It’s hard to remember now, but there was a time when the only high-riding vehicles you saw on the roads were heavy-duty off-road 4x4s, bought by people who needed them to do heavy-duty things off roads that needed four-wheel drive.
But then people decided that a high driving position and rugged looks were the sort of things they fancied in cars. Car makers noticed this and started making cars that looked and felt a lot like off-roaders but weren’t really designed to ever go off road. And, well, the rise of the SUV doesn’t really need charting from there.
Still, the development of the SUV class came to mind when I was at the launch of the latest Mitsubishi L200 pick-up. Being a pick-up, it’s effectively a commercial vehicle, designed to meet the tough needs of various tradespeople and businesses. But it seems to me that pick-ups are, increasingly, becoming a lifestyle choice.
They’re certainly an increasing sight on UK roads: according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), registrations of new trucks are up 3.2% year on year. And I’m sure the vast majority of those are still sold and used as commercial vehicles, and the key determining factors are things like load beds, payload, towing weights and running costs. You know, the sort of things that businesses need to consider.