Pickup Trucks for Every Budget

© Ford Motor CompanyPickup Truck Price Guide
Originally built for farmwork during the early days of the automobile, pickup trucks evolved into postwar lifestyle vehicles during the 1950s, and since then trucks have risen in popularity to become America’s best-selling vehicle. Today’s rigs possess comfort and convenience touches that would make a midcentury ranch hand blush. Shoppers can choose a pickup platform, get carried away adding doors, drive options and trim packages, and run the bottom line up from an entry-level mid-$20,000s rig to well over $60,000 faster than the truck can get from zero to 60 mph. What follows are pickups for every budget. Some are entry-level half-ton bargains, and others are speed demons, off-road warriors, luxury yachts and one-ton tow monsters.

© Nissan North AmericaUnder $20,000
Nissan Frontier S
Starting MSRP: $18,990
The ground floor when it comes to pickup trucks, this Frontier S is a 4×2 with a 5-speed manual gearbox and bare basics 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine borrowed from the Sentra compact sedan. The 152-horsepower unit is the only powerplant offered in the S-trim Frontier. You do get the expanded room of a King Cab and other niceties such as air-conditioning, a CD stereo, a rearview camera and Bluetooth connectivity, but very few upgrade options. Need more? Next stop is the SV trim.

© General Motors$20,000 – $30,000
Chevrolet Colorado
Starting MSRP: $20,200
Chevy’s entry level midsize pickup is a “what you see is what you get” proposition. It comes in only 2-wheel drive, extended cab / long bed configuration, with a 200-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine under the hood. Add some interior space and go 4-door Crew Cab / short bed for $26,780, or keep it extended cab, step up, and go for 4-wheel drive and shell out $28,895. Higher grade Colorado’s offer a 308 horsepower 3.6-liter V6 or a 2.8-liter Duramax turbodiesel rated at 181 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque, but you will pay a premium for the privilege . . . more than $34,000 for the diesel.

© Nissan North AmericaNissan Frontier Desert Runner
Starting MSRP: $25,900
This version of the midsize Frontier has a sporty off-road demeanor. It’s a 4×2 rig fashioned after the trucks desert racers use to pre-run an off-road course. The Desert Runner features Frontier’s up-level 261-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 engine, Bilstein off-road shocks, all-terrain tires, auxiliary lighting, special exterior goodies, and a rugged interior. This trim is a great way to add both personality and functionality to your pickup-owning experience, and Nissan offers it at an exceptional value.

© Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.Toyota Tacoma SR
Starting MSRP: $25,200
The SR trim is our introduction to Toyota’s midsize pickup. The party starts with a 2-wheel-drive powertrain in 2-door Access Cab format. The base engine is a 159- horsepower 2.7-liter four cylinder backed by a 6-speed automatic transmission. Adding a 4X4 driveline to the SR bumps the bottom line to $28,275. Opt to retain the 2-wheel drive and upgrade to a 4-door Double Cab / short bed will cost $26,030. The line-topping SR delivers a 4X4 drivetrain, a Double Cab / short-bed body configuration, and a $31,465 price tag. No matter what you spend, Toyota’s famed reliability is part of the transaction.

© FCA USRam 1500 Tradesman
Starting MSRP: $27,095
Ram’s cost leader, the Tradesman is built for no frills, no excuses work. It’s a half-ton, regular cab, 2-wheel driver powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine rated at 305 horsepower. This model features a cloth interior, manual air-conditioning, black bumpers, and bare-bones audio. Need more horses? Add a 395-horsepower 5.7-liter Hemi V8 for $1,450 or upgrade the base-engine version to 4-wheel drive and pay $31,695. No matter how you slice it, this is the cheapest way to get into a full-size, half-ton pickup.

© Ford Motor CompanyFord F-150 XL
Starting MSRP: $27,610
The perennial best-seller, the XL is the cheapest way into Ford’s league-leading F-150. The XL is a 2-door regular cab / long bed with Ford’s base V6 under the hood. It’s the engine you never hear about: a 290-horsepower 3.3-liter unit. The truck gets dressed down with a black grille and bumpers, steel wheels, cloth seats, an AM/FM stereo without a CD player, and vinyl flooring. While we don’t see Ford moving a lot of these beyond fleet sales, it’s clear the Blue Oval has an effective recipe for pickup truck success and they aren’t afraid to use it.

© Nissan North AmericaNissan Titan S
Starting MSRP: $30,030
As Nissan’s full-size pickup offering, the Titan comes with a standard V8 engine, namely the automaker’s tried-and-proven 390-horsepower 5.6-liter unit. It’s backed by a 7-speed automatic transmission. On the plus side, the base S trim delivers Bluetooth connectivity, air-conditioning and a rearview camera. On the minus side: steel wheels, vinyl flooring, and a basic four speaker AM/FM/CD audio setup. This is the typical base-trim two-step . . . if you care to dance, there are up-level versions that have longer standard equipment lists.

