I'm really annoyed by pickup truck options

OK, I’m a truck guy. Not a Brodozer guy, not a compensation for small penis guy. I do a lot of stuff with my truck. I’ve personally loaded pallets into the bed, I routinely go to the landscaping place and have them load the bed with a Bobcat (they say you can’t put two yards of stone in a 1/2 ton, but they are wrong!), I’ve built additions with my truck. OK, maybe I’m bragging a bit, but I use my truck as a truck.

I also have a 9-5, and limited space, so I drive my truck to work. Go ahead and lambast me for my environmental crimes, and when you’re done we can talk.

What I really want is a regular cab, long bed. I currently have a weenie truck* (Colorado/Tacoma/Ranger) but I do miss the 48" between the wheel wells that the full sized trucks offer.

I’m looking at trucks and really annoyed because:

  1. I believe they could design a weenie bed with 48" between the wheel wells. But they need to have a reason to push you to the full-sized, so they don’t

  2. And this is more important. You can only get the regular cab long bed in a work truck trim. And that’s bullshit. I understand that the truck has replaced the station wagon. We can debate that. But why do I have to take poverty-spec if what I actually want is what used to be considered a normal truck?

*Family term for mid size or compact truck. Don’t know how it started.

The why is simple. Hugely frustrating, but very simple.

As a person who uses their truck as a work truck and as a daily driver, you’re now in the tiny minority of truck buyers. They’re building what sells most profitable to those Other folks: the small penis for him & station wagon for her suburban crowd.

We’ve got a very, very basic Silverado pickup with an 8’ bed. By basic, I mean hand cranked windows and manual locks, no carpet so no need for floor mats. It’s a 2009 - I’m guessing such a vehicle is no longer being built. I think we’ve got just over 72K miles on it, and it’s our 3rd vehicle - so just used when we have to haul more than can fit in the trunk of my Sonata.

It’s got dents and scratches, the bed cover has a couple of tears, the trailer ball is probably rusted into the tow bar. Definitely a work truck, and we plan to baby it as long as we can. I don’t know what we’ll do when it dies.

Not going to lambast you for environmental crimes. I’ll save that for the reprobates who drive gigantic full-size pickups for reasons other than actual need for a truck.

I’ll just say as an aside that it’s unfortunate that the once-beloved minivan seems to have become obsolete. The reason for the popularity of the Dodge Caravan when Chrysler first introduced it is easy to understand, but, to me, anyway, the equally sudden loss of popularity is a bit of a mystery, as SUVs don’t have nearly the same capacity or functionality. I’ve owned two generations of Dodge Caravan, the first model and the second-last, and what prompted my comment here is that I’ve done most of the things with those minivans that you described here.

Yes, my beloved Caravan could carry full-size 4x8 sheets of plywood or drywall. I have also used it to:

  • Carry a full winter’s supply of firewood (plastic sheeting protected the van’s flooring)

  • Carry all the lumber and concrete necessary to build a large two-level deck (IIRC, this did involve several trips)

  • Carry a load of brick to repair a water-damaged wall at my old house (found a stonemason willing to do the brickwork for me, but I had to provide the brick)

  • Transport family, luggage, food supplies, and large dog to country cottages

  • Packed it completely full with miscellaneous household items when moving, consisting of last-minute or fragile stuff that I didn’t want to entrust to the movers.

And probably many other things that I’ve forgotten. And yes, there were times when that poor thing was loaded beyond its rated capacity, but God bless it, it always faithfully pulled through! Gotta love minivans – such a shame that no one seems to want them any more.

I miss when they actually made compact pick up trucks back in the 80s like the Jeep Comanche or the original Ford Ranger.

I think most manufacturers make two-door longbeds, but you need to order them. You won’t find many on the dealer’s lot.

I don’t think the OP’s complaint is that he can’t get a two door long bed. He’s complaining that you can only get a two door long bed truck in the most basic, bare bones trim. He wants a truck with all the luxuries they’re offering on crew cab trucks, but in two door long bed form.

Exactly. I don’t even need top-shelf, just some of the creature comforts.

I used to have a 2009 Silverado with the extended cab (for the uninitiated, not a full sized back seat) and short bed (6.5 feet). It’s the best truck I ever owned, and I put 250,000 miles on it (no shit!), but eventually it rusted out.

But I just never use the “back seat” on my trucks. So I’d really rather trade that space for bed space.

