What's the Most Popular Car in Texas?

February 20, 2018

Chevrolet truck

Trick question! It’s not a car at all: It’s the Ford F-150 pickup truck.

That isn’t really a surprise. If you look at a map of the top-selling vehicle in every state, the Ford truck is King in 22 states, not just in Texas. All across the Midwest, southwest and southern U.S., people love their F-150s.

But in Texas, that love crosses over into obsession. It’s not just the F-150; Texans buy one out of every six full-size pickups sold in the U.S. Every year, there’s a Truck Rodeo event where journalists test pickups in real ranch conditions so they can anoint an official “Truck of Texas.” Why are trucks so popular in Texas? And will that ever change?

Why Are Trucks so Popular in Texas?

It’s no secret that Texans love trucks. Everything’s bigger in Texas and a Texan truck is the perfect example. Type the words “Why do Texans love” into Google, and the search engine helpfully suggests “trucks,” right after “Texas.” What do Texans love beside trucks and Texas? Football, guns, Dr. Pepper, Whataburger and the Treaty Oak (according to Google).

So why do Texans love their trucks? For rural residents and ranch owners, it just makes sense. A pickup can haul tools, trailers, hay, furniture, even friends. But “people in Texas will buy trucks even if they’re not going to haul anything heavier than raindrops,” Houston automotive writer Tim Spell says.

A truck is rough, it’s tough, and it looks appealing, even to city slickers. “A pickup is built for a rural lifestyle but can help remove you from an urban one,” says writer Paul Knight. Even though he lives in Austin, he can sit on the tailgate of his Chevrolet Silverado Texas Edition and have a few beers in the company of his dog.

What’s the deal with Texas-edition pickup trucks?

Texans buy so many pickup trucks that the big automakers actually make special trims, just for them.

Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Texas Edition: Car and Driver calls the Silverado “a fierce and compelling rival to the Ford F-150” — which means it’s a perfect Texas truck. Opt for the Texas Edition package and you’ll get some comfy extras: a powered driver’s seat that adjusts 10 different ways, remote start, and dual-zone automatic climate control.

Ford King Ranch F-150: The King Ranch is a real place: 825,000 acres in south Texas that’s home to cattle, quarter horses and wildlife. It lends its name to the luxury King Ranch trim on the F-150 (and larger Ford trucks), which features leather-trimmed, heated and cooled seats and a special two-bar chrome grille.

Ram 1500 Lone Star Edition: Ram re-introduced its Lone Star edition for 2019, with a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 or a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, a cush interior and chrome galore. The Lone Star Silver Edition adds a little Texas two-step with a star-logo grille and polished wheels. These special trucks are only for sale in Texas, however.

Pickup truck

Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition: While Toyota’s a Japanese automaker, it has been manufacturing all its full-size Tundra pickups in San Antonio since 2008. The 1794 edition gets its name from the founding date of the JLC Ranch, where Toyota now operates its factory. Inside this very Texan Tundra, you’ll find cowhide accents aplenty; under the hood, there’s a 5.7L V8.

Does Everyone in Texas Drive a Pickup Truck?

By now, you probably picture every Texan, from the youngest ranch hand to 96-year-old church ladies, tooling around in giant pickups. That’s not the case! If you look at all 21-plus million vehicles registered in Texas, almost 68 percent of them are cars and SUVs. Pickup trucks make up just 26 percent of the vehicles on the Texas roads. That means that while the F-150 might be the single best-selling vehicle, the most popular cars in Texas actually are… cars.

In 2016, Ford cars were the top sellers in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, followed by Honda and Toyota cars. Ford trucks, as a group, ranked sixth in popularity.

As beloved as trucks are in Texas, they’re not right for everyone. They’re not known for fuel efficiency. The most efficient full-size pickup is the 2WD Ram 1500, which gets a combined 23 miles per gallon. The worst are the 4WD 1500 and Tundra, which only get 14 mpg.

They’re expensive, too. The base price for an F-150 is around $27,000. The King Ranch model is nearly twice that, coming in at $52,000. And because trucks are big, expensive vehicles, they’re often more expensive to insure.

Whether you drive a Ford Fiesta or a Ram 1500, Compare.com can help you find the cheapest Texas car insurance quotes. It’s so easy to do: Just enter some basic info, pick the level of coverage you want, and we’ll give you free, personalized quotes from several companies. That way, you know you’re getting the best deal on Texas car insurance, wherever you live. Try it to see how much cash you could save!

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