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10 Most Affordable Crew Cab Trucks

Is a Crew Cab or Quad Cab the Best Truck for You?

2017 GMC Sierra - left front view

If you are in the market for a pickup truck, you know there’s a nice selection of options out there. The trouble is, not all of them are affordable. If you need to stick to a budget, you need to become a picky shopper. To help you find the best crew cab trucks, we’ve put together a list of the ten most affordable to choose from.

There’s a nice mix of new and used trucks in this list, perfect for finding you the truck of your dreams.

Crew Cab Trucks vs. Quad Cab Trucks

The regular cab pickup truck came with one row of seats. That holds up to three people at once. These conventional trucks are referred to as regular or standard cab. This style of pickup features a two-door design and spacious rear bed.

If you want more versatility, you’ll prefer either the crew or quad cab styling. So, what’s the difference between the two and which is right for you?

Older quad cab trucks used back doors which opened in the opposite direction of the front doors. The modern models open in the same direction. The only difference now is that the quad cab is smaller and features more cargo space.

For example, the four-door Dodge Ram and the quad cab are two different things. Both were offered, but the crew cab featured more interior room, especially with the rear seats, and less cargo space. To accommodate this, it also has a smaller bed.

Benefits of a four-door truck include:

  • More rear seat space
  • Larger rear doors

Benefits of a quad cab include:

  • More affordable
  • Lighter and smaller
  • Larger cargo capacity

Automakers use different names for their cab styles, so you are likely to get confused. The basic rule of thumb is that all crew cabs offer extra seating and two rear doors. Let’s look at the ten most affordable trucks you can buy.

1. 2018 Nissan Frontier

crew cab trucksThe 2018 Nissan Frontier came in two varying body styles: the King extended cab or four-door cab. It’s not high on the list when it comes to features, but it does rank near the top in terms of affordability. Fuel economy is average and it’s not meant to tow heavy loads, but you can get a lot for your money.

On a positive note, the Frontier does feature a smooth ride and comes complete with tie-downs plus cleats. The Pro-4X trim even allows drivers to experience plenty of off-road fun. When compared to the rivals, you aren’t going to find another pickup with four doors at this price. It’s the ideal option for simplicity and basic utility.

For the 2018 model year, there were two engine options; the 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 152 horsepower or the 4.0-liter six-cylinder that produces 261 horsepower. Both of these pair with a five-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission.

On top of that, there were five trim levels to pick from as well. You’ll find the S, which is simply the base model; the SV, that has an upgraded interior and the Desert Runner which offers some off-road features with a two-wheel drive configuration. If you would rather have something geared mainly toward off-roading, you’ll want to go with that Pro-4X trim. Otherwise, if the budget allows, your best bet is to go top of the line with the SL.

2. 2018 Chevrolet Colorado

2018 Chevrolet Colorado - right side viewDespite the low price of the Colorado, Edmunds picked it as one of its best pickups of the year. Chevy knows how to make crew trucks; they’ve proven the ability over and over again. Not only are the engines inside these trucks powerful, but they are also fuel-efficient as well.

Plus, this crew cab tows up to 7,700 pounds, if properly equipped. On top of that, it receives accolades for being smooth on the road and having spacious rear seating. Because it’s a midsize truck, it features better maneuverability than the larger trucks. This is great if you don’t need all the extra capability that the bigger boys offer.

The only things holding this model back from ranking even higher in some tests was the overall sluggish performance. It also had some lower crash test ratings than the competitors but comes with a lower price tag overall.

3. 2017 Toyota Tundra

2017 Toyota Tundra - left rear viewWhen evaluating most double cab trucks, you’ll see that the Tundra has an advantage over the competition. On top of that, there are almost 50 different configurations the full-size truck came in. That’s why you’ll find a wide range of pricing when you look for used trucks for sale.

Rear passengers receive the same amount of room in the back of this truck as they did in the GMC and Chevy models for the year. Interior space isn’t all it has going for it. This is a great crew cab for towing as well. With the ability to pull 10,500 pounds behind it, you’ll likely find a lot of purpose with this vehicle.

There’s also plenty of standard safety equipment included with every 2017 Tundra. Some of the notable are anti-lock brakes, traction control, blind-spot monitoring system, rearview camera, and front knee airbags. Options include parking sensors and the rear cross-traffic alert.

It received decent crash test ratings, so you know your family is safe inside. Of course, purchasing this truck will require additional research on your part. Considering the long list of trims and configurations, you’ll find models priced between $25k and $40k depending on what’s included.

