Your Complete Guide to Finding the Best Used Pickup Truck

Is it smart to buy a used truck? You’d better believe it is. Buying a used truck can be a great move financially, as well as give you a certain peace of mind that you won’t get from a new pickup truck. When you buy a used pickup truck, you generally know if it’s going to be reliable. After all, tens of thousands of other truck owners have been driving it for years. However, there are some things to avoid when buying a used truck. This guide to buying the best used pickup truck will have you happily in your new-to-you pickup truck in no time.

What to look for when buying a used truck?

A white 2020 Toyota Tundra in the woods.
2020 Toyota Tundra | Toyota

One of the best parts about buying a used truck is the availability of used trucks. In general, the used truck market is three times the size of the new pickup truck market, according to Consumer Reports. That may not be exactly the case during the microchip shortage, which is causing there to be fewer new and used pickup trucks. However, there are typically plenty of used trucks to choose from.

When shopping for the best used pickup truck, you’ll want to consider a few factors. Safety should be a priority. You can find safety ratings from both the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration as well as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety on their own websites and Consumer Reports.

You’ll also want to know how reliable the truck you’re looking at may be. A good reliability rating isn’t a guarantee that you’re buying a problem-free pickup, but it could decrease the chance that you’ll end up with expensive repairs down the road.

And finally, you’ll want to get a vehicle history report. These independent reports will let you see if the truck you’re considering buying has ever been in an accident. You should also have a mechanic check out the truck to make sure there’s no hidden damage or repairs that need to be made.

These are some of the best used pickup trucks you can buy, looking at both reliability and safety, according to the average owneConsumer Reports.

2020 Honda Ridgeline | Honda

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The best used Honda Ridgeline models:

  • 2020
  • 2019
  • 2017

One of the things that makes the Honda Ridgeline one of the best used pickup trucks is the sheer number of them that have been recommended by Consumer Reports. Between 2006 and 2021, only two Honda Ridgeline models weren’t Consumer Reports recommended. those are the 2017 and 2018. Pretty much every other used Honda Ridgeline pickup is well-loved by Consumer Reports. The average owner satisfaction rating for these three models is a 5/5.

The 2020 Honda Ridgeline has a 4/5 for reliability and a 5/5 for owner satisfaction. People love their Honda Ridgelines. Most of the 2020 Honda Ridgeline’s crash test ratings are excellent as well. The only one which stands out is the IIHS small overlap passenger test, which receives just an acceptable. The rollover ratings are also 4/5 stars, which is very good for a pickup truck.

2. The Toyota Tundra is super reliable

A dark green 2020 Toyota Tundra in the desert.
2020 Toyota Tundra | Toyota

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Best used Toyota Tundra models:

  • 2020
  • 2018
  • 2015

The 2020, 2018, and 2015 Toyota Tundras all have very good reliability ratings. They also have very good owner satisfaction ratings, with an average rating of 4 for these three models. Even the 2015 Toyota Tundra has an owner satisfaction rating of 3/5, which isn’t bad, considering that those Tundra owners have had many years with their pickup trucks.

Comfort ratings in the Toyota Tundra could be better. They’re a 2/5. The Tundra’s crash test ratings also leave something to be desired. Despite the IIHS giving the Tundra a poor rating for its front small overlap crash test rating, the 2020 and 2018 Toyota Tundras are still recommended by Consumer Reports.

3. The Ram 1500 is one of the best used trucks with great owner satisfaction

A black 2021 Ram 1500 driving through dirt.
2021 RAM 1500 | RAM

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The best used Ram 1500 truck models:

  • 2020
  • 2017
  • 2012

The Ram 1500 is one of the best-selling trucks, and there are several used pickup trucks to choose from. The 2020 Ram 1500 has a reliability rating of 3/5, and owner satisfaction is a 4/5. The average owner satisfaction rating of these three models together is a 3.67. The 2020 Ram 1500 also has a perfect NHTSA frontal crash, driver-side rating.

Comfort in the 2017 Ram 1500 is also very good, with a 4/5 rating from Consumer Reports and a 5/5 for noise and rear-seat comfort. Even the 2012 Ram 1500 has a decent reliability and owner satisfaction rating of 3/5 each, which is pretty good for a nine-year old truck.

4. The Toyota Tacoma is one of the best used small trucks

A beige 2020 Toyota Tacoma in the desert.
2020 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota

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The best used Toyota Tacoma truck models:

  • 2020
  • 2017
  • 2015

If you want a small truck, the 2020 Toyota Tacoma is one of the best used pickup trucks you can buy. It has a 5/5 reliability rating as well as a 4/5 for overall owner satisfaction. It has a 3.67 average owner satisfaction score for these three models. Its safety ratings are somewhat mixed, though that’s the case for many pickup trucks. You should look at each truck’s crash test ratings to determine what scores you’re comfortable with before purchasing your used truck.