Yeah, the RCLB is pretty much considered “tradesman spec” by the truck companies, so are typically sold in fleet spec. I think you can, as beowulf said, special order one and wait, but you’re not going to find many floating around. I looked long and hard before settling for my cloth-seat manual window no AC Dakota. And a used standard cab with options is pricey. There’s a 2001 near me with 195k asking $12k - my Dodge was $3k. Something made in the last decade? BYOS - bring your own surgeon, you’ll be leaving without a kidney.

I like the basics too. NO extra/extend a cab.

I use my truck mostly for plowing nowadays. I used to drive a truck as my full time vehicle. I’ve moved many a friend. Sort a bonus while being a draw back.

Also agree with the OP about having 4’ between the wheel wells. And oh yeah, you can put a ton in a 1/2 ton truck. Done it many a time. No bid deal. And OP I have seen designs on smaller trucks where the bed walls have indentations in them so you can fit a 2x4 width wise across the bed. That’s above the wheel wells. That would be for your stock 4’ wide material. Just keep a couple of the right length 2x4s in the bed. Slip them in when you need them.

Try to find a used 1/2 ton regular cab short bed. The short bed is very important because it has a tighter turning radius for plowing.

@wolfpup - I agree about mini vans. They seen surprisingly versatile. For myself though, my 4Runner is what I need. Mostly because of the ridiculous amounts of snow that we get. The 4 runner has good ground clearance and a locking rear differential. I’m also not afraid of yanking, or getting yanked out of a stuck situation since it’s still a body on frame set up.

I just bought a new truck, and the “basic” trim is now surpringly good. I have a Ram Tradesman long bed (crew cab), but you can upgrade the seats to cloth and get a little fancier outside trim. I just looked at their website, and you can get a Lonestar (next trim level up) in a regular cab, 8 ft. box. It’s doable, but you’ll have to order it. FTR: I’m looking at 3/4 tons, the 1/2 tons don’t offer this.

When I looked on the lots, it seemed trucks had separated into basic work trucks and expensive luxury models, mostly with short beds. $80K was common, and quite few were in the $90s. Eventually I stumbled on a upgraded Tradesman that was apparently a special ordered oddball that didn’t sell. It fit my needs nearly perfectly (engine, tow package, etc.), so it’s now in my driveway.

I didn’t look at every model, but it seems they’re almost all push-button-start (keyless) now.


Hey, if it suits your needs/desires and you can afford it, who am I to judge? At any rate, I think it’s all decided from the corporate viewpoint, so it’s about supply and demand and getting the most money out of the truck market as possible.

I’ll look into that, but on most of the websites’ build and price, once you select regular cab, long bed, only base trims are available.

Compact trucks are very popular outside of the U.S., but you can’t import them because of chickens.

Yes, chickens.

After WWII, the U.S. became very good at factory farming, and flooded the world market with cheap chickens. In Europe, chickens were a rare delicacy, but the flood of cheap American chickens completely ruined the rare chicken market in Europe. France and West Germany responded by adding a huge tax to imported chickens. In response, the U.S. added a huge tax to potato starch, dextrose, brandy, and light trucks. The light truck portion of that was a “fuck you” specifically to Volkswagen.

Over the years, the import taxes on potato starch, dextrose, and brandy have all been lifted. But the tax on light trucks remains, and has even been modified several times over the years to close any loopholes that foreign manufacturers managed to find and exploit.

Today the import tax on light trucks is informally known as the “chicken tax”, even though the tax itself has nothing to do with chickens, except that a tax on chickens inspired it.

You can make a light truck in the U.S., but there’s not enough of a market for it. There is a huge market for light trucks all around the world, but the huge import tax makes it impossible to import the trucks into the U.S. and still make a profit.

Can you go to another country, buy a light truck, drive it around for a week, and import it as your own used truck? I know people used to do that to avoid the tax in European cars.

The last time I bought a truck, in 2019, I was annoyed to discover that, in the time frame since my last truck, 4 wheel drive trucks had come to almost entirely dominate the market. I was buying used, and needed 2 wheel drive because all the 4 wheelers were jacked up too high for my mother to be able to get in and out of the truck. But there are almost none available on the used market.

I eventually found one I liked just out of town, but it was super annoying.

I love my Ford Ranger… she’s past old enough to vote AND buy her own beer. Unfortunately, found damage to the bed last week but I’ll get that fixed. I’ll keep it as long as it’s more cost-effective to repair her than replace her and I can still buy gas for her.

Behold the ultimate chicken-tax-evading car that’s not a truck, not even a little teeny bit a truck. Nosiree Bob, nothing to see here in this fine 4-passenger car!: Google Image Search - Subaru BRAT

Now, that there … that there is a Whole Big Thing: