In road tests they note it is a comfortable ride with a quiet interior and a “…clever tailgate and in-bed trunk.” However, CR experts also note that its “…Shallow bed, limited off-road capability, and low towing capacity for a midsized truck” may be reasons for some shoppers to want to skip this one and go for the under-the-radar choice.
An Under-the Radar Choice: 2023 Ford Maverick---the specs provided for this model include a price range of $22,195 - $27,955; CR MPG reveal of an overall 23 / City 16 / Hwy 32 mpg; and, is rated #2 of 10 in the compact pickup trucks category.
Their recommendation to choose this model as a car-based pickup is based on a predicted reliability rating and owner satisfaction of 4 out of 5 on both counts. CR analysts found it to have positive attributes in its competent ride and handling abilities, maneuverability, visibility, access, and controls. However, on the negative side it is also noisy and the cabin is made of relatively cheap materials.
For additional truck related articles, here are a few for your consideration:
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Timothy Boyer is a Torque News automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily new and used vehicle news.
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