Buying Guides

Best New Pickup Trucks Under $30,000

Rugged capability that won't strain your budget

Jane Ulitskaya, Digital Content Specialist

There's no denying that pickup trucks are a hot commodity. According to a report from Edmund's, pickup truck deliveries have increased by 123% over the last decade. As the appeal of pickups expands from utilitarian workhorse to daily driver, trucks are getting more and more luxurious (and expensive). Nowadays, some higher trims will set you back as much as a luxury sports car, but you don't have to break the bank to get the utility and comfort you need. The following 6 midsize and fullsize trucks come in under $30,000 starting MSRP and give you ample power, torque, cargo space, and off-road prowess to work hard and play hard.

2020 Ford Ranger

  • PROS: Excellent tech, potent engine, ample cargo and interior storage.
  • CONS: Dated interior, dull driving dynamics, thirsty engine.

As one of the newest entrants into the midsize truck segment, the Ford Ranger brings with it the right amount of power, capability, and tech, along with an affordable price tag. The Ranger offers unique exterior styling with a rugged appearance aimed to tease its off-road capability. The 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder provides on-demand power, and it's one of the best powertrains in the segment. With 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque, the Ford Ranger can tow up to 7,500 lbs and haul up to 1,860 lbs. Available in SuperCrew or SuperCab body styles with 4x2 or 4x4, the 2020 Ford Ranger has a base MSRP of $24,410.

2020 Chevrolet Colorado

  • PROS: Versatile with multiple engine options, intuitive and responsive infotainment, powerful engine options including an efficient diesel.
  • CONS: Cheap interior, sluggish base engine, limited driver-assist technology.

The beauty of the 2020 Chevy Colorado is in its versatility. The midsize truck offers a long list of options for shoppers across all budgets. With 3 engine options, 2 cab sizes, and 2 bed lengths, the Colorado lineup can function as a work truck, adventure vehicle, or daily driver. The 2.5-liter 4-cylinder base engine makes 200 horsepower and 191 lb-ft of torque and can tow up to 3,500 lbs. Although it is sufficient for everyday needs, those looking for a tougher, more powerful truck should upgrade to the 308 horsepower 3.6-liter V6 or the 2.8-liter turbodiesel for a class-leading towing capacity of 7,700 lbs. With one of the best infotainment systems in its class, leading exterior cargo space, and a starting MSRP of $22,495, the Chevy Colorado is a smart buy for value-minded shoppers.

2020 Toyota Tacoma


for Off-roading

  • PROS: Off-road chops, handsome exterior, quality interior.
  • CONS: Noisy engine, rough ride, poor ergonomics.

The 2020 Toyota Tacoma demonstrates that owning an adventure-ready truck can be affordable. The proof is in its resale value which happens to be the best across the auto industry. The Tacoma is built like a tank with a body-on-frame construction. It also drives like a true truck, meaning you will need to sacrifice some ride comfort in exchange for ruggedness. The Tacoma's base engine is a 2.7-liter 4-cylinder that makes 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. This engine can feel sluggish during acceleration, especially with a full cab or bed. For a more potent powertrain, the Tacoma can come with a 3.5-liter V6 with 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque that is available on all trims. The V6 increases the towing capacity to a maximum of 6,800 lbs (up from 3,500 lbs for the 4-cylinder).

2020 GMC Canyon

  • PROS: Comfortable and functional interior, best-in-class towing, capable engine options.
  • CONS: Underpowered base engine, poor reliability ratings.

It may come as a surprise to see a premium badge like GMC on this list, but the midsize GMC Canyon does, in fact, come in below $30,000 for its base price. Matching its Chevy Colorado sibling, the Canyon offers multiple engine options as well as cab and bed configurations for nearly every use-case. The Canyon's engines include the same 4-cylinder, V6, and turbodiesel as the Colorado's and also match the Chevy's maximum towing capacity of 7,700 lbs for the diesel. The best reason for choosing the Canyon is the quality of the interior which is an upgrade from the Chevy Colorado. The Canyon's 4-way power seats come with standard vinyl upholstery in the base trims which start at $23,395 MSRP. Shoppers who want a more premium cabin can upgrade to leather seats along with high-end options like a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500


for Heavy towing

  • PROS: Best-in-class towing capacity, balanced handling, a slew of powerful engine options.
  • CONS: Lackluster interior in lower trims, not as refined as competitors.

If you're in the market for a full-size truck that doesn't shatter your budget, the Chevy Silverado fits the bill. After a complete overhaul in 2019, the 2020 model offers a balance of capability, style, comfort, and performance. 6 engines give shoppers a wide array of options to choose from. These include a 4.3-liter V6 that makes 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque, two 5.3-liter V8s both making 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque, a 6.2-liter V8 for 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, a 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder for 310 horsepower and 348 lb-ft of torque, and a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder turbodiesel. In addition to a best-in-class maximum towing capacity of 13,400 lbs, the Silverado has a composed ride on-road, and rugged capability off-road. The starting MSRP for the Chevy Silverado comes in at $28,500.

2020 Ford F-150


for Daily driving

  • PROS: Powerful engine options, impressive towing capacity, smooth ride.
  • CONS: Dated exterior, some clunky elements inside the cabin.

With the redesigned 2021 Ford F-150 arriving soon, it's a great time to look for deals on the current 2020 F-150. This best-seller comes with a powerful engine lineup, intuitive infotainment, and an effortless driving experience. 6 engine options are available for the F-150 including the base 290-horsepower V6, two turbocharged V6s, a 395-horsepower V8, 450 horsepower turbo V6, and a 250 horsepower turbodiesel. Even the base engine provides ample power for everyday driving and a healthy towing capacity of 7,700 lbs. Upgrading to the EcoBoost V6 ups the ante to a maximum of 12,100 lbs of towing brawn. The 2020 F-150's base MSRP sneaks in under our $30K benchmark at $28,745.

Why choose an affordable pickup truck?

  • Versatility for work or play.
  • Large cargo space.
  • Off-road capability.
  • Towing and hauling power.