5 Trucks That Don't Cost Big Bucks

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Do you need a heavy-duty truck but only have a lightweight budget? Read on to check out 2014's absolutely least-expensive pickups.

"You're not really sacrificing anything by choosing any of these models," says Warren Clarke of car-buying site Edmunds.com, which compiled a rundown recently of top trucks for the tight-fisted. "The only thing you're giving up are certain features that might not be all that important to you anyway."

Clarke says penny-pinching pickups often lack just certain creature comforts that buyers often find they can live without in a work-oriented vehicle.

"Many people purchase these trucks for small-business or weekend use, so they don't need all of the 'bells and whistles' that they'd want on a car that they plan to drive to and from work every day," he says.

Consumers can also keep truck costs down by skipping models with the brawniest engines, biggest cabins and heftiest cargo capacity.

Look below for the five models that boast 2014's absolutely lowest manufacturers' suggested retail prices. (Or click here to check out this year's least expensive cars or sport utility vehicles.)

All dollar figures refer to manufacturer's suggested retail prices for each vehicle's base model. Prices include destination fees, but exclude the rebates or other incentives that trucks often come with.

Fifth-cheapest 2014 truck: Chevrolet Silverado 1500 1WT Regular Cab/Standard Box
MSRP:
$26,670

General Motors has redesigned the Silverado 1500 completely for 2014, meaning that even base versions of this full-sized pickup truck offer the latest styling and powertrains.

For example, the entry-level 1WT Regular Cab/Standard Box comes with a V-6 engine that cranks out 285 horsepower -- 90 more than the entry-level 2013 Silverado 1500 offered. All base 2014s also feature rear-wheel drive and automatic transmission, which help the truck garner a respectable 18 miles per gallon in the city and 24/mpg highway.

Clarke adds that the Silverado is "really quiet on the highway, which you wouldn't expect from a truck. This is a model that will serve you really well if you're looking to use it not just as a work truck but as a 'daily driver.'"

 

Fourth-cheapest 2014 truck: Ford F-150 Regular Cab XL
MSRP:
$25,930

The Ford F-150 has long been America's best-selling truck, and even its base version offers plenty of cargo space and engine power.

Entry-level F-150s come with automatic transmission, a 302-horsepower V-6 engine and a rear-wheel drive system that team up to offer a decent 17 mpg/city and 23 mpg/highway in fuel efficiency.

If you want something more upscale, Ford also sells the F-150 with all sorts of different engines, trim levels, cab dimensions and bed sizes.

"The F-150 has probably got the biggest selection of engines and different body styles of any truck," Clarke says. "If you're looking for something very specifically tailored to meet your needs, you're very likely to find it."

Third-cheapest 2014 truck: Ram 1500 Regular Cab Tradesman 4x2
MSRP:
$25,805

Redesigned in 2013, the Ram 1500 is Edmunds' No. 1 pick this year among full-sized pickup trucks.

Clarke says the model offers top-notch ride quality, while "everything looks and feels very new and current."

"The Ram 1500's cabin is very quiet and refined," he says. "There was time when you had to settle for a rough and unrefined ride if you bought a truck, but that's no longer the case."

Base Ram 1500s come standard with a 305-horsepower V-6 engine, rear-wheel drive and an automatic transmission that produce a good 17 mpg/city and 25 mpg/highway in fuel efficiency.

Second-cheapest 2014 truck: Toyota Tacoma Regular Cab 4x2
MSRP:
$18,985

This popular midsized truck has far less bed space and engine power than its larger rivals, but boasts a smaller price tag and longer list of standard amenities.

For instance, the entry-level Tacoma comes standard with a four-speaker stereo, a CD player, touchscreen controls, a Bluetooth system and iPod/USB connectivity -- items that often cost extra on competing trucks.

And while base Tacomas have just manual transmission and a 159-horsepower four-cylinder engine -- puny by truck standards -- the model does offer an impressive 21 mpg/city and 25 mpg/highway.

"The Tacoma is big enough to offer a great deal of utility, but small enough so it doesn't feel unwieldy on the road or in the parking lot," Clarke says.

Cheapest 2014 truck: Nissan Frontier S King Cab 4x2
MSRP:
$18,850

Like the Toyota Tacoma, the Nissan Frontier is a popular midsized truck that has a smaller size -- but tinier sticker price -- than what a full-sized pickup offers.

"The Frontier is another strong pick that's enjoyable to drive and has a cabin that's a really pleasant place to be," Clarke says.

He adds that the model offers surprisingly good off-road abilities despite the fact that base Frontiers come with manual transmission and just a 152-horsepower four-cylinder engine. Entry-level models also include few amenities, lacking even air conditioning and a stereo unless you add an optional Preferred Package (list price: $1,200).

On the plus side, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rates the base Frontier's fuel efficiency at a solid 19 mpg/city and 23 mpg/highway.

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