Midsize or Full-Size? What Used Truck Is Best for You?

August 26th, 2022 by

A blue 2019 Chevy Silverado 1500 is shown driving to a used truck dealer near you.

The question going around these days when it comes to trucks is how to know whether you want a midsize or full-size truck. Every used truck dealer near you will likely have an opinion one way or the other, and at Mazda of Columbia, we are going to throw our two cents out there as well. We certainly love our used truck selection, and we make an effort to have some trucks of each size available for our customers’ needs. But for many drivers, the difference between midsize and full-size trucks isn’t entirely understood, and sometimes people aren’t sure whether they need more or if the popular adage that less is more applies in the truck world as well.

What’s the Same? And What’s Different?

While midsize and full-size trucks are often made to sound like they are two entirely different entities, the truth is they are both still trucks. That means these trucks are all going to have roomy beds, solid towing figures, and four-wheel drive capability. They are going to have the ability to have single, extended, and crew cab options, as well as long and short beds.

There are a lot of similarities when it comes to full and midsize trucks, but there are also plenty of differences. Full-size trucks have more powerful engines and longer, larger bodies. They tend to be a little bit wider and quite a bit heavier than the midsize trucks. Because they are larger and have bigger engines, full-size trucks tend to have higher horsepower, more torque, and lower fuel efficiency.

Midsize trucks are more compact and maneuverable than full-size trucks tend to be. Midsize trucks also tend to have better visibility for drivers than their full-size counterparts. This is mainly due to the fact that they have shorter front ends and lower hoods. Midsize trucks are given smaller engines which means they’ll tend to have lower horsepower and less torque but better fuel efficiency.

A black 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 is shown driving on an open road.

When You Want Full-Size Truck

Because these trucks are so different, you’ll want to pick the truck size that fits what you want to use it for. If you’re a working individual with a need for a tough, capable truck, then you should really consider a full-size used truck. Full-size trucks are built to be a little bit stiffer, which makes them great for being work trucks because they’re more rigid. Their bigger engine makes them more powerful, and therefore their payload rating is noticeably higher than midsize trucks. The longer truck beds also make the full-size truck better when it comes to being used for work because they are able to fit more in the bed. This allows you to fit all your gear in your truck without having to touch the towing capacity.

The next group of people who will want to consider a full-size truck is those who spend a lot of time hauling or towing. Many full-size used trucks can handle over 10,000 lbs of tow weight. This is again due to that larger engine size that makes them stronger than midsize trucks. These trucks are true powerhouses in the towing and hauling department, and they can handle large amounts of weight for extended durations, while midsize trucks cannot.

The last set of individuals we want to really cover who might want to consider a full-size truck are those who are regularly going out into harsh weather and road conditions. If you’re constantly facing blizzards or severe storms while in your vehicle, a full-size truck’s weight will help you maintain better control while driving. This heavier setup gives the full-size truck additional traction that is missing in most other vehicles. We know that, for the most part, Columbia isn’t getting hit with blizzards or hurricanes, but we do know that some of our neighbors have family in places that get that sort of rough and tumble weather. If you know you’ll be facing that kind of weather, then facing it in a full-size truck is a good way to increase your confidence in dealing with it.

When You Want a Midsize Truck

Midsize trucks really do prove the point that bigger isn’t always better. Especially if you’re someone who likes to go off-road. The smaller size of midsize trucks makes it easier to maneuver your way around rocks, streams, and bumpy trails. This type of technical driving is really difficult in a full-size truck because the sheer size means you may have to make five to six-point turns, whereas the midsize truck is able to quickly flip around due to its shorter turning radius. Not only that, but midsize trucks tend to be lighter, which helps them maintain less weight on their suspension, and they feel less rough on even the roughest of roads. The lower power and lighter weight also mean that you’re not as likely to get stuck because your truck will sit on the surface of muddy or wet ground.

If you’re a commuter, then the midsize truck is the one you should consider. We talked earlier about how the midsize truck gets better fuel efficiency, and if you’re driving long distances to work, you want that increased gas mileage. The smaller size also makes the midsize truck easier to fit into cramped parking lots, and the stress of having to change lanes is reduced because you don’t need as much space to fit. These features also make the midsize truck a better truck for daily driving. If you’re planning on making your truck the only vehicle you drive, and you never need to tow much over 5,000 lbs, then a used midsize truck is probably better suited to your lifestyle than a full-size truck.

A black 2019 Toyota Tundra is shown driving near a used truck dealer.

Which Used Trucks Are Full-Size and Which Are Midsize?

So we know what’s the same, what’s different, and why you might want a full-size or midsize truck over the other. Now, what used trucks are classified as what? Models like the Toyota Tundra, Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado 1500, Ram 1500, and GMC Sierra 1500 are all classed as full-size trucks. This makes these the trucks you’ll want to be on the lookout for if you’re interested in finding yourself a new work truck or towing rig.

If you’re looking for a daily driver or off-roading truck, then you’ll want to keep your eyes open for pickups such as the Toyota Tacoma, Ford Ranger, Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, and Nissan Frontier. These trucks are classified as midsize, and that makes them great fits for those needs. There are also some less traditional used midsize models, like the Jeep Gladiator, which is built for off-roading, and the Honda Ridgeline, which is designed for commuters.

Get the Used Truck That’s Right for You!

If you’re wondering whether a midsize truck or full-size truck is better, well, at Mazda of Columbia, we feel like that is a bit of a trick question. Both trucks are ideally suited for specific things, and there’s no way to substitute one truck size for the other. So the truth is that a midsize truck or the full-size truck could be better, depending on what you need. Since we can’t really declare one type of truck better than the other unless we know what it’s being used for, we’ll call this a toss-up and let both trucks take home their respective trophies for being exactly what their drivers need.