Are you planning to buy a used truck and you want to learn what is the best truck under 20000? Well, if that is the case, then you are at the right place because, in this article, there will be quite a bit to cover on this topic where we are going to learn all about the coolest models that you can get for this price.
Doing your own research before you buy a used car or truck should be one of your top priorities. And we are not saying this just like that. Buying a used vehicle has never been more difficult. And there are a couple of reasons behind this.
First, is the model, there are not a lot of models in this segment, to be honest. But there are a ton of different generations of each truck. Of the F-150, there is a total of fourteen generations.
Which is an absolutely crazy number if you are asking me. So, you need to learn what truck of this lineup fits your budget of $20,000. But you shouldn’t worry because we are going to help you out.
First, we are going to learn what is a pickup and the common types of trucks. Then we will cover the reasons why to get the best truck under 20000 and then we will move on to our list of the best truck under 20000. We will discuss some of their specs and main features. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.
What Is A Pickup Truck And Its Many Types
Now let’s take a look at what is a pickup truck and learn more about its features. A lot of people have similar problems or are completely new when it comes to vehicles like this and we think that we need to further elaborate before we dive into the best truck under 20000 list. So, let’s cover this quickly before we move on.
So, what is a pickup truck? Well, as you probably know, people often work, whether this is a business, or they work on their farm. They need a vehicle to carry the load. So, since the early inception of cars, there was a need for something that can ease some of the tasks. And this is how the pickup truck was born.
The first was the F-100, this truck originated in the 1940s. Ford saw a need for a vehicle of this type and they created the F-Series of trucks. And as of today, there are more than 40 million trucks of this series produced. Which is absolutely crazy.
But if you didn’t know, a pickup up truck is a light-duty truck. A light-duty truck is a vehicle whose gross vehicle weight does not exceed 8,500 lbs. And has a payload capacity of 4,000 lbs.
In this segment of light-duty pickup trucks, there are three different sub-types. The first, sub-type is the compact class. These are unibody trucks that are built on car platforms. Back in the day were known as utility coupes. Like the El Camino and Ranchero – the latter being Ford’s version of the El Camino.
Next are the mid-size trucks, these trucks are basically somewhere in between. And lastly, there are the full-size trucks. Like the RAM 1500, F-150, and Chevy Silverado. But which is the best truck under 20000? More in a bit.
Reasons To Get The Best Truck Under 20000
Now as we cleared the basics out of our way and learned more about light-duty pickup trucks in general and the different types. We can slowly move on and learn more about the different reasons why you should get a pickup truck for yourself. And trust me, there are a lot of reasons why you should get a pickup.
The biggest reason why to buy is the practicality. Let’s say that you run a business, or you have a farm and you need to move stuff around. Having a pickup truck will make your life really easy. A pickup truck, especially a full-size truck can do wonders for you.
Not to mention that trucks are also spacious inside as well. It is the same thing as you have a proper full-size SUV like the Escalade. Especially if you go for the Super Crew cab with 4 doors and extra space in the rear. So, practicality when it comes to pickup trucks is pretty much their main selling point.
Another good selling point of pickup trucks is safety. Pickup trucks are a lot safer in comparison to smaller cars. Especially in recent years when they were really upgraded in this aspect. Not to mention that they sit really high and you basically can see everything in front of you. So, visibility is also a really important factor and a good selling point for these trucks.
Also, pickup trucks hold their value really well. They don’t lose the sentiment like sedans or SUVs. They lose very little value in the first five to ten years. But what is the best truck under 20000? More on that, we will cover it in a bit.
Reasons To Avoid Getting The Best Truck Under 20000
So, we covered the reasons why to get the best truck under 20000. Now let’s take a look at why not get the best truck under 20000. Why do we think that this is necessary? Well, a lot of people are unsure whether they need a truck or don’t need one. So, let’s elaborate on this quickly before we dive into our list.
So, why you shouldn’t get a truck? Well, the first thing is the size. If you haven’t driven a truck previously, you should consider the size of these cars.
