If you're thinking about buying a truck, you're probably looking at all the usual suspects: pickup trucks from automakers such as General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Nissan and Toyota. But while many brands tout the durability and power of their pickups, what if you need a truck that can carry the whole family? We're here to help you choose a pickup that favors passenger room over all-out capability.
Choose a Body Style
The first thing you'll need to do when choosing a family-friendly pickup is decide on a body style. We strongly suggest a crew-cab model, which means you'll get four full-size doors, perfect for carrying around the whole family, even if some family members require a car seat. Many of today's crew-cab trucks offer impressive rear-seat room that'll allow even the tallest passengers to spread out in back.
The only drawback to a crew-cab truck: capability. Many manufacturers don't offer their longest truck beds with a crew cab, since it would make the truck too large to drive on most roads. And most crew-cab trucks can't tow as well as regular or extended-cab models. As a result, shoppers who really need true pickup capabilities -- in addition to family-friendly interior space -- may want to consider an extended-cab truck rather than a crew cab.
Choose a Truck
Once you choose a body style, you're probably wondering which truck is for you. The answer: It depends on what you want. We say this because pickups tend to fall into two categories, midsize and full-size, and you'll have to decide which you prefer. Shoppers who need their trucks for serious truck jobs will want a full-size truck, while those who only occasionally use pickup capabilities will probably prefer a midsize model.
If you're thinking about a full-size truck that can fit the whole family, you're probably interested in interior dimensions. The current class leader in rear legroom is the Ford F-150 SuperCrew, followed closely by the Toyota Tundra CrewMax. Interestingly, the Nissan Titan and Chevrolet Silverado Crew Cab are a few inches from leading the class, even though the Silverado is all new for 2014.
As for other rear-seat figures: The Silverado, Titan and F-150 are all close on rear headroom, while the Tundra lags behind. Meanwhile, the F-150, Silverado and Tundra are similar when it comes to shoulder room, while the Titan lags behind. In other words, when it comes to large crew-cab pickups, the F-150's dimensions top rival trucks. With that said, only a few inches separate each pickup, so we don't think you'd have too much trouble fitting the whole family in any large, crew-cab truck.
If it's midsize trucks you prefer, there are only two models currently available: the Nissan Frontier and the Toyota Tacoma. Two new models, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, are due out soon, but specs for those pickups are not yet available.
A perennial favorite among midsize-truck shoppers, the Toyota Tacoma Double Cab is almost exactly the same size as the Frontier Crew Cab on the inside. If you consider rear headroom, shoulder room and legroom, both trucks are within an inch or two of each other -- not a big enough difference to cause any major issues.
You Won't Be Disappointed
Although we've listed the best pickup trucks for interior room, the truth about modern trucks is that no model will leave you disappointed. Many of today's crew-cab pickups have the same legroom as a luxury sedan, and even shoppers who don't go for a crew cab will find that many extended-cab trucks have more passenger room than you'd need under usual circumstances.