Finding deals on the best used trucks and SUVs can mean finding your next (or first) off-road rig for a lot less money than buying new. After all, not all of us are in a financial position to spend big money on a brand new truck.
Using reliability rankings from Consumer Reports and used vehicle prices as our guides, we’ve put together a list of the best used trucks under $15,000 – along with some used SUVs under $15,000 as well.
The Toyota Tundra has topped Consumer Reports list of most reliable trucks for almost the entirety of the last decade. This means that Tundra resale values are very strong, so if you want one of the best used trucks under $15,000, you are probably looking at one from about 2008. The good news is the Tundra hasn’t undergone a redesign since 2007, so those 2008 or 2009 Tundras are largely the same as current model year offerings.
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It would just be wrong not to include a Jeep on our list. One of the most highly regarded models ever is the 2007 Wrangler Unlimited. This is the first of the four-door Wranglers, which offers up more room for some extra passengers or just more gear. This is a fantastic off-road vehicle and is one of the best used SUVs under $15,000 you’ll find anywhere.
Dodge Ram 1500
While there are a couple of Dodge Ram 1500 model years you should probably stay away from (2010, 2014, 2015), there are far more that have earned a solid reputation. We’ve seen some 2017 Dodge Ram 1500 Express under the $15,000 threshold, but those are pretty light on options. The 2012 model year, though, is a sweet spot. You can find a number of different packages for under $15,000 – many with the options you need for some off-road fun.
Interestingly, Ford F-150 trucks haven’t fared as well as the larger F-250 in long-term reliability rankings. You can find plenty used trucks under $15,000 wearing the F-250 badge – just be prepared to see a lot of miles on the odometer. You can certainly find some with less than 80,000 miles, but don’t be surprised to see 120,000-150,000 models than anything.
Toyota Land Cruiser J80
Yes, it’s older than anything else on this list, but the Toyota Land Cruiser J80 (80 Series) is one of our all-time favorites. These vehicles have held their value over the years – even with more than 150,000 miles on the odometer. Many older Land Cruisers have been meticulously maintained and still put on hard off-road miles every year. Off-Road.com writer Sean Michael still relies on his, which you can read about here. So don’t let the old age fool you. You can find some great deals on these vehicles. In fact, these are some of the best uses SUVs under $10,000 you can buy…and be proud to own.
If a midsize pickup is more to your liking, the Honda Ridgeline is definitely worth considering. The Ridgeline has been ranked as one of the most reliable trucks for the past decade and is a good target for used truck buyers. With our price ceiling in mind, have a look at the 2012 model year. It lacks the power and towing capabilities of a full-size truck and doesn’t have the off-road chops of other vehicles on this list, but if you need a daily driver that can dabble onto non-paved roads now and again, this is one of the top used trucks under $15,000.
Another compact truck worth considering is the Nissan Frontier. Consumer Reports has consistently given the Frontier high marks for reliability. We would strongly recommend finding one with the V6 and the off-road inspired PRO-4X package is even better. This package comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, locking rear differential, and more. If you want to find one of these compact used trucks under $15,000, have a look at the 2011 model year. You can find one absolutely loaded and ready for whatever you care to throw at it.
If you are thinking less off-road truck and more daily driver, you should consider checking out the used cars available from our sister site – AutoGuide.com.