What Are the Best Trucks to Buy Under $30,000 in 2020?

By Kate HalseLast Updated Jun 24, 2020 7:19:07 PM ET
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Kevauto/WikiMedia Commons

Trucks generally aren't the cheapest vehicles on the market. In fact, you'll often find yourself looking at a price tag of at least $30,000 for a new or lightly used truck with the latest features. Don't worry if your budget is on the lower end, however, because there are several dependable trucks available for under $30,000 in 2020. From compact to full-size trucks, here's a look at the best options.

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2020 Ford F-150

The 2020 Ford F-150 is a top choice if you're looking for a reasonably priced yet powerful full-size pickup truck. The XL is the most budget-friendly model in the 2020 lineup and comes with a 3.3-liter V6 engine with an output of 290 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission with options for normal, tow/haul and sport driving modes. Towing capacity varies depending on specifications but ranges from 5,000 pounds to 7,600 pounds for the 3.3-liter V6 engine.

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Bull-Doser/Wikimedia

You'll find a standard 2.3-inch productivity screen in the base XL version of the 2020 F-150. Other standard features include automatic emergency braking, WiFi hotspot, daytime running lights and halogen headlamps and fog lamps. Grab handles come standard for the driver and passenger. Even the base model can comfortably seat up to six passengers.

The Regular Cab 2020 F-150 is available in 4x2 and 4x4 drives. The 4x2 version gets an EPA-estimated rating of 19 city or 25 highway miles per gallon, compared with 18 city or 23 highway for the 4x4 model.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Most 2020 Silverado 1500 trucks have a starting price tag above $30,000, but you can score a two-wheel drive regular cab, long bed WT (Work Truck) trim version of this work-ready truck for just under $30k. The base model comes with a 4.3-liter V6 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission, which is plenty for light work duty and daily driving. Towing capacity is nearly identical between the two-wheel and four-wheel drive versions of the WT, with the former having a capacity of 6,800 pounds and the latter a slightly higher 6,900-pound capacity.

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Bull-Doser/Wikimedia

The Silverado 1500 WT comes standard with rear-wheel drive and a seven-inch color touchscreen. You can also make calls on the go with Bluetooth connectivity. Some auto manufacturers make you upgrade to a higher trim level to get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but both functions come standard on the Silverado 1500 WT. A rear vision camera makes it easier to keep track of your surroundings when you're backing up.

If you're sharing your truck with a teen, the standard Teen Driver mode can help you limit certain features and automatically activate specific safety systems that might come with your truck. This handy ability allows you to configure vehicle settings associated with a key fob. Other standard features include a USB port and tire pressure monitoring.

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The one major downside is that theWT isn't as efficient as some of its competitors, with an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 16 city or 21 highway miles per gallon.

2020 Toyota Tacoma

If your budget is less than $30k, your two options for the 2020 Toyota Tacoma are the SR and SR5 models. Both come with 4x2 and 4x4 trims, although some higher-priced 4x4s can put you slightly over budget. Both the SR and SR5 share the same 3,500-pound towing capacity. You can choose between four-cylinder and V6 engines for both trims.

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Both engines are also available in 4x2 and 4x4 models and are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The base 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine has a 159 horsepower output. If you're looking for more oomph, the 3.5-liter V6 engine has a 278 horsepower output.

Both the 2020 Toyota Tacoma SR and SR5 come standard with three USB charging ports and tire pressure monitoring. Consider upgrading to the SR5 if you want a leather-trimmed steering wheel and Bluetooth hands-free phone controls. A remote keyless entry system is optional on the SR and standard on the SR5. The SR comes standard with a seven-inch touchscreen display, while the SR5 has a slightly larger eight-inch display. Both trims offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You can upgrade to a premium audio system with the SR5.

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According to Toyota, both the SR and SR5 get an estimated 20 city and 23 highway miles per gallon.

2020 Chevrolet Colorado

If you're feeling like your budget limits you to just one or two models of any given make, the 2020 Chevrolet Colorado has several trims under $30k. The lowest-priced base model comes standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission. A step up is the WT, which also has an available 3.6-liter V6 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission along with dual rear seats with storage under the seats.

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Additionally, the LT is still within your budget. You'll get everything on the WT along with an eight-inch diagonal color touchscreen display, an HD rear camera and a six-way power adjustable driver's seat. Each model has a standard towing capacity of 6,200 pounds.

There's also no difference among the trim levels in terms of fuel efficiency, as each truck gets an EPA estimated 20 city and 26 highway rating.

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2020 Ford Ranger

The 2020 Ford Ranger is a midsize pickup truck with two available trim levels under $30k. Both the base XL and XLT models fall within your budget, giving you a bit of flexibility as you're shopping around.

The XL comes with automatic emergency braking along with a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, 911 assist and a smart charging USB port. You can add SiriusXM satellite radio along with a richer sound system with six speakers. A 2.3-liter engine with auto start/stop technology brings efficiency to the forefront. The truck comes standard as a 4x2, with an optional 4x4 version available. The XL has a towing capacity of 7,500 pounds and gets an EPA estimated 21 city or 26 highway miles per gallon.

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An upgrade to the XLT gets you standard automatic high beams and lane assistance. You can also opt for dual-zone automatic climate control. An eight-inch LCD touchscreen comes standard with this model, along with a 110-volt power outlet and Applink. The XLT shares the same engine and 10-speed automatic transmission with tow/haul mode, along with identical fuel efficiency ratings. The XLT has the same 7,500-pound towing capacity.

2020 GMC Canyon

The 2020 GMC Canyon is an all-terrain small truck that slides just under the $30k budget point with its base Canyon model. Despite its entry-level price tag, this robust pickup is a dependable hauler with power and specs that rival some larger pickup trucks.

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Corbin Boucher/Flickr

The base 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with an automatic transmission is the only option within budget, but you'll still get a 200 horsepower output and a towing capacity of 5,500 pounds. This truck comes standard with rear-wheel drive.

On the inside, you'll find a seven-inch touch display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with Bluetooth streaming. SiriusXM is available. Safety features include a rear backup camera and a teen driver function that lets you configure vehicle settings associated with a key fob. A tire pressure monitoring system lets you know when tire pressure gets too low.

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