Most SUVs and compact cars have a lot of luggage space for transporting personal items or work equipment. For big jobs like towing a trailer, you’ll probably need a truck. Most full-size pickup trucks can demonstrate a lot of power in the towing department, and even mid-size trucks can tow a fair amount.
You may be able to get a better deal one of the more upscale trims if you shop used. However, some trucks don’t perform as well after a few years. Here are some of the best models you can buy for under $25k, according to CarMax.
The F-150 has consistently managed to stay on top of the truck market for decades. It has the highest towing capacity in its class, up to 13,200 pounds given the most powerful engine. On average, you can get this truck for a little over $21,000.
This truck also has one of the lowest depreciation rates, particularly Raptor models. However, keep in mind that the 2004 and 2005 models had a lot of complaints from consumers. These are considered two of the worst model years due to engine problems, loss of function with the window mechanisms, and soft brakes.
GMC Sierra 1500
For the same price as the F-150, you can get a used version of GMC’s full-size pickup. Even though the truck was completely redesigned for 2019, the earlier versions of the truck still have a lot of power. Most base models have a V6 engine capable of 285 hp. For more power, drivers can choose a trim with the 355-hp V8 engine.
A few bed sizes are also available, but some can only be found on certain cabs. One issue to also be aware of is that many Sierra 1500 owners have reported dim headlights, especially in the 2014 models.
A used Tacoma is usually around $21,000 or below. Drivers can choose between a four-cylinder engine or a V6 engine and three different cab options. In 2015, the new TRD Pro trim was introduced, which has proven to be an excellent option for off-roading enthusiasts.
However, the Tacoma’s towing capacity is low even for a midsize truck, maxing out at around 6,000 pounds. The 2016 model also had numerous problems with its drivetrain, including excessive vibrations, loud noises, and leaks from the rear differential.
An average used Colorado costs around $20,500. It comes standard with a four-cylinder engine, but a V6 and turbodiesel are also available. In addition to reaching the highest towing capacity, the turbodiesel also gets the best fuel economy rating. It scores 22 mpg on city roads and 30 mpg on the highway, which is above average compared to other midsize trucks.
Most of the earlier Colorados have a lot of safety features and good infotainment offerings. However, 2015 models had many reported transmission problems. A few of the earlier models also have poor reliability ratings.
Despite its large appearance and powerful engines, the Titan’s cabin is quiet and it drives smoothly over most types of terrain. On average, a used model costs less than $20,500. One of the best things about the Nissan Titan is that it has very little complaints compared to its rivals. The worst of its problems occurred during the 2004 model year, comprising of primarily drivetrain-related issues.
Despite its good performance, its interior isn’t as comfortable or technologically advanced as some of its competitors. In King Cab variants, there’s hardly any room in the second row to comfortably fit an adult. Consumer Reports also criticized earlier XD models for not including important safety features.