If you’re shopping used full-size pickup trucks, you have likely considered the half-tons from the Detroit Three: the Ford F-150, Ram 1500, and Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra. Perhaps you have also looked at a Tundra or two. But if you want the most value possible from a reliable, full-size truck, you should consider the Nissan Titan as well as used heavy-duty trucks–namely, the Cummins-equipped Ram or a gasoline-powered Ford Super Duty.
The Nissan Titan is the most often overlooked full-size pickup truck. But when U.S. News cross-referenced its overall pickup truck ratings with J.D. Powers’ reliability scores, it ranked the 2019 Nissan Titan as the best value on the used pickup truck market. The 2019 Titan earned an incredible 89/100 for predicted reliability and a respectable 8.1/10 for its overall score. What’s the secret to the Titan’s reliability? Specialization. Nissan only builds one powertrain: a 390 horsepower 5.6-liter V8 and automatic transmission. Therefore, the automaker builds this one drivetrain very well.
In 2017, Nissan offered its Titan with multiple bed lengths and a range of cab sizes, from the standard single cab, to a crew cab, to the oversized “King Cab.” The 2017 Titan only came with a 7-inch touchscreen, but some trims were loaded with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay. The Titan XD features heavy-duty rear springs for a 3,000+ pound payload capacity, making it the lightest-duty heavy-duty truck. Until 2016, you could even order a Titan XD with a Cummins-built diesel V8. Today, older Nissan Titans don’t hold their value as well as Tundras, so they are one of the best bargains on the used full-size pickup truck market.
Read more about the Titan XD heavy-duty pickup truck.
Ram 2500/3500 with a Cummins turbo diesel
Back in 1989, Ram was the last major manufacturer not offering a diesel pickup truck. So the automaker approached industrial-grade diesel manufacturer, Cummins, and a legend was born. The I6 Cummins turbodiesel has a cult following as one of the most reliable engines ever offered in a highway vehicle. This is why you often see 100,000-mile Cummins-equipped Ram trucks still fetching top dollar.
Many Cummins fans prefer the earlier 5.9-liter I6 Ram offered until halfway through 2007. But this engine was paired with automatic transmission that lagged behind the rest of the segment, still using a dated four-speed in 2007. The manual version of this truck was rated for more torque and is worth seeking out if you are a three-pedal enthusiast. The 5.9 was replaced by a 6.7, which took several model years to find its own footing. But by 2010, the newer 6.7-liter I6 was meeting modern emissions requirements and producing up to 930 lb-ft of torque. It has also always been available with an excellent six-speed automatic. Used heavy-duty Rams through the 2018 model year are more affordable than the most recent generation of the full-size pickup.
Ford Super Duty heavy-duty trucks
If you are considering a used heavy-duty pickup truck, you’ve probably looked at Ford’s Super Duty. MotorTrend warns that diesel-powered Super Duty Ford newer than 2003 are notorious for a range of mechanical issues. If you opt for a gas-powered Super Duty from 2011 through 2016, you have multiple choices for a reliable powerplant. These trucks came with either a 6.2-liter V8 or a 6.8-liter “Triton” V10. Both engines came with a six-speed automatic and are excellent choices for towing, even if a little inefficient as a daily driver.
The Ford Super Duty is one of the most popular commercial fleet trucks of all time. This means that you can find most any configuration imaginable on the used market. Many of these fleet trucks have been maintained by professional mechanics and come with service records, taking some of the unknown out of your used truck purchase.
Here’s what’s considered high mileage for a Ford F-250.
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