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Why Are There No 3-Row Pickup Trucks?

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author photo by William Byrd February 2018

I'm currently (OK, usually) car shopping -- and at the moment, I'm looking for another 3-row SUV to replace our 2011 GMC Yukon XL that blew up on us (well, its V8 did at least). I though we could manage with our new Wrangler Unlimited and our 2015 Grand Cherokee -- but with three kids, dogs and stuff, it's a challenge. So I've been researching large family vehicles that aren't minivans, and I continue to believe that there are very few cool 3-row vehicles out there. That got me thinking: Why are there no 3-row pickup trucks? It's certainly possible, but would the proportions just be too weird?

Pickup trucks sell amazingly well here in the United States. We've all heard the anecdote about how Ford sells an F-150 every millisecond, or something like that. Whatever it is, it's a lot. SUVs also sell quite well -- and they're slowly taking over the industry. Why not combine them into something that looks like a truck but seats seven? It's certainly possible -- and there's clearly room, since we build SUVs off truck platforms all the time. The average truck's width, height and length could certainly contain the real estate needed for a third row of seats.

Let's compare sizes directly using the aforementioned F-150 and its SUV cousin, the Ford Expedition. This is using 2017 data, since the new 2018 versions don't have full measurements available.

  • Width = 2017 F-150 - 79.9 in. l 2017 Expedition - 78.8 in.
  • Height = F-150 - 76.9 in. l Expedition - 77.2 in.
  • Length = F-150 - 231.9 in. l Expedition - 206.0 in.
  • Wheelbase = F-150 - 145.0 in. l Expedition - 119.0 in.

So as you can see, the 2017 F-150 and Expedition are roughly the same width and same height. The truck version from Ford is much longer overall (by 25.9 in.), and has a longer wheelbase (by 26.0 in.), so I maintain that there's easily room for my proposed third row. Of course, unless you want to extend the length of the vehicle even more, it would have be the bed space that suffers.

There are companies that do conversions, like CABT, who made the truck shown above -- so you can make your big ole truck a bigger ... ole ... truck. It's not cheap, though: Conversions start north of $30,000, and you still have to provide the truck. Their work looks quite good, but it's basically a truck that gets chopped in half and another passenger section is added in the middle, adding significant length to the vehicle.

What I propose is to take away some bed length in order to add passenger length, and here is my non-scientific way of looking at it.

A 2-door non-extended cab 2017 F-150 is 209.3 in. long, and the SuperCrew F-150 version from the same year is 243.7 in. long. Both trucks have the same 6.5-foot bed -- so in theory, that means that it takes 34.4 additional inches to house rear seat passengers. So, if you can live with a 3.5-foot bed, you could -- again in theory -- have an additional SuperCrew section added to your F-150 without making it any longer!

Don't need as much space? A comparable SuperCab (which is smaller than a SuperCrew -- I know it's confusing) is shorter still, at 231.9 in. long, which -- if you again compare it to a standard 2-door truck -- means that there are about 22.6 inches taken up by adding the extra passenger compartment. So you would only lose 2 feet of your 6.5-foot bed to bring the family and still have a truck you can park in a normal space!

This all incredibly unscientific, I know. But darn it, I want a 3-row Ford Raptor! We've seen the amazingly named Hennessey VelociRaptor here on Oversteer; there's also a similar truck built by a custom shop in the United Arab Emirates that has three rows, but has also been turned into a full-on SUV. I want one that looks like a truck, but comes with a warranty and is actually built by Ford. OK, if they made a Raptor SUV with a third row, I'd consider that as well. Whatever.

What say you all, Oversteer? Is there a market for this? And if so, would an automaker ever build one?

Based in Northern Virginia, William is professional writer and editor and acts as the Editor-in-Chief of Right Foot Down. He misspent most of his youth on tracks in the Mid-Atlantic, as well as killing cones in parking lots, and he once taught at a teen performance driving school.

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Why Are There No 3-Row Pickup Trucks? - Autotrader