In need of a new truck but on a bit of a budget? Fear not — we’re here to help. Here’s a list of 10 of the best used pickup trucks available for a budget of around $15,000. As always, it’s good practice to test drive a few examples for the sake of comparison before buying. Also, a pre-purchase inspection is a must before making any financial commitments, as it could save you from having to pay for repairs down the road, or at least provide some ammo when it comes to negotiating price.
2005-2015 Toyota Tacoma
As far as compact pickup trucks go, the Toyota Tacoma sets the standard. Known for its reliability and durability, the Tacoma first went on sale in 1995 and is now in its third generation. The second generation model that went on sale in 2005 is a great buy in the $15,000 range, and there are currently almost 1,500 for sale on Autotrader. Many of these are lesser 4-cylinder and 2-wheel drive models, though; filter to display only the more capable V6 and 4×4 models, and the list shrinks to around 350 — still quite a few to choose from. The Tacoma has historically held its value extremely well, so keep this in mind when you’re browsing. While this may mean spending a little more now, just know that you’ll be rewarded for years to come with that great Toyota reliability and sustained resale value.
2007-2013 Toyota Tundra
Toyota’s full size pickup offering, the Tundra, has been on sale in its current bodystyle since the 2007 model year. This means you can find an older model that still looks pretty similar to the new Tundras you’ll find at a Toyota dealership. Offered with both V6 and V8 powerplants and a number of bodystyle configurations, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a Tundra that meets your needs, and there are currently almost 600 2007-and-newer Tundras for sale on Autotrader for around $15,000 or less. While there isn’t a heavy-duty variant offered, the Tundra is capable of towing up to 10,800 lbs in the right configuration thanks to its powerful and proven 5.7-liter V8 engine that puts out 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque.
2009-2014 Ford F-150
The best-selling vehicle in America, you can’t go wrong with an F-150 as far as full-size trucks go. Twelfth-generation models, sold from 2009 to 2014, are currently a great value at around $15,000, with almost 2,700 currently listed for sale on Autotrader. Filter out all of the 2-wheel drive variants and you’re still left with almost 1,600 F-150s to choose from. Ford introduced its fuel efficient yet powerful EcoBoost V6 for the F-150 in 2011, and there are currently even 200 F-150s listed for sale with this modern engine. No matter which variant you choose, the Ford F-Series is a tried and tested workhorse of a truck that has been around since the 1940s.
2008-2010 Ford Super Duty
If you do a lot of towing and hauling, or if a basic F-150 simply will not do, a Ford F-250 or F-350 Super Duty pickup may just do the trick. A 2008-2010 model is the one to get at the $15,000 price point, and there are currently around 500 listed on Autotrader that fit the bill; close to 350 of which offer 4-wheel drive. The heavy-duty version of the F-150, the Super Duty splits the difference between personal truck and commercial vehicle quite nicely. Where it falls in between those two depends on how the truck is configured. Available with three engines over the 2008-2010 model years, Super Duty buyers can choose between a V8 or V10 gasoline engine, the larger of which is capable of towing up to 15,000 lbs when properly equipped. Opt for the 6.4-liter diesel V8, and that figure jumps to 16,000 lbs, while also offering improved fuel economy. Expect for the diesel to carry with it a heavier price premium though; only around 225 are listed for around $15,000.
It’s tough to go wrong with any heavy duty pickup, and buyers considering a Ford Super Duty truck should also consider a Chevrolet Silverado HD, or a Dodge/Ram Heavy Duty as well.
2007-2014 Chevrolet Silverado
Another tried and true American pickup truck, the Chevrolet Silverado is another great option for anyone looking for a full-size workhorse of a truck. Buyers with around $15,000 to spend should seek out a 2007-2014 model, known as the second generation model. There are currently almost 3,000 listed on Autotrader in a variety of configurations for $15,000 or less. Of the 3,000 listed, 1,600 are 4-wheel drive models, while almost 1,000 of those offer a 4-door crew-cab configuration, making for a great all around work-and-play vehicle, capable of hauling supplies to and from Home Depot and also hauling the family around on the weekend. Look for an example with either the 6.0-liter or 6.2-liter Vortec V8 to get the most bang for your buck.