© American Honda MotorsHonda Ridgeline RT
Starting MSRP: $29,730
Back after a hiatus between 2014 and 2017, Honda’s Ridgeline picks up right where it left off . . . as one of the more innovative rigs on the road. The Ridgeline has a less polarizing look, the bed is now four inches longer, and the cabin has grown as well. A 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine and a 6-speed automatic transmission are at the heart of the matter. All Ridgelines are Crew Cabs, and the RT is only offered in front-wheel drive. The Honda features a cool dual-action tailgate that swings open and drops down depending on your needs, and the slick in-bed trunk is back. It’s 73 cubic inches in volume and has a drain plug for road sodas; it can also accept dividers for even more storage versatility. The Ridgeline is a unibody design based on the Pilot — not a truck-based ladder frame design. The advantage is superior road handling and a quieter ride.

© Nissan North America$30,000 – $40,000
Nissan Titan XD S
Starting MSRP: 32,040; diesel $37,590
Nissan’s large-and-in-charge pickup, the Titan XD is bigger and beefier than a regular Titan. The S trim is a 2-door single-cab gas-engine version. The base engine is a 5.6-liter V8 rated at 390 horsepower and 394 lb-ft of torque with a tow rating of 11,600 pounds. Moving up to a 4-door Crew Cab bumps the bottom line to $36,990, and adding a diesel to the mix costs $37,590 on the base S. The 5.0-liter Cummins diesel V8 generates 310 horsepower and 555 lb-ft of torque and has a tow rating of 12,640 pounds. This is the way to go if you like the Titan but intend to do more towing with your new ride.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFord Super Duty F-250
Starting MSRP: $32,890
Starter Super Duty pickups fly the F-250 colors and come as a 2-door single cab, single-rear-wheel, 2-wheel drivers fitted with 6.2-liter gasoline engine and a 6-speed automatic transmission. The V8 generates 385 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque, and thanks to its big-boned architecture provides 13,300 pounds of conventional towing. The same powertrain is available on the F-350 XL. These rigs straddle the border between daily use and weekend warrior tow truck. When fitted with fifth-wheel hitches and dual rear tires, the towing numbers go up.

© General Motors$40,000 – $50,000
Chevrolet Silverado Special Ops
Starting MSRP: $41,135
Chevy is known for its special-edition pickups. They are a great way to add a theme to your ride and get some cool value-add features in the process. The Special Ops is a 4X4 4-door Double Cab / standard box setup powered by a 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V8 engine with 355 horsepower and 388 lb-ft of torque on tap. Exclusive touches include blackout paint, 20-inch alloy wheels, all-terrain tires, unique naval-inspired graphics, and an eye-catching bed-mounted Sport Bar with Special Ops graphics.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceHonda Ridgeline Black Edition
Starting MSRP: $43,220
This Black Edition is the zenith of Ridgeline variants. The version is a mechanical match to the base RT, but drivers get all the bells and whistles. All-wheel drive is standard; so are a 540-watt audio system, an 8.1-inch info display, navigation, specially-stitched leather seats and door cards, and custom red interior lighting. Outside, as the name implies, there is plenty of black trim from the wheels to the skidplate to the emblems . . . even the chrome is black. This is a lot of truck for the money — this highest-trim Ridgeline checks in for less than $45,000.

© Nissan North AmericaNissan Titan Pro-4X Crew Cab
Starting MSRP: $45,920
Pro-4X is Nissan’s off-road trim level and in this case it gets teamed with the automaker’s large-frame pickup. Like all Titans, the base engine is a 390-horse 5.6-liter V8 backed by a 7-speed automatic transmission. The 4X package includes off-road-oriented Bilstein shocks, exclusive 18-inch alloy wheels and more aggressive all-terrain tires. Running gear consists of a 2-speed transfer case actuated by a dial on the center console. Have an affinity for mud? Here’s a truck for your test drive list.

© Toyota Motor Sales USAToyota Tundra Platinum
Starting MSRP: $47,080
The most opulent Tundra under the Toyota pickup banner, the Platinum features the best of the best. Standard fare includes a rear-wheel-drive powertrain, 4-door CrewMax cab, and Toyota’s stout 5.7-liter V8 engine that produces 381 horsepower and sports a tow rating of 9,400 pounds. This is an upgrade from the entry-level 4.6-liter V8 that produces 310 horsepower. Inside, the cabin is wrapped with leather and the Platinum sports a Toyota Entune audio system with navigation. Want 4-wheel drive? Check that box and the price jumps to $50,130.

