Why Do People Buy Trucks – 2013 Edition

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In 2009, I wrote a post titled “Why Do People Buy Trucks” that explained the most common reasons consumers gave for buying a pickup. This data came from Ford market research:

As you can see, towing and work dominate the results, with about 1 in 6 buyers buying because of “image.”

While I believe these numbers understate the “image” market (a lot of the “towing” people talk about is infrequent and well within the capabilities of smaller vehicles), it’s the best data we have about the purpose people have in mind when they buy a truck.

However, this data doesn’t shed much light on how people decide to buy a specific make and model. Fortunately, recent data published by JD Power paints a very interesting picture.

Quality and Reliability Top Factors in Purchase Decision

In data that shouldn’t be surprising, quality and reliability are two of the main concerns customers have when they’re deciding on whether or not to buy a specific make and model. Here’s the list of the top 10 factors consumers evaluate:

  1. Reliability/Durability
  2. Interior Comfort
  3. Exterior Styling
  4. Gas Mileage
  5. Quality (this is really 4th, as mileage and quality are tied)
  6. Conveniently Located Dealership
  7. Vehicle Performance
  8. Advanced Technology
  9. Vehicle Image (tied for 8th with technology)
  10. Safety

This list is for ALL vehicle buyers, not just truck buyers. If we reconcile this list with the graph above, it seems likely that truck buyers value image and performance more heavily than car buyers, and perhaps gas mileage a little less…but that’s not the interesting part.

The interesting part is that this data shows:

Advanced Technology and Great Fuel Economy Doesn’t Sell Pickups!

If we believe the data from Ford and JD Power, than we must conclude that truck buyers probably don’t care nearly as much about fancy fuel saving technology as we think they do. EcoBoost engines and Ram’s fuel-sipping V6 are all fine and good, but they likely don’t motivate buyers as much as reliability, quality, styling, and comfort.

Amazingly, truck buyers care more about comfort than advanced technology

Amazingly, truck buyers care more about comfort than advanced technology

What’s more, let me emphasize that conveniently located dealerships might be just as important to truck sales as technology. That’s amazing when you think about it, because it means that someone might buy a truck just because there’s a Ford or GM dealer in their neighborhood.

Personally, it’s hard to imagine basing my choice between Ford and Toyota (or Nissan and Ram or whatever) on my proximity to a dealer…but that’s a different discussion.

Note: Don’t get me wrong. Every buyer is unique, and there are lots of people who buy trucks purely because they have the best fuel economy, people that don’t care about styling, etc. I’m speaking in terms of the general marketplace when I say that advanced technology and fuel economy are less important.

What Does it All Mean?

To sum up:

  • Truck buyers care about performance in terms of towing and hauling, not in terms of “twin turbos” or “hp per liter”
  • Quality and reliability are more important to truck buyers than technology, fuel economy, or the aforementioned performance
  • Styling and comfort are critical to truck sales

When you compare this list of 3 bullet points to the 2014 Tundra redesign, you see that Toyota knows exactly what they’re doing. They redesigned the Tundra to be better looking, more comfortable, and they ignored fancy new technology so that they could focus on improving what is already the industry’s best truck in terms of quality and durability (as determined by JD Power).

I’d also like to point out at this time that the Tundra pulled the Space Shuttle, which speaks to it’s performance as a towing and hauling truck.

2014 Tundra

The 2014 Tundra wasn’t revolutionary, but the data shows it’s going to be a sales success

Bottom Line: Toyota knows the truck market better than I think they do, as they focused only on the factors that really matter to truck consumers and ignored the rest. Toyota’s new Tundra might not have impressed fan boys like me, but it seems to hit all the notes that matter.

Filed Under: Buying a Tundra


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  1. mk says:

    Agree and disagree but more agree with all your points. 1-2 less mpg is in NO way the deciding factor in buying a tundra over a ford, etc. It is power, comfort, reliability, resale, and function, not necessarily in that order. However, since the tundra is no longer going to be the most versatile truck for me in 2014 I might consider the 2014 chevy silverado 1/2 ton crew cab with 6 1/2′ bed even if it means less resale/trade in value, it will suit my needs the best. Still don’t know though about the quality/reliability though since haven’t bought a chevy silverado since 2007 and stuff falling off that one right and left.

    If there were 2 areas I was hoping the tundra though would improve and make is a 1/2 ton crewmax in 6 1/2′ bed length and 2 more hwy mpg even if it meant NO other changes interior or exterior, I would buy it in a heartbeat. I don’t need 381 ponies under the hood as most of us do not either. I would have picked the 4.6L and saved over 1500 bucks easily but the resale and trade in is about 3 grand less in my area everyone wants the 5.7L even dealers since 4.6L don’t sell too well. There maybe, if lucky, 1 in 20 tundra’s sitting on dealer lots with the 4.6L engine. Not saying it is a bad engine, but the hype everyone believes is it is not powerful enough when in reality the 4.6L is as powerful as chevies 5.3L stock motor, in my opinion.

  2. GoI3ig says:

    I bought my first Toyota Pickup in the mid 80s because I liked the style.

    I’m still driving that truck today. In the past 26 years, I have driven a Chevy, a Dodge, and currently a Ford at work. Each of those vehicles has spent a considerable amount of time in the shop, often for some pretty major repairs. (such as failing transmissions, replacement engines)

    I still place importance and style, but at the top of my list is reliability. Until proven otherwise, I’m sticking with Toyota. I know it was another product’s slogan, but truly, quality never goes out of style.

