Shopping for pick-up trucks can be an overwhelming process. With so many configurations and options available, it can be difficult to find exactly what you’re looking for, especially if you’re on a strict budget. Buying a used pick-up can make things a bit easier, but you still want to be sure that you’re buying something reliable, something that will hold up well, and still perform the way you need it to. So we put together a list of pickups that offer the best reliability, capability, and owner satisfaction. In other words, all-around best value for money.
Chevy’s midsize pickup with the capability to give competing full-size trucks a run for their money. The Colorado has always been a capable truck, and it’s reliable too, with U.S. News picking it as one of the most reliable used trucks around1, and MotorTrend picking it as one of the best2. With a complete redesign for 2023, even fairly new models are being traded in, despite still being exceptionally capable. That’s good news for used buyers, who can choose from a wide variety of configurations and engine options, and even dedicated offroad configurations. As MotorTrend put it: “If GM knows one thing, it's how to build a durable engine, and pretty much any of the Colorado's powerplant options will serve you well. Just pick your fuel economy bogies and select accordingly.”
Chevrolet Silverado 1500
The Silverado 1500 is the mainstay of Chevrolet’s pickup lineup. This makes them easy to shop for, as there is always a good selection available. Adding to this is the fact that a lot of Silverado 1500s are used in fleets, meaning even high-mileage examples tend to be well-maintained and easy to find. It also means that replacement parts are extremely easy and inexpensive, not to mention a massive aftermarket for accessories. The legendary GM engine durability is once again working in your favor here, and you will have several to choose from. Like the Colorado, U.S. News lists it as one of the most reliable used pickups on the market1. The Silverado has used a standard 8-speed automatic transmission since 2015, which cuts down on fuel consumption without sacrificing power, although the 6-speed automatic transmission used before that is a good bet too. Hardly surprising that MotorTrend also picked the Silverado 1500 as one of the best used pickups2.
GMC Sierra 1500
The GMC Sierra 1500 sometimes gets overlooked. Mechanically, it shares a lot with the Silverado, and that sometimes leads people to believe it’s the same truck with a different badge. But while the Sierra 1500 does enjoy the benefit of sharing the Silverado’s wide availability of parts, it is still its own model, and shouldn’t be overlooked. The Sierra is also used in quite a lot of fleets, so those well-maintained examples are certainly out there, although not quite as plentiful as Chevy examples, which outsell the Sierra. And like the Silverado, it is listed by U.S. News as one of the most reliable used pickups1. There are dedicated offroad trims, and dedicated luxury trims as well, nice for those long-haul trips towing a trailer on the highway. Depending on which year you’re looking at, there might be some features that are exclusive to the Sierra, and not available on the Silverado. Examples of this include things like adaptive suspension, a split-folding tailgate, and a carbon fiber cargo bed.
Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD
Heavy-duty trucks usually don’t make anyone’s list of best used trucks. They’re pricier and harder to find, and that makes people reluctant to praise them. But if a heavy-duty truck is what you need, then it’s what you need, so we won’t skip over this entire category of trucks. The choice here is really pretty easy, the Silverado 2500HD. Heavy-duty trucks are made for heavy-duty jobs like towing, so you want the one with the most durable engine possible, and that is the Silverado 2500HD. It has been offered with a number of big V8 engine options, including a diesel that makes for some truly impressive towing ability. And if you need it to go offroad, trims catering specifically to that exist as well. It’s the toughness of the Silverado 2500HD that makes it so popular when it’s new, and it’s this exact quality that makes it a good pick as a used truck as well.