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Consumer Reports Most Reliable 3-Year-Old Trucks That You Can Buy Right Now

Here’s the latest from Consumer Reports on the most reliable used trucks you should consider from the past three years that are exceptional when it comes to reliability and repairs.

Finding a pickup truck to fit your desires and your budget need not be a search for the most popular truck models on the market today. While the newest models are very attractive and exciting in what they have to offer such as lift gates and the ability to power your home during a blackout, there’s a lot to be said for considering used models in your truck search.

Related article: Used Ford Truck Models You Can Fix and Save Money

The Benefits of Used Truck Shopping

There’s no arguing the fact that new pickup trucks—full-sized trucks in particular—tend to be not just expensive, but very expensive with some models costing well above $100,000. And although the newest models possess the most safety equipment and luxury trappings, it turns out that if you don’t go too far back, the more recent late-model trucks offer similar features along with traditional truck capability for much less money.

Chief of which include active safety systems such as:

  • Forward collision warning (FCW)
  • Automatic emergency braking (AEB)
  • Blind spot warning (BSW)
  • Lane departure warning (LDW)
  • Lane keeping assistance (LKA)
  • Rear cross traffic warning (RCTW)

Three-year-old models are attractive because most leases are for three years. That means many of these cars have low miles, and because the lessor had to keep the car in good condition, the vehicles are likely to have been maintained properly and have interiors that were treated well,” according to a recent Consumer Reports newsletter focused on recommended used 3-year-old vehicles.

Most Reliable 3-Year-Old Trucks That You Can Buy Right Now

To help used vehicle shoppers find those 3-year-old models that are exceptional recommendations for shoppers today, CR automotive analysts came out with their latest recommended selection of used 3-year-old vehicles, of which four are pickup trucks summarized below for you that can be helpful for truck shoppers focused on buying a lightly used truck…without new truck pricing.

1. Ford Ranger 2021

Price Range:  $22,450 - $34,250

Owner Reported MPG:  22 mpg

Pros of this recommended model include:

  • “A combination of modern elements with some primitive execution,” states CR analysts.
  • A 2.3-liter, turbo four-cylinder with a 10-speed automatic transmission make the Ranger responsive and yeilds a good 20 mpg overall.
  • Easy to use optional Sync 3 infotainment system

Cons of this recommended model include:

  • Stiff and choppy ride with an empty bed.
  • Pronounced engine noise.
  • A high floor can make climbing in the cab challenging for some owners.
  • Not all safety features come standard. CR analysts noted that, “FCW and AEB with pedestrian detection were standard, but look for a Ranger XLT, which added in BSW and RCTW.”

2. Honda Ridgeline 2021

Price Range:  $27,650 - $32,900

Owner Reported MPG:  22 mpg

According to CR automotive experts, “The 2021 model got a refreshed exterior and interior, standard all-wheel drive, and an updated touchscreen infotainment system with a rotary volume knob.”

Pros of this recommended model include:

  • A 3.5-liter V6 engine mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission, yields an impressive 20 mpg overall in CR tests.
  • Novel features like a tailgate that opens downward or sideways and a lockable trunk space below the bed floor.
  • A well-designed quiet cabin with comfortable seats.

Cons of this recommended model include:

  • Towing capacity is modest at 5,000 pounds.
  • Rear seat space is modest.
  • Back doors with limited range when opening.
  • FCW and AEB with pedestrian detection were standard, but BSW and RCTW were available only on the two top trims.

3. Toyota Tacoma 2021

Price Range:  $23,350 - $44,775

Owner Reported MPG:  20 mpg

Pros of this recommended model include:

  • Two engine choices: (1) 3.5-liter V6 hooked up to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic. (2) 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine, which can be mated to a five-speed manual.
  • Truck is tough as nails and delivers impressive off-road prowess,” say CR analysts.
  • Modern connectivity features.
  • FCW, AEB with pedestrian detection, and LDW are standard

Cons of this recommended model include:

  • Stiff ride.
  • Handling is ponderous.
  • Cabin is very loud
  • Driving position is awkwardly low.
  • BSW and RCTW are optional.

4. Toyota Tundra 2021

Price Range:  $30,025 - $48,900

Owner Reported MPG:  15 mpg

This was the final year of this generation of the Tundra, which has towing and payload capabilities that are competitive with the domestic ½-ton trucks,” stated CR automotive experts.

Pros of this recommended model include:

  • Three cab sizes and three bed lengths were available.
  • Powerful 5.7-liter V8 mated with a smooth and responsive six-speed automatic.
  • Able to tow around 10,000 pounds.
  • Roomy with comfortable seating.
  • Consistent superior reliability.
  • FCW, AEB, and LDW were standard.

Cons of this recommended model include:

  • TheToyota lacks the refinement of many of the domestic competitors, which tend to be quieter and ride better,” noted CR analysts.
  • Controls are a reach to get to.

For additional articles related to new and used truck recommendations, here are three for your consideration:

Timothy Boyer is an automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites  and Facebook for daily news and topics related to new and used cars and trucks.

COMING UP NEXT: Toyota Reliability Mistake Used Car Shoppers Make

Image source: Deposit Photos


gabriel PEDROZA (not verified)    June 20, 2024 - 5:39PM

I Have a 2021 Ridgeline , I am 66 and still quite nimble, getting in and out is easy versus a standard truck where it would take more effort. I do wish the back seat was bigger but I rarely need it. I dont need to tow anything. It rides like a car with plenty of power, 40k miles and not one warranty claim. when the Ridgeline came back into production I drove those other thrucks at a factory ride and drive event. only the Ridgeline checked all my needs. My co-workers at our other stores at chevrolet and ford keep asking me when am I going to get a REAL truck. I read lately that the Ridgeline has the most American content and american labour than any other make. To each his own, I am pragmatic and I prefer to buy American made goods.