If you’re the type of person who’s always doing projects around the house, but use your pickup truck as the primary mode of transportation for your family, it can be a difficult thing to find a vehicle that adequately suits both needs. Luckily for you, you’re just the kind of person we’ve been thinking of. Below we’ve compiled our list of top picks for family pickup under $40,000.

2012 Toyota Tacoma               

  • In government crash testing, the 2012 Tacoma performed rather well across the board, earning an overall safety rating of four (out of a possible five) stars, including five stars in side impact testing.
  • If you’re someone who doesn’t plan on hauling or towing heavy loads or are trying to save some coin at the end of purchase, the 2.7-liter four-cylinder option will provide everything you need from this truck. However, the Tacoma’s four-cylinder engine isn’t appreciably more economical at the fuel pump, and of course doesn’t offer the same level of physical aptitude compared to the V6.
  • While one wouldn’t go as far as to call the Tacoma’s interior “fancy,” the room it provides for its passengers ranks as the nicest in its segment.
  • When it was new, the 2012 Toyota Tacoma was named U.S. News & World Report’s Best Compact Pickup Truck.

2014 GMC Sierra 1500

  • Depending on the trim, the Sierra 1500 averages between 17 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. On the 4.3-liter V6 models with rear-wheel drive, GMC estimates the Sierra 1500 to get a combined 20 mpg between city and freeway driving.  Even the high-powered 6.2-liter V8 version gets respectable fuel economy at a combined 17 mpg.
  • With a beefed up base V6 compared to earlier models, the 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 is better equipped to provide the heavy lifting for demanding owners. Standard on all but the SLT trim is a 4.3-liter V6 with 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque.  The SLT comes with a 5.3-liter V8 engine capable of towing up to 11,400 pounds.
  • An improved interior also makes GMC’s 2014 edition of the Sierra 1500 a strong option for weekend busy bodies with families, as the truck serves a dual purpose as a quality family shuttle.
  • Per Edmunds: “A wide range of body styles, an overhauled interior and a lineup of powerful and fuel-efficient engines make the 2014 GMC Sierra a solid pick in the full-size pickup class.”

2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

  • Much like the Sierra 1500, the Chevy Silverado offers impressive fuel economy for a truck known for its muscle. With a handful of trim options available, those eying the Silverado can reasonably expect it to average between 18 mpg city and 24 mpg highway.
  • The 2014 Chevy Silverado offers plenty of power with its brawny 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter engines, but the biggest improvement with this model is the upgraded 4.3-liter V6 that cranks out 285 horsepower, 305 lb-ft of torque and can tow up 7,200 pounds.
  • In government crash tests, the Silverado was a top performer for safety, earning five stars for both frontal-impact safety and total side-impact safety.
  • Per Cars.com: “Chevrolet overhauled its half-ton Silverado for the 2014 model year, bringing with it a green punch thanks to the impressive EPA ratings for both its six- and eight-cylinder models.”

2013 Ram Pickup 1500

  • Standard on the SLT, the 3.6-liter V6 engine in the Ram Pickup 1500 is stronger and more efficient than previous Ram models. Boasting 17 mpg city/25 mpg hwy, the V6 generates 305 horses and 269 lb-ft of torque, while the high-performing 5.7-liter V8 churns out 395 horsepower and 407 lb-ft of torque with a towing capacity of 10,450 pounds.
  • Considering the Ram Pickup’s wide range of impressive attributes, the sharp handling and smooth ride of 2013 edition may be the most noteworthy. Astonishingly quiet and composed thanks to its coil-spring rear suspension, the Ram is well suited for long-distance drives.
  • The Ram Pickup’s interior is among the highest-rated in its class, with comfortable yet supportive seating with ample legroom for passengers along with luxurious wood-grain trim and leather upholstery.
  • Per Edmunds: “With a winning combination of strong powertrains, a smooth ride and a well-trimmed cabin, the 2013 Ram 1500 is our top pick in the full-size pickup truck segment.”

2014 Toyota Tundra

  • Compared to previous models, the 2014 edition of the Toyota Tundra has interior materials that are of higher quality in appearance and feel. The back seat also provides ample legroom and headroom for bussing kids of all ages to and fro. For those behind the wheel, the audio and climate buttons and dials have been moved in closer for the driver’s comfort.
  • Though it came up short in taking home a Top Safety Pick award, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) did give the Tundra its highest rating of “Good” in overall crash testing. The Tundra also held its own when it came to braking, coming to a stop from 60 mph in 130 feet, which is about par for the course in this segment.
  • For individuals who are looking to use their pickup as a true multi-purpose vehicle, the Tundra comes with a 5.7-liter V8 engine that’s capable of generating 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque and comes standard on all four-wheel drive regular cabs. The downside, however, is that the Tundra gets only 15 mpg combined (13 mpg city/17 mpg highway).
  • Per Edmunds: “The 2014 Toyota Tundra remains a capable workhorse among full-size pickups, but even with this year’s updates, it lags behind newer rivals in fuel efficiency and ride comfort.”