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The best pickups for your cash

Quick notes

– GMC trucks tend to offer solid value

– The Ford F-150 is the king of cargo space

– The Toyota Tundra is the ultimate workhorse

Pickup trucks are the ultimate utility vehicle. Their carrying capacity and towing power are superb, and they deserve their reputation as a rural classic. The only problem is that sometimes they can get very expensive.

The pickup ultimately needs just a few things to be a good purchase. Firstly, it needs a powerful engine that will let you tow any loads you need to. Secondly, it requires a lot of storage space. Finally, it should be a comfortable drive, especially as you could be spending a great deal of your time inside the cab.

Luckily, we’re on hand to advise you and help you find a fantastic pickup truck that won’t break the bank!

GMC Sierra 1500

As GMC trucks go, the Sierra is a great place to start. The cheaper, mechanically-identical cousin of the Chevrolet Silverado, the Sierra is a heavy-duty pickup that will get pretty much any job done. You can easily get an affordable model that comes with the 4.3 liter V6, which outputs 285 horsepower. It may not be a big-block V8, but it’s strong enough to do anything you need.

This truck looks good too, with strong, square lines giving it rugged style. Gear on the truck includes bluetooth, navigation, cruise control, and a rearview camera. Some models are satellite radio ready, too. How much for this practical, good-looking truck? Around $20,000.

Nissan Frontier

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If you’re not dead set on having an American truck, the Nissan Frontier is well worth considering. This truck is one of the smallest Nissan pickups available in the US, but it does not lack in power. Around $20,000 will get you a heck of a lot of truck. Not only is the Frontier four-wheel drive, but it also features an array of powerful V6 engines.

Out back, the Frontier’s bed is lined to protect your goods and the body; there’s bluetooth connectivity, a rear-view camera, power mirrors, and cruise control.

Toyota Tundra

A truly reliable workhorse, the Toyota Tundra is recognized around the world as one of the best and sturdiest pickups money can buy. The double cab option provides a vast amount of space in both the cabin and bed. Take the 2015 model, for example, which has a massive 78.7 inches of cargo space. Its four-wheel drive capability will make light work of any terrain, and it’s powerful too.

Under the hood, you can find a 5.7 liter V8, which produces nearly 400 horsepower. If you want the ultimate in powerful and practical, you could do a lot worse than the Tundra.

Ford F-150

The Ford F-150 is a truck with a massive pedigree. The F-Series trucks date back to the 1940s, and the F-150 is a big, brash salute to the American automotive industry. It’s enormous, with acres of cargo space: up to 97 inches to be precise.

The F-Series trucks date all the way back to the 1940s

Under the hood, you’ll most likely find a chunky 5 liter V8. If you’re prepared to get a truck from the start of this decade, you can also get one with 4WD. If any truck can weather a storm, it’s the F-150. Be prepared to spend around $20,000 on one of these bad boys.

GMC Canyon

GMC’s trucks are often great budget choices, and the Canyon, like the Sierra, is a great choice. This is a rebranded version of the Chevrolet Colorado, and it features everything that you would need on a pickup. The good news? It can be had for as little as $20,000. While four-wheel drive was optional on this GMC truck, it shouldn’t be too hard to find a model with AWD fitted.

The 3.6 liter V6 provides a decent amount of power, and won’t cost the earth to run. Cargo space is enormous, with the beds on this bad boy extending up to 74 inches. The base Canyon’s trim level is spartan, but if you want a truck that won’t ever let you down, you can’t go wrong with it.

A deeper dive — Related reading from the 101:

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The Mercedes Sprinter van is taking over the U.S. | Autos 101

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How to buy a dependable used car | Autos 101

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