The midsize pickup truck is dead. Long live the midsize pickup truck.
It comes down to the fact that few people want a new midsize truck, but everyone wants a used one. You can see the problem right there. Which is why midsize truck choices have thinned out with big players like Ford and Ram absent from the segment. And with the exception of the redesigned Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, most existing rivals are due for a redesign. Yet prices remain high for these vehicles, and as a result, many buyers give up and buy a full-size, V8-powered pickup that’s probably way more truck than they need.
Still, there are those who hold out for exactly the right amount of truck. To that end, I’ve pulled out three examples of the kind of midsize pickup you can get for less than $20,000 through CARFAX Used Car Listings.
I don’t know about Loch Ness Monster-proof, but Tacomas are known for being incredibly long-lasting if you don’t live in the Rust Belt. They’re a fashion accessory for active young adults, too, which means this 2007 Toyota Tacoma with 86,215 miles is pretty indicative of what you’re going to get for this price range – $17,844 in this case.
This one-owner Tacoma PreRunner trim may mean two-wheel-drive, but it’s better than sitting in a base work truck since you get a more refined interior and fashionable wheels. And the 4.0-liter V6 in these things is fairly smooth and powerful. Best of all, even though Toyota just made a big deal about the redesigned 2016 Tacoma at the Detroit Auto Show, it shares a number of similarities with this one.
The same sentiment could be applied to the Nissan Frontier, a truck that hasn’t also changed substantially since 2005. The Frontier doesn’t have quite the following as the Tacoma, which means you might be able to get more truck at a reasonable price.
Never forget this Frontier ad from 1998: Dogs love trucks.
For $16,994, you can get this 2011 Nissan Frontier with just 45,518 miles. Like the Tacoma, it’s a one-owner truck. But unlike the Toyota, it has nearly half the miles on it and is several years newer. It’s a manual, too, which may or may not float your boat, but it’s a more affordable way to go.
Maybe you want to go in a different direction. This 2007 Honda Ridgeline is an example of what happens when Honda went a different route and then couldn’t sell enough of that different route. Frankly, it’s a route a lot more truck buyers should have taken.
Honda’s first attempt at a mainstream truck rival was really more like a Pilot with a composite bed on the back and some unusual styling. Still, it shares the crossover’s 3.5-liter V6, spacious interior and relatively good driving dynamics. It really is all the truck most people need. Honda seems to think it’s a good idea, because they confirmed at this month’s Chicago Auto Show that they’re giving the Ridgeline another try starting from next year.
For $17,995, you could have this 78,575-mile example of a truck that’s much better suited to carrying a family of people, rather than a family of spiders in the firewood you’re throwing in the bed. Again, priorities.
Those buying a new midsize pickup truck haven’t had it this good in a while with the new investment in product. But a little hunting proves there are some good, reasonably priced models if you’re buying a used truck.