What’s the Difference Between Truck and Pickup?

Difference Between Truck and Pickup

With the advent of the 2022 Ford Maverick, the internet is a little perplexed as to the pickup’s intended purpose.


Also, how a unibody, front-wheel-drive vehicle can be considered a “truck.” People appear to have forgotten the distinction between a “pickup” and a “truck” along the way.

In this article, we’ll talk about Truck vs Pickup. Moving on, what’s the difference between pickups and trucks if they’re both trucks?

There was a significant aesthetic contrast between a pickup and a truck decades ago. A truck, on the other hand, has long been classified based on its primary function.

It can tow, haul, and transport. So, what exactly is the difference between truck and pickup? Keep reading the article to know.

Difference between a Truck and a Pickup

The most significant distinction between a pickup and a truck is load space. Trucks are larger than pickup trucks. Also, in most states, they require additional licenses.

We’ll look at the vehicles’ towing capability, driving, purposes, payload, fuel economy, and turning radius, among other things, in this article.

But first, it’s important to understand how pickups and trucks are categorized in the United States. The US Department of Transportation divides trucks into eight categories. This depends on their Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR).

The optimum operating weight of an automobile when loaded is known as the GVWR. It takes into account the vehicle’s weight, as well as the weight of its occupants, petrol, and luggage.

In most states, any vehicle with a GVWR greater than 26,000 pounds requires a CDL to operate safely.

Before talking about the difference between truck and pickup, let’s just talk about trucks and pickups separately.

What is a Truck?

These are the vehicles, which include tractor-trailers, dump trucks, and van trucks. They have a GVWR of more than 33,000 pounds.

Panel trucks, which are utilized for local deliveries, are medium vehicles that weigh between 16,000 and 33,000 pounds.

Trucks, such as semi-trucks and tractor-trailers, are classified as Class 8 under the DOT’s truck classification system. In most states, all Class 8 vehicles require a CDL, and even medium trucks with a GVWR of more than 26,000 pounds require at least a Class-B CDL.

What is a Pickup?

A standard pickup truck features a boxed bed for carrying items and a front cab. They’re fairly common in households all around the United States.

They’re also used in the business world, particularly in the construction and farming industries.

Pickups are divided into three classes: 1, 2, and 3. The largest pickups referred to as Class 3, include the following:

  • F-350,
  • F-450,
  • GMC Sierra 3500
  • Ram 3500

According to the manufacturers, these vehicles weigh between 10,000 and 14,000 pounds unloaded and can pull up to 30,000 pounds.

What are Mini Trucks?

Because of their weight, engine type, and cargo space, the DOT does not recognize them as trucks. Many states classify the vehicle as a Utility Vehicle or Off-road Vehicle, making it impossible to use on busy roadways.

Mini trucks, on the other hand, are similar to pickup trucks in that they have a passenger cabin and a luggage bed.

Many mini-trucks feature removable sides that may be converted to flatbeds for easier hauling of big freight.

The biggest difference between truck and pickup is that they both have the same body style and are mostly used to deliver freight.

Pickups and heavy trucks have significant variations in terms of capacity, security, and other aspects.

Truck vs Pickup

Trucks come in a variety of sizes. According to some manufacturers, Trucks are made to transport stuff, not people. This category includes pickup vehicles; however, many trucks are not classified as pickups.

Consider the difference between truck and pickup to clear the confusion.


How they look is the most important difference between truck and pickup. A pickup truck is used on the farm for mending fences, delivering feed to cows, running between facilities, and the rare excursion to town. It is the vehicle in which you will be able to run around.

A truck, on the other hand, is a true workhorse. It is designed to transport crops, move tractors to different properties, and complete any large task.

Load capacity

The ability to move freight is one of the most significant things when talking about truck vs pickup. A truck comes equipped with an open or closed box for moving cargo.

Cargo holds are also available on van vehicles. Tractors, such as big rigs or semi-trucks, do not, however, have a cargo hold.

Semi-trucks are equipped with a fifth wheel that connects to a trailer, forming a tractor-trailer combo.


Pickup trucks offer a good mix of speed, safety, and practicality. It is possible to reach speeds of up to 100 mph in most pickup trucks without jeopardizing safety or convenience.

Trucks, on the other hand, do not have such luxuries. Big trucks are not good for fast driving. They’re designed to transport stuff from one place to another safely.


The towing capacity of your regular pickup and that of a truck are vastly different. While the largest pickups, such as the F450, have a manufacturer-specified towing capability of around 30,000 pounds.

These vehicles are incapable of pulling such a high load in regular operation. You can tow 26,000 pounds at best, which is the maximum weight you can transport in most states without a CDL.

On the other hand, a truck is not subject to such towing restrictions. Tractors with a Gross Combined Weight Rating of 80,000 pounds are legal in most states.

This means that the combined weight of the truck, its occupants, and the trailered goods cannot exceed 80,000 pounds.


Most pickups, especially ultra-heavy-duty versions, do not require a CDL as long as their towing capacity does not exceed 26,000 pounds.

However, because most heavy trucks exceed the weight limit even while empty, you’ll need a CDL to operate them.

In addition, depending on the goods they deliver, big rig drivers must obtain additional licensing.

Different licenses and permits are necessary for moving hazardous commodities, ice transportation, and other specialist occupations in the logistics business.

Even if you’re pulling backhoes and bulldozers, a truck driver doesn’t need any of these extra permits as long as you stay under the speed limit.


Large trucks, despite their poor reputation, have some of the most modern safety measures of any vehicle on the road.

Because they are designed for heavy work, most pickup trucks have outstanding safety records. On the other hand, pickups have less weight, so it’s easier to maneuver them and use the brakes.

Because of their size, trucks have a stronger perception of risk. In comparison to shorter vehicles such as pickup trucks and sedans, a trucker has a long line of vision and can see further ahead.

This allows truckers to take measures rather than react after it is too late.


The most fuel-efficient standard-size pickup trucks can get up to 23 miles per gallon. But, they are the exception. Pickups, SUVs, and trucks aren’t the most fuel-efficient vehicles.

Trucks are famous gas guzzlers, with many only getting 5 miles per gallon. Tractors and medium trucks, on the other hand, can travel long distances without refilling due to their massive fuel tanks.

Bottom Line

Trucks include pickups, frame cabs, panel vans, tractors, and tractor-trailers. Although they all have cabins, some have cargo platforms, and others do not.

The most significant difference between truck and pickup is their weight. Pickup trucks have the smallest cargo capacity, while Class 8 trucks, such as tractors and dump trucks, have the highest GVWR and GCWR.

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