Buying a new truck is fun, although given the sheer volume of options, it can also feel overwhelming. Here, we’ll share nine of the best used pickups available for anyone with a budget of around $20,000.
1. 2009-2014; 2015-Present Ford F-150
As the best-selling vehicle in America, the Ford F-150 is a great starting point for anyone looking for a used truck. With $20,000 to spend, buyers should look for either a 2009-to-2014 model with lower miles and in an upscale trim level, or a 2015-or-newer model with high mileage and in a lower trim level. Right now on Autotrader, there are well over 1,000 2015-and-newer F-150s listed for around $20,000 or less. Of these, many are XLT models with over 60,000 miles on the odometer. Buyers wanting 4-wheel drive have fewer options to choose from, with only around 300 current-gen F-150s listed for around $20k. Buyers wanting a higher trim level can look to the F-150’s previous generation, offered from 2009 to 2014. Right now on Autotrader, there are over 1,000 4WD equipped 09-14 F-150s listed in the upscale Lariat, King Ranch, Limited and Platinum trims. Find a Ford F-150 for sale
2. 2009-Present Nissan Frontier
The Frontier is one of the more modern pickups buyers can afford on a budget of around $20,000. A brand-new base model 2019 Frontier with 4WD and the smaller extended cab comes in at $20,035, making it the only new truck currently on sale in the $20,000 range. As the Frontier has carried on virtually unchanged since 2005, we recommend looking for a used model with more options, and relatively modern examples form the 2009-and-newer model years can easily be found for around $20,000, with tons to choose from on Autotrader. For this sum, buyers should expect to find a low mileage Frontier with 4WD, the practical 4-door crew cab, an automatic transmission and the 4.0-liter V6 engine, which puts out 261 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque. Right now on Autotrader, there are almost 1,000 Frontiers listed that would fit these credentials, over 100 of which are the off-road ready Pro-4X model.
3. 2012-2015 Toyota Tacoma
The Toyota Tacoma is known for its dependability and ruggedness, which means it holds its value quite well. Still, buyers browsing for used pickups can find one from the 2012-2015 model years for around $20,000 with relative ease, and there are currently almost 350 listed on Autotrader that would work for this budget, 250 of which come with 4WD. The 2012-2015 Tacoma was offered in single, extended and crew cab configurations, although the single-cab model was discontinued for 2015. Two engines were offered: a 159-hp 4-cylinder and a 236-hp V6, which we recommend. Two bed lengths were also offered: a 5-foot "short" bed and a 6-foot "long" bed. Buyers wanting to get off-road with their Tacoma should search for one with the TRD Off-Road package, which offers a locking rear differential and Bilstein suspension, among other things.
4. 2004-2015 Nissan Titan
As it isn’t as popular as the other full-size pickups on the market, the Nissan Titan is a great value, making it an excellent under-the-radar option for anyone looking for a capable truck on a budget. Introduced in 2004 and sold through 2015, the original Nissan Titan offered a potent 5.6-liter V8 engine making 317 hp and a towing capacity of up to 9,300 pounds. Right now on Autotrader, there are over 400 first-generation Titans listed for around $20,000 or less. Of these, around 300 come with 4WD and 4-door cab configurations. Sixty are even the fun Pro-4X trim, which offers a front skid plate, locking rear differential and a Bilstein suspension.
5. 2015-Present Chevrolet Colorado
The Colorado came back to the U.S. market for the 2015 model year and there are currently around 700 listed on Autotrader for around $20,000 or less. Three engines are available in the Colorado. At the low end is a 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder putting out a humble 200 hp and 191 lb-ft of torque. The more desirable gas engine is the optional 3.6-liter V6, which churns out a respectable 308 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. There’s also a unique 2.4-liter 4-cylinder diesel option, good for 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, allowing for a maximum towing capacity of up to 7,700 pounds when properly equipped. Don’t expect to find a diesel for under $20,000, but there are still plenty of great gas-powered Colorados to choose from on Autotrader while remaining within our budget.
6. 2006-2014 Honda Ridgeline
As its based on a front-wheel drive biased platform shared with the Honda Pilot and the Acura MDX, the Ridgeline is kind of the anti-pickup pickup. Thanks to its unique unibody, car like SUV design, the Ridgeline offers better driving dynamics and a nicer interior than the other midsize trucks on this list. It’s also got some cool party tricks as well, like a lockable trunk in the bed floor, an in-bed audio system and a tailgate that can be opened from the side. Right now on Autotrader, there are close to 600 first-generation 2006-2014 Ridgelines to choose from for around $20,000.
7. 2007-Present Toyota Tundra
The Tundra is another truck with great resale value, and combined with the fact that it isn’t as popular as alternatives from Ford, General Motors and Ram, buyers looking for a used Tundra for under $20,000 will have fewer options to choose from than the segment sales leaders. Luckily, the Tundra has been around virtually unchanged since the 2007 model year. Over these years, while a smaller 4.6-liter V8 was also available, the Tundra was available with a potent 5.7-liter V8 making 381 hp. Right now on Autotrader, there are over 1,000 2007-and-newer Tundras listed for around $20,000 or less, around 100 of which are updated models from the 2014 or newer model years.
8. 2007-2013 Sierra Denali
The primary way that the GMC Sierra differentiates itself from its more mainstream corporate twin, the Chevrolet Silverado, is through its offering of the upscale Denali trim level. Positioned above any of the Silverado’s trims, the Denali offers nicer exterior styling thanks to the addition of lots of chrome, along with nicer interior materials. The Denali can also be had with a high-performance 6.2-liter V8 putting out 403 hp and 417 lb-ft of torque. The Sierra Denali holds its value quite well, and there are only around 100 2007-2013 models listed on Autotrader for under $20,000, but if you can find one, the Sierra Denali makes for a great luxury truck with serious curb appeal.
9. 2013-2018 Ram 1500
While it offers similar capability to its competitors from Ford and GM, the Ram 1500 has long offered slightly elevated styling and road presence when compared to the other mainstream full size trucks on the market. The Ram 1500 also offers a variety of unique trim levels like the Night, Outdoorsman, Hydro Blue Sport and Harvest editions, which help to further differentiate it from the competition. We recommend targeting an updated 2013-or-newer Ram 1500, which introduced updated styling, available air suspension, push-button start and modernized versions of Chrysler’s UConnect infotainment system, which is generally pretty good. There are currently a ton to of these updated Ram 1500s to choose from on Autotrader for around $20,000, many of which come with a V8 engine and 4WD.