  3. DJ says:

    One thing I keep reminding myself in regards to the 14′ Tundra. Ford’s F-150 has gained a couple engines and a new grill, interior and lights. Other than that it’s basically the same truck as a 2004 F-150. Yet nobody ever critisized Ford for it. Perhaps because everytime they tweak it they advertise “The ALL NEW Ford F-150”

    • Brian J says:

      Ford, at least, also put a 6 1/2′ bed on the crew cab F-150, something Toyota seems to not want to do. All we have is the same truck with freshened looks and more luxury options. Would a longer bed with the crewmax really have been that hard to engineer? Honestly, Toyota!

      • Brian,

        I don’t think there is enough volume/interest to economically offer a 6.5 bed.

        My two cents.


        • mk says:

          wrong, there is plenty of interest for a 6 1/2′ bed in a crewmax. Would be best seller no doubt in my mind. I was at a ford dealer and talked about the ford crewcab with under 6′ bed vs. sales with 6 1/2′ bed and he says most get the 6 1/2′ bed no doubt. GM is now on the bandwagon and Toyota is going to loose more market share in my opinion by not following suit. I just wish every tundra owner in the U.S. would do what I have done several times and call Toyota customer service and request a crewmax 6 1/2′ bed length. If everyone did that and toyota actually logged the calls, how can they not do it?

          • MK,

            Here is my wish. I wish, we could breakdown the truck sales number each month into what EXACT models sold. We just won’t ever come to a conclusion on the 6.5 foot bed until then. I can tell you straight from Toyota that they don’t think there is enough demand. That is just what they are seeing. Could that change next year? You bet. Just not currently though.


          • Brian J says:


            Until Toyota offers a 6 1/2′ bed we will never know. We will have to look at numbers from Ford and Chevrolet to figure it out. An extra foot of payload is a huge loss of hauling capability I have wanted available more than once. When I saw the new ’14 Tundra, I actually thought to myself, “Maybe all the domestic fan boys are right. Maybe Toyota really doesn’t understand the American pick-up truck market.” Make you think…

          • Brian,

            I don’t know and nobody really knows why Toyota opted to do without the 6 1/2′ bed. The way Sweers talked about it, it wasn’t a BIG attraction for him. Like you said, I do wish we had more data to figure out a better answer and maybe that data is Toyota offering it. I tend to believe though that once Toyota loses market share, they will make changes. I’m not sure customer demand will have any impact on their decision to do anything, just market share.


  4. AD says:

    I get the feeling this article was written to justify why Toyota added nothing meaningful to the 2014 Tundra. I would rather have a direct injected 5.7L iforce with 8-speed auto than the refreshed body and new interiors. When people are loosing at something they usually try and downgrade somebody else’s acheivement to cover their own deficiency.

    EX. Someone else is numer 1 at something and I finished last in that same something I just say that doesn’t matter because what really matters is what I do best in or just did.

    I love my Supercharged Tundra but I don’t give Toyota a pass on this.

    • AD – I understand why you might think that, but not really. Quite honestly, when I first saw the 2014 Tundra, I thought Toyota screwed up. I still do somewhat, as Toyota’s lack of innovation in 2014 is going to really hamper sales in 2016 and 2017, not to mention ceding the “moral ground” to Ford and Ram, as they’re innovating like crazy compared to Toyota and GM.

      Still, read JD Power’s research for yourself. Explain to me how fuel economy and/or advanced technology sells trucks, cause’s it seems like style, comfort, and durability/reliability are the “big 3” in this particular segment.

      It’s not my data man! 🙂

  5. Mickey says:

    Well I will say this “RELIABILITY is what keeps you going day to day. “RESALE” keeps reminding me my truck is exactly what it’s worth. Unlike mk I won’t go back to a troublesome company as Chevy or Ford. I’m sorry mk they burnt that bridge and I’m never going to try and cross it. Have you seen the new Cevy commercials for the Silverado stating they had the best resale in it’s class and reliability. I beg to differ with GM since they couldn’t put any source who gave them that tag. JD Power didn’t. The commercial fails to put who gave them that award. Nothing like giving your own company the “Best” award. I don’t use this truck for work other than going to work. I do tow when I get the chance to go fishing. So I guess I fall under image/towing. Don’t really care what term Ford puts on it. I believe in a product that doesn’t let you down when you get into using it. Just like my Craftsman tools I got back in 1976. Still going strong. I only replaced my 3/8″ ratchet. My 1/2″ ratchet still has the button in the middle to release the socket as well as the wing to change direction of the drive. Still have the sockets and wrenches along with the screwdrivers. My truck is now on exactly 155k. That’s reliability and going strong. I still have regards in wanting to trade this truck in.

  6. Larry says:

    What people say and what they do are not really connected.

    I see hundreds and hundreds of trucks on the road each week. How many are towing? 1 out of 100?

    People put up with 13 MPG with a V8 having 400 HP and 300 foot/lb and tow something 5 times a year? Most never tow anything. Why not go with a lighter truck for the 98 percent of the miles when 20 MPG will do and just live with a bit less power for those few times something is in tow?

