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The U.S. keeps on truckin’

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By the time you finish reading this, three F-Series pickups will have been sold. In that same timeframe, two Chevy Silverados will roll off dealership lots with new owners grinning behind the wheel. Even the Honda Ridgeline, which is essentially a van with a bed-liner and is about as attractive as a venereal disease, sold nearly 32,000 models in 2017 through November.

And I just can’t understand why.

The light-duty truck may be a foundation of American life, akin to putting cheese on everything and yelling “woo” when inebriated, but I don’t see the point in buying these bulky, inefficient and pricy tools that far too few really need.

I know dozens of people who, whether for work or pleasure, require a truck. They need to bring their toolboxes to the jobsite, need to hitch up a trailer for towing their boat, and some need to haul their horses. I don’t know because I don’t have any, but many do actually need a truck for such purposes.

Far more truck owners, meanwhile, have never transported anything bigger than organic, free trade coffee beans in their immaculate truck beds. They work at a telemarketing firm and their animals are Pomeranians, yet they still insist on purchasing a truck.

“But they’re convenient,” they say. “What if I decide to move or need to take my new dishwasher home?”

I say pay someone to do it. You’ll save yourself in fuel bills, from the terror that ensues every time you try to park in something other than an airplane hangar, the feeling of steering a vehicle with the acuity of a buffalo and the suspension that provides a less comfortable ride than if the 2x4s that never reside in the back were used.

Not only are trucks generally terrible to drive, no longer are they a beacon for the blue-collar worker.

Once, light-duty trucks were vehicles you could use on the farm throughout the week and then use to take the family to church on Sunday, and because they were made of what was essentially pig iron, they were affordable.

But a new, bog standard F-150 will set you back $28,380. Opt for one of the dizzying arrays of trim levels, from XLT to Lariat to King Ranch to Platinum, and that price can jump into BMW 5-Series money. And sure, those trim levels may get you more seats, but the bed — the foundation of the truck’s purpose lest we forget — shrinks to a size that struggles to accommodate a toaster.

I still think the truck serves a very honorable purpose in the American way for those who truly need them. That, and the fact that while American manufacturers struggle against the onslaught of Japanese, Korean, German and even Italian cars, the light-duty truck continues to be the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. for over three decades.

But if you’re going to use your truck about as many times a year as an air-conditioner in Siberia, might I suggest you forgo the F-Series and opt for the other f-series — a Focus, Fiesta or Fusion.


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