The Detroit Free Press recently reported that the average price of a new pickup in the U.S. is now over $48,000. That’s quite a chunk of change. Fortunately, trucks are commonly expected to reach 200,000 miles, according to an iSeeCars survey. What that means for you is you can let depreciation work to your benefit and buy a solid used truck under $25k that has tons of miles left. Below are the best trucks for your money.
The Ford F-150 is the truck sales king for a reason. Actually, for several reasons. Rather than sticking with conservative engineering and resting on building the best-selling full-size truck since 1977, Ford is the innovator of the group. That means lighter aluminum engine blocks before the competition, way back in 1996. And more recently, a turbocharged six cylinder engine, and aluminum body components and cargo box. There’s something for everyone, with simple XL trim work trucks with a V6 on the low end, all the way up to Limited trim level with a 5.0-liter V8 and luxurious seating for six. The F-150’s options list could fill this page. With three cab styles, rear- or all-wheel drive, two gas V6s, a V8, and a diesel V6, three cargo box lengths, and seven trim levels, you can spec an F-150 that will do exactly what you need.
Bentley just launched their first SUV, but if you’re wondering what a Bentley truck would be like, look to the GMC Sierra Denali. Visually, the Denali trim adds a much larger chrome grille, more chrome highlights, and the base black trim pieces are painted body color. Then there’s the exclusive 20-inch wheels, side entry steps, and bed liner rounding out the Denali’s exterior. Inside, an 8-inch infotainment system with Intellilink telematics system seamlessly links everything from Bluetooth, GPS, USB, and AUX. Not that your rear passengers will care, as they have their own dedicated entertainment system. Engine choices are impressive too, with a muscle car worthy 6.2-liter gas V8, or a 6.6-liter diesel V8 built for towing. The leather, specially tuned shocks for ride comfort, and 4G LTE Wi-Fi will keep the work crew happy, or the kids quiet.
The “Taco” is an enthusiast favorite with a customer loyalty equivalent to the Jeep Wrangler or Porsche 911. The Toyota Tacoma earns this fandom by being a seriously well-built and honest pickup. This isn’t a luxury car or a muscle car, but the Tacoma holds its own when equipped with the 3.5-liter V6. With 278 horsepower and a quick shifting six-speed auto, you’ll be at home on the highways or desert trails. For a smaller truck, there are a lot of seating options. The Regular Cab has two doors and a bench seat for three, while the Access Cab also has two doors, but puts three small seats in back for your 1st grade nephews. The big one is the Double Cab, with four doors and seating for five adults. The Tacoma also fights depreciation better than most of the vehicles on the road. Buy one, drive it for five years, take good care of it, and you may be able to sell it for nearly what you paid.
The Chevy Colorado is a lot like Boulder, Colorado: smart, high-tech, and the right size. Those three qualities matter when you are going to be living with your buying decision for years. Sized below the current full-size class, the Colorado is more like a full-size from the 1990s. It can haul all the sheet rock you need, but it won’t be ponderous to maneuver in the Home Depot parking lot. The interior is comfortable, like it was lifted from a Malibu. The 3.6-liter V6 makes a class-leading 305 horsepower, while the 2.8-liter four cylinder diesel makes 181 horsepower, but an impressive 369 ft-lbs for maximum towing. Also impressive is the ability to row your own gears, as the Colorado still offers a six-speed manual transmission option for the base 2.5-liter four cylinder engine.
The first generation Nissan Titan was a cool looking full-size truck for cheap, and that’s about where the praise stopped. The second gen Titan, introduced in 2016, features a thoroughly modern interior and a selection of capable gas or diesel engines. The S is the base model with a black plastic grille, while the SV adds chrome trim and larger wheels, and the PRO-4X is the off-road package. Either way, under the hood is a 5.6-liter generating 390 horsepower, and the ability to tow over 9,000 lbs. The XD trim was the recent news maker though, with a heavy-duty chassis and optional 5.0-liter diesel V8, and towing ability over 12,000 lbs. The Titan is the value leader full-size truck because it offers everything you could need out of a pickup, for a lower average price than the competition.