    Last year I towed a light fly fishing drift boat and white white water dory about 4000 miles. With gear plus the boat, loads of about 1500 pounds. 500 pounds in the back of the truck 1000 boat and trailer. I routinely tow up 10 mile long grades in UT, CO as high as 8000 feet and my Toyota T100 V6 has 150 HP. It’s still going strong after 18 years, slow but strong. I get 19 MPG when empty.

    Todays rigs are overkill by a mile. I don’t need a V8 Tundra which is 6000 pounds empty and gets 14 MPG. I need a Tundra 4WD, small V6, 8 foot bed, standard cab with a 5 speed manual trans with never fail manual free hubs up front which will gets 20 MPG.

    Where is my truck?

    • Larry,

      Sadly, you’re truck doesn’t exist. Especially manual transmission trucks. They are gone.


      • Larry says:


        The Tacoma is available in models with 5 speed manual and 6 speed manual. Why not on the Tundra?

        On a 4WD note. I have been driving 4WD systems since 1970. In all that time I have never had a single issue with any manually operated system. I once had a 1960 international scout. 4 cylinder, limited slip differentials front and back. 3 speed floor mounted shift lever, 1 lever to shift the transfer case another to shift between high and low. Free hubs up front. Even vacuum powered wipers. Everything worked every time. I just wouldn’t go over 50.

        My 1994 T100 is the first 4WD system I have ever had with any automatic component. It has the ADD (automatic disconnecting differential). Unfortunately, it did not automatically disconnect when the temps were below 30. I tore it apart removed the vacuum system and pushed the engagement fork in the system to locked all the time. I then put free hub from an old 4Runner on it.

        It’s now completely manual and it works every time including disengaging at any temperature. I also can now use 4WD low with the front end unlocked when I need low without it binding up.

        The new systems are more trouble then they are worth. F250 automatic vacuum hubs
        systems cause all kinds of trouble. Fords answer is to have a hub with automatic and locked for the the system fails. Not lock and free but automatic and locked,,,,, how stupid is that.

        When it ain’t broke don’t fix it. We have AMC and quadra-track to blame for all this expensive automatic crap.

        • Larry,

          Honestly, I don’t know. Toyota, like we have chronicled with other manufactures, is quickly pulling the plug on manuals – that I do know. Looking at Toyota.com and the Tacoma, it looks like manual transmissions are only available on their 4×4 versions. I would think that this few offerings will even more reduced.

          The argument with manual versus automatic goes back and forth. True that there are still drivers who prefer manuals and who think they can get better torque, MPG with them. The manufactures and engineers I talk with simply don’t agree. They say with the new computer controlled shifting, their isn’t a lot of practicality left for manuals (I didn’t say their wasn’t any at all, just not a lot).

          Now, yes, I do think you have a valid point for a type of truck that simply doesn’t exist anymore. Frankly though, you are a “minority” truck buyer to some degree. If you look at the article above, you will see a ton of trucks are sold to people that don’t use them AT ALL like you do. Until your customer segment grows, I just don’t see manufactures offering a product that will meet your standards.


          • Larry says:

            Well, I am an engineer. As proof, I submit the following.

            A manual transmission and clutch locks an input shaft to an output shaft with tooth to tooth gear contact.

            An automatic does the same but with a rotating planetary gear set instead an input and output shaft.

            The difference is in the toque converter Vs clutch. Any time the torque converter unlocks (which happens all the time while under power) we have a loss meaning an automatic transmission can never match a manual with the same rations.

            A manual transmission and clutch is 100 percent efficiency.

            The main issue is american are too lazy to learn how anything works so they pay much, much more for automatic stuff. All the world over except here manual transmission are the normal on working trucks.

            Motor cycles
            performance cars
            big rigs
            bicycle gear systems

            all use manual transmission systems. Every drive a small 3 speed automatic motorcycle like the Honda ruckus? Talk about dogs.

            A modern 4WD truck costs at least 5000 dollars more then it should. Automatic stuff isn’t free. Ever had to get your electric window motors replaced. Anyone who has is not happy with the cost. A replacement for the electric servo which locks up the front differentials in Toyotas is a 1000 dollar job. A lever you pull never brakes.

            Studies show the average american has virtually no retirement savings. This is part of the reason why, they waste their paychecks on junk which sucks up next years paycheck to fix it.

          • Larry,

            I don’t disagree with your engineer statements. I, myself, will never buy a manual clutch. Now, my reason has nothing to do with laziness rather it has to do with many things including a bum left knee that makes using a clutch painful. My other reasoning is a clutch is a pain in the rear. I have used a clutch over the years in ATVs, Motorcycles and Automobiles. In all cases, I’ll take automatic (when possible) thank you. I can understand those manual fans and the points they make, I just don’t like clutches.


          • Brian J says:


            The manual transmission has fallen from favor for many reasons:
            – automatics are now just as efficient as manuals, if not more in some cases
            – torque converters spend much more time locked than in years past increasing efficiency (I think I read somewhere that stall speeds are now between 1200-1600 RPM)
            – more and more of us live in cities with traffic jams and numerous red lights (who wants to row the trans that much when you don’t have to?)
            – automatics require a LOT less maintenance (i.e. $150 for a flush every 100k miles vs $700-$1200 for a new clutch every 100k miles in an urban use or tow vehicle)
            – automatic shift logic is to the point that manufacturers can more accurately control fuel economy numbers; a manual leaves a lot to driver interpretation of shift points (many drivers don’t know how to shift efficiently)
            – If I am pulling a boat out of the water, I really don’t want to roll back in the lake before the clutch engages and then spins the tires. With an automatic, I can hold the brake and press the gas while letting off the brake gently. Makes the process smooth and safe, and my truck doesn’t end up in the drink.