Roads in America are the widest in the world and you have parking everywhere. But the main problem is parking at home. You probably don’t want to leave your truck on the street or on the driveway.
So, finding a good parking space can be a challenge, considering that most garages are planned to store a regular car and not a 230+ inch long behemoth. So, you should consider this.
Another thing that you need to consider is fuel economy. The fuel economy of these types of vehicles is not the best. Primarily because their drag coefficient is really bad. The second reason why this is the case is that they weigh quite a lot compared to cars.
All these factors make them deliver really poor fuel economy to the table. And if you want good fuel efficiency, then you might need something else. But what is the best truck under 20000? Let’s find out more about that next when we will cover our list of the best truck under 20000.
Best Truck Under 20000
Now let’s take a look at the best truck under 20000 list. What is worth noting is that we tailored this list specifically for you.
On the list, there are only trucks that can be found for up to $20,000 from the most popular truck makers in the US. So, we really hope that you will enjoy it. Now let’s discuss the models.
Best Truck Under 20000 #1: Ford F-150 (2009 – 2015)
Now let’s discuss the first model on our best truck under 20000 list. And this is the Ford F-150, which is a full-size truck. We are primarily focused on the models built between 2009 and 2014.
Even though, as we noted on Autotrader, there are also some models from 2015, which is the thirteenth generation that is also available for less than $20,000.
Nevertheless, the important thing about these trucks is that you can find them in a variety of different configurations. There is the regular cab, which is a standard two-door model. There is an extended cab, and also a crew cab. The biggest of all of the models.
The truck bed and the wheelbase also differentiate from one model to another. So, the smallest wheelbase is 125.8 inches, while the longest is 163.2 inches. While the overall length is between 125.8 inches and 163.2 inches.
There are also a big variety of engines used in the F-150. There are the old-school 4.6L and 5.4L engines. But in the later model years, there are also the 3.5L EcoBoost and the 5.0L V8 Coyote. We honestly recommend either going for the 4.6L or the 5.0L Coyote. The latter qualifies as among the most reliable F150 engine.
In terms of transmissions, there is the 4-speed and 6-speed automatics on models until 2014. While on later models, there is even a 10-speed automatic.
What is good about this price point of 20k, is that you can get some well-optioned models if you go for an older vehicle. Or get a newer model with fewer options. The decision is up to you. Now let’s move on to the next on our best truck under 20000 list.
For dependability’s sake, you should also be keenly aware of the best model year of the F150, in addition to what year of the F150 to avoid. As far as the Ford F-150 reliability by year, some of them can be issue-prone. On a wider scale, there are the Ford F150 5.0 engine problems.
Elsewhere, you can study our guides on the 2005 Ford F150 problems, the 2013 Ford F150 problems, and the 2010 F150 5.4 engine issues to get a better idea. Regardless, you needn’t usually have to worry too much about the Ford F150 life expectancy by miles.
Best Truck Under 20000 #2: Chevy Silverado & GMC Sierra (2014 – 2015)
Now let’s cover something really interesting on our best truck under 20000 list. And this is the Chevy Silverado. This model is known as the GMC Sierra as well. So, if you are looking for Chevy, the model is the 3rd gen.
While if you are looking for a GMC Sierra, the model is the 4th generation. But genuinely they are the same truck. We are specifically interested in model years from 2014 to 2015. Why These model years?
Well, mainly because 2014 and 2015 fit our budget of $20,000. And for this amount of money, you can get a lot.
There is a variety of different cabs to choose from. Like 2-door Regular Cab, Double Cab, and the biggest Crew Cab. Also, there are a variety of beds to choose from as well.
The wheelbase of the model starts at 119 inches and the maximum wheelbase is 167 inches. While the length starts from 205.6 inches and ends up at 258.3 inches depending on the model and your preference.
Also, there are a variety of engines to choose from, namely the 5.3L, 6.0L, and 6.2L. We honestly, in this aspect recommend going for either the 5.3L or 6.0L for the best towing performance.
