The $30k Full-Size Pickup is the $5 Footlong of Trucks: Here Are the 2 Left

Work trucks clung to a sub-$30k price point for years. But the cost of building a truck goes up every year. Just like Subway and its $5 footlong, most automakers have been forced to abandon the $30k full-size pickup truck. Here are the two left.

2022 Ford F-150 XL – $29,990

Red Ford F-150 pickup truck being loaded by crane on a job site.
2021 F-150 XLT | Ford Motor Company

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If you’re seeking a cheap fleet truck, the Ford F-150 XL is probably your best option. For $29,990 you get a Ford F-150 with a fully modern drivetrain. The XL’s base engine is a turbocharged EcoBoost V6 paired to a ten-speed automatic transmission.

But to keep its price point under $30k, Ford has had to strip every other option from the F-150 XL. Windows: crank-up. Cruise control: deleted. But for legal reasons, the XL still has a backup camera and infotainment screen as well as automatic braking.

2022 Ram 1500 Classic – $29,515

Promo render of an orange Ram 1500 pickup truck.
2022 Ram 1500 Classic render | Stellantis

RELATED: Only 1 Full-Size Pickup Truck Offers a Manual Transmission

The clever way Ram froze its entry-level pickup truck prices below $30k is by freezing its technology too. If you go to a Ram dealership and plunk down $29,515, you don’t get a modern–fifth-generation–Ram truck. What you get is a stripped-down fourth-generaiton Ram: the 2022 Ram 1500 Classic.

Just like with the F-150 XL, this $30k Ram is a 2WD, two-door, V6 model. It does not have a turbocharger, like Ford’s EcoBoost, and has an eight-speed transmission. It also has no automatic emergency braking. The only real technological advantage over the F-150 is rear coil springs.

Honorable mention: Chevrolet Silverado Work Truck – $33,800

Chevrolet Silverado truck driving along a desert road toward a distant mountain range.
2022 Chevrolet Silverado LT | General Motors

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The 2022 Chevrolet Silverado Work Truck (WT) is evidence that automakers really can’t afford to sell trucks for $30k anymore. Last year, Chevy priced its standard-cab, RWD, base-engine WT at just under $30k. But as soon as the automaker gave up on that price point, the sticker sprang to $33,800.

This price gets you a basic work truck with a 2.7-liter turbocharged engine an eight-speed automatic transmission. Like the other options on this list, it has vinyl trim, rides on steel wheels, and no cruise control. Upgrading to the GMC Sierra will cost you an extra $800.

Why are Toyota, Ram, and Nissan trucks more expensive?

Brown Toyota Tundra pickup truck parked in front of an old barn.
2022 Toyota Tundra | Toyota

Several other trucks start at an even higher price than the Chevrolet Silverado: the 2022 Toyota Tundra ($35,950), Nissan Titan ($38,310), and the fifth generation of the Ram 1500 ($35,900). These full-size pickup trucks have something very interesting in common: you can’t buy any of them with a two-door “regular” cab.

Now, very few pickup truck buyers still opt for the regular cab, so it makes some sense that these automakers did not bother to engineer one. But the result is a higher starting MSRP than their competitors.

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