The 2017 Toyota Tacoma is another good choice for a used pickup truck. Consumer Reports gives the 2017 Toyota Tacoma a 4/5 for reliability and a 3/5 for owner satisfaction. Like the 2020 Tacoma model, the 2017 safety ratings aren’t perfect.

The 2015 Toyota Tacoma is also a good choice for one of the used small trucks. It’s Consumer Reports recommended and has a 5/5 for reliability ,as well as a 3/5 for owner satisfaction. Its overall crash score is a 4/5, though its frontal crash score is just a 3/5.

5. The Chevy Silverado 2500 is one of the best used full-size pickup trucks

A black 2021 Chevy Silverado parked next to a river.
2021 Chevy Silverado | Chevrolet

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The best used Chevy Silverado models:

  • 2020
  • 2017
  • 2016

The Chevy Silverado 2500 is one of the best used full-sized trucks you can buy. Consumer Reports gives the 2020 Chevy Silverado a 4/5 for reliability, making it a great choice if you want a full-size pickup truck and don’t want to overpay by buying a new one. The Chevy Silverado has an average owner satisfaction score of 3 for these three models.

The 2017 Chevy Silverado 2500 has pretty good safety ratings, though its reliability is only a 1/5. If you do decide to look at the 2017 Chevy Silverado 2500, you’ll want to have your Silverado checked out by an independent mechanic. That’s something you should do anyway, to verify that the pickup truck that you’re considering is in good shape.

The 2016 Chevy Silverado 2500 is another good choice if you’re in the market for one of the best used full-sized trucks. It has a reliability score of 2/5, which isn’t ideal, but its owner satisfaction is a 3/5. It also has decent safety ratings.

6. The Ford Ranger is the most affordable of these used pickup trucks

The 2021 Ford Ranger off-roading
2021 Ford Ranger | Ford

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Best used Ford Ranger truck models:

  • 2020
  • 2010
  • 2008

There was a large gap of time between 2011 and 2019 when no Ford Rangers were made. Because of that, if you’re interested in the Ford Ranger, you can either be a kind-of-new used Ford Ranger, like the 2010 or 2019, or you can go back ten or so years and buy the 2008 or 2010. The average customer rating for these models is a 2.67.

The Ford Ranger is a smaller pickup truck. The 2020 Ford Ranger is obviously newer, and its reliability ratings and customer satisfaction are both very good, at a 4/5. Its crash-test results are pretty good as well. Comfort in the 2020 Ford Ranger is only a 2/5, but if you only plan on using your Ranger for local commuting, that may not be a huge deal to you.

The 2010 Ford Ranger has a 4/5 for reliability, but a 2/5 for owner satisfaction. Still, the 2010 Ford Ranger has decent crash test ratings. The 2008 Ford Ranger’s crash test ratings are a little bit worse, but its reliability rating is also a 4/5. Owner satisfaction is a 2/5 for the 2008 Ranger as well.

if you’re in the market for a used pickup truck, following the above steps will help put you in a position to be happy with the pickup truck that you purchase. Just remember to do your research, consider safety and reliability, and have your car checked out by someone not related to the sale. Then you’ll have a better shot at getting a pickup you truly love.

7. The GMC Sierra 1500 is a decent used pickup truck

A white 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 parked among a sea of Sierra 1500 and Chevy Silverado models. We recommend buying this model year used.
2019 GMC Sierra 1500 | Joshua Lott/Getty Images

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The best used GMC Sierra 1500 truck models:

  • 2018
  • 2016
  • 2012

The GMC Sierra 1500 has mixed ratings, depending on the used truck model year you’re looking at. However, the 2018 GMC Sierra 1500 has a 3/5 for reliability and a 2/5 for owner satisfaction. It also has 5/5 stars for the NHTSA frontal-crash driver as well as passenger sides. The average owner satisfaction score for these three models is a 2.67.

The 2016 GMC Sierra has similar ratings, according to Consumer Reports. Its IIHS ratings include a marginal for the front small overlap driver side. Performance in the 2016 GMC Sierra is good, with acceleration getting a 4/5.

The 2012 GMC Sierra is the most affordable used truck model of the three used GMC Sierras. It has a 4/5 for reliability and a 2/5 for owner satisfaction. Its NHTSA frontal-crash driver and passenger side ratings are both 4/5.

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