The best used trucks have come a long way from the days of basic bench seats and vinyl upholstery. Modern trucks are more powerful and more capable than ever, but they are also more comfortable, as automakers have responded to the changing demands of truck owners.
In this guide, we’ve highlighted five rugged trucks that are ideally suited for the worksite. If you don’t find the perfect work truck here, check out listings on CarGurus, where you can narrow down your search based on bed-size, cab-size, trim, engine, options, and more.
Trim: XLT SuperCab 8’ Bed 4×4
Approx price: $17,000 — $30,000
The Ford F-150 SuperCab has a clamshell door design, which means you have to open the large front door to open the smaller rear half-door. If you plan on mostly using the front seats, this is fine, but if you plan on hauling the kids around a lot, you’d do well to step up to the SuperCrew version of the F-150 with its full four-door setup.
If you want the convenience of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto look for a model from 2017 onwards with Ford’s SYNC 3 touchscreen infotainment system.
The 2017 F-150 comes standard with a 282-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, and many XLT trims are available with one of the more powerful EcoBoost V6 engines. For 2018, there was a shakeup in the powertrain offerings, including a more powerful base V6, now making 290 horsepower.
Trim: LT Double Cab 4×4
Approx price: $23,000 — $30,000
The previous generation of Silverado was coming to an end in 2018, which means Chevrolet added extra equipment to entice buyers who might otherwise have waited for the new model.
Step inside and not much has changed from this older truck to the latest version. The control layout is nearly identical, and the latter years of the LT trim come with the MyLink infotainment system that provides a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Unlike the F-150, which has clamshell doors on its extended cab truck, the extended cab version of the Silverado utilizes conventional second row doors. Many models also feature a front bench with a middle seat that folds into a center console.
While the standard engine is a 4.3-liter V6, those wanting more power should keep an eye out for a model with the 5.3-liter V8, which puts out a stout 355 horsepower. All versions of the Silverado come with the helpful bed corner steps.
Trim: SLT Quad Cab 4×4
Approx price: $17,000 – $27,000
Ram does things a bit differently from Ford and Chevy. The truck-maker acknowledged and responded to the idea that its pickups were being used for a lot of things other than worksite duties, such as commutes and road trips. As a result, the Ram 1500 does away with traditional leaf spring suspension, and instead features a multi-link setup at the rear to give it a more comfortable ride. But that doesn’t mean the Ram 1500 can’t handle a bit of work.
The Ram 1500 comes standard with a 3.6-liter V6 making 305 horsepower, but many vehicles from these years can be found with the 395-horsepower 5.7-liter V8. Some are even available with the EcoDiesel V6, which offers V8-levels of torque with improved efficiency.
Like the Silverado’s Double Cab, the Ram 1500’s Quad Cab uses conventionally opening second-row doors. Inside, the Ram 1500 uses high-quality cabin materials, and has easy-to-use controls. The SLT comes with power windows and locks, as well as Bluetooth and USB connectivity. Higher trims come with a larger touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (starting in 2018), and the RamBox cargo system. There’s no doubt that, for the money, the Ram 1500 offers a comfortable ride, a strong base V6, and a spacious interior.
Trim: SLT Double Cab 4×4
Approx price: $19,000 – $30,000
The previous generation of both GM trucks (Silverado and Sierra) have more conventional styling than their current counterparts.
The Sierra SLE is very similar to the Silverado LT, in that it is slightly elevated from the base truck and provides some welcome creature comforts. The SLE can be had with many different options; while most will come with the basic 6-speaker stereo and USB port, others may be found with the optional GMC IntelliLink infotainment system. This is similar to Chevy MyLink and comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The SLE trim comes standard with the 4.3-liter V8 engine, but many can be found with the 355-horsepower 5.3-liter V8 engine. If you don’t need four-wheel drive, you can save a few dollars by choosing a rear-wheel-drive model.
Trim: SR5 Double Cab
Approx price: $20,000 – $30,000
If you’re looking for something a bit different from the Big Three, the Toyota Tundra is big, spacious, and comes with standard V8 power for all the years we are recommending here. Despite being a bit long-in-the-tooth, Tundras hold their value well, with prices for the SR5 being close to that of Big Three trucks with similar bed/cab/powertrain configurations.
The standard engine in the Tundra is a 4.6-liter V8 making 310 horsepower, though many SR5s can be found with the optional 381-horsepower 5.7-liter V8. While it may seem advantageous to go for the less powerful V8 to save a few dollars, it is actually less efficient than the larger V8.
The Tundra has a very spacious cabin. All trims, including the base SR come equipped with the Entune infotainment system, which was updated for 2016. It features a 6.1-inch touchscreen, but while it is very easy to use, it does lack Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.