A pickup truck rounding a corner on a sunny patch of highway

What Are The Best Trucks to Buy Used in 2023 (A Buyer’s Guide)?

When it comes time to manage your fleet, which pickup trucks stand the test of time? Which won’t leave a dent in your wallet?

Whether new or used, fleet vehicle repairs can cost a pretty penny (Data proves it). Managing and finding the best used pickup trucks for your fleet can be a real challenge.

Fleet teams: you might be asking yourself, “When I factor in maintenance repairs, which is the best pickup trucks to buy used?” If you’re wondering which used pickup trucks are best to buy, we have you covered.

For more than 25 years now, our team of ASE-certified diesel and fleet repair technicians has been helping fleet drivers, managers, owners, and pickup truck enthusiasts with all their fleet and diesel truck repair needs.

To help you keep repairs to a minimum  — and to make your ride a little smoother this season — we’ve created a buyer’s guide of 2023’s best used pickup trucks.

Join us! We’ll review the best mid-sized, full-sized, and heavy-duty used pickup trucks to buy in 2023.


Key Article Takeaways

  • The best used trucks are built by companies like Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, Nissan, RAM, and Toyota.
  • Our favorite pickup trucks include mid-size, full-size, and heavy-duty trucks.
  • When purchasing a used truck, consider reliability, payload capacity, towing and hauling accessories/options, engine options, make and model year, mileage and fuel economy, amenities, and maintenance costs.


General considerations when buying used trucks

An bird's-eye view of a row of 5 primary-colored semi-trailer semi-trucks

Besides the make and model year of your vehicle, when it comes to buying a used truck, it’s important to consider the following categories:

  • Overall reliability
  • Payload capacity
  • Towing and hauling accessories/options
  • Engine options
  • Make and model year
  • Mileage and fuel economy
  • Modern amenities offered
  • The cost of maintenance

Knowing your red lines and non-negotiables will help you make a better decision when finding a reliable pickup truck. The trucks we’ve recommended below are based on the categories above.

With these categories in mind, let’s take a look at the best used trucks.


Best truck makes and models overall

Ford truck with grill headlights

Having serviced all different makes and models of fleet vehicles — pickups, semi-trucks, and more — the best used trucks to buy offer unparalleled performance and the latest technology features. The best truck makes and models maintain their value on a variety of truck categories.

We broke down the best trucks according to the following categories:

  • Mid-size and compact trucks
  • Full-size pickup trucks
  • Heavy-duty trucks

Let’s take a look at the best mid-sized trucks on today’s used market.


Best midsize used trucks to buy

Toyota Tacoma pickup truck in a forest of trees

A mid-size truck is perfect for the driver who needs the features of a pickup truck without the girth of a full-size or heavy-duty pickup truck.

The best midsize used trucks to buy for 2023 include:

  • Toyota Tacoma
  • Chevrolet Colorado
  • Nissan Frontier
  • GMC Canyon
  • Ford Ranger


Toyota Tacoma

Of all the used trucks you can buy, one of the most reliable trucks on the used market is the Toyota Tacoma. This truck has strong towing capabilities and is a smart overall for its Toyota Racing Development (TRD) off-road and TRD Pro off-roading package.

Many people like the 2005-2015, 2nd generation Tacoma. Overall, this truck ranks near the top of our midsize pickup truck list because it’s both reliable, has strong resale value, and comes packed with top-quality features.


Chevrolet Colorado

For those preferring a largely American-made vehicle, the Chevrolet Colorado fits the bill. Since 2004, this impressive truck has been wowing customers with its wide variety of engine selections and high mileage (20 miles per gallon city and 25 miles per gallon highway driving).

The first generation 2004-2012 models come with cab configurations, engine options, and drivetrain parts. Chevy Colorados have three cab and engine options, manual or automatic transmission, 4-wheel drive, and dependable safety features.

There’s a reason this make and model has been selling for almost 20 years.The Chevy Colorado is a fan favorite for its durability, dependability, and versatility as a vehicle.