            I understand your enthusiasm…I love a manual transmission, too! But for everyday driving in a truck it just doesn’t make sense. Now in a sports car? Give me manual or give me death!

          • Brian – The arguments against automatics are getting weaker every year. Automatics have improved dramatically in the last two decades (or so), to the point where fuel economy savings are negligible and automatic transmission reliability exceeds a vehicle’s expected lifespan. Not to mention that the convenience of an automatic makes them far more enjoyable (and arguably safer) to drive.

            I’m not dissing Larry’s argument out of hand, just pointing out that you’re on the winning side of this argument. Stick to your guns! 🙂

          • BriBri says:

            I wish I could find an 8-track player for my truck. When I got maried, my father gave me his collection of 8-track cassettes from a bunch of ’70s rock bands. At the time, I thought it was the coolest gift. I had a hand-me-down ’77 Malibu with an 8-track player and two speakers that I thought was the best sounding ‘stereo’ system.

            Now, we are spoiled by MP3 car/truck audio systems, with 8 speakers, where we can go immediately to any song we want instead of having to click the button to cycle or fast-forward to the next section of the (8-track) cassette. I am not lazy, and I like the convenience of the MP3 and the sound of multiple speakers, but I long for the simplicity and tactile-feeling of an old-school 8-track player (although I sold the 8-track collection to a collector years ago).

            I agree with Larry’s thoughts on manual transmissions, as I learned to drive with one (the ’77 Malibu was my first automatic), and I’ve owned a couple other stick-shifts years ago as I liked having control over the shift points. But, I have somewhat succumbed to a few modern convenienced.

            Just my two guineas…

          • Larry says:

            “automatics are now just as efficient as manuals”

            This is absolutely false. Once moving and under power any time the torque converter unlocks there is loss in the fluid portion of the coveter. This loss is absolute. Stall speed only come into play while stopping. Drive up a grade, at a constant rate, next add power while watching the RPM. The RPM will go up by perhaps 250 RPM with no shift. This is the unlocking of the torque converter and it happens all the time and when it does we are at best 90 percent as good as a manual with a locked clutch.

            I deal with this every day. I have 2011 Subaru Forester, every day it is driven up a 15 mile grade from Salt Lake to my mountain home at 8000 feet. Going up the canyon it starts shifting up and down because it only has 4 speeds and it can’t find a consistent gear which works. The converter is unlocked most of the time this is going on. Under most loads going up the grades it does not lock at all.

            Now, I will agree with many of your points. In traffic clutch work is a pain. In rough 4WD conditions clutches can be difficult and at some times even dangerous.

            The new converters are light years better then 25 years ago.

            “automatics require a LOT less maintenance (i.e. $150 for a flush every 100k miles vs $700-$1200 for a new clutch every 100k miles in an urban use or tow vehicle)”

            My T100 is 19 years old 150,000 miles. I have never done any maintenance of any kind. No fluid change, nothing. ZERO maintenance!!!!!
            The clutch is 19 years old, original. I have driven cars and trucks over 1 million miles in my life time and NEVER had to replace a clutch, NEVER. City, towing, over the highway, deep snow from Oct – May my cars and trucks see it all and I don’t ware out clutches. If I can do it so can anyone. My 1994 Subaru with a clutch went over 300,000 miles. I would still have it if it had not rusted out and, never any maintenance to the trans fluid in 300,000. Never even had to top it up. That was the best set of wheel I ever had.

            “automatic shift logic is to the point that manufacturers can more accurately control fuel economy numbers; a manual leaves a lot to driver interpretation of shift points”

            I will take that challenge any time and win every time. It’s not that difficult and most of the time we are at cruise with no shifting involved. In addition it’s much better for people to get smarter not transmissions. We have got to stop dumbing down the US population. People don’t know how anything works any longer and will believe anything a car dealer tells them. A car dealer is the last person on earth anyone should trust.

            I completely understand why some want an automatic system but, I don’t and people are being sold a bill of goods when they believe automatics are better. The are not better, just different and we need both.

            Lower cost, more truck, less junk. I don’t want electric windows on a truck which at some point will cost me 1000 in repairs and yes this is not uncommon. Electric windows, door locks and leather seats to haul trash to the dump, I don’t get that one.

            It looks like I will be stuck with an 8 speed auto when my T100 finally dies, whenever that will be. But even with an auto I will demand manual controls like on the select shit option of the F150. The Ram has it also, thumb control on the steering wheel. I won’t put up with automatic mode going up grades with the thing shifting up and down every 10 seconds. Even the new subarus have paddle shifters and manual mode. My forester does not have paddles but it does have manual mode, they call it sport mode, it indexes up and down by pushing or pulling the floor mounted transmission level. Going up grade that’s what I need to use to prevent it from hunting for a gear it does not have. Looks like the clutch is gone for good, here in the USA anyway. Driving is getting just plain boring.

            I wasn’t able to retire at 45 by giving everything I earned to car companies. For me this is about 3 – 5 thousand dollars in additional cost over a life of 250,000 miles. Repairs to rebuild the transmission 10 years out plus the 1000 up front for an expensive system. As I said I have never had to replace a clutch.

