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Best Used Mid-Sized Trucks to Buy

Want to get a truck without breaking the bank? Compare all the competitors in our list of the best used mid-size trucks to buy!

The Appeal of the Used Mid-size Truck

2022 Rivian R1T - netcarshow.com
2022 Rivian R1T - netcarshow.com

Not everyone wants to drive a full-size pickup truck, trying to squeeze it into parking spaces at Target, attempting to make sharp turns around town, or pumping gallons of gas into it every few days. They have definite advantages, but unless you’re hauling or towing on a regular basis, you can probably get by just fine without a full-size truck. Still, it’s nice to have more than an SUV for the times when you have to make a trip to the dump or need to move large items. That’s where the mid-size truck comes in.

This market has gone up and down over time, but there are still several different brand-new mid-size options to choose from. A 2022 Jeep Gladiator at $35,480, a 2022 Honda Ridgeline at $37,640, or a 2022 Rivian R12 at $67,500 may not be in your budget though. Going used, even by just a few model years, can result in a significant price decrease while keeping most of the comforts shoppers have come to expect in 2022. You may need to give up the leather seats for a lower price, but the further back you go, the higher you can go on trim levels, too. There are some really good used mid-size trucks that are worth considering. Take a look at them below!

Jeep Gladiator

2020 Jeep Gladiator - media.stellantisnorthamerica.com
2020 Jeep Gladiator - media.stellantisnorthamerica.com

Although it’s still fairly new, the Jeep Gladiator has three different model years already. First reintroduced in 2020, the Jeep Gladiator picked up its name from a discontinued 1980s Jeep truck. The 2020 Jeep Gladiator was based on the Wrangler with large off-road tires, standard four-wheel drive (4WD), and a front-end look that can’t be mistaken. Plus, the top and doors come off, making the Gladiator look even more like the Wrangler. This one is definitely the best option when it comes to off-road adventures.

In the 2020 Gladiator, a gasoline-powered V6 was available. The standard 3.6-liter V6 engine is paired with a 6-speed manual transmission (or available 8-speed automatic) to make 285-horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Seven 2020 trims ranged in price from $35,040 to $47,410 at the time they were released. Now, you can find a 2020 Jeep Gladiator with under 30,000 miles for as low as $23,900. A price drop of over $10,000 in the span of a few years isn’t bad. For a full-on off-roading experience, you’ll want to look at the Jeep Gladiator Rubicon, which has exclusive features like front and rear locking differentials, rock rails, a brush guard, and a sway bar. Read about every feature and look at specs in our 2020 Jeep Gladiator review.

Chevrolet Colorado

2020 Chevrolet Colorado - media.chevrolet.com
2020 Chevrolet Colorado - media.chevrolet.com

Chevy has the Silverado, but also has the Chevy Colorado for anyone wanting a decent truck at the mid-size level. You can find a 2017 Chevy Colorado 4×2 LT 4WD Crew Cab, which had a V6 and eight-speed automatic transmission available for the first time, for under $20,000. A used 2019 Chevy Colorado can be purchased for under $23,000. The 2020 Chevy Colorado, updated with useful standard features that we noted in our 2020 Chevy Colorado review, is sitting around the $25,000 mark. Most of those vehicles have between 18,000 and 50,000 miles. All of those model years come with either RWD or 4WD.

Going back as far back as 2017 will still get you a modern pickup with between 181 and 308 horsepower and at least 369 lb-ft of torque. The Colorado does have a few engine options, with availability based on different trim levels, so it’s possible to get a 308 horsepower V6 on a higher-trimmed 2017 Colorado Z71. The 2017 Colorado doesn’t do quite as well on gas mileage, but it’s actually just one number below the efficiency of a brand-new 2022 Chevy Colorado in both city driving and on the highway.

The off-roading trims like Z71 and ZR2 are highlights of the lineup, but even the LT comes with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, EZ Lift-and-Lower tailgate, and half a dozen other infotainment features. All Colorado models within the past five years can tow a maximum of 7,000 pounds when properly equipped. That makes the Colorado a leader in the segment.

