Pickups as luxury transportation?
Fuel economy is so much better than it used to be but 11-14 mpg around town is still not so great. In fairness the highway figures are decent.
Now if I was a trades-person I'd want a truck that was comfortable for sure. I would appreciate a truck with good, lockable storage. But I'd also want a truck that I didn't have to worry about getting a scratch or two on or climbing into with my muddy boots. I'd like a box long enough to carry lumber and it should have a load height low enough that I could easily load and unload bags of concrete. I wouldn't need a four door with room for five but maybe an extra cab so I could lock my more valuable tools inside.
But I'm not a trades-person, I'm just a guy who occasionally needs a truck to carry some lumber, dirt, or car parts. What I need is a truck like one of the mini-trucks from years gone by. Although I prefer a Toyota there were great little pickups from many other auto makers. They were big enough even for the jobs I did whether hauling gravel or an engine for a project car.
Those small trucks were inexpensive - In 1990 the least expensive Toyota truck was $7,998. Adjusted for inflation that would be $15,468 today, about $10,000 less than the least expensive Toyota Tacoma today. The '19 Tacoma is not a small pickup. I'm not picking on Toyota, there are no mini-trucks anymore. Now there are mid-size trucks that cost way too much to be a third vehicle for use only when you need it. Maybe I should sell the Lumina and buy a good used mini-truck.
The question about all the new, big trucks is what came first? Did consumers clamor for pickups they needed ladders to get into or were they convinced they need them by marketing? Are big trucks just a fad or are they here to stay?