So long mini-van: The crew-cab pickup truck is the perfect family vehicle

There are many signs of recovery in America, and one of the biggest is roomy enough to seat five

A cab for any crew

David Paul Morris/Getty

The crew-cab pickup truck, with its four doors and large interior, has long been the preferred vehicle for hauling around construction workers and their gear. But the crews piling into them these days tend to be carrying soccer balls and groceries.

Sales of all types of trucks in the United States are surging, but none as much as crew cabs and double cabs. So far this year, roughly 450,000 large-size pickups rolled off dealer lots, a 21 per cent jump over the same time last year. A key driver of this trend, according to dealers and analysts: families. Marty Rebbec, a dealer in El Paso, Texas, told the Associated Press, “It’s a family vehicle a lot of times. You can take the kids with you.” Meanwhile, one auto analyst writing in Forbessays moms and dads are being drawn to the interior features of large-size pickups “that rival many luxury cars,” with “limo-like legroom and enough headroom to accommodate a 10-gallon hat.”

It’s reminiscent of the late 1990s, when families first discovered sport utility vehicles as an alternative to minivans. The muscular SUVs, built for rugged terrain and hauling heavy cargo, spent most of their time in traffic jams and suburban parking lots. Rising gas prices and a faltering economy saw SUVs give way to crossovers and smaller vehicles. Perhaps, then, it testifies to the U.S. recovery that truck sales are climbing, and crew cabs, in particular, are now in fashion. The firming U.S. housing market gives buyers more confidence. Meanwhile, the average age of vehicles on U.S. roads is 11.2 years, so there’s pent-up demand. The market in Canada isn’t nearly so robust. DesRosiers Automotive Consultants reported that total light-truck sales are five per cent higher than last year. But some models are outpacing the competition, including the large Ford F-Series and Dodge Ram. Clearly, demand for all that extra cab space has picked up.

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