And having mentioned its engines, some wonder about how reliable is the 5.3 liter Chevy engine. Well, our guides on the Chevy 5.3 engine problem, in addition to the Vortec 6.0 engine (and the catalog of Chevy 6.0 engine problems), as well as the technically-related GMC 6.2 engine problems.
In terms of transmissions, there are a few options. There is the 6-speed 6L80 (for more insight, check out our guide on the 6L80 transmission life expectancy) and also the 8-speed 8L90. And there are a lot of trim packages. With the highest trim being the Denali. So, if you can get a Denali for a good deal. Then you are good to go. Now let’s continue our list of the best truck under 20000.
If you’re looking at getting a used Silverado, you shouldn’t be complacent about the Chevy Silverado 1500 model years to avoid. Some of them are known for their litany of Chevy Silverado transmission problems, not to mention issues such as the ‘engine power reduced’ problem on the Chevy Silverado (similar to the engine malfunction reduced power issue on the Nissan Altima).
Best Truck Under 20000 #3: RAM 1500 (2014 – 2016)
Now let’s cover the third most popular truck in the US and probably the best truck under 20000. And this is the RAM 1500. So, why the RAM 1500?
Well, the RAM brand as you probably know previously was called Dodge RAM, and since 2011 it is only RAM. And specifically for our case, we are interested in the models built between 2014 and 2016. This is the case because only these trucks fit our budget of $20,000. So, what do you get for this amount of money?
Well, the model comes with a variety of cabs. Regular Cab, Crew Cab, and Quad Cab. The wheelbase starts from 197 inches and goes to 173 inches. Which is the longest wheelbase of all the trucks that we listed. Also, the length varies from 209 inches and can go up to 287 inches. Also, the longest of any other truck.
What is good about this truck is that it includes a variety of powerful engines. The base engine is the 3.6L Pentastar V6, which we don’t quite recommend for towing. If you want to tow you need either the 5.7L V8 or the 6.4L V8.
In terms of transmissions, there is also a variety of transmissions to choose from. There is a 4-speed, 5-speed, 6-speed, and even 8-speed automatics. And all this for less than $20,000. So, this model is the way to go if you want a truck in this best truck under 2000 price range.
You should ideally also be aware of the Ram 1500 reliability by specific model year. Some of them can be rather troublesome, which has been proven by the numerous complaints concerning the 2014 Dodge Ram 1500 problems.
Best Truck Under 20000 #4: Toyota Tundra (2011 – 2015)
Now let’s cover the next model on our list of the best truck under 20000. And this is the Toyota Tundra built between 2011 and 2015. So, why specifically this model?
Well, this model was first introduced in 2007 and was produced until 2021. We need specifically the model years between 2011 and 2015 because they fit our budget, which is limited to $20,000. So, what do you get for this amount of money?
Well, there are three cab types to choose from, the Regular Cab, Double Cab, and Crew Max. In terms of length, the wheelbase ranges between 126.8 inches and 164.6 inches. The overall length also varies from 209.8 inches to 247.6 inches.
In terms of engines, you can between the 4.6L V8 and the 5.7L V8. In our books, the 5.7L is a better engine when it comes to towing. As for the transmissions, there is only a 6-speed automatic to choose from.
Overall, the Tundra is not a bad truck. It cannot tow like the big three that we covered. But still, it is not a bad option for people who don’t need the maximum towing capability. Now let’s move on to the next best truck under 20000.
To ensure long-term dependability, do be diligent about some of the Toyota Tundra model years to avoid. Looking for the best model year for the Toyota Tundra should be more than enough to keep you away from some of the most common Toyota Tundra problems.
Best Truck Under 20000 #5: Toyota Tacoma (2011 – 2015)
Another best truck under 20000 and a very cool model is the Toyota Tacoma from 2011 to 2015. These also happen to be among the best model year for the Toyota Tacoma. So, why specifically these model years?
Well, mainly because these trucks are somewhere in the range of $20,000. And the Tacoma is a truck that really holds its value. If you put things into perspective, this is a mid-size truck that on the used market cost as much as the bigger Tundra. So, you get the idea, of why this model is so in demand and popular.
