Trucks are big, at times inconvenient, and extremely useful. However they are getting far more expensive year by year, as they transform into luxurious Rolls Royce competitors. You’re not confined to getting a new truck if you don’t want one, and in fact, if you go used you can get a lot more truck for your money.
These are some used trucks we recommend based on a $15,000 budget:
It was a stretch, but we had to fit a newer F-150 on this list somewhere. To reach this price you’ll have to go with 2015, with at least 70,000 miles, the 3.5-Liter Flex Fuel V6, 2WD, and the cheaper regular cab 8” bed. It doesn’t make much power, but it can tow more than 12,000 pounds and has aluminum body panels to save weight.
Here we have a truck hailed as providing such a violent ride its passengers’ stomachs start doing tumble turns. The 5.9-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel-equipped 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 moves with 325 horsepower, which isn’t a lot, but also 600 lb-ft of torque, which is enough to send this 6,000-pound truck into screaming burnouts. It even comes with a manual transmission and can tow more than 13,000 pounds.
For a small size truck, the 2004 Tacoma Double Cab is a excellent choice. It’s got everything you need in a truck, including 4WD, and still, maintains its small size with a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds. It only makes 190 horsepower out of a 3.4-liter V6 engine, but it’s enough to tow a fully loaded bed and trailer at freeway speeds. It’s a lot of money for such an old truck, but with Toyota reliability, the truck will pay for itself in a short amount of time.
We love the Viper, but it’s got one big problem, and that is it doesn’t have a trunk big enough to fit motorcycles, or a jet ski, or a fishing boat. In fact, the trunk isn’t big enough to carry much of anything. So what next? Throw that 500 horsepower 8.0-liter V10, and six-speed transmission from the Viper, into the Ram. The result? A wicked fast truck that can tow more than 8,000 pounds, assuming it gets traction.
Once hailed as the fastest truck in the world, the Ford F-150 had an SVT Lightning option from the factory which gave it a 360 horsepower 5.4-liter supercharged V8. It was 2WD only, got horrific gas mileage, but was plenty quick. It’s since been replaced by the SVT Raptor, but those trucks were more than $50,000.
It’s not super exciting, but the 2013 Silverado is an excellent choice for a reliable, safe, capable 8-ft. truck. To meet the $15,000 requirement you’ll need to settle for certain conditional shortcomings, like maybe a dent here and there, and it’ll come with a 4.3-liter V6 that only makes about 200 horsepower. However, it’ll be a very dependable, newer generation truck that will take care of all your hauling needs.
It’s not going to be as reliable as the Silverado, but if you want luxury and truck fused to one being, the Cadillac is probably your best option. The bed isn’t very long, only 4’6”, but the seats are comfortable and it’s got 400 horsepower out of a 6.2-liter V8 engine. Again, you’ll have to settle for certain conditions if you’re going to get this truck at $15,000, but if what you’re looking for is a luxurious truck, then the Escalade is the only truck that can successfully blend the two together.
Last but certainly not least is the Ford Ranger from the 2000 era. Really any Ranger from this generation will do because it is a V6-equipped tank. It’s not properly fast like a newer F-150, but it will spin the tires and slide around corners. You can bash it into rocks, hillsides and golf carts all day long before you give up and drive it home. Make no mistake, the car will break if you continue to abuse it as much as possible, just know that you shouldn’t feel bad if life gets in the way of regular maintenance because it’s a very forgiving truck.
We deemed these to be the best, used trucks for less than $15,000 based on how well they perform doing the things that trucks need to do. There are other options, and in fact, most of them are not the F-150, despite it being the best selling car in America for several years.
Make sure to pick a truck that you need, and bear in mind the size you get. When it comes to considering buying a truck you’ve already given up on Smart Car parking capability, so go for function. Check out towing capacity, engine power, reliability, and suspension.
Avid Formula 1 fan and motorcyclist, I enjoy chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and long rides to the beach.