Nissan Frontier

Nissan makes one heck of a reliable used pickup. The 2nd generation, 2005-2020 Nissan Frontier models are very durable.

They are also outfitted with a crew cab layout that can comfortably fit five passengers. The truck’s deep bed, solid body-frame exterior, and sturdy wheels means this vehicle can traverse even the most rugged roads.

The Frontier offers choices: this vehicle comes with a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine or a 4.0L V6 engine.

Did we mention that this truck has an impressive 6,500 towing capacity?


GMC Canyon

In addition to classics like the GMC Sierra 1500, the GMC Canyon is a smart light-duty pickup. For the consumer looking for a quality truck that offers a great bang for your buck, this is your truck.

Many people enjoy the 2020 GMC for its emergency handling, acceleration, and powerful transmission.

Whether you opt for the GMC Sierra 1500 or Canyon, you can’t go wrong.


Ford Ranger

Fun fact: the Ford Ranger was discontinued in 2011 after three generations of quality builds. But this used midsize stands the test of time.

Drivers like the Ford Ranger for its quality parts and reliable technologies. Nominated for many awards over the years (including Best Pickup of the Year at the 2021 Auto Express Awards), the Ford Ranger is another consistent fan favorite.


The Certified truth about trucks

“Grocery stores would go out of stock in just three days if trucks stopped driving.” – Certified Fleet Services


Used full-sized fleet trucks to buy

Ford F-150 pickup truck

Whether opting for a larger engine, body, or tires, full-size fleet trucks are your best bet. They come with larger, well, everything!

Whether you’re looking for a larger engine, body, or cab space, full-size trucks offer more. The following used trucks offer more aerodynamics and space for hefty fleet operations.


2015 Ford F-150

Our next used truck needs no introduction. The Ford F-150 is one of the most popular trucks on the market today.

Known for its best-in-class towing, the Ford F-150 also offers a spacious cabin and nifty interior features. Having won numerous awards over the last five years — including 2023’s Top Truck of the Year by Edmunds — the Ford F-150 could arguably be the best truck in America.

We’ll let you be the judge of that.


2015 Toyota Tundra

Near the top of our list is the 2015 Toyota Tundra. Equipped with a 5.7-liter, V8 engine from the standard model, this sturdy vehicle does 310 horsepower and 327 pound-feet of torque at 3,000-4,000 RPM.

You don’t want to mess with this beast of a vehicle.


2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Speaking of American vehicles, the Chevrolet Silverado is another American-born favorite. Conceptualized in Detroit, Michigan, the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 holds its resale value.

This V8-powered beast can help you get the job done. Plus, newer models of Chevy Silverados come equipped with MyLink technology, making driving safer and more enjoyable.

2013 and 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab

The 2013 and 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab comes with a standard 2.7L engine. At 3,000 RPM, the Sierra offers an impressive amount of torque.

These trucks are built to last and are some of the most reliable full-size trucks on the market. If you’re looking for a work truck, the GMC Sierra 1500 ranks near the top of most reviews of full-size trucks.


2014 Nissan Titan

The 2014 Nissan Titan is an economical choice for those looking for a full-size truck with all the bells and whistles. The 390-horsepower 5.6-liter V8 engine under the hood is no small feat.

For those looking for a full-size truck that offers a wide variety of features at a more modest cost than its American siblings, the Nissan Titan is a great choice.


Heavy-duty used trucks to buy

Dodge RAM truck inside a repair shop

Many trucks will do a job well, but only a heavy-duty truck can do a job well done. All jokes aside, we saved the largest trucks for last. Heavy-duty trucks are a pickup truck class in and of themselves.

These trucks have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of over 8,500 pounds. Heavy-duty (HD) trucks provide drivers with larger diesel engines, beefier suspensions, and larger towing and payload capacities.

The following five trucks are noteworthy for their ability to haul, tow, and drive with ease.