GMC Canyon

2020 GMC Canyon - media.gmc.com
2020 GMC Canyon - media.gmc.com

The GMC Canyon may be a mechanical twin of the Chevy Colorado, but it gives passengers a different feel when riding in it. I’m talking about the more upscale look of the cabin. From the materials to the cushioning used for the seats, everything is a bit higher scale in the GMC Canyon. Vinyl seats are standard, but leather upholstery is standard the further up the trim ladder you go.

Every model going back to the 2016 GMC Canyon has a wide variety of trims available, each with different configurations and features. All of those models have a RWD or 4WD drivetrain. Another commonality is a powertrain that makes between 181 and 309 horsepower with 369 lb-ft of torque. With the turbodiesel engine, the 2021 GMC Canyon tows up to 7,700 pounds when properly equipped. That’s one of the highest capacities in the class for 2021 models. A 2021 Canyon with a V6 can tow up to 7,000 pounds. That’s true of every GMC Canyon model going back to 2016.

There is a decent jump in fuel efficiency when going from the 2017 GMC Canyon into more recent Canyon models. Another difference is with the 2021 GMC Canyon. It includes a new AT4 trim, which has several off-road features like hill descent control and a locking rear differential. We detailed the positives of the AT4 trim in our 2021 GMC Canyon review. Getting to the pricing of used Canyons, a high-end 136,860-mile 2016 GMC Canyon loaded with features costs about $20,000. A 2021 GMC Denali with 30,483 miles is going for about $40,000. There are plenty of options at every price point when shopping for a used GMC Canyon.

Nissan Frontier

2020 Nissan Frontier - usa.nissannews.com
2020 Nissan Frontier - usa.nissannews.com

The Nissan Frontier started its third generation with the 2022 Frontier and features like a 4G LTE Wifi hotspot, an optional 9-inch touchscreen, and “Zero Gravity” seats, but used models still have a lot to offer. While some model years are more comfortable, or powerful, than others, every recent Nissan Frontier scores well when it comes to reliability. Although the second generation lasted from 2005 to 2021, there were updates and facelifts throughout, so some fairly modern features can still be found in some recent Nissan Frontier models.

A 2020 Nissan Frontier, which was updated with a V6 engine and nine-speed automatic transmission, is going for anywhere between $26,000 and $44,999. At the lower end of that spectrum sits the 2020 Nissan Frontier S. On the higher end is the Pro-4X trim. Features vary between them, but a rearview camera, at least a 7-inch touchscreen, push-button start, Bluetooth, and keyless entry are found on every 2020 Frontier. The V6 in the 2020 models makes 310 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque.

Dropping down to a 2017 Nissan Frontier still gets a RWD or 4WD truck with at least 152 horsepower from the four-cylinder base engine. Between cab styles, bed styles, powertrain configurations, and trim levels, there is a wide range of options to choose from in a 2017 Nissan Frontier model. The 4.0-liter V6 gave a boost up to 261 horsepower. A manual gearbox is standard with both engines, but automatic transmissions were offered as an upgrade. Infotainment and driver assists vary with the trim level.

Toyota Tacoma

2018 Toyota Tacoma - pressroom.toyota.com
2018 Toyota Tacoma - pressroom.toyota.com

Of all the trucks listed, the Toyota Tacoma may be the most reliable. Dependability is almost a given with any model year. This truck has trims with some decent off-road ability, too. You can go back several years and still get some good specs when looking at the Tacoma. A 2015 Toyota Tacoma makes 159 horsepower with a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine, or it makes 236 horsepower with a 4.0-liter V6. The result is 180 and 266 lb-ft of torque. While the 2015 Tacoma, which can be found for around $15,000 in some cases, doesn’t lead the class in towing, it can handle up to 6,500 pounds when equipped properly.

Starting with the 2016 Toyota Tacoma, the V6 and six-speed automatic output increased to 278 horsepower, but torque dropped to 265 lb-ft. The 2016 Tacoma increased tow capacity to 6,800 pounds, too. A rearview camera, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams were all standard parts of that safety package when the 2018 Toyota Tacoma was released.

