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What's the Best Ford F-150 You Can Get for $20,000?

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author photo by Chris O'Neill July 2018

The Ford F-150 is the most popular vehicle in America. In the past five years alone, there have been over four million new Ford F-150s sold. Needless to say, there are a lot of these trucks out there, and choosing a used one can be challenging with so many different model years, engines and configurations available. Below, we've outlined some attributes buyers should look for from a used F-150 for around $20,000.

Model Years

With $20,000 to spend, the best value here is the twelfth-generation F-150, sold from the 2009-2014 model years. The twelfth-gen model was the last F-150 to offer steel construction; for the thirteenth generation, the F-150 adopted a number of aluminum components. As usual, a variety of trim levels were offered, from the work-truck spec XL model to luxury trims like the Harley Davidson, King Ranch and Platinum. The game-changing SVT Raptor model was introduced for 2010, though you'll be hard-pressed to find one for under $20,000 without major mechanical issues, previous accident history or flood damage. If you're on a strict budget, the Raptors you'll find are going to need work before you can reliably enjoy them.

There are currently close to 4,000 2009–2014 Ford F-150s for sale on Autotrader for around $20,000.

Engine

The twelfth-generation F-150 was available with a variety of engines, from a so-so 248-horsepower 4.6-liter V8 offered only in 2009 and 2010, to the potent 6.2-liter V8 making 411 hp and 434 lb-ft of torque, offered in high-end models from 2010 to 2014. Worth noting is that an all-new and improved engine lineup was introduced for 2011, the crown jewel of which was Ford's excellent turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. While the EcoBoost V6 models offer respectable fuel economy, we recommend the 5.0-liter "Coyote" V8 for buyers who want to stay under $20,000, as this engine offers similar power to the EcoBoost V6, but with a slight decrease in fuel economy. Therefore, it doesn't command the price premium of the EcoBoost.

Of the 4,000 2009–2014 F-150s for sale on Autotrader for around $20,000, around 1,500 are 2011–2014 models employing either the 5.0- or 6.2-liter V8 engine.

Configuration & Trim Level

This is where the buyer's individual needs will matter more than anything we can recommend. Worth noting is that while lower trim levels offer single, extended and crew-cab configurations, the smaller cab sizes start to drop off as you move into higher trim levels, leaving only 4-door crew cab options when it comes to upper trim levels.

Four-wheel drive models command a higher premium than 2-wheel drive.

In terms of overall utility, it's hard to argue against a V8-powered, 4-wheel-drive-equipped Crew Cab model. In this configuration and with the 5.0-liter V-8, the F-150 offers room for five people to ride along comfortably, a 1,700 lb payload capacity and a towing capacity of up to 9,300 lbs, sufficient for towing just about anything.

Configured this way, there are over 200 F-150s to choose from on Autotrader, most of which are the XLT trim level, while still honoring our target price of $20,000. If you're okay with higher mileage, nicer, more luxurious trim levels become available.

Conclusions

With so many different variables when it comes to the Ford F-150, it's impossible to recommend one particular configuration as the end-all-be-all solution, as different buyers have different needs. That said, with $20,000 to spend, buyers should expect to find a 2011–2014 V8-powered F-150 XLT crew cab with 4-wheel drive and around 75,000 miles. This configuration should be seen as the bare-minimum requirement, though. With a little patience and persistent searching, nicer trim levels, better engines and lower mileage examples will likely present themselves at the $20,000 price point, as well.

Find a Ford F-150 for sale

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2011 Ford F150 Lariat
Used 2011 Ford F150
$14,600
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2011 Ford F150 Lariat
Used 2011 Ford F150
$21,995
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2011 Ford F150 4x4 SuperCrew Lariat
Used 2011 Ford F150
$19,638
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2011 Ford F150 4x4 SuperCrew
Used 2011 Ford F150
$17,253
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
What's the Best Ford F-150 You Can Get for $20,000? - Autotrader