Pickups are crucial for getting things done, and they’re hugely popular right now. But they’re also getting extremely expensive, with luxed-out, full-size trucks approaching $100,000. With luxury and high-performance trucks getting all the attention, it’s easy to forget about the mainstream models that make up the bulk of sales. To help you get a better feel for all the affordable trucks out there, here we’ve listed six great new pickups available today for around $40,000.
Out of all of the midsize pickups, the Ranger offers arguably the best powertrain. Under the hood of every single 2019 Ranger is a 2.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder putting out 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. Power is routed to either just the rear wheels or all four via an excellent 10-speed automatic transmission, which is the same unit used in the larger F-150, along with a variety of other Ford products. Ford handles options with the Ranger differently than other automakers do their midsize trucks, offering off-road features and appearance items as packages, rather than their own trim levels. This gives buyers a lot of choices when it comes to specifying a Ranger to their liking, not to mention a lot of options for building a $40,000 Ranger. We recommend a 4-wheel drive SuperCrew XLT model, which comes in at $36,135 and includes items like fog lights, 17-in aluminum wheels, and the Ford Co-Pilot 360 suite of active safety features, which includes blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, trailer sway control and automatic high beams. Checking the box for the 302A package adds convenient stuff like heated 8-way power adjustable driver and passenger seats, a sliding rear window, a locking rear differential, all-terrain tires, the sport appearance package, and some other bits that come in handy when the pavement ends. Overall, the Ranger is one of the most competitive midsize trucks on the market. Find a Ford Ranger for sale
Not only is it one of the most exciting new pickups, but the Jeep Gladiator is also one of the most exciting new vehicles to go on sale this year, period. Offering the off-road capability of a Wrangler with the practicality of a 5-foot pickup bed, the Gladiator is one of the most fun and functional vehicles on sale today. The base price of an entry-level Gladiator Sport is $35,040, which leaves some room for options for anyone hoping to pick one up for under $40,000. We recommend going with a Gladiator in the Sport S trim. Check the box for the 8-speed automatic transmission, and you’re looking at a $40,240 price tag once factoring in delivery fees. Alternatively, if you like the idea of rowing your own gears, sticking with the 6-speed manual leaves room in your budget for either the optional hardtop — which cuts down on wind noise and makes the Gladiator far more livable day-to-day — or the optional 7-in radio package, which gets you a bright, crisp touchscreen infotainment system running the best version of Jeep’s much-loved UConnect system along with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. No matter what you choose, remember that just like the Wrangler, every Gladiator comes with a removable roof, removable doors and a windshield that folds flat. Find a Jeep Gladiator for sale
The Titan’s calling card is its strong 5.6-liter V8 engine, which comes standard throughout the model line. Output is a healthy 390 hp and 394 lb-ft of torque. While acceleration is strong, the sounds the engine makes will make you think it’s even faster than it is. The Titan is also a competent tow vehicle, and comes rated to pull up to 9,660 pounds. While it isn’t the most popular full-size truck, the Titan represents a good value. While the price of a base-model Titan comes in at right around $40,000 once you factor in destination and handling costs, the fact that it’s a slow seller means that the Titan tends to be offered with some steep incentives on the hood that will help to bring that figure firmly into the $40,000 range, giving you a competent full-size truck at a great bargain. Brand new Titans are currently readily available on Autotrader for $40,000 or less, many of which offer 4WD and a few options. Find a Nissan Titan for sale
Buyers can get a great, off-road ready Toyota Tacoma for under $40,000. The Tacoma TRD Off-Road comes with Bilstein suspension, a locking rear differential, multi-terrain select and crawl control modes, and all-terrain tires. Additionally, the Tacoma TRD Off-Road comes with some great appearance bits as well, including black-and-silver painted 16-in wheels, fog lights and a TRD Off-Road decal on the rear corner of the bed. With a crew cab and automatic transmission, a well-equipped Tacoma TRD Off-Road comes in at well under $40,000. If you can stretch your budget by $750, go for the Premium Package, which gets you leather seats, automatic headlights, a sunroof, dual-zone climate control, a JBL sound system and navigation. Optioned this way, a Tacoma TRD Off-Road carries an MSRP of $40,750, and makes for a great truck ready to take on any road, paved or not.
That said, the Tacoma receives a mid-lifecycle update for the 2020 model year, so if you can wait a few months, you’ll be able to pick up a modernized Tacoma that includes features that are sorely missed on the 2019 model, like a power driver’s seat and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. Find a Toyota Tacoma for sale
As far as cheap pickups go, the Frontier can’t be beat. On sale with no major changes since the 2005 model year, the Frontier comes with a starting price of under $20,000, while a fully-loaded example doesn’t even exceed $40,000. Don’t say we didn’t warn you though — the Frontier is seriously old school, and lacks any of the modern infotainment and driver assistance technology that you’d expect from a new vehicle. Still, if you can do without the amenities and you’re looking for a proven, dependable, affordable midsize truck, the Frontier is a great choice. While the SV trim gets you enough of the basics, we like the off-road ready Pro-4X model, which comes with all-terrain tires, a Dana 44 rear axle, Bilstein suspension, a locking rear differential, hill descent control and skid plates that protect the oil pan, fuel tank and transfer case. A loaded Frontier Pro-4X comes in at just $37,475, making it the least expensive off-road-ready pickup on the market. Find a Nissan Frontier for sale
Like the Titan, the Tundra is offered with a potent V8 engine. In this case, the Tundra’s large V8 engine is technically optional, although it comes standard on most trim levels. The Tundra has been on the market largely unchanged for over a decade now and as a result, its no-frills nature makes it one of the better values in the full-size truck segment. We recommend buyers with a budget of $40,000 and considering a new Tundra look to an SR5 model with 4WD and the larger V8 engine, which comes in at $40,395. For your money, this gets you a 5.7-liter V8 making 381 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. Toyota offers the Tundra with a variety of options packages as well, allowing buyers to specify a truck that fits their needs. Things like heated power outside tow mirrors, running boards and parking sensors with blind spot monitors can all be added to the basic SR5 at a reasonable price. The Tundra also offers Toyota Safety Sense as standard, which comes with automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams and radar cruise control, all of which serve to make life on the road a little easier, not to mention a little safer. Find a Toyota Tundra for sale