Trucks are all-around capable vehicles, able to do all kinds of work, survive off-road, and still meet your daily driver needs. That’s probably why trucks retain their resale value more than any other class of vehicle. While the Ford F-150 is the biggest seller, there are tons of them on the used market, meaning it doesn’t hold its resale value as well as other trucks. If you’re looking for the best of the used truck market, here are the top five trucks that fight depreciation and hold onto their value.
Toyota reliability, plus real off-road cred, makes for a resale value winner. Automotive research websites like iSeeCars, KBB, and Consumer Reports all place the Tacoma as the no. 1 for truck resale value. There’s several reasons why. The 2016 model year introduced the third generation with advanced tech, updated interior, and powertrain choices. Toyota’s Safety Sense suite of active safety features is now standard on every trim level. The four cylinder is efficient, but the 3.5-liter V6 makes 278 horsepower matched with a six-speed auto or manual, and can handle towing 6,200 lbs. The TRD Pro package adds a unique grille, protective engine skidplate, air intake, exhaust, fog lights, and specially tuned shocks. All that said, reviewers and owners agree that the Tacoma is like a pair of steel toe boots; impressively tough and ready for any job, but not the ideal everyday driver’s choice. However, resale is so strong, a Tacoma owner forum has examples of owners selling a few years later for what they paid. On the SUV side, the only thing comparable is the Jeep Wrangler.
Lower volume than say F-150, it’s harder to find a Tundra owner willing to sell. Taking a closer look, it’s easy to see why. The crew cab delivers a class-leading interior volume, and the off-road and towing packages deliver real capability. The Tundra’s been V8-only since 2015, with a 4.6-liter and 5.7-liter V8 providing 310 and 381 horsepower, respectively. That means it’s also the thirstiest on this list, with the smaller V8 hitting 19 MPG highway. Tech is solid though, with configurable gauge displays, USB ports, and wireless phone charging. You can get active safety systems in Toyota Safety Sense, and there’s the 1794 Edition for those wanting to compete with the Platinum or Denali pickups with Lexus levels of luxury. Like the Taco above, the Tundra offers a TRD Pro package with beefy suspension, skidplate, BBS wheels, and revised exterior. When properly optioned, a Tundra can pull 10,200 lbs. If it’s good enough to tow the Space Shuttle Endeavour, it’s good enough for your boat.
The current generation Frontier first hit the streets back when the third Harry Potter film was in theaters and Ashlee Simpson was on the radio. That feels like a long time ago and seems like it might be a negative for the Frontier, but you actually get a solid resale value because no one can tell the old truck from a brand new one. The Frontier is the old school work truck of the group, and provides a lot of value for the money. The base four cylinder and five-speed manual are efficient, but under-powered. The V6 is better, and the optional six-speed manual makes this a fun truck. The most common configuration, V6 and five-speed auto combination, plus the towing package, are good for 6,700 pounds. Taking a test drive, you’ll notice the handling and steering feel is above average. The soft suspension makes for a comfortable ride over bad roads or off-road adventures. Frontier owners do complain of a mushy brake pedal feel, but say it’s easily fixed with a $50 stainless steel brake line upgrade.
The Silverado and GMC Sierra are essentially the same truck underneath the badges, but the Chevy edges out GMC Sierra with a 0.2% higher resale value. iSeeCars says this is due to high owner loyalty and tons of options. A turbo four cylinder is new, and eyebrow raising for this class. It does seem to work though, earning in the 20s for city and highway MPG. You have a choice of V8s, with the smaller 5.3-liter getting about 3 MPG more, while the larger 6.2-liter delivers an extra 65 horsepower, so get the one you need. Unlike the midsize class, autos are the standard transmissions here, Silverado included. Diesel is an option though, raising the towing capacity by 25% to a massive 15,000 lbs. Silverado also has best-in-class cargo capacity, able to take 2,500 lbs in the bed. Hybrid is also an option, scoring low/mid-20s in city and highway MPG. The third generation 2014 to 2018 trucks are the best value at the moment, as they introduced new levels of comfort, tech, and safety features, and have depreciated due to the new 2019+ generation, but are still low mileage nearly-new trucks.
The Ram is known for slow evolutionary changes to its styling, plus big useful engines, making this truck a resale winner. The third generation trucks of 15 years ago look similar to the fourth generation Ram of 2010, while the 2019+ trucks are aerodynamic, but still easily recognizable as a Ram. The 2013 model year and beyond is the place to shop, as the trucks received freshened styling and improved drivetrains. The award winning 3.6-liter V6 delivers solid gas mileage and horsepower, while the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 gained power and two additional gears in the automatic transmission. Like Tundra and Silverado, it’s auto-only for Ram 1500, but you can get a stick in the Ram 2500. Tow rating varies depending on equipment like engine, axle ratio, and wheels, but a 1500 can tow between 5,700 and 10,500 lbs, and the bed can take nearly 2,000 lbs. While the 1500’s numbers lag the Silverado a bit, the Ram 2500 surpasses the Silverado HD, so pay attention to the numbers if you’re looking for a work truck. Other cool stuff includes the RamBox cargo management integrated into the bed and a unique coil spring suspension. This is the comfy cruiser of the bunch, with a surprising ride quality for the heavy duty capability.