2011 GMC Sierra 2500 HD

Though this truck may be a bit older, this full-size pickup truck makes for a smooth ride. The long wheelbases and wide tracks are a huge improvement in ride quality.

The 2011 GMC Sierra 2500 HD’s engine comes in two sizes: the 6.0-liter Vortec V8 or the 6.6-liter Duramax Diesel V8 engine. Both engine choices are very powerful.

Did we mention this beast comes with 397 horsepower and 765 pound-feet of torque?


2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD

This HD pickup is one serious hauler. The 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD comes equipped with 360 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque.

The extended-cab configuration with forward-hinged doors makes this one of the best used trucks in the heavy-duty truck segment. Find one of these trucks for sale — and in good condition — and your fleet is sure to be in great shape.


2015 GMC Sierra All-terrain HD

There’s a reason GMC vehicles make up 40% of our favorite heavy-duty used trucks. The 2015 All-terrain HD comes packed with features.

The LED headlamps, chrome aluminum wheels, various body styles, and luxury interior features make the All-terrain the best used truck for consumers looking for options. This customizable truck is a smart choice for those looking for a truck with awesome accessories.


2014 Ford F-Series Super Duty

The Ford F-Series Super Duty comes jam-packed with features.With modern interiors, upgraded parts, and luxury features, this truck allows drivers to drive (and work) in style.

For a truck that can carry its weight and that offers solid diesel fuel economy, the Ford F-Series is a solid choice.


2014 RAM Heavy Duty

It’s all about the Hemi. The 2014 RAM Heavy Duty comes with a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 engine, coil-spring suspension (for the 2500 class), and a huge payload capacity of 7,320 pounds (for the 3500 class).

With options to swap for a Cummins turbo-diesel engine, the RAM Heavy Duty is one of the best used vehicles for comfort and hauling capacity.


The best used truck is a well-maintained truck

Certified Fleet Services repair shop frontal view

When it comes to buying a used truck, the best used trucks are made by the following companies:

  • Chevrolet
  • Ford
  • GMC
  • RAM
  • Nissan
  • Toyota


Our favorite used trucks by category include the following:

  • Best mid-size truck: Toyota Tacoma
  • Best full-size truck: Ford F-150
  • Best heavy-duty truck: GMC Sierra 2500 HD

At the end of the day though, your truck is only as reliable as the corrective and preventive maintenance you put into it. Without proper maintenance, even a new truck can break down fast.

You shouldn’t need to fret about whether your used vehicle will stand the test of time. At Certified Fleet Services, our ASE-certified diesel repair technicians are trained and certified in the latest practices and technologies to help fleet teams keep their vehicles in shape for the long haul.

Whether your truck is leaking oil, needs transmission work, or could use a comprehensive DOT inspection, our diesel-repair technicians will have your fleet vehicle up and running in no time. Bring your vehicle into any one of our three Florida-based shops or give us a call for on-site repairs.

If you’re looking to get back on the road faster, contact us today.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Used Trucks

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1. What are the best used trucks?

The best medium-size, full-size, and heavy-duty trucks come from Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, Nissan, RAM, and Toyota.


2. What factors should I consider when buying a used truck?

You’ll want to consider the following factors when buying a used truck.

  • Overall reliability
  • Payload capacity
  • Towing and hauling accessories/options
  • Engine options
  • Make and model year
  • Mileage and fuel economy
  • Modern amenities offered

If at any point you’d like help with maintaining your truck, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our knowledgeable diesel technicians or fleet experts.


3. Which type of used truck should I buy?

The answer depends on your needs. If you’re a driver who doesn’t haul large loads, but still likes the features of a heavy-duty truck, consider buying a used mid-size or full-size truck. If you’re looking for a work truck, a heavy-duty truck will be your best bet.

But if you’d like a mix of both everyday driving and heavy-duty hauling, a full-size truck should do the trick. The best used truck is the one that satisfies your needs.