Home / The Best Cars for Every Budget / The Best Used Trucks under $5000


The astronomical price of a new truck can scare the dickens out of Warren Buffet, so no one can blame you for looking for a bargain. Luckily, with a little bit of research, you can find plenty of full-sized and light truck options that will beat the $5,000 budget we have set for this article. Below we will give a few of each and one good SUV option for the frugal-minded families out there. This article also quotes prices that you should expect to find on a dealer’s lot. You may find a better price from a private seller.

Ford F-150

The F-150 earns the top spot on this list because of its status as the King of pick-up trucks. It has been the best selling truck for around sixty years, it has also topped the truck ranks for reliability, safety, and fuel economy throughout that span. Unfortunately for the frugal-minded, because of that overall quality, it holds its resale value as well. That leaves you looking at a 1999 model or older in order to find one under $5,000. There may be a few instances of newer trucks meeting the price point, but they will have very high mileage.

Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra

The 1500 series Silverado and Sierra are dependable work trucks or daily drivers. They also tend to lose resale value a bit faster than their Ford counterparts. You can find a variety of 2001 2WD 1500s for around $4,500. In some instances, you may find a reliable example from the 2002 model year. If you want a 4WD version or a large cab, then you may need to fall back as far as 1997 to meet our price.

Toyota Tacoma

Unlike the F-150 and Sierra/Silverado, the Tacoma is a midsize truck available with an inline 4 or V6–no V8 option. However, it is known to be a capable, long-lasting, and economical pickup with respectable fuel economy and off-road chops. Bed lengths are a 5-foot short bed and 6-foot long bed, and a 4-door “double cab” became available in 2004. Most buyers opt for the stronger V6 engine, producing 190 to 236 horsepower depending on the model year. It’s hard to find a better pickup truck for under $5000.

Nissan Frontier

The Nissan Frontier is a sporty, fun, and dependable light truck. It is also affordable from the time it is manufactured on. To many truck users the downside of the Frontier is that it only offers a King or Crew cab with a 6 ft. bed, whereas Ford offered a regular cab with a 7 ft. bed on the Ranger. If that does not matter to you, then you can find plenty of examples of the 2003 Nissan Frontier for sale under $4,500.

Ford Ranger

To the dismay of many light truck enthusiasts, the Ford Ranger was discontinued in the North American market at the end of 2012. That does not mean there are not plenty of low cost options available. You can find a variety of 2005 Rangers that will meet our price point. With some careful shopping, you may even find a King Cab, Edge trim, or the XLT package for less than $5,000. Adding 4WD will push you back to the 2002 model year, though.

Chevy Tahoe

We decided to throw in an SUV for the frugal family. The Tahoe stands out over Ford and Dodge’s entries because of long-term reliability in this category. The Tahoe offers plenty of interior space and luggage capacity for a family of four or five. It also has great towing capacity for boaters and campers. You can find 2002 models that meet our price point if you only need 2WD. Adding 4WD to your options will require a 2001 model or older.

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