Purchasing a brand new truck is a very serious financial commitment, especially in the unpredictable climate we live in today. If your business or place of employment was one of the many affected by COVID-19, we now see the devastating effects a worldwide pandemic can have on the economy.
But your 1999 Chevy Silverado with 250,000 miles doesn’t play by the same timeline, and the transmission just let go. The shocks are worn out too, and it feels like a kangaroo riding a pogo stick over every bump. Perhaps it’s finally time for that long-awaited upgrade. Rather than pay full price for a new model, allow depreciation to run its course and save thousands buying second-hand. Here are five of the best used trucks on the market in 2020.
1. 2017+ Chevrolet Colorado ZR2
The midsize truck market has been expanding rapidly in recent years, and for good reason. Twenty years ago, most midsize trucks were merely commuter vehicles with a pickup bed designed to haul light cargo. Now, midsize offerings like the Chevrolet Colorado offer four-doors and can tow up to 7700 pounds—far more than most drivers ever need to haul.
We believe the Colorado ZR2 in particular is the trim to spring for on the used market. As the most off-road capable model in the Colorado lineup, the ZR2 combines the practicality and efficiency of a normal midsize truck with baja-racer inspired styling and performance.
The ZR2 is unique among its Colorado brethren with a 48mm factory installed lift, a clipped front bumper, and aggressive front and rear wheel flares. Factory-equipped Multimatic DSSV shocks and electronic locking front and rear differentials enable the ZR2 to conquer terrain once deemed unimaginable in a factory production truck.
A powerful 308-hp 3.6L V6 is standard on the ZR2, but the real gem is the available 2.8L Duramax turbo-diesel providing excellent fuel efficiency and a best-in-class 369 lb-ft of torque. The 2020 Chevy Colorado ZR2 starts at $44,395 after destination fees. However, used 2017 and 2018 models with 50,000 miles or less can be found on Autotrader for less than $30,000—a tremendous savings opportunity.
2. 2016+ Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro
Like the Colorado ZR2, the TRD Pro is the premiere off-road trim in the Tacoma lineup. With Toyota’s patented “Claw Control,” Bilstein shocks, and an electronic locking rear-differential, the TRD Pro is ready to take-on any obstacle in its path.
Top trim levels—and those rated with the highest off-road capability in particular—certainly hold their value better than lesser Tacoma trims. While any newer vehicle purchase is a depreciating asset, at least you can rest assured that if you decide to sell your truck it will be in high demand.
A 278-horsepower 3.5L V6 is the only engine offered on the TRD Pro. Though we certainly wouldn’t argue with a few more ponies, this particular power plant has proven itself year after year to be among the most reliable engines in the segment. That’s a trade-off many will gladly take, and for valid reasons when buying a truck with 50,000 or more miles on the used market.
At $45,135 after delivery, a new 2020 Tacoma TRD Pro is priced right in line with the Colorado ZR2. On the used market however the Tacoma seems to hold its value a bit better, with 2017 and 2018 models still priced in the mid-$30,000 range on Autotrader for TRD Pros with 30,000 to 50,000 miles. If that’s more than your budget allows, the previous generation Tacoma TRD Pro (2015) is far more affordable and still very capable off-road.
3. 2019 Ford Ranger
The newest entry in the midsize truck segment is the Ford Ranger, and it’s undoubtedly one of the best values on the used market today. Offered in both rear-wheel drive and 4×4 configurations across a variety of trims ranging from utilitarian to luxury, you are sure to discover a Ranger that suits your style.
The Ranger’s 2.3L EcoBoost engine yields 270 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque—making it arguably the most appealing standard engine offered in the segment. Surprisingly, these impressive performance figures do not come at the expense of fuel efficiency either, where the Ranger proudly boasts a 26-mpg highway fuel economy rating.
Honorable Mention (2017+Ford F-150 EcoBoost)
The Ford F-150 has been America’s best-selling truck for what feels like an eternity now, and it’s certainly deserving of the honor. If you’re looking at purchasing a Ford F-150 second-hand, the 2017 model year saw major changes you should be aware of. The second-generation 3.5L EcoBoost debuted and saw a substantial power increase to 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. In conjunction, a more efficient 10-speed automatic transmission replaced the outdated six-speed unit. Together these changes resulted in dramatically improved performance and fuel economy.
Honorable Mention (2014 Ford F-150 Tremor)
Available in a regular cab, short bed configuration only, the F-150 Tremor is for drivers who don’t need the extra cabin space that quad-cab pickup trucks provide. With hockey stick side stripes and blacked-out trim, the F-150 Tremor is the last breed of enthusiast-oriented sport trucks and the heir apparent to the infamous Ford Lightning. Available in both rear-drive (FX2) and 4×4 (FX4) trims, the Tremor packs a mighty punch in a small package with its 365-horsepower 3.5L EcoBoost V6. With a zero to 60 mph time in less than six seconds, it’s sure to leave you grinning from ear to ear.