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What Is a Crew-Cab Truck?

09-gmc-sierra-1500-crew-cab-slt-2019-dynamic--exterior--off-road--profile--white.jpg 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 crew cab | Cars.com photo

A crew cab is a pickup truck with four, conventional front-opening doors and two rows of seats that can accommodate five or six people.

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Having four doors and a regular rear seat transforms pickups from being primarily work vehicles to multipurpose vehicles that can haul the family and cargo as well as tow a trailer at the same time.

The first crew cab was an International Harvester model that debuted in 1957, but four-door pickups were scarce and generally relegated to full-size, heavy-duty versions. For decades after, most pickups came with only two doors and seats for two or three.

Now, though, the crew cab is the most popular truck configuration, accounting for some three-quarters of U.S. pickup sales.

Extended cabs and two-door, regular-cab trucks share the remaining fractions of sales. They have largely become lower-cost options for fleet operators and the budget-conscious. Extended-cab models typically come with two rear-opening rear doors and folding jump seats or a small rear seat suited for kids. The space behind the front seats often is used more for cargo than for people.

Every pickup line available for 2020 comes in four-door, crew-cab styling, and the Honda Ridgeline and Jeep Gladiator come only with four doors.

50-gmc-sierra-1500-crew-cab-slt-2019-backseat--interior.jpg 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 crew cab | Cars.com photo

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Automakers like to brag that their crew cabs have “four full-size doors,” though that is stretching the truth in some cases. Some do, but the rear doors on others are considerably narrower than the front doors and put the squeeze on larger people. Ditto for the rear seats: Someone who is 6 feet or taller might feel like they are packed into a sardine can in the backseat of some crew cabs.

Another shortcoming of crew cabs is that, because they devote more space for occupant use, they might not be available with the longest cargo bed. For example, some pickup lines offer an 8-foot cargo bed on regular- and extended-cab models but only a 5- or 6-foot bed on crew cabs.

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