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Cheap compact pickup for 3k? #4705466
03/24/18 03:57 PM
03/24/18 03:57 PM
Joined: Nov 2016
Posts: 67
North Carolina, USA
taztheman Offline OP
taztheman  Offline OP
Joined: Nov 2016
Posts: 67
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!!

Re: Cheap compact pickup for 3k? [Re: taztheman] #4705476
03/24/18 04:09 PM
03/24/18 04:09 PM
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 2,231
Outer Banks, NC
NormanBuntz Offline
NormanBuntz  Offline
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 2,231
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, 16K
2013 Honda Accord LX, 58K
2007 Honda Ridgeline RTS, 88K
2007 Infiniti M35, 107K
Re: Cheap compact pickup for 3k? [Re: taztheman] #4705487
03/24/18 04:16 PM
03/24/18 04:16 PM
Joined: Sep 2016
Posts: 513
Vienna, VA
TinyVoices Offline
TinyVoices  Offline
Joined: Sep 2016
Posts: 513
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 - 160k miles - Valvoline Max Life 5w30
2006 Toyota Matrix XR AWD (Fiancee) - 130k miles - Valvoline Max Life 5w30
Re: Cheap compact pickup for 3k? [Re: taztheman] #4705497
03/24/18 04:22 PM
03/24/18 04:22 PM
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 3,907
Pittsburgh,PA U.S.A.
JimPghPA Offline
JimPghPA  Offline
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 3,907
Pittsburgh,PA U.S.A.
Vans can hall a lot of stuff and they usually are lower priced than trucks.


Boy will I be happy when ALL vehicles on public roads are autonomous.


JimPghPa

Re: Cheap compact pickup for 3k? [Re: TinyVoices] #4705509
03/24/18 04:35 PM
03/24/18 04:35 PM
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,273
South Central PA
Delta Offline
Delta  Offline
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,273
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 - 9K - Edge 0w40
'15 Camry SE - 2.5 - 20K - PP 0w20
'99 S10 - 2.2 5MT - 156K - PP 10w30
Re: Cheap compact pickup for 3k? [Re: taztheman] #4705513
03/24/18 04:37 PM
03/24/18 04:37 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 12,048
Middlesex County CT
simple_gifts Offline
simple_gifts  Offline
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 12,048
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

Last edited by simple_gifts; 03/24/18 04:39 PM.

2004 Prius; 102K; ASL
2007 Yaris 78K 0w-40 Castrol
2006 B2300;132K;ALM


Was driving an ox cart; Now on the USS Enterprise
Re: Cheap compact pickup for 3k? [Re: taztheman] #4705534
03/24/18 04:53 PM
03/24/18 04:53 PM
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,526
utah
dareo Offline
dareo  Offline
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,526
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, 2016 GMC 1500 SLT 6.2
Re: Cheap compact pickup for 3k? [Re: taztheman] #4705541
03/24/18 04:59 PM
03/24/18 04:59 PM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 1,043
Columbus Nebraska
old1 Offline
old1  Offline
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 1,043
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.

Last 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
Re: Cheap compact pickup for 3k? [Re: taztheman] #4705650
03/24/18 06:37 PM
03/24/18 06:37 PM
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 1,140
SF BAY AREA, CA
dogememe Offline
dogememe  Offline
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 1,140
SF BAY AREA, CA
Chevy S10


2010 Ford Escape FWD 2.5 ~90K Miles
Currently: Royal Purple 5W-30, Wix 51348
I prefer Royal Purple, Valvoline, Castrol, and O'Reilly oils.
Re: Cheap compact pickup for 3k? [Re: taztheman] #4705714
03/24/18 07:25 PM
03/24/18 07:25 PM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,008
Southwestern Alberta
Warlord Offline
Warlord  Offline
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,008
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
Re: Cheap compact pickup for 3k? [Re: taztheman] #4705733
03/24/18 07:46 PM
03/24/18 07:46 PM
Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 683
South Carolina
eyeofthetiger Offline
eyeofthetiger  Offline
Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 683
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
Re: Cheap compact pickup for 3k? [Re: taztheman] #4705735
03/24/18 07:51 PM
03/24/18 07:51 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 33,252
ME
eljefino Offline
eljefino  Offline
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 33,252
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

Re: Cheap compact pickup for 3k? [Re: eljefino] #4705781
03/24/18 08:22 PM
03/24/18 08:22 PM
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 369
Bristol, Tennessee
Jett Rink Offline
Jett Rink  Offline
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 369
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
Re: Cheap compact pickup for 3k? [Re: taztheman] #4705915
03/24/18 10:54 PM
03/24/18 10:54 PM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 722
Kansas City, MO
yesthatsteve Offline
yesthatsteve  Offline
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 722
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
Re: Cheap compact pickup for 3k? [Re: yesthatsteve] #4707929
03/26/18 09:16 PM
03/26/18 09:16 PM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 9,274
Birmingham, AL
01rangerxl Offline
01rangerxl  Offline
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 9,274
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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