2009-2016 Nissan Frontier
Long offered as a competitor to Toyota’s compact pickup, the Nissan Frontier has never quite reached the popularity of the Tacoma, making it a great value on the used market. Offered in its current generation since way back in 2005, buyers can find great value in a used Frontier, as they tend to depreciate at a faster rate than a comparable Tacoma. Right now, there are around 800 2005-and-newer Frontiers listed on Autotrader for around $15,000 or less … way less — many are offered for closer to $10,000. We recommend a facelifted 2009-or-newer model, 184 of which are listed with 4-wheel drive. Of that 184, a few are the off-road ready PRO-4X model, great for anyone with an appetite for adventure.
2009-2012 Ram 1500
Just as capable as competing full-size trucks from Ford and General Motors, the Ram 1500 has always offered an element of style above and beyond the products from its fellow American automakers. At the $15,000 price point, we recommend a Ram 1500 from the 2009 to 2012 model years. Right now, there are around 900 such examples listed on Autotrader. For the most capable option when it comes to towing and hauling both people and things, we recommend a 4-wheel drive model with either the 5.7-liter or 6.4-liter HEMI V8 and either an extended cab or crew cab configuration, almost 400 of which are listed.
A note to anyone searching Autotrader for a Ram pickup — remember that examples up to the 2010 model year will be branded as the "Dodge Ram," while 2011-and-newer models were sold as the "Ram 1500," as the Ram brand spun-off from Dodge for the 2011 model year.
2007-2012, 2015-2016 Chevrolet Colorado
A list of great used pickups wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the Chevrolet Colorado. Sold from 2004 to 2012, and then again starting in 2015, there are two ways to go when looking for a used Colorado for around $15,000. Buyers could look for a nicely equipped, low-mileage, 4-wheel drive 2007-2012 example. Still, there are currently only around 100 such models listed for sale on Autotrader. As GM’s quality wasn’t the best in the 2000s, paying $15,000 for any non-exemplary Colorado from this era is probably overpaying. At this price point, buyers could also look for a current generation Colorado — by most accounts a great compact truck with dramatically improved quality over that of its predecessor. But the current-gen Colorado hasn’t quite depreciated down to the $15,000 range, with fewer than 50 offered on Autotrader at this price point, most of which are entry-level 2-wheel drive models.
2009-2014 Honda Ridgeline
The Ridgline is less of an all-out truck and more of an SUV with a practical pickup bed instead of an enclosed rear cargo area. Given its unibody platform, similar to that of the Honda Pilot and Acura MDX SUVs, the Ridgeline offers SUV-like driving dynamics, and is arguably more comfortable and more livable than a body-on-frame truck in everyday driving scenarios. This makes it great for anyone who might find a truck bed convenient on occasion, but would prefer a vehicle that is efficient and easy to drive on a daily basis. The Ridgeline’s unibody, crossover SUV-like construction offers some additional advantages as well, like a trunk-esque storage compartment below the bed and a flat bed floor. Buyers looking for a Ridgeline in the $15,000 range will want to seek out a first-generation model, sold from 2006-2014, over 400 of which are listed on Autotrader for around $15,000. If you can afford to be patient, look for an updated 2009 or newer model, around 100 of which are offered that fit the bill.
2004-2015 Nissan Titan
Due to the Nissan brand not being heavily associated with full-size utility vehicles, the Titan has never been as heralded as the domestic full-size pickups and Toyota Tundra with which it competes. Therefore, used examples offer a good value when it comes to a half-ton truck. Offered somewhat unchanged from the 2004 to 2015 model years, buyers should easily be able to find a nicely equipped first gen-Titan for right around $15,000, and there are currently almost 700 listed on Autotrader that fit the bill. Buyers needing 4-wheel drive still have over 300 to choose from at this price point. The first-generation Titan was offered with one engine, a 5.6-liter V8 making 317 hp and 385 lb-ft of torque; good for a towing capacity of up to 9,300 lbs.