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Should You Buy a Truck, an SUV, or a Car? 10 Tips to Help You Decide

20/01/2017 Cars

Buying a new vehicle is difficult, because there are so many different factors that need to be taken into consideration. There are also many different types of vehicles to choose from.


Some people may prefer a sedan, while others would be better off driving a truck or SUV. Which vehicle type is best for you? Here are some things to evaluate before choosing.

1. The Terrain You Will Be Driving On


Some vehicles just aren’t built for uneven terrain. A sedan is great for level ground or light hills, but people living in more mountainous terrain should consider investing in a truck or SUV instead.


If you live along the Serengeti Plain or in Dar es Salaam, then a car should operate just fine. However, if you live near Mount Kilimanjaro, the Rubeho Mountains, or other rocky parts of Tanzania, then a small car probably won’t work well. You might be able to drive a car with an 8-cylinder engine, but you will probably be safer with a truck or SUV. A truck is probably necessary if you plan on driving to the very top of Mount Kilimanjaro, because many SUVs won’t have enough power.


You may also want to buy a truck or SUV if you plan on moving in the near future or going on a long trip, because you don’t know where your journeys will take you.

2. Fuel Efficiency


Last summer, the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA) announced that it was raising energy prices. Petrol prices have risen nearly 4.5% and are expected to increase even more sharply over the next year.


"To a large extent, increases in wholesale and retail local petroleum products prices have been caused by the continued increase of petroleum products prices in the world market,” the EWURA told Reuters.


Since fuel prices are rising, it’s prudent to invest in a fuel-efficient vehicle. In general, smaller cars receive better fuel efficiency. Of course, there are some trucks with decent fuel efficiency as well, such as the RAM 1500 HFE. However, the fuel efficiency is still about 20% lower than in most fuel-efficient cars, such as the Toyota Camry.

3. Passenger Space


If you plan on driving with a number of passengers, then you may want to drive an SUV. SUVs are ideal for families with three or more children. A sedan is appropriate for families with one or two children. If you are a single adult or have a spouse that isn’t too picky, then a pickup truck can be a decent option.


Before selecting a vehicle, it’s important to consider your future needs. Even if you and your spouse don’t have any children yet, you may in the near future. It’s a good idea to buy a sedan so you have enough space for them.


Of course, if you don’t have any children yet, you probably won’t have three or more by the time your vehicle dies, so an SUV may not be necessary. However, an SUV may be a good option for families with one or two children, if you are planning to have more children soon.

4. Work Needs


Many Tanzanians only use their vehicles to drive from one place to another. However, some people need vehicles that can help them do heavy work.


If you are a farmer, logger, or caravan, a truck may be a necessity.

5. Status Symbols


Tanzania is one of the fastest growing developing economies in the world. The World Bank expects the country to maintain strong economic growth over the next decade, especially as the economy shifts from a dependence on agriculture to tourism:


“The country has made great strides in economic and structural reforms, which helped aid the country’s relatively stable and high growth performance over the last decade (6.5% per annum). Gross domestic production (GDP) growth remained strong at 7% in 2015 due to increased public consumption together with burgeoning construction, communication, financial services and mining sectors. While tourism is the top foreign exchange earner, agriculture, a mainstay of about 70% of households, has continued to post slower growth.”


As Tanzania emerges as a growing economy, the class system is becoming more evident. Global Affairs Canada writes:


“In the Tanzanian context, classes are a very new and complex phenomenon, especially in urban areas. There are businessmen/women, workers and politicians. Workers are of three categories as well: Highly skilled government and private institution employees; middle class civil servants; and low paid workers. It should be noted that the Government was the main job provider for most Tanzanians until recent years. It is very hard to differentiate those classes because most of the Tanzania urbanites are living in unplanned settlements.”


People are still trying to discern the meaning of the new class system, but the differences are becoming clear. Higher class people are expected to dress and act differently. They may also be expected to drive certain vehicles.


If you are an upper class worker in a city like Dar es Salaam or Arusha, your peers may frown upon you driving a truck instead of a car or SUV.

6. Distance You Plan on Traveling


As mentioned above, fuel efficiency is an important factor to take into consideration. However, the fuel efficiency of your vehicle isn’t the only factor that affects your monthly fuel costs. You also need to consider how far you’ll be driving.


If you only plan on driving 10 kilometers to work every day, then you don’t need a very efficient vehicle. A large SUV or truck may be feasible, even if you can’t afford to spend a lot of money on fuel.

7. Road Handling


Due to their height and mass, trucks and SUVs can drive on tough terrain more easily than sedans. However, this comes at a price.


Larger vehicles also have a higher center of gravity, which causes them to jostle around more while moving on uneven ground. This means that you’ll need a stronger grip on your steering wheel, and may be more likely to suffer from motion sickness and experience a lot of unpleasant vibrations.


If you want to enjoy a smooth ride, then a small car is usually your best bet. An SUV should be your second choice.  A truck may be a great vehicle overall, but it won’t be the most comfortable and isn’t a good option for people with limited wrist and upper arm strength, especially if they will be navigating it through tough terrain.

8. Amount of Long Distance Traveling


If you are going to be making long trips on a fairly regular basis, then you’ll need to choose your vehicle very carefully. Unfortunately, choosing the “right” type of vehicle can be difficult, because there are a lot of things to think about. Here are some factors to keep in mind.


Will you be planning on sleeping in your vehicle? If you won’t find many inns during your trip, then you may need to sleep in the vehicle. While traveling through warmer regions, you may feel more comfortable sleeping in the bed of your truck, because you can lie down and spread out. On the other hand, an SUV may be a better option if you are driving in the mountains or other cold parts of the country, because you can stay warmer while sleeping in the cab.


Can you handle a bumpy ride? If you have back problems, epilepsy, or are prone to motion sickness, then you’ll probably be better off driving a vehicle that handles the road better. The ride will be smoother in a car or SUV than a truck. People with medical problems will prefer it for long distances.


Do you plan on driving through dangerous regions? You have to worry about lions and other dangerous creatures while traveling through Zanzibar and other parts of Eastern Tanzania. You will be safer in a truck, because it is higher up and sturdier.


As you can see, it can be difficult to choose the right vehicle. It depends on your own health, level of comfort, and where you plan on traveling.

9. Environmental Concerns


According to WWF Global, Tanzania is facing a number of environmental risks in the 21st century. The government is urging people to take steps to reduce pollution as much as possible.


If you can do so, it’s best to purchase a vehicle that doesn’t leave a large carbon footprint. Since sedans don’t consume as much fuel, it’s a good idea to purchase one over a larger vehicle, unless you absolutely need something bigger.

10. Ergonomics


You should also think about ergonomics. Larger vehicles are better suited for taller drivers, because they have to sit upright and there is a larger distance from the seat to the foot pedals. Make sure you find a vehicle that you will be comfortable in, especially if you’re planning on driving longer distances.


Whichever type of vehicle you choose to buy, check out the vehicle listings on Kupatana - you’re sure to find the right one for you.


Image: Flickr