Full size Pick-Ups and Parking Spots

Joined
Nov 23, 2015
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This is just something I've been noticing the past few years, and I'm wondering if I'm alone in this.

It seems that in the past, even a decently large truck like say a 3/4 ton would fit easily into a normal sized spot in a parking lot. A dually might ride the lines or overhang a bit, but otherwise the body itself would stay inside the lines. Heck, I remember working with someone who had a 90s F350 that he parked in the back of the lot, but that was because it would be on the lines. Not too many folks drive a 1 ton as their daily transportation. The last 1/2 ton I had(briefly) was a 94 Silverado that I regret not keeping, but I could basically park it anywhere I could park a midsize or full size car without any trouble.

In 2021, it seems like that's no longer the case. For one thing, 3/4 tons seem a lot more common than they use to be. Not sure what that's the case other than 1/2 tons with full cabs, short beds, and seemingly targeted more to the daily driver crowd than as working trucks, although a lot of 3/4 tons even seem to fall into that category these days.

In any case, though, I often see 1/2 tons that can barely hold the lines in a spot. Get up to the 3/4 ton size and forget it! It's not just the width, though. If you put a full length bed behind a full cab, you end up with something that you either need to park in two spots(at least) or stick halfway into the aisle of the parking lot.

I don't think lots are getting any smaller, especially considering how bulky even compact cars are these days. Still, though, it seems it's mostly the pickups getting comically large. Even full size SUVs-thinking of things like Grand Cherokees, which are popular around here-don't seem to have a ton of trouble parking.

Am I imagining all of this, or have pickups just grown a lot before our eyes?
 
Joined
May 30, 2010
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North Carolina
I don't see a lot of difference in full size trucks. Parking my 03 avalanche next to newer 1/2 trucks, they seem about the same, so in 18 years not a lot.

Smaller trucks , yes. There are few smaller trucks, nothing like the small mazdas or chevy luv trucks, or even s-10, all bigger.
 
Joined
Oct 1, 2010
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Michigan
I park my one-ton extended-cab longbed out in the remote reaches of any parking lot. It's too long to get into one spot, and its turning circle is too large to get into and out of a parking spot without jockeying it back and forth. The long walk to the store's front door is part of my exercise program.
 

Astro14

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I swear that spots are smaller.

I can precisely (and I'm always precise) park my Mercedes in an average spot, and have an even 8 inches on each side. It’s a smaller car than my ‘77 Olds 98, which used to have much more room between the lines.

Perhaps there is a minimum numbers of spots required for certain sized buildings, and developers have achieved that by painting the lines just a hair closer together?
 
Joined
Feb 15, 2020
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817
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Florida
Yes, trucks have grown 35 - 40% over the last 20 years or so. Just google 1995 Chevy 1500 and compare that to today's trucks. Stopped at Costco with my wife who is 5'9" tall and the top of her head was even with the hood of a RAM truck. Sitting at a stop light, waiting to turn left, and the door handle to a Ford F-150 was at the top of the roof of our 19' Kia Sorento. Compensating for a lack of something, perhaps? Or maybe too much of one thing and not enough of another?
 
Joined
Mar 21, 2004
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Near the beach in Delaware
Try going into a parking garage with a Ford F-250. I park towards the end of rows in spaces open on both sides. Never try and squeeze between cars in a crowded parking lot.
 
Joined
Aug 10, 2018
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Virginia
I swear that spots are smaller.

I can precisely (and I'm always precise) park my Mercedes in an average spot, and have an even 8 inches on each side. It’s a smaller car than my ‘77 Olds 98, which used to have much more room between the lines.

Perhaps there is a minimum numbers of spots required for certain sized buildings, and developers have achieved that by painting the lines just a hair closer together?
Exactly - codes are gonna' say spots per sq ft interior space, land's expensive, then add 2 dozen HC spots (even at the gym?), and now mark off the best remaining spots for those who don't even get out of the car!
 
Joined
Dec 13, 2004
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3,320
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Chicago Area
I think it's a combination.

My Dakota is nowhere near 'full size' but I noticed after the city reworked the train station parking lot to fit more vehicles in, the truck was now sticking out past the lines marking the spot where it didn't before, and if the car across from me was still there preventing me from pulling through, it took some back-and-forth to get out of the spot without giving any surrounding cars a love-tap on my way out in the evening. Never happened in the old lot's configuration. I can't imagine trying to park a modern truck there.
 
Joined
May 30, 2010
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North Carolina
I compared a 2003 silverado hd 1500 crew with a 2021 1500 crew, both 4wd.

2003 length 237.2
Wheel base 153
Width 79.1
Height 76.1
Curb weight 5817


2021 length 231.7
Wheel base 147.5
Width 81.2
Height 78.4
Curb weight 5190


So they are about 2 inches wider and 2 inches taller. Not a gigantic difference. In fact the newer truck is not as long and shorter wheel base yet wider.

All this depends on bed length choices.

In fact a longer wheel base and wider body may be safer for towing and rollover.
 
Joined
Jun 4, 2005
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North Florida
Blame the Feds and CAFE standards. The CAFE standards starting in 2012 divide cars and trucks into different sizes, known as "footprints" (the area bounded by the four wheels)—and it set lower targets for larger vehicles. So this actually encourages manufacturers to make trucks bigger so they don't have to meet the higher fuel mileage standards.
 
Joined
Jun 8, 2016
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Texas, USA
1980 F-150 Crew Cab: 168.4” L x 79” W

2021 F-150 Crew Cab: 243.5” L x 83.6” W

I would've guessed the width to have grown more than that. They seem monstrous to me.
 
Joined
Aug 30, 2004
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CA
12AAEFD4-1EFF-4DC9-81F7-A257F7476D79.jpeg

I am inclined to agree with you. Trucks have grown considerably over the last decade. This is my 20 Ram 1500 Crew Cab short bed in a “typical parking garage.”
 
Joined
Sep 10, 2005
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5,449
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Massachusetts
I don't think much has changed. Full size trucks have always been about 79-80" wide +/- a bit.

The big three's new 3/4 or 1 ton's do sit high, but think back to the Ford High-Boy's or the 1978/79 Snowfighter.
What about the 2nd Gen 2500/3500 Dodge Ram's? They had about 2' of open fender well above the tire.
 
Joined
Jan 21, 2011
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2,327
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California
Parking spots are getting smaller... developers are maximizing site potential out to the very edge of what is acceptable or allowed by the zoning code. At the same time, all vehicles are getting larger, not just pickups. The current RAV4 (supposedly a "compact" SUV) is larger than my Dad's 1st gen Highlander. Domestic pickups have gone truly insane in size. I mean, the amount of real estate on the grill... well let's just agree they are massive. IMO they are hideous and I can't believe this is what the U.S. market is craving. Love my "little" 2nd gen Tacoma LOL.
 
Joined
Jun 8, 2016
Messages
2,691
Location
Texas, USA
Parking spots are getting smaller... developers are maximizing site potential out to the very edge of what is acceptable or allowed by the zoning code. At the same time, all vehicles are getting larger, not just pickups. The current RAV4 (supposedly a "compact" SUV) is larger than my Dad's 1st gen Highlander. Domestic pickups have gone truly insane in size. I mean, the amount of real estate on the grill... well let's just agree they are massive. IMO they are hideous and I can't believe this is what the U.S. market is craving. Love my "little" 2nd gen Tacoma LOL.
I'd have to say my favorite size truck would have to be the first-gen Tundra. Haven't looked at the dimensions, but the latest Tacoma seems about that size now.
 
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