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Cheapest pickup trucks for 2020: No frills, just utility

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 11/17/2019 Motor Trend Staff

a car parked on the side of a mountain: 2019-Honda-Ridgeline-Black-Edition-side-1.jpg
Today, you can spend upwards of $70,000 on a new truck. Fortunately, you don't have to. There are still plenty of affordable trucks on the market, with some priced just above $20,000.

a police car parked in a parking lot: Cheapest pickup trucks for 2020© Motor Trend Staff Cheapest pickup trucks for 2020

If you're looking for a no-frills workhorse, keep reading to learn about the cheapest pickup trucks for 2020.

2020 Ram 1500: $33,590

a white car driving down a dirt road© Motor Trend Staff

We love the refined interior and supple air suspension of the Ram 1500 Limited, but you'll have to spend more than $50,000 for this top-trim model. If you opt for the base Tradesman Quad Cab, you're still getting a great truck, just without the fancy features. In our review of the Ram 1500 Tradesman, we said it feels more refined than the bare-bones truck that it is. It has a quiet, spacious, and comfortable cabin, and its ride quality and steering resemble those of an SUV. Few affordable trucks offer more. The 2020 Ram 1500 Tradesman gets a standard 3.6-liter V-6 engine making a healthy 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque.

2019 Nissan Titan: $32,285

a car parked in a parking lot© Motor Trend Staff

The current Nissan Titan is aging, but it still has its merits. It benefits from precise handling, particularly on Single Cab models. The base Titan Single Cab S features a 5.6-liter V-8 engine with a robust 390 hp and 394 lb-ft of torque. That power comes at the expense of fuel economy (15/21 mpg city/highway). Keep on the lookout for the refreshed 2020 Titan that goes on sale in early 2020. This truck will feature exterior, interior, and powertrain upgrades, but it may carry a higher price tag.

2020 GMC Sierra 1500: $31,195

a car parked in front of a mountain© Motor Trend Staff

Surprisingly, some of the least expensive trucks on the market come from GMC. The cheapest Sierra 1500, a Regular Cab with the Long Box, features a standard 4.3-liter V-6 making 285 hp and 305 lb-ft of torque. Max trailering is 7,900 pounds on this sharp-looking base truck.

2019 Honda Ridgeline: $31,085

a car parked in front of a body of water© Motor Trend Staff

It may not have the brawny look you'd expect of a truck, but the Honda Ridgeline makes its mark in other ways. The affordable unibody truck handles well, and it features a smooth, car-like ride. All models, including the base RT, feature a 3.5-liter V-6 with 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque.

2020 Ford F-150: $30,090

a car parked on the side of a dirt road© Motor Trend Staff

The best-selling vehicle in America for the last three decades can get pretty expensive if you start checking option boxes; the Limited model is particularly pricey. But the base Regular Cab with the 6.5-foot bed can be had for a very reasonable price. The cheap truck comes with a standard six-speed automatic and 3.3-liter V-6 making 290 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque. But it may be worth upgrading to the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 with 325 hp, 400 lb-ft, and a 10-speed automatic transmission, considering this configuration only costs an extra $995.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado: $29,895

  a car parked in front of a mountain© Motor Trend Staff

The Chevrolet Silverado benefits from responsive steering and solid engines, particularly the optional 2.7-liter four-cylinder. The base Work Truck has an overly Spartan interior, although higher trims also lack interior plushness. The base model, priced under $30,000 with the Regular Cab and long bed, gets a 4.3-liter V-6 engine with 285 hp and 305 lb-ft of torque. For an extra dose of style, check out the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Midnight and Rally special editions.

2019 Ram 1500 Classic: $29,340

a red and black truck parked in front of a car© Motor Trend Staff

In addition to the new 1500, Ram is also offering the previous-generation 1500 for consumers who don't need all the extra doodads of the latest model. This older truck is called the Ram 1500 Classic, and it's the cheapest new truck you can buy in the full-size segment. The base Tradesman comes with a 305-hp 3.6-liter V-6 and gross vehicle weight rating of 6,025 pounds. Ram officials say there are no plans to discontinue the Classic as the truck continues to rake in strong sales.

2020 GMC Canyon: $23,295

a car parked on the side of a mountain© Motor Trend Staff

The GMC Canyon is the upmarket twin of the Chevrolet Colorado. There are a few key features that separate it from its sibling, most notably the luxurious Denali model. But in base form, the Canyon is extremely similar to the Colorado, minus the badge. Like the base Colorado, the GMC Canyon Extended Cab SL gets a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 200 hp and 191 lb-ft of torque.

2020 Toyota Tacoma: $27,145

a car parked in front of a mountain© Motor Trend Staff

We appreciate all the Toyota Tacoma's standard safety features, but it falls short of the competition in many ways. In addition to its cramped cabin and narrow bed, it features an overly harsh ride. Still, a base Tacoma is one of the cheapest new trucks you can buy. The entry model is the SR Access Cab with a 2.7-liter four-cylinder making 159 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque.

2019 Ford Ranger: $25,495

a car parked on the side of a road© Motor Trend Staff

Among the lowest-priced trucks on the market, the Ford Ranger is particularly fuel-efficient. It nets up to 21/26 mpg with its 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. This engine pairs with a 10-speed automatic transmission and delivers 270 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. The base Ford Ranger SuperCab XL offers a 6-foot box.

2020 Chevrolet Colorado: $22,395

a car parked on the side of a road© Motor Trend Staff

Not only is the Chevrolet Colorado Extended Cab Long Box one of the most affordable trucks on the market, it might be the best value. It's a well-rounded truck, with car-like ride and handling and a highly functional bed. Power comes from a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 200 hp and 191 lb-ft of torque. Although not very potent, this engine delivers an impressive 20/26 mpg and 462 miles of range on a tank of gas.

2019 Nissan Frontier: $20,385

a car parked on the side of a road© Motor Trend Staff  

The cheapest new truck you can buy is the 2019 Nissan Frontier. The base model is the King Cab S, priced from $20,385 and equipped with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder. This engine makes 152 hp and 171 lb-ft of torque. And get this: It comes standard with a five-speed manual. Unfortunately, payload capacity is very limited in this configuration, coming in at just 900 pounds. Despite its age and limitations, the Frontier remains a strong seller, outperforming the likes of the GMC Canyon and Honda Ridgeline. If you're looking for a more modern version, stay tuned for a new Frontier that will break cover in 2020.

Cheapest Pickup Trucks for 2020

  1. 2020 Ram 1500: $33,590
  2. 2019 Nissan Titan: $32,285
  3. 2020 GMC Sierra 1500: $31,195
  4. 2019 Honda Ridgeline: $31,085
  5. 2020 Ford F-150: $30,090
  6. 2020 Chevrolet Silverado: $29,895
  7. 2019 Ram 1500 Classic: $29,340
  8. 2020 Toyota Tacoma: $27,145
  9. 2019 Ford Ranger: $25,495
  10. 2020 GMC Canyon: $23,295
  11. 2020 Chevrolet Colorado: $22,395
  12. 2019 Nissan Frontier: $20,385

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