The 3 Best Used (and Cheapest) Trucks For Off-Roading

4×4 trucks are extremely popular for those who enjoy going off-road. Pickups that come with four-wheel drive allow owners to take the road less traveled and give a unique sense of adventure. Buying a new Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro is not right for everyone, though, especially if you are looking for a cheap truck. That’s where these three budget 4×4 pickups come in.

3. Toyota T100

Before there was the Toyota Tundra, there was the Toyota T100. And while by today’s standards it might be hard to believe, this is actually what a 90’s full-size truck looks like. The T100 was built between 1992 and 1998 and was developed strictly for the U.S. market. 

Once Toyota's full-size truck, the T100 can be a good budget 4x4 vehicle. This one sits in snow.
Toyota T100 |

While the cheapest T100 trucks are going to be rear-wheel drive, Toyota was sure to offer 4×4 truck capability. Depending on configuration and condition, you can likely find a Toyota T100 for around $10,000, which makes it a cheap off-road truck. 

Although this pickup is somewhat of an icon, it is worth noting that it does lack a V8 engine. And that is something that full-size truck enthusiasts might be interested in. But the engines that Toyota did offer are known to be able to pack on the miles. Plus, you can get the T100 with a manual transmission. 

In terms of reliability, the Toyota T100 is considered one of the better trucks that Toyota has produced. Just don’t expect it to come with things like heated seats or Apple CarPlay. 

2. Ford Ranger FX4

The third-generation Ford Ranger is not going to be as cheap as a Toyota T100, but it also offers more modern features. The Ranger FX4 was around from 2002 to 2009, and at the time, it was the top trim of this mid-size truck. Notable features included its standard 4.0-liter V6 engine, limited-slip differential, and skid plates. 

The Ford Ranger FX4 is a mid-size truck from Ford that can handle off-road use.
Ford Ranger FX4 | Bull Doser

Eventually, a Torsen differential would become an optional feature, and it came with heavy-duty shocks. Today, the Ranger is still Ford’s mid-size 4×4 truck. But a third-generation model will come with old-school charm and a cheaper price tag. 

There are some variants of the Ranger that are best avoided. The 2003, 2007, and 2008 models had documented issues. So if you can, skip them. A quick search on CarFax does show that it’s possible to find one of these mid-size trucks for less than $15,000. That’s a pretty good starting point if you are interested in a 4×4 pickup build.

1. Subaru Baja

OK, I know what you’re thinking, is the Subaru Baja really a truck? The short answer is yes, even if it is more of a ute than a true pickup. It shares its platform with Outbacks of the same generation, and like most Subaru models, it does come standard with AWD. 

The Baja is not immune to issues; Subarus of this era are known for their head gasket problems. But, with proper care and maintenance, those can be avoided for the most part. In 2006, this off-road truck did offer an optional turbocharged engine. But, models with that will be more expensive. 

Back in 2016, Autotrader reported that the Baja was holding its value fairly well. It does look like there are plenty available for under $10,000 now. Making it a possible 4×4 pickup option.