In the case of the pickup truck, there are many opportunities to customize one to ratchet up the cool factor. Any truck with four-wheel-drive can get a lift or level of its suspension, knobbier tires with custom wheels, skid plates for the frame, accessories for the exterior and inside, and then some. Some have even tweaked the engine for more performance and swapped out the transfer case and differentials to match the increased performance from underneath the hood.
Consider what other vehicles were considered for this road trip story. Actually, I have forgotten most of the choices, except for a 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Limited. It does have the same driveline as the ES 300h – the 2.5-liter gas-electric powerplant with a continuously variable transmission – but with the addition of all-wheel-drive. However, I thought about the impact on fuel economy, as SUVs and crossovers tend to yield less than their sedan counterparts.
A couple of years ago, I had my first turn at the Ford F-150 Raptor. I likened the desert-running off-road icon to having an age reversal when one tries to drive one. The "Benjamin Button" factor immediately send us back to being a child again when you see a patch of land and want to send this 450-horsepower beast to destroy it further. I don't know – being child-like or childish. You pick which one you want to be when you drive a Raptor.
You may not want to read about a couple of mid-sized, three-row SUVs. However, these two vehicles are generating a lot of buzz that has been the talk of the industry. Of course, this segment has been on fire. New products have been introduced over the past few years that have moved the bar in terms of meeting the needs and wants of families looking for this kind of vehicle. And, believe me, there's more to come in this segment.
It is easy to dismiss this particular pickup truck. The large aluminum wheels and lower profile tires never amount to a smooth ride, even with a load in the box. The amount of leather and chrome leads to something pretentious that never end up well when parked alongside more humble pickup trucks. It is as you spent too much money for something that is designed for work and serious play.
Let me start off with a story…
The Boy Scouts of America introduced a merit badge called Truck Transportation in the mid-1970s. It is one of the few merit badges that have young boys look at the industrial complex that feeds into their community's economy. They realize that some Boy Scouts may be interested in pursuing a life in the world of transport of goods either behind the wheel or back at the office.