          • Larry – Excepting all but the most skilled and technically savvy drivers, automatic transmissions are ABSOLUTELY more efficient and cost effective than manuals. While I acknowledge your point that *consumers* should become smarter rather than their *vehicles*, that’s just not a practical expectation. At least not in the world I live in. 🙂

            Besides, the point here is simple: If I take two perfectly average people off the street and put one in an automatic and the other in a manual, in 100k miles, the automatic driver will be money ahead (both in fuel and in wear and tear). As an engineer, you must understand that these systems are designed for the most common purpose. The most common stick-shift driver is hard on a clutch.

            What’s more, if I take two above-average drivers off the street and repeat the same experiment, there’s a good chance the automatic driver will still come out ahead. Modern automatics with locking torque converters have occasionally outperformed manuals in testing — see this Edmunds comparo: http://www.edmunds.com/fuel-ec.....lenge.html

            The drivers in that test were all skilled and aware of best practices, and the vehicles were driven by more than one person. Yet somehow, a couple of automatics come out ahead of a couple of sticks.

          • Brian J says:

            “This is the unlocking of the torque converter and it happens all the time and when it does we are at best 90 percent as good as a manual with a locked clutch.”

            Depends on the make of vehicle. Every Toyota I have ever owned was quick to unlock the torque converter or downshift as you stated. Fords I have had, and have, hold top gear with a locked converter a lot longer without downshift or change in RPMs. Not downplaying your point, but it really depends on how the vehicle is tuned by the mfr, how hard its driven, speed, percent grade, etc. Maybe that seems lame, but it is what I have noticed in my own experiences.

            “My T100 is 19 years old 150,000 miles. I have never done any maintenance of any kind. No fluid change, nothing. ZERO maintenance!!!!!”

            That’s awesome! I had a clutch on my 96 Tacoma (that I bought new) starting to show signs of chatter and light slippage at 96,000 miles before I sold it. If yours holds on that long, then congrats! I think you are the exception, though!

            “I will take that challenge any time and win every time. It’s not that difficult and most of the time we are at cruise with no shifting involved.”

            I am simply going by EPA numbers here on a few makes that have both manual and auto. Most manuals are about the same as their automatic cousins. Some a little better, some a little worse. Yes, with your knowledge you can probably get better numbers, but many people have no idea how a car works or what makes it more efficient. Only the true enthusiast can make the most from a manual transmission. The average Joe or Jolene is not that interested.

            Like you, I enjoy driving a stick shift. Feathering the clutch for a smooth takeoff, or dumping it for a power takeoff. Its fun as hell! I love it! I do miss a stick shift, but even with my most recent car purchase (where a stick shift was an option at no cost) I decided not to get a stick since at resale most people simply won’t want it. Sad to say, but that’s just the way it is. At least the performance cars still come with a stick. I don’t think that will ever go away. Simply too much demand from the hardcore enthusiasts, such as yourself. I’d hang on to that T100. Good truck, well built. Happy truckin’!

          • I’m thinking about taking both of your comments and writing a post about the manual transmissions. It could look like the newspapers columns when they feature the written debates about an issue. Holy cow guys!


          • BriBri says:

            “I am simply going by EPA numbers here on a few makes that have both manual and auto. Most manuals are about the same as their automatic cousins. Some a little better, some a little worse. Yes, with your knowledge you can probably get better numbers, but many people have no idea how a car works or what makes it more efficient. Only the true enthusiast can make the most from a manual transmission. The average Joe or Jolene is not that interested.”

            The only thing I would add here is that when I drove stick-shifts, I would strive to run the engine at a lower RPM whenever possible. So, for example, on a 1998 Nissan Altima manual that I bought new and owned for about 8 years, I used 5th gear quite a bit at between 1,250 and 1,500 rpm when cruising off-highway roads. Similarly, I always bumped it into neutral at stop lights rather than holding down the clutch. I would say that I got pretty good gas mileage from being able to keep RPMs where I actually needed them.

          • Larry says:


            I get your point on the automatic/average driver issue.

            I have to tell you for me a lot of this is just a matter of cost. If I am going to stay retired and live off my savings the rest of my life, I just can’t pay above what is necessary. I am one of those who is lucky enough to be able to write a check for one of these new trucks but, I only buy the most inexpensive trucks which will do the job. I also have a better idea of how much money 35000 dollars really is compared to those who have these trucks and only earn that much each year. There are more important uses for money.

            I remember the days as a bricklayer when all our trucks were GM inline 6 cylinder 3 speed on the column setups. Even our 1 ton flat bed had a small 6. There was never any talk about 150 HP being a problem and we moved heavy loads. It’s crazy that now a V8 with 350 HP is considered too small. That’s just plain crazy.

            I realize I that if I really want a good old manual trans I will need to move out of the US and I have considered doing that for many reasons. They are still the normal all over the world.

            What I would like from Toyota is a work truck line. My T100 has been rock solid and I would like to stay with Toyota but I will never buy a luxury truck. Ford offers the F150 Xl and similar F250 heavy model in work truck versions. Ram has the same with the 1500 Tradesman model. I can’t get to my home in winter with a rear drive truck and the tundra work truck 4WD long bed is not here yet. I really use my truck for work. I am now a boat builder and need to move 4X8 sheet goods all the time. I do a lot of white water river running and fly fishing and live out of the back of my truck so I need the 8 foot bed.

            We can only hope Toyota keeps building quality stuff. I left US cars/trucks a long time ago and I use the term US loosely.

