Five Double-Duty Pickups for Work and Play


Pickups for the Workday and Night Out

If financial constraints make it necessary to combine the utility of a pickup truck with the passenger space and comfort of a mid-size sedan, Bankrate has assembled a list of five family pickup trucks that fulfill both needs.

With the struggling economy and a family's ever-shrinking resources, the idea of a pickup for work or job chores and a separate vehicle for hauling the family may no longer make fiscal sense for many families.

Until the late 1980s, pickup trucks were designed as chore vehicles, driven by farmers and construction workers. Over the last 30 years, they have morphed into transports equally suited to bow ties and child seats as to shovels and muddy boots.

They offer plenty of passenger room, comfort and convenience, as well as a work ethic equal to the demands of a job site.

Encompassing a range of prices, Bankrate recommends this selection of double-duty pickups that can be hosed off at the end of a tough workday and be ready that evening to haul the family to dinner and a movie.

Fuel economy numbers are government estimates and are based on rear-wheel drive with automatic transmission. All of these pickups also offer four-wheel drive capability as an extra-cost option. Prices don't include destination charges or promotional offers.

2012 Chevrolet Avalanche LT

Price: $40,115

Mileage: 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway

Among the vehicles on this list, the 2012 Chevrolet Avalanche looks the least like a pickup truck and is the least pickup truck-like.

Really a pickup-sport utility combo, it boasts a streamlined exterior. It sacrifices a bit of cargo and towing capacity for those good looks, but thanks to its two-piece Midgate behind the rear seat that folds out of the way, it can haul more cargo than apparent at first glance -- up to an 8-foot sheet of plywood flat on its cargo floor with the locking tailgate closed.

Avalanche carries five passengers in SUV-like comfort. In its LT model, the list of standard features is long with full power accessories, leather seating, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, tilt steering wheel with redundant audio controls, six air bags, Bluetooth connectivity, and a seven-speaker Bose audio system with CD player, satellite radio and iPod interface.

A 320-horsepower, 5.3-liter V-8 delivers power to the rear wheels via a six-speed, driver-shiftable automatic transmission. It can tow up to 8,100 pounds and carry a payload of 1,321 pounds.

2012 Dodge Ram 1500 Sport Crew Cab

Price: $36,690

Mileage: 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway

A terrific all-around truck for work or play, the 2011 Dodge Ram 1500 Sport Crew Cab blends relentless acceleration with a passenger-friendly cabin. In the spirit of civilian as well as work duties, it seemed that at least one full-size truck capable of rocketing to 60 miles per hour from a stop in slightly more than six seconds should make this list.

With a 390-horsepower, 5.7-liter, Hemi V-8 percolating under this pickup's hood, not only does it go fast, but it can tow up to 10,050 pounds. With the tailgate closed, the bed is just 5 feet and 7 inches long, but it can still carry up to 1,527 pounds of cargo.

Seating five, the cabin is nicely appointed with full power accessories, air conditioning, cruise control, trip computer, six air bags, Bluetooth connectivity, and a six-speaker audio system with CD player, auxiliary audio input and a USB port.

2012 Ford F-350 Super Duty XLT Crew Cab

Price: $45,265

Mileage: Not available

The brawniest work truck on this list, this 2012 Ford F-350 Super Duty XLT Crew Cab, as priced here, uses a 400-horsepower, 6.7-liter, turbo-diesel V-8 to generate its grunt. With its 800 foot-pounds of stump-pulling torque, it can tow up to 14,000 pounds. Its 8-foot-2-inch-long cargo box can tote up to 3,910 pounds of stuff.

You can haul and tow even more if you pony up the additional $1,895 for the dual-rear-wheel package.

Trucks of this class aren't required by the Environmental Protection Agency to post fuel economy numbers, but you can probably guess they aren't the best on this list.

With its 40-20-40 split front bench seat, the F-350 can seat as many as six. In addition to full power accessories, the standard equipment list includes air conditioning, cruise control, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, trip computer, six air bags, and a four-speaker audio system with CD player and auxiliary input jack.

2012 Nissan Frontier SV Crew Cab

Price: $24,690

Mileage: 15 mpg city/20 mpg highway

A pickup for smaller families and smaller jobs, the 2012 Nissan Frontier SV Crew Cab sacrifices some interior room and work capability for a lower purchase price. It is the budget-priced pickup on this list.

The price listed here includes the longer, optional 6-foot box, as well as the five-speed automatic transmission.

Delivering power to the rear wheels is a 261-horsepower, 4-liter V-6. It can tow 6,300 pounds and haul a payload of up to 1,388 pounds.

Furnished for five, the comfortable cabin offers full power accessories, air conditioning, cruise control, six air bags, and a six-speaker audio system with CD player. Paying an extra $1,700 for the Premium Utility Package increases the content to include a spray-on bed liner, Nissan's Utili-track cargo system with four tie-down cleats, Bluetooth connectivity, overhead console and an upgraded audio system with redundant steering, wheel-mounted controls and auxiliary input jack.

2012 Toyota Tundra Grade CrewMax Cab

Price: $31,330

Mileage: 14 mpg city/18 mpg highway

As the 2012 Toyota Tundra Grade CrewMax Cab proves, a full-size pickup truck doesn't have to be pricey to provide an array of popular convenience items and a capacity for hard work.

Reflected in the price listed here is the available 381-horsepower, 5.7-liter, V-8 engine that makes the Tundra capable of towing up to 9,900 pounds and hauling a 1,665-pound payload in its 5-foot-7-inch-long cargo bed.

Gobs of space highlight the CrewMax cabin that features the most rear-seat legroom in its class. With its 40-20-40 split-bench front seat, it seats six. Among the standard equipment are full power accessories, dual-zone air conditioning, eight air bags, cruise control, reclining rear seat and a six-speaker audio system with CD player and auxiliary input jack.

The only way to add Bluetooth connectivity is to opt for the $510 upgraded audio package that also includes satellite radio capability, iPod connectivity and redundant audio controls on the tilt steering wheel.