In the current market, the prices of full-size truck models are skyrocketing due to the unwavering demand. However, amid this trend, the resurgence of compact and midsize trucks brings a breath of fresh air, delivering a more affordable option for buyers. These budget pickup trucks pack a punch without breaking the bank, making owning a truck a real possibility for more folks.
So, if you’ve been eyeing that pickup but worried about the price tag, these compact and midsize options outlined by MotorTrend might just be the answer you’ve been looking for!
Best budget pickup trucks for 2024
Saving money isn’t exactly the first thing you think of when you’re in the market for a pickup truck. After all, trucks are often associated with high price tags and hefty payments. Yet, there are some surprisingly affordable options that still offer great performance, reliability, and versatility.
Let’s take a look at them below:
2024 Ford Ranger – $34,265
Reimagined and revamped from the ground up, the 2024 Ford Ranger ushers in a new era of versatility and options in the midsize truck segment in the U.S. With a range of configurations available, the new-generation Ranger offers something for every driver’s needs.
Here’s what sets it apart:
- More Customizable: Choose between extended and crew cab configurations to suit your preferences and lifestyle.
- Engine Choices: The 2024 Ranger offers two engine options to cater to different driving needs. The base powerplant is a 2.3-liter turbocharged I-4 engine, carrying over from the previous model, delivering 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. For those seeking more power, there’s the option of Ford’s 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine, producing an impressive 315 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque.
- Transmission: Both engine options are paired with a smooth-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission, ensuring seamless performance and efficiency on the road.
While the 2024 Ranger may not be the most economical option in its class, it is a great choice for drivers looking for a bit of customization backed by Ford excellence.
2024 Toyota Tacoma – $32,995
The 2024 Tacoma has undergone extensive updates for the new model year, boasting a refreshed design and a host of upgrades across the board. It is sure to attract new buyers and turn heads on the road.
Here’s what sets it apart:
- Updated Engines: The Tacoma now features new engine options, providing improved performance and efficiency.
- Transmission Options: Alongside the standard automatic transmission, the Tacoma offers a manual transmission as an option on lower trim levels, catering to drivers who prefer a more hands-on driving experience.
- New Trim Levels: Toyota has introduced all-new trim levels for the 2024 Tacoma, including SR, SR5, TRD PreRunner, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, Limited, TRD Pro and Trailhunter.
- Base Engine Performance: The entry-level Tacoma comes equipped with a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, delivering 228 horsepower. While it may not match the power output of its competitors, the Tacoma excels in other areas such as interior comfort and long-term value.
Despite its lower horsepower rating, the 2024 Toyota Tacoma remains a strong contender in our eyes.
2024 Chevrolet Colorado – $30,695
Just recently named MotorTrend’s Truck of the Year, the 2024 Chevy Colorado is not a disappointment, by any means. Not only does it retail at the lowest MSRP among the mid-size truck segment, the model also comes equipped with a range of features at every trim level. Meaning, the Colorado offers the biggest bang for your buck.
Here’s what sets it apart:
- Powerful Engine: The base model is equipped with Chevy’s 2.7-liter V-6 four-cylinder turbo engine, delivering 237 horsepower, ensuring impressive performance on the road.
- Advanced Infotainment: The Colorado boasts solid infotainment and technology features, providing connectivity and entertainment options to enhance your driving experience.
- Capability without Compromise: Despite its midsize stature, the Colorado offers all the capability of a serious truck without sacrificing driving comfort. It strikes the perfect balance between rugged performance and everyday usability.
It’s easy to see that the Colorado is a winning combination, harnessing a robust powertrain and advanced technology to deliver a formidable driving experience.
2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz – $27,985
For die-hard truck enthusiasts, the Santa Cruz isn’t typically your top choice. But there is plenty of appeal packed into this compact pickup. While it may not boast the ruggedness of traditional trucks, the Santa Cruz offers a unique blend of versatility and convenience.
- Unibody Design: Unlike your average trucks, the Santa Cruz features a unibody structure borrowed from Hyundai cars and crossovers, eschewing the traditional ladder frame.
- Enhanced Efficiency: While this design choice sacrifices towing and payload capacity, it significantly improves fuel economy and offers a more car-like driving experience.
- Surprising Payload: Despite the reduced capability, the Santa Cruz still boasts a payload capacity of 1,748 pounds, although fitting such a load into its compact 4-foot bed may pose a challenge.
Despite skepticism about its credentials as a “real” truck, the Santa Cruz proves to be a practical and capable vehicle for everyday use.
2024 Ford Maverick – $24,995
For 2024, it’d be hard to find a brand new budget pickup truck more affordable than the Ford Maverick. It’s practical, functional and perfectly encapsulates the trucking experience at a low cost.
Here’s what makes it stand out:
- Unibody Design: Similar to the Santa Cruz, the Maverick also features a more traditional styling with a unibody construction, providing a sturdy and reliable platform, similar to an SUV.
- Powerful Engine Options: With a base 2.0-liter turbocharged engine producing 250 horsepower and an optional 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid delivering hyper-efficient performance at 41/33 mpg city/highway, the Maverick offers a range of powertrain options to suit different driving needs.
- Impressive Payload Capacity: The Maverick’s bed is genuinely useful, boasting over 1,500 pounds of payload capacity, making it a practical choice for hauling cargo and equipment.
While there are pickup trucks more favorable over the Maverick, it can easily be a top choice for those seeking a compact pickup truck with a bit of style.
Overview: Top Budget Pickup Trucks
Whether you prioritize hauling power, fuel efficiency, or modern amenities, there’s a budget pickup truck on our list to suit your lifestyle. With careful consideration of each truck’s strengths and weaknesses, you can make an informed decision and drive home in a quality truck without breaking the bank.
Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts and experiences with these budget pickup trucks in the comments below. Or keep reading another Headights feature on negotiating car prices.