It’s safe to say that the Ford F-150 has been around for quite awhile. With so many different configurations, engines and trim levels offered, finding the best used examples can seem like a daunting task. Below we’ve outlined what kind of F-150 buyers should expect to find with a budget of $30,000.
While it is possible to get a brand-new F-150 for under $30,000, options are limited to the base 2-wheel-drive XL model with either a 5.5- or 6.5-foot bed and your choice of a few different engines. While this vehicle would come with practically zero miles on the odometer and the full balance of its 3-year/36,000-mile basic and 5-year/60,000-mile warranty, we feel that there are better values out there on the used market at the $30,000 mark, especially for anyone craving more features than those offered by this humble work truck. Still, at the end of the day you CAN get a new F-150 for about $30,000.
At the $30,000 price point, however, we do recommend looking for a used current-generation F-150, which went on sale for the 2015 model year. For its 13th generation, the F-150 adopted a number of modernizing design features, the most notable of which is its aluminium construction, which allowed for a weight reduction of 700 pounds and better fuel economy by about 1 or 2 miles per gallon across the board when compared to the heavier 2014 model.
There are currently almost 4,700 2015-and-newer Ford F-150s on Autotrader for around $30,000.
The 2015-and-newer F-150 has been offered with four different engines since it was introduced. The base engine was a 3.5-liter naturally aspirated V6 from 2015 to 2017; for 2018 this became a 3.3-liter V6. Next is a 2.7-liter turbocharged V6, then a 5.0-liter V8, and at the top of the pile a 3.5-liter turbocharged V6. As the 3.5-liter turbo V6 is the most desirable engine, it won’t be as easy to find in a nicely appointed F-150 for $30,000, so we recommend looking for the still potent but slightly less desirable 5.0-liter V8. The 5.0-liter "Coyote" V8 makes 385 and 387 lb-ft of torque in 2015-2017 models while still earning a reasonable 17 mpg combined in four-wheel-drive configuration.
Right now there are around 1,100 V8-equipped F-150s for sale on Autotrader, 700 of which come with 4WD.
Configuration, Trim Level and Mileage
With so many different configurations of F-150 available, it’s hard to say any one combination is the right choice. It really comes down to the needs of the individual buyer and how they plan to use their truck. That said, we think buyers should seriously consider their need for 4WD. Crew cab model offers the most utility for the greatest number of people. The crew cab, referred to as the SuperCrew by Ford, is available with either the 5.5- or 6.5-foot bed and offers room for five passengers along with ample payload and towing capacity.
Around 400 of the 700 F-150s listed on Autotrader that meet the credentials outlined above, while still hovering around 50,000 miles, are the XLT trim level. That said, it’s possible to find upper trim levels — like the Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum — for around $30,000, but most examples will have closer to 100,000 miles at this price point. If you don’t live in a snowy climate or don’t go off-road, opting for a 2WD model can save some money or get you a truck with lower miles and better options compared to a 4×4 model.
Overall, there is no "best" Ford F-150 for $30,000, but rather a number of great options out there for a variety of different needs. For most people, we recommend a 2015 or 2016 F-150 Lariat 2WD. If you really want a truck with the lowest possible miles, look for an XLT 2WD. Both will provide years of service and are available in good condition for around $30,000.