Why are trucks getting so big? (reasons & features)

In this blog post, we will discuss: Why are trucks getting so big? We will review some of why pickup trucks seem to get bigger with each newly released model. We will also discuss the so-called advantages of a bigger pickup truck. 

Why are trucks getting so big?

Pickup trucks are getting so big for several reasons, but mainly for more space and better mileage. 

Do we need bigger trucks, though? You’ve probably asked yourself that question before, so let’s take a look at the top four reasons why American manufacturers make bigger trucks, strong competition from other markets and multiple environmental regulations that threaten their future.

  1. More is less: Safe bet on reliability: Two or three years ago, the idea that engines, the tighter, the less they pollute, was very fashionable. Yes, I am talking about downsizing, a case similar to the new tendency to demonize diesel cars when a few years ago they were everything. 

Let’s say bigger engines work less ‘stressed’ because a small block can’t handle that many stress levels, and if it does, we’ll have to see how long it lasts. 

Small engines require a greater effort from the manufacturer to make them more reliable when working at high pressure (referring to power, the level of compression of the engine cylinders and turbocharging), in addition to extensive modifications to gain power. 

For example, a small engine will need more compression – and potentially turbocharging – to extract 300 hp from it. In contrast, in a large engine, it will be “the minimum” that you will extract from it (beware, let’s not take it literally).

  1. Generous torque for added comfort: Driving a truck that hides a great engine under the hood is a daily convenience. I am talking about things as simple as the revolutions at which the engine turns when driving on the highway, the need to lower one or more gears to overtake or, simply, the fact that our car does not have to go caressing the red zone of the rev counter to be able to overtake another vehicle in a reasonable time and space.

Big trucks can have more torque than small trucks, and better yet, they tend to deliver much lower torque than small turbocharged engines. Simply put, you just need to step on the accelerator to overtake vigorously without the need to touch the gear stick.

  1. Money matters: We are going to talk about costs, and I am referring to the costs of manufacturing an engine. Let’s take a 5.7-litre block and add 400 hp to it. Let’s do the same with a 2.4-litre engine and put both in the same truck model. 

Maybe there are 5,000 dollars of difference (or more). The reason is simple, the engineering costs and, especially, over-engineering when putting 400 horsepower in such a small engine are disproportionate. Not to mention the reliability it could have. 

In short, it is much easier to create an engine with the appropriate displacement for the power range it supports, because everything we want to add more will be a constant sum on the bill. 

This also favours what I mentioned before, adding extra power without the need to make important changes in the mechanics (either at the manufacturer level or in the aftermarket), which allows us to take advantage of the same engine for different versions of the model without the need for a great investment.

  1. Bigger size does not always mean more weight: I know, logic could lead us to think that the bigger the engine, the more weight it must have on the vehicle as a whole, but the reality is quite different. Without going any further, the 8.4-litre V10 block of the extinct Dodge Viper is made entirely of aluminum; and some LS engines, depending on the generation, weigh less than other engines of their competition.

To this must be added that the vast majority of us talk about naturally aspirated engines, which is rare to see today.

If we compare ourselves, naturally aspirated engines are also smaller than their supercharged rivals, and that’s not to mention the immediate throttle response when sinking the right foot that turbocharged engines are very good and there are very good ones today. day, but a naturally aspirated drivetrain always leaves a nice aftertaste after getting the most out of it behind the wheel of a four-wheeled gem.

Is a larger truck safer though?

The growing market for oversized passenger cars is driven by the idea that a larger car is more likely to save your life in the event of an accident. Is it really so?

There are a lot of people who associate size with the safety that a vehicle provides. The logic, in this case, makes us imagine that a small car will end up much more destroyed in an impact with a larger one. But, one thing is logic and another thing is reality. 

Analyzing it from the scientific point of view, physics tells us that a body with greater mass in speed, has greater kinetic energy than another with less mass at the same speed. 

Kinetic energy is that which a body acquires when it begins to move, the energy that is dispersed into other energies when the vehicle stops abruptly or smoothly, that is when we brake, the kinetic energy is dispersed in the form of heat through the brakes. and when we collide, the kinetic energy is transformed into heat, sound, deformation of the bodies and a series of physical reactions.

Knowing these simple data, we deduce that a larger vehicle takes much longer to stop in the event of an accident than a smaller one because it must disperse much more energy. We will not go to the numbers or the formulas, but depending on the type of shock, the energy must be dissipated in some way, as I mentioned earlier. One of the reasons why a racing car falls apart so quickly is that by having an accident and dispersing the parts, the cabin loses mass, therefore it stops sooner and minimizes the consequences in case of any impact. 

Another point that we must analyze is the height of these vehicles that favours their overturning. Physically, they have a higher centre of gravity, so they are more likely to tip over when skidding or facing sudden movements. The centre of gravity is simply a point of equilibrium of an object, so an empty bottle is more likely to fall if its base has less weight than the top; gravity always carries the greater amount of mass of an object to the ground. 

An impact from a city car has less energy to dissipate and will deform less, so the effect and forces applied to our body will be less than in a larger vehicle. Currently, vehicles of a good standard are designed to deform and thus absorb the energy of the vehicle, giving more possibility that the passenger compartment does not deform and does not crush us. 

If the vehicle does not develop well, it will not dissipate energy, and whether it is large or small, it could cause us serious injuries anyway. Lately, the safety level of SUVs or family 4 × 4 vehicles has improved a lot. Still, until a year or two ago, the levels were poor or only acceptable in international crash tests. 

Finally, it is important to evaluate the use that will be given to a vehicle to choose the size, and then to determine if the vehicle we are choosing has been evaluated by the Euro NCAP or the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) independent institutions that objectively evaluate the vehicle safety.

The bottom line

Pickups have evolved a lot in terms of comfort levels. The idea that pickup trucks were hard machines with basic amenities is a thing of the past. In terms of space, they are much larger than a normal car. They have all the amenities for passengers to travel comfortably.

In addition, the rear box allows a greater load capacity than any trunk. On the other hand, the trucks are equipped to provide superior driving experiences. Upholstery, air conditioning, connectivity and much more.

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to love a bigger pickup truck!

Do you agree with us? What are your thoughts on why trucks are getting bigger? 

FAQ on Why are trucks getting so big?

What is the truck with the largest engine?

The truck with the largest engine is the Dodge Viper. Today this American icon is the vehicle that carries the largest engine globally: an 8.4-litre V10 that delivers 645 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels.

What are the best trucks of 2021?

The best trucks of 2021 are considered the following:

  • Cadillac Escalade.
  • Genesis GV80.
  • Land Rover Defender.
  • Kia Seltos.
  • Nissan X-Trail.
  • Toyota Venza.

What is the best 4×4 truck?

The best 4×4 trucks currently on the market are: 

  • Audi R8 4.2 Fsi Quattro Stronic. 
  • Toyota Bubble Land Cruiser Fzj80
  • Toyota Land Cruiser Montero Cabinado
  • Ford Explorer 3.5 Limited
  • Ford F-150 3.5 Svt Raptor Supercrew
  • Suzuki Lj 80 Mt 4×4 1981
  • BMW X3 2.0 F25 Xdrive20d Standard
  • Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2.0 Lts.

What is the best large pickup for 2021?

MotorTrend has announced that the Ram 1500 TRX is the best pickup of 2021 by winning the “Golden Calipers” award for Truck of the Year.


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