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#4705466 - 03/24/18 03:57 PM Cheap compact pickup for 3k?
taztheman Offline


Registered: 11/08/16
Posts: 63
Loc: North Carolina, USA
As my old 1997 jeep is on its last leg of its life, I need to start looking for a new car. After my car has broken down twice already this year, my mechanic told me not to put much more money into it. I would prefer a 4 cylinder compact truck because I am going to be going to college in the fall and will be driving a lot. I won't be hauling every day, but will occasionally be. Any recommendations for something reliable and good mpg? Also if you could add what I need to look for when I am looking at the specific truck. Thanks in advance!!

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#4705476 - 03/24/18 04:09 PM Re: Cheap compact pickup for 3k? [Re: taztheman]
NormanBuntz Offline


Registered: 07/27/13
Posts: 2169
Loc: Outer Banks, NC
A reliable compact pickup with good MPG for $3,000? Mostly that could be like finding hen's teeth. But try the usual sources like autotrader.com, cars.com and craigslist. I wouldn't worry so much about a particular model's reliability, but more with how the truck has been used and maintained.

Speaking of hen's teeth, you may try to find an older Mazda, Mitsubishi or Isuzu compact truck in your price range. They'll sell for less than a Toyota or Nissan. Good luck!
_________________________
2017 Honda Odyssey SE, 14K
2013 Honda Accord LX, 58K
2007 Honda Ridgeline RTS, 86K
2007 Infiniti M35, 105K

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#4705487 - 03/24/18 04:16 PM Re: Cheap compact pickup for 3k? [Re: taztheman]
TinyVoices Offline


Registered: 09/12/16
Posts: 494
Loc: Vienna, VA
Nissan hardbody with the KA is a great option. Reliable as it comes and with the manual and an lsd upgrade for the rear end isn't hard to do or expensive.

Everyone will chime in and say ranger or s10 which are fine trucks and do come with 4 cylinder options, I just prefer the hardbody.
_________________________
1993 Toyota MR2 Hardtop N/A - 157k miles - Valvoline Max Life 5w30
2006 Toyota Matrix XR AWD (Fiancee) - 126k miles - Valvoline Max Life 5w30

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#4705497 - 03/24/18 04:22 PM Re: Cheap compact pickup for 3k? [Re: taztheman]
JimPghPA Offline


Registered: 08/22/09
Posts: 3859
Loc: Pittsburgh,PA U.S.A.
Vans can hall a lot of stuff and they usually are lower priced than trucks.
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Boy will I be happy when ALL vehicles on public roads are autonomous.


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#4705509 - 03/24/18 04:35 PM Re: Cheap compact pickup for 3k? [Re: TinyVoices]
Delta Offline


Registered: 04/20/14
Posts: 1184
Loc: South Central PA
Originally Posted By: TinyVoices
Nissan hardbody with the KA is a great option. Reliable as it comes and with the manual and an lsd upgrade for the rear end isn't hard to do or expensive.

Everyone will chime in and say ranger or s10 which are fine trucks and do come with 4 cylinder options, I just prefer the hardbody.


Those Hardbody trucks are really hard to find with any life left in them anymore, honestly.

Yes the Ranger and S10 are more commonplace, but parts are still easily obtainable. I picked up my '99 S10 back in 2016 for $3K. The 4 banger is really slow, but it starts everytime I need it to. I've put 1K lbs in the back and it didn't argue much. If the OP was closer I could definitely part with it.
_________________________
'17 VW GTI 2.0T - 6MT - 8K
'15 Camry SE - 2.5 - 19K
'99 S10 - 2.2 5MT - 154K

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#4705513 - 03/24/18 04:37 PM Re: Cheap compact pickup for 3k? [Re: taztheman]
simple_gifts Offline


Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 11993
Loc: Middlesex County CT
Just get a 2WD ranger/b2300 with the 2.3 duratech (2002?+)

I regularly drive mine to Western VA and with the 5sp manual get about 31mpg.

Modern DOHC engine. Ancient chassis. No nonsense

I occasionally express disappointment with some items on it, but mostly they are rants for items that are easily fixed.

I am @ about 127K with very little break/fix items


Edited by simple_gifts (03/24/18 04:39 PM)
_________________________
2004 Prius; 97K ML Syn 5W-30
2007 Yaris 71K 0w-40 Castrol
2006 B2300;130K;ALM


Was driving an ox cart; Now on the USS Enterprise

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#4705534 - 03/24/18 04:53 PM Re: Cheap compact pickup for 3k? [Re: taztheman]
dareo Offline


Registered: 10/17/07
Posts: 1453
Loc: utah
Less common but potentially great cheap truck is the Toyota T100 1995-1998. Only problem area is rust and i assume you can check for that before buying one. I used to get 17 mpg city in my old 4x4 3.4 V6 5 speed and the truck could haul heavy.
_________________________
2016 Golf Wagon 5MT, 2014 Accord Sport 6MT, 2005 GMC 2500 SLT 6.0 2WD, T100 Sold

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#4705541 - 03/24/18 04:59 PM Re: Cheap compact pickup for 3k? [Re: taztheman]
old1 Offline


Registered: 01/04/11
Posts: 1006
Loc: Columbus Nebraska
I agree on the old Rangers. cheap to buy, seem reliable, and cheap to feed. A couple years we were moving and my old chevy broke down, and wasn't worth fixing, so found a 95 ranger 2 wheel drive 4 cyl. 5 speed for $1700. used it to move and sold it a year later for $2000.