            The Ram 1500 standard cab long bed is made in Mexico. I wonder how many will put those buy american stickers on them. Too bad they don’t know where Texas is.

            This is a good forum and I thank you for taking the time to manage it and respond to my issues.

            On last point. I still say automatics are boring and they suck.

            I promise I will drop this thread as we have hit every point.

          • Larry,

            We got your back. We won’t tell automatics you think they are “boring and they suck.” LOL!


          • Larry – Fair enough sir. I think you’ve got a very rational view of things, and I’m quite sure we’d agree on everything EXCEPT automatics. I don’t love them, but I don’t hate them.

            Also, excellent point about the fact that vehicle performance ratings have dramatically improved over the last three decades. Yet somehow, people in the 70’s and 80’s managed to pull boats, haul equipment, etc. without too much trouble. If we went back to smaller displacements and “suffered” with a little less performance, we’d all save money.

          • Larry says:


            While driving home from Salt Lake today I was passed by an F150 EcoBoost 4 door. The truck was towing a tandem axel trailer with a car on top. My guess is that the trailer and car were between 5000 – 6000 pound. This was on interstate 80 in Parleys Canyon which is about a 12 mile climb, 6-7% grade the last mile to Parleys Summit at 7200 feet. I drive this every day and my T100 3.0L V6, 4500 pounds is usually in 4th gear doing about 50 MPH with only a fiberglass top, nothing in the back and no trailer.

            This day I was driving my Subaru, when the Ford went by, I followed. It ran 75 MPH all the way to the summit where I exited.

            With the truck at 5500 pounds and the trailer at 5500 I would say a 3.7L motor moving a load of 11000 pounds up a 7 percent grade at 75 MPH is impressive.

            If that motor can still do that 10 years from now with 150,000 miles on the truck with the original turbo chargers I will say that Ford has done an amazing job.

          • Wait a minute. You mean once of those “new” trucks impressed you. I’m shocked!! LOL.


          • Larry – I think Ford deserves a lot of credit for getting V8-type performance out of a V6, even though the additional complexity will inevitably cost more money down the road. I’ve driven them and they’re quite a bit of fun too, which isn’t really important, but something I think consumers like.

            What surprises me is that your Subaru kept up! Must be a WRX. 🙂

    • Andy C. says:

      I have a 1995 T100 V-6 3.4 xtra cab I’m the original owner.

      Best investment I ever made!!!

      Toyota needs to build trucks that will give better mileages, my old T-100 still gives me 20 miler per gallon in the city and 24 miles highway it has a 3.4 V-6 engine 5 speed manual.
      after 17 years still holding.

  7. mk says:

    Mickey, I said I ‘might consider’ the 2014 silverado crewcab 6 1/2′ bed, not saying I will for sure. It is at least worth taking a look once it comes out. I may end up regretting purchasing it soon afterwards, but maybe not? GM and Ford rule around me and everyone wants them since a GM plant was nearby us once in 2007 before the GM bankruptcy shut it down and those 2 reasons have pushed me to look elsewhere also in 2007 when finally Toyota came out with a true 1/2 ton truck, not a 3/4’s of a 1/2 ton truck like Toyota had prior to 2007. I’m glad I switched just that the 2014 tundras, at least for me, offers nothing I really would be jumping into since to me nothing has changed.

  8. marko says:

    What Larry said. More truck, less toy.

  9. Mickey says:

    Copy mk. The Silverado does look great but they crossed and burnt that bridge so I will not buy another GM product. As for the battle with manual and automatic. Yes I like manual but will go with automatic since it’s proven to do the same as the manual tranny. I had 2 vehicles that were manual 74 Corona SR5 and a 92 Sonoma ST along with a 71 Honda 350 chopped. Back in 74 I would agree with you Larry. Maybe in 92 too but now and the age I’m at no need for a manual especially in city driving. My sticker has from 16mpg city to 20mpg hwy. I get 17-22mpg with the 5.7 and the 6 speed tranny. You know statistics show people moved out of the city and they are driving further to work than before. So you want hwy mileage. With the 6 speed tranny and Now Dodges 8 speed tranny are the way to go for best mpg’s. Yes you stated you see only 1 out of 10 trucks towing a load. I won’t argue that factor because these days people are using their trucks as double duty. A daily driver for work and use it as a truck on the weekend get aways. Personally I got this 07 CM for the reason I like traveling in a truck especailly one that has the first 5 star rating in a truck with crash safety. You sit a little higher than a car. I hate to fall into a seat and then have to crawl to get out. I do use my truck on weekends to go fishing with my boat and for wood, mulch, sod etc. SO just judging what you see on a certain day doesn’t give you the full picture. You may prefer the T100 which I don’t blame you if you haven’t had any trouble with it. My 92 Sonoma did give me an eye opening when I did tow with it. It couldn’t handle big loads without the valves clacking. That told me from there to get a bigger truck. From that point I got an 98 Silverado, 03 F-150, 06 Silverado then this 07 Crewmax. The CM was for room. Now I tell you my kids are all grown and moved on. I believe in comfort for everyone riding with me. That’s why the CM. Yes most of the time I’m by myself and yes when the wife and I travel we use the CM over her Prius. In my mind I know I got the package deal with this truck. I really enjoy driving it. As for gas I do conserve most of the time. Hence the 20mpg avg I get. Having Toyota’s reputation of reliability (155,201 miles) and resale value you can’t beat what Toyota is doing. Also you have to look at profit and what customers want. Like you we are a rare breed. You like the manual and I just like to travel in this truck. Toyota has to go with the majority and our kind is left behind. That’s why like you I’m leaning on keeping this truck instead of trading for a 2014 Tundra CM. Now to tell you this truck isn’t the best one I had. It’s the second best I had. The best was the 98 SIlverado which was totalled in an accident when I was hit from behind and pushed into a city bus. Hope your T100 last a lot longer for you. I will just enjoy the ride I got.

