why do so many dudes who have little to no need to haul anything own a pickup?
As someone who owned a Suburban for years even though it was completely unnecessary, it's about comfort and ride height. Crew cab trucks with short beds are basically the modern replacement for the big family sedans of yore. They aren't for hauling.
I don't get the pickup unless you have a specific need for it, but a nice crossover/SUV makes a ton of sense for many people. Have a family? A bigger dog? Drive in crappy weather?** Want to be able to buy appliances without worrying about delivery price/timing? Perfect!
**Front-wheel standard on crossovers is the dumbest thing the automotive industry is currently doing. AWD should be standard.
Hence the reason I'll stick with my Japanese and German cars.
Well la dee freakin' da
A heck of a sacrifice for 18 MPG.
True enough for pickups, but midsize crossovers will normally have you in the mid-20s.