5 double-duty pickups for work and play
Pickup trucks for the family
Pickup trucks are no longer reserved for farmers and construction workers. These days, they can easily be used to commute to work, haul new furniture or take the family out for dinner. That’s why they’re growing in popularity and appealing to many types of consumers.
But not every pickup truck is right for both work and play, especially if it’s for a large family. After all, some pickup trucks come without a cabin, leaving little room for boosters or car seats.
Pickup truck buyers remain interested in hauling strength, meaning their horsepower, engine size and a larger gas tank to fill up. But gone are the days when pickups were simply utilitarian. These days, their interiors can rival some luxury cars on the market.
With the economy still bumping along, and people forced to do more with less, Bankrate.com came up with a list of five versatile pickup trucks that won’t give you sticker shock or break the bank when figuring your miles per gallon.
The prices of Bankrate’s choices of pickup trucks range from economical to expensive.
2013 Dodge Ram 1500
- Price: $30,375
- City – 14 mpg
- Highway – 20 mpg
Let’s face it, buying a pickup is often about having the room to haul heavy materials or go out for a night on the town, and the 2013 Dodge Ram can meet both demands — in style.
Cost-conscious drivers will like the fuel-saver technology that comes as part of the 4.7-liter V-8 engine, six-speed automatic transmission and space in the crew cabin that will comfortably seat a family of four. The active grill shutters are designed to improve efficiency by closing at highway speeds to reduce drag.
Pay for the Uconnect access feature and you’ll get Bluetooth wireless connectivity, voice commands, Yelp and emergency assistance, all from behind the steering wheel. The available Rambox cargo management system give you lighted, lockable and drainable storage so you can easily transition from a day of hauling debris to a weekend picnic with the family, just by hosing it down. Since hauling power does matter, the maximum towing capacity is 10,250 pounds.
2013 Nissan Frontier S
- Price: $17,990
- City – 19 mpg
- Highway – 23 mpg
Not everyone needs a full-size pickup truck. For many, a smaller truck will suffice and that’s where the Nissan Frontier comes in, with seating for four.
One of the few compact pickup trucks left, the Nissan Frontier comes equipped with forward-facing rear flip-up seats, a fold-flat front passenger seat and options galore.
The 2.5-liter four-cylinder Frontier may not have all the interior bells and whistles that some of its counterparts do, but it puts on 152 horsepower. The Frontier SV models come equipped with AM/FM radio with four speakers and a 4.3-inch color display as well as with an optional V-6 engine.
The Nissan Frontier boasts 6,500 pounds of towing capacity and accessories such as a bed tent that turns any Frontier truck bed into a level sleeping area. This pickup truck isn’t shabby when it comes to safety either, despite its relatively low sticker price compared to other pickup trucks. The Frontier comes standard with a full complement of front, side and roof-mounted air bags.
2013 Toyota Tacoma
- Price: $22,525
- City – 19 mpg
- Highway – 24 mpg
The 2013 Toyota Tacoma doesn’t only have looks, but you can easily transition from work to play in style and comfort with this pickup. The double cab with a four-cylinder 2.7-liter engine and automatic transmission comes with four doors to accommodate a family. But, there are other versions of the Tacoma, including the six-cylinder 4-liter X-Runner model with a six-speed manual transmission, which produces 236 horsepower and has a towing capacity of 3,300 pounds.
Some models of the Tacoma come with SofTex seat material, which feels like leather but weighs a lot less and more importantly is easy to clean. Other interior upgrades include heated seats and an in-mirror backup camera. Six air bags, active headrests and the standard Star Safety System, which includes vehicle stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, brake assist and Smart Stop Technology, will give you peace of mind when you are hauling loved ones instead of materials.
2013 Honda Ridgeline RT
- Price: $29,450
- City – 15 mpg
- Highway – 21 mpg
Looking for a pickup truck that’s not all rough and tumble? Then, look no further than the Honda Ridgeline, which brings beauty to the pickup class of vehicles. The Ridgeline comes equipped with a lockable In-Bed Trunk, 5,000 pounds of towing capacity and a ton of interior extras like sunglass holders, map lights and seatback pockets.
The Honda Ridgeline isn’t too shabby when it comes to fuel economy, at least for a pickup. With gas mileage of 15 mpg on city streets and 21 mpg on highways, this pickup with the 3.5-liter V-6 engine and five-speed automatic transmission won’t have you visiting gas stations as much as some competitors.
Some of the technology features that can be added to the Ridgeline include Bluetooth connectivity, Honda’s Satellite-Linked Navigation System and a rearview camera with guidelines.
And with the Ridgeline, safety isn’t an afterthought. It comes with six air bags.
2014 GMC Sierra 1500
- Price: $32,700 (crew cab, short box)
- City – 18 mpg
- Highway – 24 mpg
Comfort and convenience are the two words that sum up the 2014 GMC Sierra pickup truck. With luxury features adorning the interior of a pickup, the Sierra boasts soft-touch instrument panel materials and door trim, triple door seals that block out outside noise, a center console large enough to store hanging file folders and laptops, and dual-density seat foam that holds the shape longer than other car seats.
The base model comes with a 4.3-liter V-6 engine with a six-speed automatic transmission. But, one model of the Sierra offers a larger engine — the EcoTec3 5.3-liter V-8, but it also gets an estimated 16 mpg on city streets and 23 mpg on highways. A 6.2-liter engine will be available this fall.
Going with the Eco engine won’t mean you’ll give up power either since it can tow a maximum of 9,600 pounds, according to Motor Trend magazine.
If work is the main use for this pickup, buyers will welcome the corner step rear bumper that provides easy access to the cargo cab and the four movable upper tie-down hooks. Want to see inside the cargo area when it’s covered? Available LED box lighting will eliminate the need for a flashlight.