Skip to main content

Deciding which pickup trucks you can afford can be a complicated process. You have to take so many things into account; the monthly payment, taxes, insurance, and interest. In addition, the terms of your loan (if you get one) and your credit score will affect your monthly payment. If you follow the advice given by Money Under 30, that people in their twenties can spend up to 35% of their annual income on a vehicle, and you make $50,000 per year, that means you can pay $17,500 for your pickup truck. Other pieces of advice offer ranges between 10% and 50%, so you should take into account all of your other monthly responsibilities before deciding how much you can spend

A white 2015 Chevy Silverado against a white background.
2015 Chevy Silverado | Chevrolet

The best pickup truck is one you can afford

If you decide that Money Under 30‘s 35% seems like a reasonable amount of money to spend on your pickup truck, what are your options? With the average price of a brand new car at $40,000, $17,500 may not seem like much. There are some pretty good options out there though, especially if you’re looking at used trucks. There are many benefits to buying used, including the model’s reliability being a bit more known, and the likelihood of saving thousands. However, you need to do a vehicle history report to know that the pickup you’re looking at hasn’t been in an accident. 

Staying within a reasonable budget and setting aside extra for repairs and insurance is an important part of your truck expenses not interfering with the rest of your life. Some of the best pickup trucks under $20,000 are just a few years old. Here are some of your options if you make $50,000 and want to spend $17,500 on your pickup truck. 

The 2010 Honda Ridgeline is one of the best pickup trucks under $20,000

If you want a reliable, safe pickup truck, the 2010 Honda Ridgeline is a great option. Consumer Reports gives it a 4/5 for both reliability and overall owner satisfaction, which is great. In addition, all available crash test ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are excellent. 

The 2015 Chevy Silverado has great safety ratings

The 2015 Chevrolet Silverado has good ratings from the IIHS for its available crash tests. The NHTSA also gives the 2015 Silverado five stars in all categories, except for the rollover ratings. The 4WD rollover rating is only four stars. 

The 2015 Ford F-150 has very good owner satisfaction  

The 2015 Ford F-150 is one of the best pickup trucks you can buy within your budget. It has an owner satisfaction rating of 4/5. The 2015 F-150 has excellent safety ratings. These include all good IIHS ratings, and five stars in all crash test categories, except for the rollover. The rollover rating for the 4WD F-150 is 4/5 stars.

While $17,500 may be somewhat limiting if you want a safe and reliable pickup truck, there are options. If you look back a few years, you can find a number of safe trucks that will suit your needs. Make sure you check the safety ratings on any pickup you buy, as well as getting a vehicle history report and getting your truck checked by an independent mechanic. This way you can get a great pickup truck that won’t break your budget. 


The 2021 Honda Ridgeline Is Actually Safer Than the 2021 Toyota Tacoma