Edited by old1 (03/24/18 04:59 PM)
_________________________
2017 Nissan Frontier 4.0 5w30
1965 Mustang 200 c/4 10w30 QS defy
1964 Ford Ranchero 302 c/4 15/40 Delo
1929 ford model A No filters, and 15/40 oil

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#4705650 - 03/24/18 06:37 PM Re: Cheap compact pickup for 3k? [Re: taztheman]
dogememe Offline


Registered: 04/15/17
Posts: 720
Loc: SF BAY AREA, CA
Chevy S10
_________________________
1997 Suburban 5.7 ~214K Miles, VWB 5W-30, VO-55, Personal.
2007 Crown Vic P71 4.6 ~124K Miles, VAS 5W-30, RP 20-820, Personal.
2010 Escape 2.5 ~75K Miles, VAS 5W-30, Wix 51348, Rented on Turo.

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#4705714 - 03/24/18 07:25 PM Re: Cheap compact pickup for 3k? [Re: taztheman]
Warlord Offline


Registered: 10/15/06
Posts: 996
Loc: Southwestern Alberta
Another ranger vote. I had a 2003 that would get 30-32 mpg if I didnít thrash it. Pretty small inside but it did everything I asked of it reliably.
_________________________
07 GMC Canyon - 204km
01 Saturn SL2 - 240km

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#4705733 - 03/24/18 07:46 PM Re: Cheap compact pickup for 3k? [Re: taztheman]
eyeofthetiger Offline


Registered: 11/18/17
Posts: 683
Loc: South Carolina
Yep. Duratec Ranger.
I mean, you can get one with the old 2.3/2.5 Lima and it will be fine, but the Duratec is so much better.
_________________________
2017 Ford Fiesta 1.0T - Valvoline SynPower 5W-20, Motorcraft FL910S
1988 GMC K1500 4.3/700R4 - Supertech 15W-40, Fram TG3980
1986 Ford Ranger 2.0 - uhh

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#4705735 - 03/24/18 07:51 PM Re: Cheap compact pickup for 3k? [Re: taztheman]
eljefino Offline


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 32775
Loc: ME
Get a 90s dodge dakota with the 3.9 V6 and a 5-speed manual, 2wd.

The obvious answer is some old geezer's truck that wasn't his only vehicle so it only has 90k miles. laugh

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#4705781 - 03/24/18 08:22 PM Re: Cheap compact pickup for 3k? [Re: eljefino]
Jett Rink Offline


Registered: 11/01/05
Posts: 369
Loc: Bristol, Tennessee
Originally Posted By: eljefino
The obvious answer is some old geezer's truck that wasn't his only vehicle so it only has 90k miles. laugh


This happens often enough that it is worth pursuing. There is always some guy who has lovingly maintained a rarely driven vehicle, and then gets too old to drive and dies. The relatives aren't into that particular vehicle, so it ends up for sale.

I own a dead man's car, myself. I salute him for his past efforts. If I keeled over tonight, who knows what my wife would do with these vehicles.
_________________________
1987 Mercedes 300E 87,000 miles 15w-40
2012 Honda Odyssey 120,000 miles 0w-20
2000 Mercedes CLK320 170,000 miles 0w-40

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#4705915 - 03/24/18 10:54 PM Re: Cheap compact pickup for 3k? [Re: taztheman]
yesthatsteve Offline


Registered: 06/27/11
Posts: 722
Loc: Kansas City, MO
Basically any compact truck from the last 25 years was pretty good. At a $3k price point, it's all about the previous owner(s) and how the truck was kept.
_________________________
'13 LaCrosse eAssist, 50000+ miles | Magnatec 5w30 & Fram EG
'11 Accord I4 Sedan, 95000+ miles | Mobil1 0w20 & Fram EG

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#4707929 - 03/26/18 09:16 PM Re: Cheap compact pickup for 3k? [Re: yesthatsteve]
01rangerxl Offline


Registered: 04/08/06
Posts: 9267
Loc: Birmingham, AL
Originally Posted By: yesthatsteve
Basically any compact truck from the last 25 years was pretty good. At a $3k price point, it's all about the previous owner(s) and how the truck was kept.


This pretty much sums it up. At that price point, condition is nearly everything. I'd stay away from more obscure stuff like Mitsubishis that may have parts availability issues, but any of the trucks sold in larger numbers are good if their condition is good.

2001-2011 Duratec I4 equipped Rangers/B-Series are excellent trucks and the MPG is as good as it gets in a body on frame pickup, but in the $3K range you will mostly be looking at well worn older regular cabs. Still good trucks, but I wouldn't limit myself to that with only a $3K budget or you may be in for a long search to get something good.

I'd also look at SUVs based on common truck platforms. MPG won't touch a Duratec Ranger, but resale is lower than pickups, and you can get more out of $3K. A friend of mine recently found a very clean 1996 Explorer 2WD with 127K on Craigslist and talked the owner down to $2K. The front suspension was shot and it needed some other odds and ends, but no rust or anything that couldn't easily be repaired. For around $3K total he has a clean, reliable Ford truck based SUV with leather, sunroof, keyless entry, JBL stereo, etc. Here is a pic after replacing all the blown out front end stuff and getting it aligned...

Probably only 16 MPG in town and around 23 max on the highway, but at $3K for all that 1990s Ford SUV goodness, who cares.
_________________________
2002 Ford Ranger XLT | 3.0 V6 / 5-Speed Automatic / 2WD | 216K miles
1994 Ford Ranger STX | 4.0 V6 / 5-Speed Manual / 4X4 | 199K miles

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