    • Larry says:

      I think this transmission discussion has been a good one.

      From my point of view disturbing things are happening to the car/truck market. People are being pushed to often purchase what they don’t want. When possible I will fight to the end to get what I want and will keep my old car/truck till the doors fall off. At some point I have to face the beast (a car sales person) and fight it out. There are also parts going onto trucks which are just plain stupid. I deal with snow in the mountains 6 months of each year and will make the statement that shift on the fly 4WD is just plain stupid. In bad condition my 4WD is lock up before the truck ever starts moving. In addition there is never, never any reason for truck front end differential gears to be in rotation in July on the road in Las Vegas and we don’t need 1000 dollars worth of automatic hub system to free them. If I ever meet the engineer or marketing people from AMC who started all this quadra track stuff they are in trouble.

      If I can buy a 10 million dollar office building with communication and paper work handled over the phone, email and FedX, there is no reason a truck should not be the same easy deal. To me a truck is a simple commodity item. I can’t think of anything I hate more the dealing with a car dealer. Just give me a price and if I like I will send in a check and pickup the truck next week. A person does not need to go to the dealer. They should know everything there is to know before they ever talk to a dealer. Look at the trucks on Sunday when they are closed. Crawl under them, drive your friends. Do whatever is needed to know about the truck before the dealer gets the money. I will say that as a buyer, it is my job to know more about what I and buying then the sales person or I will be at a major disadvantage. A consumer should know that at this point if they are buying a GM truck with a 4 speed auto transmission they are buying old stuff and should not pay the same market price as Toyota or Ford. People need to know about the engines before they buy one. People need to do some research about what it might cost to replace those twin turbos on the Ford EcoBoost motor before they think they will save any money on fuel.

      I just can’t explain how annoyed I get when I say I want 4.11 gears and not 3.73 and “well that requires package #4 which include the electric radio antenna and gold plated trailer ball. If everyone would fight against this as much as I do we would all be a bit better off. So, people roll up your sleeves and start fighting those dealers and demand what you want. “I won’t buy what I don’t want —- take those electric windows off the truck and drop the price 500 dollars”. If you want the electric widows that fine but if you don’t,,,,, fight them.

      I am not one to use my truck for double duty. I have the truck for the work jobs and then I have something like a Subaru for daily use. This is part of why my stuff lasts so much longer. I do pay a penalty for this on the insurance front but drop down to only liability coverage as soon as is practical. I really can’t justify the 15 MPG for daily use of my truck and a truck is to valuable to ware out when it’s not doing any work.

      Money is important to our freedom. Freedom comes from being able to purchase the things we need and want. If our transportation needs cost too much we have to give up something else. It always amazes me when others are so willing to drop 40,000 on a set of wheels. They often don’t ponder how much it really is. As one who earned enough to retire at 45, I am force to look at things differently. Living off of what earnings I can generate from investments means that buying a new truck is big, big deal. Without a job it takes a lot of effort to figure out how to come up with 40,000 dollars over 5 years. If I buy a 40,000 dollar truck will I still be able to make my budget and tow my boat to the Grand Canyon and make that 250 mile river trip with my friends which is why I needed he truck in the first place?

      Remember when spending 40,000 on a truck with a loan, the total out of pocket will be more like 60,000, add in insurance and fuel for one of those 12 MPG beasts and it’s a major pile of freedom dollars going out the window. Keep driving the honda civic and invest the money for 10 years at 7 percent and we generate enough income to get the truck for free,,,,,, sort of.

      As an engineer when I buy a new truck I usual put in a few hundred hours studying 1 or 2 years in advanced. I may be retired but I still work 60 hours a week, I just don’t do it at a desk any more. Most people just shell out the money and don’t know much about what is in the truck. Ask 1000 people to explain what EGR does or to explain what the new DEF fluid injection does on the diesels. I bet you will have to talk to 500 people before you find the first one who knows. Most people have no idea what a simple set of differential gears does. People often tell me “but, I’m not an engineer like you” my answer is that I was not born an engineer, I was forced to become one.

      The new ZF transmissions used by Ram are good stuff even though I like the manuals. People have talked about a diesel for the Tundra. Think about it, what would it take for toyota to come up with a new 6 or 8 speed transmission which can handle 800 foot pounds of torque which is the output of the big Ford and Cummins engines. Take a look at the 6 speed automatic transmission Ford has built for the F250 units. They are amazing, expensive but they are amazing. Toyota does not have this type of a transmission at this time. It would be foolish to compare an industrial truck like the F250 with a solid front axel to the Tundra, I’m sure the current Tundra transmission would ever stand up towing 20,000 pounds with a huge 800 foot pound diesel engine. If you are going to pull a trailer with 4 horses in it, it’s not reasonable to expect a Tundra to do it day after day.


      Next take a look at some information regarding the 8 and 9 speed German ZF transmissions which are impressive


      Ram could really be on to something, will the blow it, time will tell.

