Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

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The True Value of Used Trucks

For many of us, driving a truck is a part of life. Whether you drive a new truck or a used truck, there’s plenty of reason to drive these heavy-duty vehicles. With their spacious beds and ample towing capacity, trucks are the perfect vehicle for those who move a lot of stuff. Whether that’s work stuff, personal stuff, barn stuff, or others, many people have come to rely on used trucks. Each year, we’re dazzled by the new truck offerings, with bigger, bolder models that are equipped with all the bells and whistles. Unfortunately, not all of us have the budget to invest in a new truck every year. The good news is that many used trucks retain their value and reliability many years after they’ve driven off the new car lot.

But how can you tell which truck is ready to run for another decade, and which trucks are a hard pass for future use? It turns out there are quite a few models that have received high ratings for reliability. Representing a variety of truck manufacturers, these trucks bring plenty of value in addition to the necessary power and cargo space, despite their slightly older ages. They may not be the newest kids on the block, but they’re designed for the long haul!

Toyota: 2016 Tundra and 2012 Tacoma

Toyota has a reputation for engineering vehicles that last a long, long time, and their trucks are no exception.

The 2016 Toyota Tundra

A grey 2016 Toyota Tundra is towing a large trailer on a rainy day.

The 2016 Toyota Tundra has received continuously high scores for vehicle dependability on the used truck market in the Large Light Duty Pickup category. While the Toyota Tundra has consistently won praise, the 2016 model brings to the table the perfect blend of powerful engine options, a large double cab optional and an expansive CrewMax cab option, technology that doesn’t overpower the driver, and the addition of the off-road capable TRD Pro model.

The 2016 Tundra offers drivers a myriad of options and trim levels, so if you’re looking at adding this model to your garage, be aware that you will likely have plenty of choices. Its six trim levels include the SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, 1794 Edition, and TRD Pro. The 2016 model was offered with three cab styles: the regular cab, which seats up to three, as well as extended double cab and the CrewMax crew cab, which can seat five to six passengers, depending on the choice of either front bench or bucket seats. Two wheelbases and three bed lengths round out the basic options, including a 5.5-foot short bed, 6.5-foot standard bed, and 8.1-foot long bed.

Engine options include a 4.6L V8 standard engine, which offers 310 horsepower and 327 lb-ft of torque for a maximum towing capacity of 6,400-6,800 lbs, depending on which body style and size is chosen. For the regular cab and higher trim packages, a 5.7 V8 engine comes standard, which offers 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque with a maximum towing capacity between 9,800 and 10,500 pounds.

The 2012 Toyota Tacoma

Likewise, the 2012 Tacoma may be older, but that just means it’s been well-loved for a longer period of time. As far as used trucks go, this model offers on and off-road capability, timeless styling inside and out, and plenty of variety in trim, cab, and bed configurations.

The 2012 model year Tacoma received a serious facelift and was equipped with modern technology that some trucks are still waiting to receive, including USB ports, Bluetooth connectivity, and text/email to voice capability. The base engine is a 2.7L four-cylinder model, though a V6 option is available. In fact, some models feature the optional Eaton-Roots type supercharger kit, which gives the V6 engine an incredible output of 304 horsepower and 334 lb-ft of torque.

Not only does the 2012 Tacoma have a lot to offer in technology and power, but for a smaller pickup, it offers plenty of room for cargo, including a composite inner bed, built-in storage compartments, rail-mounted sliding tie-downs, and more.

Chevrolet: 2016 Silverado Heavy Duty

A blue 2016 Chevy Silverado 2500HD, which is the most popular option among used trucks, is driving through a large puddle in the woods.

The Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD models are big trucks that can do a lot of work. 2015 saw a complete redesign of these big dogs, and 2016 saw the refinement of that redesign, meaning that a 2016 Silverado HD is the better of the better version.

Much like the Toyota trucks, the Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and configurations. Drivers had to choose the trim level (WT, LT, LTZ, or High Country), cab style (regular, double, or crew), drivetrain (two or four-wheel drive), bed size (standard or long), and whether they wanted single or dual rear wheel axles. As a result, it may seem that every used Silverado truck you see is a different species.

The base engine on the 2500HD is a 6.0L V8 engine that offers 360 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque, which has an additional option of adding the bi-fuel capability. The optional 6.6L turbo-diesel V8 offers 397 horsepower and 765 lb-ft of torque and is paired with a six-speed Allison transmission. The HD designation is serious, like the 2016 Silverado 2500HD, when properly equipped, can move over 4,043 pounds of cargo and haul up to 18,000 pounds. The 2016 3500HD can tow up to 23,100 lbs when properly equipped.

Mitsubishi: 2009 Raider

Did you even know this was a thing? The Raider was poorly received from a popularity standpoint when it rolled onto the new car lots in 2009, but look at its reliability ratings since then, it remains a dependable and steadfast truck. It comes with a spacious interior, a generous bed (6.6-feet for the extended cab, and 5.3-feet for the double cab models), and plenty of power.

Sure, this truck may be a relic from the previous decade, but its features are nothing to complain about. While it doesn’t offer top-of-the-line technology, it does come comfortably equipped with air conditioning, 40/20/40 split-bench seats, CD player and MP3 connectivity, and options like power mirrors and cruise control. The engine is a 3.7L V6 that offers 210 horsepower and 235 lb-ft of torque. While it’s not going to haul as much as the Silverado HD, it’s a functional truck in any decade!

Honda: 2012 Ridgeline

While there’s some debate as to whether the Ridgeline is a truck or an SUV with a bed, it holds a strong presence on the used truck market due to that famous Honda reliability. The 2012 Honda Ridgeline has been applauded for years for a car-like driving feel, a luxurious SUV-like interior, as well as the ability to tow up to 5,000 pounds.

The 2012 model retains its value with hardly any reported issues since it left the manufacturer. Unlike the rest of the used trucks on this list, it was offered in only one body type: a four-door crew cab style that provides seating for up to five. Four trim levels are available, including the base RT, Sport, RTS, and the line-topping RTL.

The 2012 Honda Ridgeline has only one engine option, a 3.5L V6 engine paired with a five-speed automatic transmission and standard AWD drivetrain. With 250 horsepower and 247 lb-ft of torque, it’s possible to carry a payload of over 1,400 pounds, depending on the trim package chosen

Used Trucks

While this list is certainly not a comprehensive list of the best used trucks on the market, these are a few examples of trucks that have stood the test of time as far as reliability, reported issues, and price to product value. It’s true that every vehicle starts depreciating the minute it leaves the new car lot, but trucks are built to work hard, leading them to live long, productive lives. For those who are in the market for a truck but lack the brand-new model budget, these used trucks provide a few ideas to help you start shopping for the next workhorse in your life!