Congratulations! You’ve decided to buy a truck. Now, you need to deal with all the varieties of trucks available. They range from basic midsize workhorses to luxurious options that cost almost six figures. Between those two, there’s an incredible range of sizes, cabs, trims, and powertrains to choose from. Here are the basics you need to know.


Trucks are sold in midsize, full-size light-duty, and full-size heavy-duty varieties. The price range for basic options ranges from $25,000 to $55,000. So first, understand the job you need your truck to perform.

Cab and Bed

Despite all the different names manufacturers come up with, the main cab designs are regular, extended, and crew. Regular cab means two doors and space for two or three people and small in-cab storage. Extended cab means two doors but a place for six with a cramped rear seat. Crew cabs have four doors and generous cabin space for six adults. Beds can be long or short. There’s no standard measurement. Short bed trucks are easier to maneuver, while long beds increase cargo space but compromise maneuverability and cab space.

Towing and Payload

Trucks are mainly bought for hauling or towing. Midsize trucks have a towing capacity between 5,000 to 7,000 pounds. Light-duty full-size trucks have a maximum of 12,000 to 13000 pounds, while heavy-duty trucks can be rated for up to 35,000 pounds. But it all depends on the model and configuration. Payload capacities are also variable but generally increase with the size of the truck. This is why you need to understand the job your truck will perform.


Modern trucks are offered with gas, diesel, and hybrid powertrains. Fully electric trucks are on the way too. Engines range from four-cylinder options to naturally aspirated or turbocharged V8s. Consider how you can balance the economy and the towing or hauling capabilities required.


All trucks can be customized to meet your requirements. Their performance depends on how you configure them. You could easily configure one to work through the week and take off on adventures over the weekend. The more you customize, the more expensive it gets.