RYAN ZUMMALLEN: Breaking news-- trucks are expensive. We've compiled 10 pickup trucks that have performed well in our industry leading evaluations, and they won't leave you destitute. Each one has an MSRP of $60,000 or less. These trucks are not ranked 1 through 10. Instead, we're bringing you 10 trucks from across the spectrum that we think are the right combination of capability and affordability. Don't forget to hit subscribe and click that like button.
You can learn more about each truck on this list and every other car you can think of at edmunds.com. Also, check out edmunds.com/sellmycar to get an offer on your used car today-- like, right now. Let's start small with the Maverick-- no, not that Maverick. If you're looking to stay way under $60,000, the Ford Maverick is a great choice. First of all, this thing hauls asphalt, concrete, lumber, and really anything else you need, up to 1,500 pounds of it.
And it can tow a max capacity of 4,000 pounds in some configurations. Now, that is seriously impressive for something that looks like an F-150 had a baby with a bunch of micro machines. Sorry for that visual. Plus, it starts around $22,000 with destination. Standard on every trim is a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain with an estimated 37 MPG combined-- holy schnikes. And even the optional 2 liter turbo has strong fuel economy numbers that we've backed up on our test route.
So the Maverick has pretty flashy numbers, but it's also sparse inside. Check out the mid-level XLT trim for helpful extra features that jazz up the cabin. And its price still stays around the $25,000 mark. But even at its best equipped, this is not a Hollywood truck. It's a throwback to small pickups that flex a lot of muscle at a low price. And we are here for it.
OK, this one is the Hollywood truck. The Santa Cruz is small, just like the Maverick, and it comes with handy features-- and in-bed trunk for starters, but it's pricier. Starting around $25,000, the Santa Cruz is a good deal more expensive than the Maverick. Where it's definitely better is in its driving experience. We're talking smooth as butter, with very responsive steering, throttle, and braking as well. That's a nice treat at this price.
Speaking of the price, we're fond of the SEL trim at around $28,000. There are two higher trims, but they're hovering at 40k or more, and that kind of defeats the purpose here. To be fair, those trims come with a level of luxury that the Maverick does not offer. Now, let's cut to the chase. Are you OK with the way it looks? Are you sure? I mean, I guess if you can stomach the idea of driving a truck that looks like it's smiling with a mouth full of nuts and bolts. If so, you'll be getting a pickup at the forefront of the mini truck reboot wave.
If you like the Santa Cruz and the Maverick but want a teensy bit more space, try the Honda Ridgeline. It's our top rated midsize truck, after all. Now, there are a few things you need to know about it. The second most important thing is that it's unibody, with a frame like a car or a crossover. It's not body on frame, like a Ford F-150 or other midsize trucks in its class. But the first most important thing is it's great to drive.
That same unibody frame that makes the Ridgeline not a truck to some people also makes it comfortable and agile on the road. Now, because it's not a traditional truck, its towing capacity isn't great, but the payload rating is actually pretty strong. And it's got a nifty in-bed trunk too-- see, lots of benefits to this guy. Now, pricing is up there. It starts around $40,000, and some models are as much as 45,000.
But Honda made all wheel drive standard and the interior is a great place to be for long road trips, even when it's filled with passengers. There is some debate as to whether the Honda Ridgeline is a real truck, but you can't deny that it's simply a good pickup.
Let's shift to a classic. The Tacoma is the crown jewel of Toyota's truck line, and for good reason. It's one tough mother--
RYAN ZUMMALLEN: Sorry. The Tacoma can handle a lot of hard work, but it also isn't trying to do too much. It doesn't draw a lot of attention or come with a lot of fancy trick features. There's just a great size and shape, a couple of workhorse engines, and one heck of a 4 by 4 system that helps the Tacoma earn its Billy Goat reputation once you venture off road. Prices start around $28,000, and you're getting a heck of a solid truck at the lower end of the range.
But models like the Limited or TRD Pro are available over the 40k mark. Our favorite is the TRD off road, because it's got seriously rugged equipment for about 36 grand. Now, this ain't the most civilized truck in the world. It has a tall point of entry and a lot of people dislike the positioning of the front seats, but that's balanced by a usable interior and a composite protective bedliner that is standard. It's got off road chops and genuine towing and hauling toughness.
Look, this thing simply delivers at a fair price. Maybe we should start calling it the Toyota Domino's-- maybe I'm just hungry. Up next, if you want to bash through stuff and never, ever, ever, ever, ever feel the need to apologize for it, the Jeep Gladiator is for you. I mean, just look at it. It's almost comical. A, it looks like a tank. B, the fact that they named it the Gladiator sets a pretty clear tone. This is not the choice for subtlety.
The Gladiator makes a big impression, so it's a good thing that it backs it up. We've never seen a mid-size truck be able to do some of the things that the Gladiator can do, and its Rubicon trim especially, with upgraded shocks, axles, tires, and more, it's simply a beast. This is the ultimate over landing rig. Pricing starts around $38,000, and even the mighty Rubicon is available safely under our 60k threshold.
There's a lot of space inside and payload figures are strong, but it isn't perfect. Driving feel and comfort are not strengths at all. Sometimes, the steering wheel wanders so much that it feels like it has a mind of its own. But is that why you want a Gladiator? Nah, son, you want to throw some 37's on that thing and get as far off the grid as possible. Take me with you.
