There’s no disputing the fact that a 4×4 pickup truck can be one of the most fun vehicles on the planet.
The idea of driving through a mud bog, traversing untamed farmland or driving on snowy roads when everyone else is stuck at home is appealing. And if not for the go-anywhere capability of a four-wheel drive pickup truck, America would be a far different place.
If you’re thinking about getting a pickup truck that sends power to just the rear wheels or all four, here are some things to weigh.
Over the long haul, perhaps the biggest difference between four-wheel and two-wheel drive is how much fuel they use.
You should look up the fuel economy ratings on FuelEconomy.gov, which is the federal government’s official website for posting EPA figures. Compare the exact drivetrain combinations you’re considering to see how they stack up.
Pay close attention to how different engine and transmission choices affect the fuel consumption. You may find that a 4×4 pickup truck with a smaller V8 engine displacement gets similar mileage to a 4×2 with the monster V8.
Another thing to consider is how much the pickup truck will be worth when you sell it.
Four-wheel-drive trucks typically command higher prices on the resale market. While they do cost more up front, if you can offset this cost by selling it for a higher price in a few years, it may help you make up your mind.
Compare the residual values of different drivetrains just like you do their fuel economy. If you can get a good price on a 4×4 diesel pickup truck now, chances are it will be easier to sell down the road.
HOW YOU USE IT
Finally, you’ve got to consider how you really use the pickup truck in everyday life.
For people who do lots of long-haul towing, the better fuel economy of rear-wheel drive can make a huge difference. But if you stay close to home, the difference between 4×4 and 4×2 fuel economy may not make much of a dent in your budget.
In the end, your pickup truck has to do the job that’s required of it. That’s the bottom line.