3 Reliable Pickup Trucks You May Still Be Able to Buy for $25K
Remember when you could get into a good, reliable used truck for $20k? Perhaps you got online the other day, dreaming of buying a used truck, and realized pickup prices are now sky-high. The MSRPs of new trucks all jumped between $2k and $3k for 2023. As a result, truck buyers are picking over the used inventory, and deals are getting scarce. Luckily, several makes and models of used trucks have relatively modern drivetrains and a lower-than-average resale value because a recent visual redesign left these trucks with “dated” looks. If you hunt for low-mileage deals, you may be able to find a reliable used pickup truck for under $25k.
1997-2021 Nissan Frontier
Toyota builds perfectly good trucks and has a spectacular North American marketing department. How do I know? In other parts of the world, Nissan trucks and SUVs are discussed with the same hushed tones, famous for their legendary reliability. This is good news for you, used truck shopper, because the Nissan Frontier doesn’t hold its value nearly as well as a similar midsize with a Toyota badge.
In fact, the Nissan Frontier is the only used truck that iSeeCars reports is reselling for less than $25k on average–even when its less than five years old. But because the Frontier was nearly unchanged mechanically until the 2022 Nissan Frontier redesign, you might be wise to hunt down an older model with lower miles. The experts at TFL Trucks recommend the 4.0-liter V6 and manual transmission configuration for ultimate longevity and reliability. You can certainly get this used pickup truck for under $25k. Car Gurus website reveals that used 2013 Nissan Frontiers are currently listed for $15,779 on average.
2013-2021 Toyota Tundra
Rumor has it that after the Toyota T100’s lukewarm reception, the automaker designed a bigger, more capable truck, and planned to name it the T150. But Ford threatened a lawsuit so Toyota settled on the Tundra.
In 2013, Toyota designed a yet-again bigger and more capable Tundra. The result was a true full-size truck, available with a 5.7-liter naturally-aspirated V8 and six-speed automatic. This powertrain proved so reliable, the automaker continued to offer it until the Tundra saw its full 2022 redesign. What this means is that you could conceivably find a Tundra with low miles and a powertrain that’s capable by modern standards which has dropped in value because of its “dated” looks. This used pickup truck will run you just about $25k. The average listing price of a 2013 Toyota Tundra is currently $22,236.
2013-2018 Ram 1500
Ram doesn’t usually run its powertrains for as many model years as Toyota does. But by 2013, the automaker had stumbled upon a truly winning combination. It resurrected the Hemi V8 for the engine’s third generation in 2003, began building trucks with a smooth-riding 5-link rear coil setup in 2009, then started to offer a ZF-engineered eight-speed automatic in 2012. This setup makes the Ram 1500 one of the most desirable pickups in its segment, and the automaker is still using it in 2023.
In 2019, the Ram 1500 did get a major redesign for the truck’s fifth generation. But the update was mostly visual and to its interior. While fifth-gen Ram interiors are excellent, this upgrade means there are fourth-gen Ram 1500 deals to be had. A used 2013 Ram 1500 pickup truck is listed for $18,011 on average, so you may be able to get an excellent example for $25k.
Can you still get a used pickup truck for under $25k?
A browse through your local Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace may turn up a bunch of “beater” trucks for $2k or less. I bought a $1500 F-150, but I’ll admit it’s required thousands of dollars in work. The truth is that if you need a truck, you’ll pay for it now or later.
But if you keep that in mind, you may choose to hunt down an even older truck–especially if it has low mileage. Remember that many banks won’t lend money on a car over 10 years old, so you might need to be prepared to pay cash. But there’s a good chance you can find a capable older used pickup truck for under $25k.
What about other 2013-present makes and models? Obviously, General Motors and Ford also built perfectly reliable half-ton trucks 10 years ago, and these can be good deals on the used market. But both automakers redesigned their trucks more often than Toyota or Ram, so ten-year-old examples won’t have their current powertrain.
Next, see the three best pickup trucks for sale on government auction sites or learn more about the used pickup trucks currently available for $25k or less in the video below: