10 Best CPO Pickup Trucks
The pickup truck is an American phenomenon. The all-around utility of a pickup is unquestioned here in North America, but on other continents, the pickup truck is not viewed nearly as favorably. Tradesmen and farmers often choose other vehicles for their “work” transport, and the pickup truck as a family passenger car is almost unheard of. In contrast, Americans can’t get enough of them. In a typical year, the top three best-selling vehicles in the United States are full-size pickups. This popularity is not hidden from America’s truck manufacturers, who fuel the consumer’s desire for pickups by piling on the features. That, in turn, has a tendency to run up the price. It is not uncommon for a brand-new full-size pickup truck to sell for more than $50,000. In fact, even $75,000 pickup trucks aren’t rare. The answer to the high prices of new pickups is to purchase a late-model used truck that is factory-certified. You get the benefit of a warranty much like a new-car warranty on a truck that might be a third less costly than the similar model purchased new. We concentrated on 2018 models, but 2017s and 2019s are typically very reasonable substitutes.
2018 Ford F-150
The Ford F-150 has been the king of the pickup truck segment for four decades. For the 2018 model year, the F-150 was offered in seven separate trim levels, each with a personality of its own. While makers of other trucks have stuck with steel bodies, Ford uses extensive amounts of aluminum in the F-150’s exterior, including the bed. It’s designed to maximize towing and hauling capabilities while also delivering good fuel economy. Ford has also successfully shifted from big V8 engines to smaller-displacement EcoBoost engines that employ direct injection and turbocharging. In real-world service, the 2018 F-150 delivers the power necessary to complete its tasks, and the truck gets stellar marks for reliability, serviceability, and owner enthusiasm. The trio of King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited trim levels take pickup truck comfort and convenience to a new level.
2018 Ram 1500
If you’re seeking a comfortable, quiet ride from your full-size pickup, the Ram 1500 is the right choice. One quick tour in the truck will convince you the engineering team went out of its way to create a vehicle with car-like ride and handling characteristics. In the 2018 model, a coil-spring suspension was one key to delivering excellent ride quality, although in up-level Ram 1500s, it is supplanted by the optional auto-leveling air suspension. Both suspension designs deliver substantial ride and handling benefits versus the typical rear leaf-spring arrangement. The Ram 1500’s car-like ride is matched by its upscale interior design that includes the well-regarded Uconnect 8.4 infotainment system. Among the powerplant offerings are a 240-horsepower 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6, 305-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine, and 395-horsepower 5.7-liter Hemi V8.
2018 Chevrolet Silverado
Chevrolet has taken a more conservative design and engineering stance than Ford for its Silverado full-size pickup truck, which is the most traditional of the Big 3 rivals. While Ford has adopted turbocharging, the 2018 Silverado features naturally aspirated engines spiced with cylinder-deactivation technology. It doesn’t quite have the trim-level variety of the F-150, but it does offer a wide number of packages. The Silverado offers an interior that is closely related to the much-praised similar-vintage Tahoe and Suburban full-size SUVs. Engine choices for the 2018 Silverado include 355-horsepower 5.3-liter V8 and 420-horsepower 6.2-liter V8, both backed by eight-speed automatic transmissions. The 2018 Silverado was fully redesigned for the 2019 model year, which should help make 2018 models even better bargains.
2018 GMC Sierra 1500
GMC refers to itself as “professional grade,” and the strategy has given the Sierra an upscale image versus the Silverado. The top-of-the-line Denali version of the full-size pickup takes that upscale stance to its highest level. Exterior differences versus the non-Denali Sierra include a chrome grille, 20-inch wheels, and six-inch chrome steps. An 8-inch customizable driver display highlights the upscale interior. Even if you choose a non-Denali Sierra, the equipment level is impressive. The Enhanced Driver Alert Package includes a forward collision alert, safety alert driver seat, automatic high beams, lane-keep assist, front and rear parking sensors, and low-speed forward automatic braking. The powertrain choices are similar to those in the Silverado. The primary options are a 355-horsepower 5.3-liter V8 and 420-horsepower 6.2-liter V8, accompanied by eight-speed automatic transmissions.
2018 Toyota Tundra
For the 2018 model year, Toyota bowed to market forces by eliminating all regular cab versions of its Tundra full-size pickup. The 2018 Tundra gives you two engine choices: a 4.6-liter 310-horsepower V8 and a 5.7-liter 381-horsepower V8. Both are naturally aspirated and known for their ruggedness. Though still substantial, the Tundra feels less bulky than the full-size domestic pickup trucks. The Tundra doesn’t match the domestic-brand trucks for interior luxury, though the Limited grade offers leather-trimmed seats, a 10-way power driver’s seat, and dual-zone climate control. The most significant change in the Tundra for 2018 was the addition of Toyota Safety Sense-P as standard equipment on all models. The array of electronic safety aids includes a pre-collision system that detects pedestrians in danger, lane departure alert, and radar-assisted “smart” cruise control.
2018 Nissan Titan
For 2018, Nissan offered a full range of half-ton pickups in a wide variety of shapes and styles, an effort to make inroads in the full-size segment. Regular cab, extended (King Cab), and crew cab body styles are available with both rear-drive and four-wheel-drive. The Titan also offers five separate trim levels. But in contrast to the multiple engines offered by the domestic-nameplate brands, every light-duty Titan is powered by a 390-horsepower 5.6-liter V8 engine mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. The 2018 Titan half-ton features styling reminiscent of the larger Titan XD, but it is built on a separate chassis with a 139.8-inch wheelbase in contrast to the XD’s 151.6-inch wheelbase. The crew cab has a 5.5-foot bed, the extended cab has a 6.5-foot bed, and the regular cab has an 8-foot bed.
2018 Toyota Tacoma
The Toyota Tacoma has achieved sales leadership in the mid-size truck segment by making continual improvements. A rock-solid vehicle, the Tacoma gets stellar marks from both vehicle owners and technicians. The two available engines are a 159-horsepower 2.7-liter inline four-cylinder and a 278-horsepower Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V6. Each can be equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission, and the V6 might also be equipped with a six-speed manual transmission. For 2018 six trim levels are available as potential CPO trucks from the tradesman-oriented SR to the top-of-the-line Limited. The TRD Off-Road and TRD Off-Road Pro editions with four-wheel-drive deliver on the model’s off-road rep. Some mid-size trucks deliver a smoother ride than the Tacoma, but there is no denying its ruggedness.
2018 Honda Ridgeline
The 2018 Honda Ridgeline mid-size pickup uses unibody construction instead of the separate body-on-frame platform that characterizes virtually every other pickup. And that’s just one of its distinguishing characteristics. It also has an all-independent suspension that results in a comfortable, car-like ride. Power comes from a 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, and the engine uses cylinder deactivation to aid fuel economy. Both two-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions are offered. The uniquely styled Ridgeline is a four-door crew cab pickup that can accommodate five passengers, and that’s the only configuration you’ll find. It features an 8-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Versions with tri-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, and remote start are available.
2018 Chevrolet Colorado
The 2018 Chevrolet Colorado mid-size pickup is available in a variety of configurations. The availability of various bed and cab sizes should enable you to pick out a truck with the features you want. While there are “work-truck” trims, most buyers opt for car-like amenities that include leather seats, premium audio systems, alloy wheels, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. The optional 306-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 is the most powerful engine choice, while the 186-horsepower turbodiesel 2.8-liter four-cylinder delivers impressive amounts of torque (369 lb-ft). The ZR2 off-road specialty vehicle is another appealing choice. Garageable and easy to maneuver, the Chevrolet Colorado has capabilities that rival full-size pickups of a generation ago.
2018 Nissan Frontier
The Nissan Frontier is an elder statesman in the mid-size pickup truck field. Its solid conventionality has stood it in good stead when it comes to reliability. The 2018 Frontier is offered with a choice of two engines — 152-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder (in the extended cab model only) and 261-horsepower 4.0-liter V6. Both extended cab and crew cab models offer a bed that includes a factory-applied spray-on bedliner and the Utili-track Channel System. Frontier’s 125.9-inch wheelbase helps enhance ride comfort, while the overall length of King Cab and Crew Cab regular bed variants is just 205.5 inches. Both extended cab and crew cab feature large rear doors (rear-hinged on the extended King Cab) for access to the rear seat and cargo area. 2018 models include a backup camera standard across all trim levels, plus air conditioning, cruise control, and a 5.0-inch color infotainment display.