These are the 10 best used trucks under $20,000

America’s love of trucks is incomparable. In 2021, the Ford F-series was the best-selling car for the 40th year in a row. Four other trucks from Chevrolet, GMC, Toyota and RAM joined the F Series in the top ten new car sales. The shortage of computer chips has made it difficult to meet demand for new car production, and it has had a trickle down used car market, where prices are higher than before the pandemic. But manufacturers like Ford prioritized production of the F-150 model and its rugged siblings, which means more trucks are entering the used car market.

New trucks are expensive and will take you back north forty grand. Still, there is hope for weekend warriors who prefer pickup trucks and are on a tight budget. You can buy a reliable and affordable used truck if you don’t have a fortune to blow on a new one. While you might miss out on the latest technical and safety features, you still get their timeless versatility and functionality. Here are the best used trucks under $20,000.

10 2014-2015 GMC Sierra 1500 ($17,300)

The GMC Sierra 1500 half-ton pickup has plenty to offer. It produces massive horsepower from a choice of one V6 or two V8s delivering up to 420 horsepower in the 6.2-litre V8. When properly equipped, the heavy-duty trims can tow up to 23,000 pounds. Inside, the cabin is stylish, with quality materials and spacious, comfortable seats.

It also has a nicely refined ride, and with $20k you can get a 2014-2015 pre-facelift model with a V8. You’ll have to spend more on an updated 2016 model, but you can settle for a lower-spec V6 that’s plenty powerful.

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9 2012 Honda Ridgeline ($17,000)

The Honda Ridgeline is a top contender for the best in compact pickup thanks to its smooth, car-like ride, composed performance, innovative charging features and class-leading reliability. It comes standard with four-wheel drive and delivers excellent gas mileage for a medium-sized truck. The cabin is also well equipped and has spacious rear seats and an electric sunroof. But you’ll have to make do with the low towing capacity for its class.

The Ridgeline holds its value well and pre-2013 used models can be picked up north of thirty grand. But you can get a 2012 model for as low as $17,000.

8 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 ($17,500)

Choosing a heavy-duty pickup comes down to personal preference as most of them are incredibly equipped with features and towing capabilities. The Silverado 2500HD is available in petrol, diesel and compressed natural gas engines, all of which produce enormous power.

You get up to 23,000 pounds of towing capacity with a well-equipped model with the 6.6-liter turbo diesel. Diesel-powered models in new condition charge a premium, but you can buy a 2013 gas-powered model in good condition for under $20k on eBay.

7 2013 Toyota Tacoma ($16,000)

Toyota builds its trucks with a rugged off-road vibe, and it shows in the Tundra’s little brother, the Tacoma. Owning a 2022 Toyota Tacoma SR5 will set you back over forty grand in upper TRD Pro trim. But the second-generation Tacoma built between 2005 and 2015 offers a great affordable choice, making for some of the Japanese manufacturer’s most reliable and powerful trucks.

You get a proven pick-up with benefits such as low fuel consumption and better cab quality than rivals, and the double cab comes with a generous rear seat. Expect to pay between $15k and $20k for a 2013 copy in good condition.

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6 2013 Ford F-250 ($19,000)

The Ford F-250 is a beast of a heavy machine that can tow up to 18,500 pounds while hauling 7,260 pounds in the bed. It comes standard with a 6.2-litre V8. The Super Duty trim adds a 6.7-liter turbo diesel V8 that delivers 440 horsepower and 860 lb-ft of torque, increasing towing capacity to 26,700 pounds.

You’ll struggle to find a better workhorse among the heavy hitters. While they are quite expensive, you can find a bargain for under $20k in the lower trims like this Lariat Crew Cab Short Bed example listed on eBay for $19,900.

5 2012-2015 Nissan Frontier SL ($16,000)

Nissan’s Frontier compact pickup often scores highly for its excellent reliability, great safety rating and powerful V6 engine. It is a capable off-road work truck with a smooth handling on paved roads. But you have to live with the everyday interior styling and lower than average fuel consumption.

Also, the V6 engine lets you tow up to 6,500 pounds. 2012-2015 examples on Edmunds get between $13k and $28k with an average of about $20k. The price is below average in the class and you can get a good deal depending on the location and condition of the vehicle.

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4 2012-2015 Ford F-150 ($16,000)

The fact that it has been America’s best-selling car for over four decades speaks volumes about the Ford F Series. The full size F-150 pickup truck is one of the best trucks you can buy for under $20,000. It offers competitive pull and pull rates while being a very capable machine for on and off road.

It comes with a suitably equipped interior with advanced electronics and infotainment systems. But you get a stiffer ride compared to rivals, and the truck’s large size doesn’t make it the truck for casual jobs like carrying small items. There are many model options, and prices for a clean 2012-2014 model range from $14k for the XL 2WD trim to over $30k for the SVT Raptor 4WD trim.

3 2013-2015 Ram 1500 ($18,000)

Ram updated their Ram 1500 full-size truck in 2013, giving it a new V6 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission. There are two V8 options, but the base V6 represents better value and fuel economy, while offering good acceleration. The cabin is luxurious with comfortable, supportive seats and a wide range of standard and optional features to outfit your ride.

For less than $20kyou can find a 2014 Ram 1500 in good condition, and you’ll get a powerful, hard-working truck.

2 2014-2018 Chevrolet Colorado ($16,000)

Not everyone needs a big truck like the F-150s or Ram1500s of the world. Some just need an efficient truck that can tow and tow from time to time, and the Chevy Colorado fits this bill. It comes standard with a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine that returns an impressive 26mph on the highway.

The Chevy Colorado is one of the newer vehicles on this list, fitting our $20k budget. Chevy introduced the second generation in 2011, and you can find a pre-owned 2018 facelift model on eBay for just $16,950.

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1 2016 GMC Canyon ($18,000)

The GMC Canyon is the smaller mid-sized brother of the Sierra 1500 full-size truck. It bears striking resemblance to its cousin Chevy Colorado, but fetches a higher price. In 2014, GMC introduced an all-new generation, and you can find a 2016 lower trim model for under $20k, like this one SL model worth $18,116 on Kelly Blue Book.

It delivers the most important return you need from a compact truck; reasonable size, an agile ride and good fuel economy. You also get powerful powertrain options, refined style and technical features. The only downside is that rivals like the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma are more established and reliable options in the mid-size pickup truck segment.