There are useful features in the used models, whether you’re looking at a 2021 base model, a 2019 Toyota Tacoma Limited, or a 2018 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, which can be found with a price tag of about $20,000. When considering this truck, be sure to take a look at our 2019 Toyota Tacoma review and our 2021 Toyota Tacoma review.

Honda Ridgeline

2017 Honda Ridgeline - hondanews.com
2017 Honda Ridgeline - hondanews.com

It wasn’t that long ago that the Honda Ridgeline was fully redesigned. The 2017 Honda Ridgeline RTL-T, higher on the list of seven available trims, can be found for under $20,000. They can be found with an 8-inch touchscreen, audio navigation, Bluetooth, a seven-speaker stereo, and an in-bed power outlet. In 2017, the Honda Ridgeline was the only mid-size truck with a six-cylinder base engine. Even at the base level, that V6 was the most powerful in the segment, making 280 horsepower.

The unibody construction gives the Honda Ridgeline a larger, comfortable cabin. It also helps provide some car-like handling. 2021 models eliminated FWD as an option, sticking only with AWD. Models before that came in FWD or AWD. Other than discontinuing some trim levels and updating the Honda Sensing suite with some new driver technology features, there aren’t that many differences between a 2017 Ridgeline and some of the newer models. Whether it’s a 2017 Honda Ridgeline, a 2020 Honda Ridgeline, or somewhere in between, this truck will provide cabin space and well-cushioned seats.

Ford Ranger

2019 Ford Ranger - netcarshow.com
2019 Ford Ranger - netcarshow.com

The Ranger nameplate has been used by Ford on more than one line of pickups, but, after a seven-year hiatus, Ford brought the mid-size Ranger back starting with the 2019 model year. The reintroduced 2019 Ford Ranger had comfortable seats, plenty of bed space, and improved fuel efficiency. It was available in three trim levels, two body styles, and one engine option: a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. The 2019 Ranger, mated to a 10-speed automatic, put out 270 horsepower with 310 lb-ft of torque. A 2021 Ford Ranger, 2020 Ford Ranger, and 2019 Ford Ranger can all tow up to 7,500 pounds when properly equipped.

A top-of-the-line used 2019 Ford Ranger Lariat is going for around $30,000 while a new 2022 Ford Ranger Lariat has a starting MSRP of $33,590 (without the packages and add-ons). There’s some money to be saved in getting a 2019 Ranger, which is still updated enough to have an eight-inch touchscreen, heated and power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, and leather upholstery. We discussed every updated feature in our 2019 Ford Ranger review and 2020 Ford Ranger review.

The New, Old and In Between of Used Trucks

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz - hyundaiusa.com
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz - hyundaiusa.com

There are some new entries into the mid-size pickup segment. There’s the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz, which uses a unibody chassis. This recently released truck has a starting MSRP of $24,140. That’s for the base model. You can read in-depth details in our 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz review, but the base engine only kicks out 191 horsepower. That’s why getting a slightly used GMC Canyon, Ford Ranger, or Toyota Tacoma (at higher trim levels) may still be the smartest route to go. The used models will have higher mileage, but they’ll also be cheaper. You won’t need to compromise on driver assists and infotainment if you look for higher trims.

Of course, there are older, now-defunct models like the Suzuki Equator, the Mazda B-Series, and the Dodge Dakota. Those will all be cheaper than options on this list, but they also don’t have anywhere close to the amount of amenities and features today’s trucks have. For the total package in the best used mid-size trucks to buy, it really comes down to the Nissan Frontier, Ford Ranger, GMC Canyon, or Honda Ridgeline. If you’re having trouble choosing between them, give this a read: Budget Buy Under $10,000: GMC Canyon vs Ford Ranger.

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Jesse Batson

Jesse Batson earned his journalism degree from South Dakota State University. No stranger to newsgathering and reporting, Jesse spent 13 years in TV news. 10 of those years were spent working in Charlotte, NC, home of NASCAR. A highlight of his time there was being able to take a lap around the Charlotte Motor Speedway. His interest in vehicles, starting with Matchbox cars, a Big Wheel, and the Transformers, evolved into taking photos of motocross events. Now, he puts his research skills to use on car culture, reviews, and comparisons.

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