As we noted, this is a mid-size truck. This means that it is a bit smaller than the other models in our list. It has a wheelbase between 109.4 inches and 140.9 inches. And the length varies between 190.4 inches and 221.3 inches. There are also three types of cabs. A Regular Cab, Extended Cab, and Double Cab.
This truck also has two engine options to choose from. There is the Tacoma 2.7L 4-cylinder engine and the bigger 4.0L V6 engine. The 2.7L engine produces 161hp, while the 4.0L makes about 240hp.
In terms of transmissions, there are a few to choose from. 5-speed and 6-speed manual transmissions, and 4-speed and 5-speed automatic transmissions.
For a budget of $20,000, you can find a really well-optioned model on the used market with the TRD trim that is really popular nowadays. Now let’s move on to the next truck on our best truck under 2000 list.
Best Truck Under 20000 #6: Nissan Frontier (2014 – 2019)
Now let’s cover something newer on our list of the best truck under 20000. And this truck is the Nissan Frontier. This is another mid-size truck that is really popular. Not as popular as the Tacoma but still in demand.
And what is good about this truck is that it can be found for a really good deal of $20,000 with low miles and also a newer model year than the Tacoma. So, why is this the case?
Well, this is the case because the Frontier and other Nissan models do not hold their value as the Toyota models. This is quite good in some cases because you can find an excellent deal for your money. And frankly, for this amount of money you get quite a bit.
This truck has a wheelbase somewhere between 125.9 inches and 139.9 inches, depending on the model. The overall length also varies depending on the model between 205.5 inches and 219.4 inches.
This model also includes a powerful engine. And this is the 4.0L V6 that is really reliable. There are also different transmissions to choose from. But the most popular is the 5-speed automatic.
As we can see on the listings on Autotrader, for $20,000, you can get either an SV model or the PRO-4X. We honestly, recommend the PRO-4X, which is the all-wheel-drive model. And when it comes to towing, AWD is a better alternative than the regular RWD version.
This model can also be found with lower miles compared to all other trucks that we listed previously. So, if you can find a Tacoma with 130,000 miles for the same model year, a Frontier of this year will have much fewer miles than the Tacoma. There are excellent deals with 75,0000 miles for your budget of $20,000.
While you’re there, it’s also a good idea to closely inspect the Nissan Frontier reliability. There are specific Nissan Frontier model years to avoid, where some of the more common Nissan Frontier problems can be troublesome.
In this article, we have covered quite a bit when it comes to the best truck under 20000. First, we learned what is a truck and the main types and features that trucks offer. Then, we covered the main reasons why you should go for a truck and why you should not go for a truck.
After that, we learned more about the best truck under 20000. We covered the models that are available for this amount of money. Just make sure that you check out the model years that we listed. Since the model year is the most important aspect that you should be interested in when it comes to finding excellent deals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.
What Is The Best Used Truck To Buy
The Toyota Tacoma is a good option to check. This truck is not only reliable but also holds value really well. So, during the years of ownership, you will experience less depreciation compared to other trucks.
Where To Buy Used Trucks
You can check the local dealerships in your area. Check the Ford, Chevy, RAM, and Toyota dealerships first. If you can find one in your area, you can visit Autotrader or a similar website to find listings across the country.
Why Are Used Trucks So Expensive
They are expensive because people value trucks far higher than regular cars. They are often seen as a status symbols as well. So, this makes their prices stagnate and not go really low.
What Is The Fastest Stock Truck
The RAM TRX is the fastest stock truck. Even though it is a stock truck. This truck actually is a very powerful supercharged beast. Packing more than 700hp with its supercharged engine.
What Is The Most Reliable Used Truck To Buy
The best used truck to buy in our books is the Toyota Tacoma. The Tacoma simply lasts forever and if you want to get something that also holds its value really well, this model is the way to go.
What Is The Longest Lasting Truck In America
The longest lasting truck in the US is the Ford F-Series. This truck was first introduced in 1948 and is in production as of 2022. So, you can imagine how big of a history this series of trucks has.