      We all have different opines on these issues but, If even one person has learned something technical from these posts which puts them in the situation where they know something the dealer sales person does not it’s been a good discussion.

      • Brian J says:

        I agree with you 100%, Larry! Why do I have to upgrade to certain interior options, or exterior appearance packages to get the top of the line engine for towing with the higher ratio differential in a truck I intend to tow with? By the same token, why can’t I get leather and delete the GPS option? Just some examples, but I agree that consumers are way too bound by option packages. The downside is that we are stuck with it. This is how they make their money and why what should be a $25,000 truck that I actually want to buy sells for $40,000.

      • Larry – As an engineer, I’m sure you understand that option packaging is a cost savings mechanism…it’s not something the dealers can control, and it’s only going to become more common.

        As a former dealership employee, I’ll tell you that very few people (less than 3%) are truly willing to buy a car over the phone. I can tell you that there were dozens of people who have personally told me what you said – that they didn’t understand why we couldn’t just do everything over the phone – only to demand that they drive their new car before buying, and then decide that they really didn’t want a certain feature after all…thus wasting my time and my staff’s time.

        I agree the vehicle purchase process is poor, but I’d argue that it’s partially a result of consumer preference. People are quick to argue that vehicles are “just a commodity” when they’re doing a transaction, but quick to demand special treatment when their vehicle isn’t 100% perfect (as far as I know, nothing in the world is 100%…especially not commodities).

  10. Mike says:

    Are people(even the writer) really that gullible on the shuttle tow thing? In a sentence or two, if a Toyota towed it, darn near anything would have! What does it prove, nothing. The big 3 all have trucks that put Toyota’s towing to shame. Brilliant marketing though lol

    • Mike – That comment was offered a bit tongue-in-cheek. My point was that Toyota’s street cred as a towing vehicle is high, which plays to that particular purchase concern.

      Granted, you seem like you’ve already made up your mind, so there’s a good chance you’ll ignore this reply anyways. Have fun driving your less reliable, less valuable, and less American “domestic” truck, LOL!

    • Mike,

      Agreed. I have long argued it is a great marketing tool!

      In a perfect world, it would be awesome to see all major truck makers pull the same load with a stock pickup. Won’t happen. But, that would be great!


  11. Mickey says:

    Mike if the big 3 can put all towing to shame how come they refuse to join the “J” standards? They all agreed to do it. Why is it just Toyota is on this palybook. Talk is cheap!

    • Larry says:

      SAE J684 Rating Classifications

      Class I: Up to a 2,000-pound trailer
      Class II: Up to a 3,500-pound trailer
      Class III: Up to a 5,000-pound trailer
      Class IV: Up to a 10,000-pound trailer

      new SAE J standard rating is 20,000-pound

      I’m not really getting this. A question for all who read this forum. Does anyone out there have any need to pull 20,000 pound loads? That’s the weight of steel track for a Cat D10 dozer — 10 tons each.

      My neighbor is a contractor, he also has a big 25 foot house trailer he moves around. He claims the trailer is 10000 pounds. He purchased a used F250 diesel to pull it. The truck was 32,000 dollars with 90,000 miles on it. I wouldn’t want to tow that thing around let alone 20,000.

      I know some monster boats are that big but, those are also 250,000 bucks plus and there must be better ways of moving them around then with a pickup. Those boats are so big who would tow them around as apposed to just moving them once a year to storage which could be done with a really large rig designed for this type of full time use?

      Anyone out there really tow these kinds of loads with these luxury trucks and a 5.7 liter gas motor?

      • BriBri says:

        I bought my 2012 Tundra to pull a 9K+ lbs.(GVWR) travel trailer for my family camping vacations. I do not want a diesel (too much hastle and more costly), and I didn’t see the cost/benefits value in the Big 3’s HD variants. The Tundra’s V8 gas-guzzler has plenty of power to serve my needs. And, I believe it would be a better daily-driver than a diesel. My neighbor (a landscaper) has a big Ford diesel (at least 10 years old), and when he fires that thing up in the morning I can hear it through my house walls (his driveway is about 50 feet away). My wife certainly wouldn’t tolerate me having a diesel for too long.

        So, to answer your question, I don’t need to pull 20K lbs. But I like the fact that my Tundra will pull my (almost) 10K lbs.

        Search Google images, and you’d find it interesting the folks who attempt to tow trailers that far exceed the tow rating of their vehicles. Some folks just lack common sense.

      • Mickey says:

        Larry for one I don’t tow those loads. My 18.5ft boat is all I tow. Under 3k pounds for sure. That has been the only thing I towed since I had this truck.

      • Larry – I think Mickey was referring to the new J2807 standard, which dictates exactly how manufacturers must test their vehicles to derive their published tow rating.

        Of course, it’s not a “standard” yet, as only Toyota adheres to it (for now).

        • Larry says:


          You are correct about the standard and I agree.

          Standards, independent testing and results are usually more valuable then what any given manufactures publish.

          The towing subject is a scary thing. Like Mickey I only tow 1500 pounds at most. Years back I drove a 10 wheel dump truck with a 5 speed transmission and 2 speed electric rear axil. Once and a while I would tow a flat bed with a heavy equipment to job sites. It always scared the hell out of me. I just never felt I could stop the thing and it moved all over the place.

          I always move away from trucks which are towing heavy stuff.

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