Auto Buying Guide: Reliable used pickups under $10K
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article appears in Auto Buying Guide 2017. Find the full magazine at http://gatehouse.morecontentnow.com/article/20170316/NEWS/303159999.
Americans sure love their trucks, making the best-selling automobile nationwide a Ford F-150 pickup for many years running.
While pickups are great to have, they are not cheap to buy, unless you think smart and buy used. A consumer that does his or her research can locate a high-quality, low-mileage used pickup for roughly half the price of the latest model. Why pay more?
Here are some good bets:
2005 Nissan Titan
This is the full-sized Nissan pickup with plenty of power and plenty of space in the cabin. It comes equipped with a 5.6-liter V-8 engine and can be found with either an automatic or standard transmission in two- or four-wheel drive. The Titan is offered in crew or king cab varieties, with three trim levels that take you from sparse to swanky. The big engine puts out 305hp and the two-wheel-drive version gets 13 mpg city/17 mpg highway.
2009 Mitsubishi Raider LS
Although not built for awesome displays of power, Raider pickups are ruggedly reliable. Available in extended and double cab varieties to accommodate and carry whatever workforce you deem necessary, the Raider is surprisingly spacious on the inside. It is powered by a 210hp 3.6-liter V6 engine that manages fuel efficiency numbers of 16 mpg city/20 mpg highway. The only transmission available for the double-cab was a four-speed automatic, but it is possible to locate the extended cab version with a six-speed manual gearbox.
2006 Ford Ranger
Tried and tested, the Ranger has time and time again proven that it can handle the workload. Engine options include a 2.3-liter four-cylinder and a 3.0-liter V6. Naturally, the four-cylinder engine is more fuel efficient, earning a fuel economy rating of 21 mpg city/27 mpg highway, while the V6 loses a little with 16 mpg city/21 mpg highway. Both engines are adequately powerful for ordinary work loads — just don’t expect to pull any heavy trailers or snake any logs.
2004 Nissan Frontier XE
Nissan’s compact pickup is the Frontier, available as an extended cab (known as the King Cab) or four-door (known as the Crew Cab). The Frontier King Cab is offered with three engine choices: a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 143hp, a naturally aspirated 3.3-liter V6 that has 180hp, and a supercharged 3.3-liter V6 that pounds out 210hp. The Crew Cab is only available with the 3.3-liter or SC 3.3-liter engine.
2003 Toyota Tundra SR5
The full-sized Tundra, in SR5 trim, features a powerful 4.7-liter V-8 engine, four-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel driveline. Providing 245hp and 315 lb.-ft. of torque never seemed easier than when driving this truck. It will certainly go anywhere you have the mind to take it and haul a sizable amount of cargo along the way. Like most full-sized Japanese pickups, the Tundra doesn’t specialize in great fuel economy, but if torque and power are what you need in a work truck, this is it.
2007 Ford F-150
Like most Ford pickups, the Lariat model is as at home at the opera as it is on the ranch. With top-tier interior and exterior styling and the latest communication, audio and connectivity features, the 2007 F-150 Lariats should still have a lot of life left. Available with a 4.2-liter V6, 4.6-liter V-8 or a 5.4-liter Triton V-8, there is a horsepower and fuel economy option for everyone. I recommend that you stay with the V-8s; they feature excellent fuel mileage and more power.
2007 Chevrolet Colorado
The mid-sized Colorado pickup is one of the most eye-appealing trucks on the market. It is also one of the safest trucks to drive with a plethora of airbags standard, including a first-in-class roof-mounted side curtain airbag. Unfortunately, the Colorado is no powerhouse, but with a 2.8-liter V6 engine that produces 175hp it gets great fuel mileage and it is really reliable.
2007 Dodge Ram 2500
The Dodge Ram full-sized pickups have developed quite a reputation as real workhorses with extraordinary durability. They’re available with a gasoline-powered 5.7-liter V-8 that generates 345hp and 375 lb.-ft. of torque, or two different diesel engines. Early-production 2007 model 2500s were equipped with the older 5.9-liter diesel engines, which were adequately powerful, but later versions came with the 6.7-liter diesel engine that produced 350hp and an astounding 650 lb.–ft. of torque. The 6.7-liter was also offered with a “Jake-brake”-style exhaust brake that allows you to use exhaust back pressure for stopping purposes.
2005 Dodge Dakota
The Dodge Dakota is a mid-sized pickup that is offered with two interesting engine choices: The 3.7-liter V6 makes plenty of hay for everyday chores and is quick enough upon acceleration, though the 4.7-liter V-8 ups the stakes considerably, paying off in power when you need it. The Dakota boasts the only V-8 in its class, yielding considerable power and torque for a mid-sized pickup. Fuel efficiency numbers are not impressive for either engine option, so you will be better-served to look for the 230hp V-8.
2007 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
Large, powerful and extremely reliable are all characteristics of the used Chevrolet Silverado pickup. With a variety of engine, transmission and driveline configurations, there is bound to be one that will meet your needs and perform amazingly well, while saving you mucho dollars. These trucks have flooded used-car markets and they are available with all of the latest amenities: Leather upholstery, Bluetooth, MP3 players and heads-up instrumentation displays are only the beginning. Engine choices include V6s and V-8s with standard and automatic transmissions, with two, four and all-wheel drivelines. You can find these trucks in any trim level, from a basic white work truck to a fully loaded “Cowboy Cadillac,” if you take the time to research reputable used-car websites.