Buying Guides

Best Used Pickup Trucks

You're gonna beat it up, anyway

Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief

We've driven our fair share of pricey pickup trucks that are as comfy as luxury sedans, but they can get expensive. So, like with most used vehicles, you can get a great used pickup truck that's still good for thousands of miles both on and off-road. Here are our picks for the best pickup trucks out there that are only a couple of years old.

2017 Ram 1500

Best

for heavy haulers

  • PROS: Easy to drive for its size, truly opulent inside in higher trims, optional air suspension adds comfort and lift, the only half-ton diesel in the segment at the time.
  • CONS: Projected reliability is questionable, some grille designs are odd.

As good as the new 2019 Ram 1500 pickup is, the last generation truck was still awesome in its own right. With up to 29 mpg highway and active grille shutters, the 1500 brought efficiency to a segment that wasn't exactly known for it. Add in great styling outside and a huge interior (especially in crew cab), it not only boasted best-in-class mpg but also second row space. The Uconnect infotainment is also one of the best thanks to easy operation and great legibility and menu navigation. You can get a lower trim Tradesman crew cab for about $16K, all the way up to $30K for a well-outfitted Laramie crew cab for about $30K, both of which are excellent deals.

2017 Chevy Colorado

Best

for urban dwellers

  • PROS: Maneuverable and easy to drive on road, great potent diesel option, very composed at highway speeds, practical interior looks like it was pulled from a crossover, superb towing and payload capacities, great seats for the long haul.
  • CONS: Not as efficient in city driving as the EPA rating, some plasticky interior pieces, safety ratings could be better.

When the Colorado bowed in 2015 in the mid-size truck segment, it took things by storm and put the other manufacturers on notice since the segment had long been abandoned by the likes of Ford and Ram. The Colorado is off-road ready, and even moreso with the Z71 trim or the truly capable ZR2. Inside, expect great space and comfort, as well as an easy infotainment system. Get a basic extended cab Colordao Work Truck trim, and you can expect to pay about $11K or upgrade all the way to the top trim ZR2 around $28K. You can even opt for the very torquey Duramax 2.8-liter turbodiesel engine that's good for 369 lb-ft of torque. This mid-size truck game changer is worth a serious look in great used condition.

2017 Nissan Frontier

Best

for budget buyers

  • PROS: Truly capable off road, good reliability ratings, smooth and comfortable ride, brilliant adjustable tie downs in the bed.
  • CONS: Tight second row seats even in crew cab trim, dated interior, not as efficient as competitors.

Just when you thought the Frontier was dead, Nissan is still making them. And they still sell remarkably well thanks to their no-nonsense design, powerful V6 engine, and a design that has aged suprisingly well. You can get a Frontier S King Cab for about $11K or go all the way up to the top trim PRO-4X Crew Cab 4WD for about $28K. The Frontier might not be the most updated truck out there, but it's still a solid value.

Why even buy a truck?

  • Modern pickup trucks have great features and improved daily drivability.
  • The body-on-frame construction is rugged and can handle punishment on and off-road.
  • Bed covers make it additionally useful for protected storage.

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