Come on, you knew the F-150 would make an appearance. The question is, which one do you get? You could go with an XLT trim with a big engine, the Lariat trim with a smaller engine, or some combination mixed and matched with your favorite personal style. Regardless, you get a solidly tough and modern full size truck that is ubiquitous across the country. Which do we recommend-- the aforementioned F-150 Lariat, because it comes with a fantastic 12 inch screen, powered by one of our favorite tech systems in the biz.
Pricing starts pretty high, right around $50,000. From there, you can add on all kinds of options however you like to make it more comfortable, more sporty, or more work focused. Me personally, I would add the hybrid powertrain, which brings added efficiency to the F-150. And I've seen it absolutely dust a Raptor in a drag race. At under $60,000, you're not going to get the most comfortable or smooth version of the F-150, and sometimes they can ride a little rough compared to rivals.
But the tech is great, all the options are great, and max payload capacity-- over 3,300 pounds-- is through the roof. That's one of the reasons it was the Edmunds top rated pickup truck for 2022. Is the F-150 a predictable choice, sure, but it's there for a reason.
What can be said about the RAM 1500 that hasn't been said already? Well, here's something. The RAM's top trims typically get all the attention and shine, but there's actually some great value to be had under the 60k mark if you know where to find it. Prices start right about $38,000, and there are some great trims nestled around that 45 to 50k territory. Of course, we're fans of the Longhorn trim, and that's got parking sensors, a power tailgate, and 20 inch wheels.
But our real recommendation is the value packed Laramie. You get heated and cooled front seats, dual zone climate control, and a whole lot more. This is the full size truck that makes a big statement-- big style, big engines, big ol' RAM on the front of the big grille. OK, we get it, right-- wrong, not until you've driven it. Our editors love driving the RAM 1500 at any price. The ride is oh so smooth, thanks to a rear coil suspension that comes standard on every trim.
There's also an available mild hybrid system that can save fuel. Don't worry, I'm not going to tell anyone you're driving a hybrid. Just point to that big ol' RAM on the front and no one's going to ask you any questions anyway.
No one made a bigger turnaround in 2022 than the Toyota Tundra. This full size truck went from massive, lumbering, V8 powered brick to massive, lumbering, V6 powered brick with an underbite. Toyota must have seen a picture of Ron Perlman and said yes, we want it to look like that. But the Tundra backs it up with muscle. Pricing starts pretty high, right around $38,000. We recommend the Limited trim with the standard twin turbo V6 and a 14 inch touch screen, plus heated and ventilated front seats and a whole lot more.
Now you can option the Limited up to the i4's max hybrid engine if you want. And if that's too close to our 60k threshold for you, the SR5 model is slightly better than the base. And for 45,000, it's a solid truck. You might need those savings anyway, because the Tundra is thirsty, even in its hybrid form. But the bottom line is that this truck can tow and haul nearly as much as the American brands, with a dent resistant composite bed and rear coil springs for a smooth ride standard on every model. There's a lot to like here, which is what elevates the Tundra from brick to boss.
Where to begin with the Chevrolet Silverado 1500? This truck has had an interesting arc in only a few short years. Since debuting in 2019, it was clear the Silverado could tow and haul, but its interior was-- Chevy has been making trucks for 100 years, but sometimes it feels like they're making trucks for people 100 years ago. Anyway, they flipped that in 2022 with a redesigned interior, which is miles better than before, bravo-- dare I even say handsome. I mean, maybe.
Pricing starts off around $36,000 for the work trucks, but we gravitate towards the Silverado LT. You could even get an LTZ, with a long list of extra features, for about 56,000, but that's pushing our limit pretty close. And anyway, the Silverado's strength is not in its comfort, luxury, and tech features. It's inherently a workhorse, with an extra wide bed and a max towing capacity over 13,000 pounds. For truck people expecting their pickup to do a lot of work, this thing makes so much sense.
Chevy knows trucks, it's just sometimes they have to be dragged into this century. Guys, guys, guys, guess what? There's a fully electric truck on the list. It's the Ford F-150 Lightning, essentially, an F-150 that's been redesigned and converted to house a battery pack and run on sweet, sweet sun juice. Of course, there is also the Rivian R1T. We own one as part of our long term test program, but it starts way above 60k, ditto for the GMC Hummer and other truck EVs that are still about a year away or possibly more.
So the Lightning being on this list and available to buy now is a big, big deal. Here's what's important. Like a traditional full sized truck, the Lightning is still body on frame. That's the key ingredient in tough trucks, and it's a signal to us that the Lightning is ready for legit work. There are two trim levels available under 60k, the Pro, starting at 42,000, and the XLT, starting at 55,000. Neither of these are luxurious, but the Pro is pretty dang well equipped, and the XLT adds helpful cameras and safety sensors.
Do we have questions-- yes, especially regarding electric range while you're towing. But our first drive impressions are pretty strong. We're looking forward to conducting a full instrumented test very soon. And hey, maybe the EV truck revolution will work out, OK, right-- Dylan went electric, and that worked out pretty well.
Well, did you see that last one coming? Even though trucks are getting pretty pricey these days, at least you have all these options. There's full size, midsize, compact, electric, plus there are more standard features on new pickups, so even base models are serving up great tech and comfort. Head over to edmunds.com to search through our full rankings, and let us know in the comments below which pickup you would buy for $60,000 or less.
In the meantime, I'm taking one of these trucks to the lake this weekend. Who's coming? I got room for two-- OK, you and you. All right, thanks for watching.