Pickup trucks come in all shapes and sizes with many differing capabilities. The price tags can vary greatly as well. Whether it’s towing a boat or RV, hauling gear, or using it for work, there is a pickup truck like the Toyota Tundra that meets the demanding needs of any consumer.
But, not all trucks are created equal. A luxury model of a heavy-duty dually with all the bells and whistles could run upwards of $75,000. Not everyone has the wallet for that kind of truck.
For those looking for something much more affordable, there are plenty of options. The 2021 Toyota Tundra fits the bill when it comes to a cheap truck, but a few other models offer better value.
The cheapest trucks on the market
U.S. News took a look at some of the cheapest trucks available today.
Most of the trucks on the list are the basic standard models. The lower price does not indicate lesser quality. Some of the selected trucks offer not only impressive interior design but a vast array of advanced safety and tech features. An energetic V6 or V8 engine still powers most of these affordable options.
A lower-priced pickup truck is not going to have the towing and hauling capabilities of a more expensive trim. There won’t be heated leather seats, power-operated tailgates, or surround-view cameras. What you will find in a quality cheap truck is dependability that won’t break the bank.
The 2021 Toyota Tundra
The 2021 Toyota Tundra, albeit reliable, is not the most economical full-size truck on the market. With an MSRP of $33,675, the starting price is one of the highest in its class.
The Tundra is in serious need of an overhaul as it hasn’t seen a full redesign in more than 10 years. U.S. News ranked it at the bottom of their cheap truck list, not only based on price but due to its “low hauling capacity, old-fashioned cabin style, and weak driving dynamics.” The Tundra only received a 6.6 out of 10 overall rating.
The full-size truck lost points because of its poor fuel economy, getting an estimated 13 mpg city and 17 mpg highway. Powered by a 5.7-liter V8 engine, the Tundra does get a good predicted reliability rating.
One of the attributes of the 2021 Toyota Tundra is the responsive 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system. It includes six speakers, a Wi-Fi hotspot, three USB ports, and satellite radio. It is also Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, and Amazon Alexa compatible.
The driver assistance features are also impressive, with a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, and auto high-beam headlights. Safety features include forward-collision warning, auto emergency braking, lane departure warning, and pedestrian detection.
A truck that is cheaper and better rated than the Tundra
A better option for a cheap truck is the 2020 Toyota Tacoma. Not only is it lower priced, with an MSRP of $26,050, but it is rated better as well. U.S. News gave it a 7.4 out of 10 overall score, placing it as the No. 3 choice among compact pickup trucks.
The sporty Tacoma is great for off-road driving despite its “underwhelming” 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine. The interior is filled with plenty of user-friendly technology and includes a long list of standard features. The comfortable cabin space offers impressive interior quality.
The 2020 model received a refreshed exterior, adding to its eye-catching appearance. Other new features include a surround-view monitor, multi-terrain monitor, larger touchscreens, and an optional 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat. The 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system that’s compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa is now a standard feature.
Advanced safety features include a standard rearview camera, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high-beam headlights. Pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, and lane departure warning are also included. The NHTSA gave the 2020 Toyota Tacoma four out of five stars for its overall safety rating.
U.S. News claims the Tacoma is a “well-built and comfortable truck with solid off-road chops.” It states that the “base model is better equipped than the bare-bones base models of many rivals.”