© Ford Motor Company$50,000 – $60,000
Ford F-150 Raptor
Starting MSRP: $50,020
The Raptor is built for speed first; utility and cargo hauling are a close second . . . perhaps not too close. Its off-road prowess can be traced to open desert race trucks, and this Ford also has the performance look inside. Previously the Raptor flexed V8 power; for 2018, Ford drops a High Output EcoBoost V6 under the hood. At 18 psi max boost, the 3.5-liter unit belts out 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque — both figures are improvements over last year’s Raptor. A paddle-shifted 10-speed automatic transmission puts the power down to all four wheels. The long travel suspension features Fox Racing Shox, lightweight wheels, and BFGoodrich K02 off-road rubber. Living the race dream in the dirt doesn’t get much better than this wide-fendered go-getter . . . available in SuperCab or SuperCrew.

© Ford Motor Company$60,000 – $70,000
Ford F-150 Limited
Starting MSRP: $60,755
Perched atop the F-150 hierarchy, the Limited is a best-of-the-best proposition with a price tag to match. The top-trimmed Ford gets a special 2-tone leather interior with 10-way adjustable heated and ventilated seats, heated rear seats, a premium Bang & Olufsen audio system, an 8-inch display, voice-activated navigation, and other high-end amenities. Along with many Ford Sync connectivity features, the cab serves as a Wi-Fi hotspot. The Ford features a 375-horsepower EcoBoost V6 engine with 470 lb-ft of torque available down low in the rev range.

© General MotorsChevrolet Silverado 1500 High Country
Starting MSRP: $61,265
This is the top-line Silverado 1500 separate from Chevy’s special edition program. The High Country package includes heated and vented bucket seats trimmed in luscious black or saddle-colored leather, an 8-inch touchscreen, a Bose audio system with navigation, a color-matched body, unique grillwork, a sunroof, 22-inch rolling stock, and numerous safety technologies. Motivation comes from the Chevy’s top-line small-block V8 for pickups: the 6.2-liter EcoTec3 V8 is rated at 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. Riding high comes at a price, but the interior of this truck is definitely next level.

© General MotorsChevrolet Silverado 2500HD Custom Sport
Starting MSRP: $64,270
Now we’re getting into the hardcore tow-rigs. The Custom Sport is one of Chevy’s popular special editions. It’s based on LT or LTZ trim levels of Chevy’s bigger Heavy Duty lineup, comes in black or white, and rolls on 20-inch wheels and tires. The top-line variant is a 4-door Crew Cab / standard box, 4-wheel drive with a single rear wheel. This Bow-Tie boasts 18,100 pounds of towing power from its 6.6-liter 445-horsepower 910 lb-ft of torque Duramax diesel. The diesel is backed by a heavy-duty Allison transmission.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience$70,000 – $80,000
Ford Super Duty F-250 Limited
Starting MSRP: $79,540
The most luxurious version of Ford’s first-tier one-ton tow-oriented pickup is the Super Duty F-250. It comes in different trims, the Platinum ($62,660) and King Ranch ($54,765) and features Ford’s primary tow motor: a 6.7-liter diesel with 935 lb-ft of torque. Inside, the Ford is fitted with the usual Limited trim equipment: 2-tone leather 40-console-40 front seats, door cards, and dash trim; a high-end audio system; navigation; and Ford’s Ultimate Trailer Tow Camera System that provides 180- and 360-degree views for easier trailer maneuvering. Towing capacity is 15,000 pounds in single-rear-wheel configuration and 20,000 pounds in dually (dual-rear-wheel) configuration.

© Ford Motor Company$80,000 and Up
Ford Super Duty F-450 Limited
Starting MSRP: $85,505
The hardest working stump-puller on this list, the F-450 is the best tow rig this side of a Kenworth 18-wheeler. As such, the F-450 is more outfitted for towing and hard labor than daily commuting. And the toughness comes at a premium — the luxurious Limited cracks 85K. The most expensive ride on our list, the F-450 features Ford’s 2-tone leather interior, a Sony premium stereo system, navigation, and Ford’s Ultimate Trailer Tow Camera System that offers 360-degree views to make trailer pulling a snap. Along with the 6.7-liter turbodiesel V8’s 450 horsepower and whopping 935 lb-ft of torque, the F-450 has other tow-oriented upgrades: dual rear wheels, dual alternators, exhaust braking, a heavy-duty transmission, a reinforced frame and more. As a result, maximum conventional towing capacity is a mind-blowing 21,000 pounds.


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