Many of us in a survey say trucks, SUVs are too big; many more of us buy them


The sales charts prove Americans’ wide and enduring love for pickups and SUVs. Last year’s top 10 sellers were three pickups, three compact SUVs, another pickup, the lone sedan, a compact SUV, and a midsize SUV. Surveys and studies, however, prove Americans’ wide and enduring ambivalence for pickups and SUVs, specifically the large ones that get accused of more antisocial behaviors every year, from outsized rates of killing children and pedestrians to their outsized effects on the Earth. A YouGov release on a new survey about American feelings on these two body styles comes with the provocative title, “Many Americans think SUVs and trucks have become too large and should be regulated.” The short of it is that out of 1,116 survey respondents, 27% “believe that carmakers should voluntarily regulate the size and design of vehicles with the safety of pedestrians in mind,” and a quarter of those classify themselves as truck drivers.

An even greater number, 32%, “believe that the government should step in and impose regulations,” and a quarter of that portion also classifying themselves as truck drivers.

We need a little clarification about the word “truck” here. The data research group YouGov says it’s referring to all pickups and SUVs as trucks, the combined segments forming 78% of light-vehicle sales in the U.S. last year. Based on what we’ve covered in the past few years, Americans generally don’t include compact SUVs like the Toyota RAV4 or Honda CR-V, or even compact pickups like the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz, as among the problematic behemoths tabbed as the biggest threats to everything that isn’t a behemoth. As far as we can tell, YouGov includes these compact offerings in the “truck” classification. So when the results show that 47% of survey respondents own or drive a truck, they could be referring to a Ford F-Series or a Tesla Model Y.  

The data showed 41% of respondents saying trucks have “become too large in recent years,” with 39% of the truck drivers in agreement. We’ve love to see a finer breakdown of vehicle sizes; it’s easy to imagine a Nissan Rogue driver pointing the finger at a Silverado 2500, a little harder to imagine a Ram 2500 driver doing the same.

One of the surprising findings was 51% of those surveyed saying one of the biggest problems with big trucks is that they’re hard to park, ahead of trucks being dangerous to other road users.

And there’s the duality of size that help drive the purchase decision and the ambivalence. YouGov said a majority of Americans believe trucks are safer than non-trucks for occupants, at the same time as nearly half of Americans “believe that large vehicles such as trucks and SUVs are more dangerous for other vehicles on the road (49%) and for pedestrians and cyclists (50%).”

Head to YouGov to read more about the results. As for you large pickup and SUV drivers (this writer included), we don’t expect anything to change on the road any time soon. Money talks, and the money walking into dealerships wants more room, more capability, and more features, more electrification, and more character. And that’s gonna mean more vehicle. 



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