Hey truck makers. Enough already! I get it. Your trucks are big and macho and that makes their owners tough and independent and enterprising and strident.
However, I don’t want to have to get a Commercial Driver’s License to drive a damn Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD. I don’t want to pay for two parking spots, carry a step stool to get in the monster, or blot out the sun for Mazda Miata drivers. I don’t want to build a longer garage with a taller door, look for alternative parking when it won’t fit in my spot, consider if it will hit the ceiling in parking garages, or do the complicated geometry it takes to negotiate tight angles.
You’ve effectively made full-size pickups impossible to own for city dwellers. Some city folk like to be tough and independent and strident, too.
Hell, the Silverado 2500HD loaner I just got won’t fit in my parking lot off an alley in Chicago unless I ask a neighbor to move her car. Even then it requires an intricate series of Y turns. I managed to wedge in a 2020 Ram 2500 HD a few weeks ago, but it suffered a dented tailgate when the well-meaning fleet driver misjudged the angles.
2019 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty
I want my work trucks to be able to work. Do they have to butt up against Class 6 trucks or school buses to do that?
Let’s look at the numbers. In its crew cab, regular bed configuration, the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD is 79.8 inches tall (about the height of LeBron James), 250 inches long (20 feet, 10 inches, which would make a hell of a fresh-water recreational boat), and 81.9 inches wide (6 feet, 10 inches—imagine Kevin Durant laying down). It rides on a 172-inch wheelbase (which is the full length of a Land Rover Range Rover Evoque), and it weighs 6,824 pounds when equipped with four-wheel drive (about as much as two Toyota Camrys). A Crew Cab, long bed is another 16 inches longer! That’s longer than a college three-point shot. For anyone who lives near other people, that’s an airball!
Those figures make the new Silverado 2500HD in the same configuration 8.4 inches longer than the outgoing model on a wheelbase 4.3 inches longer. It weighs an extra 292 pounds. It has so much unsprung weight and such a tall stance that bumps in the road become roller coaster rides for occupants.
A 1999 Silverado HD was even smaller at a maximum of 237.4 inches long with a 154.5-inch wheelbase. It was 73.2 inches tall and 77.1 inches wide, and weighed about 5,400 pounds, some 1,400 pounds or 21% less than today’s truck. That was also a time when crew cabs weren’t as common as they are today, so the extended cab trucks that were chosen more often saved another 10 or so inches of length and wheelbase.
2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD High Country
The body of the new Silverado is so tall that Chevrolet elected to put the headlights in the middle of the nose instead of at the top where they’ve been on just about every vehicle in history. It looks, well, odd.
But General Motors isn’t the only offender. The Ford and Ram trucks are just as big and just as untenable in the city. The issue also doesn’t just apply to heavy duty trucks. The latest Ford, GM, and Ram light duty pickups are monsters, too. Bigger isn't always better. Can we tone it down a bit?
America makes the best trucks in the world. I know America likes to throw its weight around, but do we need so much weight to throw around? Couldn’t these trucks do just as much work if designers took a 6-inch section out of the body, chopped 2 feet off the end, and didn’t have the rear legroom of a Mercedes S-Class? They’d expend less effort simply carrying themselves around. Consider it a design and engineering challenge. Give us the same capability without taking up a half of a city block. Then again, without all that steel, maybe you couldn’t command an average transaction price north of $48,000.
The current crop of light duty and heavy duty pickups is more capable and more luxurious than they’ve ever been. They’re the best trucks America has ever built. But they pose the challenge: Go big or go home.
I’ll go home. I guess I’m not macho or independent or strident enough to go big.