4. 2017 GMC Sierra

2017 GMC Sierra - left front viewWhat’s important to know about the 2017 GMC Sierra is that it is one of the best four-door trucks in the United States. Of course, upgrading to their luxurious trim, the Denali, will take your budget to its limit, so you’ll probably want to look at one of the other trims instead.

Their Double Cab comes with plenty of legroom; in fact, it has as much as the Silverado. The reason this made our list as one of the trucks is because of the comfort, versatility, and capability. There’s a perfect balance happening between fuel efficiency and performance as well. For people hoping to stick to a budget, this is helpful.

For the 2017 model year, GMC added active grille shutters. These worked to reduce the aerodynamic drag. They also installed a capless fuel-filler neck plus enhanced the infotainment system. Other than those changes, this year offered the same competence and trustworthiness as previous models.

5. 2016 Ford F-150

2016 Ford F-150 - left side viewThe Ford F-150 SuperCrew is a leader in the full-size pickup truck market and one of the best crew cab pickups ever. In fact, the F-Series lineup has been a best-seller for many decades. This pickup is a fan favorite because of the exceptional amount of legroom.

2016 marked a redesign for the model and there were some significant upgrades. They added the Sync 3 infotainment system and luxurious Limited trim. Of course, if you are operating on a budget, you probably won’t find a deal on that exact model, but any of the lower trims will work fine as well.

Ford is known for making trucks that are constructed from light aluminum body panels. The lack of steel benefits you at the gas pump and with the payload capacity. There’s a lot of diversity to pick from as well, even with the basic XL trim. In total, the F-150 is available in three body styles plus bed lengths.

If you can afford to buy the V8 engine, that’s the best truck for you. Otherwise, you’ll have to settle for the V6 instead. The reality is; anytime you talk about trucks, the F-150 is sure to top the charts in all aspects. It excels in almost any area.

6. 2019 Honda Ridgeline

2019 Honda Ridgeline - left side viewWhen it comes to midsize trucks, the Honda Ridgeline is a looker. Of course, the price is higher than many others on our list and the towing capacity is lower. With that said, if you need a truck that doubles as a family vehicle, this is a winner. Considering you’ll be getting two vehicles for the price of one, it still deserves to be on our top ten list.

The Ridgeline offers more than just good looks. It also comes with a wide range of safety features and a versatile cargo box. The upscale feel is perfect for entertaining loved ones after work. It also comes standard with a V6 when many of its competitors default to a four-cylinder engine instead.

Because it features a unibody construction, you’ll also find that the Ridgeline doesn’t ride like a truck. Instead, you receive a comfortable ride, no matter what the road looks like ahead. Don’t get us wrong; the Ridgeline does have some towing ability. It can handle up to 5,000 pounds when equipped properly. It also fits 4×8 sheets of plywood flat in the bed, which no other midsize truck can boast.

If you like to tailgate, you’ll love the in-bed cargo storage system. It doubles as a cooler and there’s an outdoor stereo system to add a little more excitement.

Even though there’s plenty of good to say about these pickups, we do have a few downsides to mention. First, it’s not meant for off-road. Plus, the touchscreen is finicky. If you can spend a little more on this model, you’ll find it holds its value better than some of the other brands which is a great way to save money in the long run.

7. 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 - Crew CabWe told you earlier about the GMC, but for the Silverado, we chose to go back another year. It features a nice large cab and is one of the company’s best-selling vehicles. Depending on how it comes equipped, it could be the perfect workhorse or the ideal family pickup.

In 2016, Chevy gave its Silverado some decent upgrades. Outside, they added a revised hood, LED accent lighting, and a trim-specific grille. Some models came with a 5.3-liter V8 and eight-speed automatic transmission. It’s possible you could also get a seven-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto depending what model you choose.

Road noise is kept to a minimum and all the engines perform exceptionally. If you plan to go off-road often, you might prefer to hop behind the wheel of their Z71 package. Keep in mind that the price of a Silverado is far less than a GMC counterpart, making it better on the budget. This works, unless you want more luxury, then we think you should opt for #4 instead.

8. 2017 Nissan Titan XD

2017 Nissan Titan XD - left front viewFor drivers looking for a vehicle that sits in between the conventional light-duty and heavy-duty classifications, this seems to fit the bill the best. Not only can you find one on the used market for an affordable price, but you’ll be thrilled with the unique configuration that other competitors don’t seem to offer. In the lineup, there’s a little something for everyone, no matter what your needs are.

We highly recommend opting for the V8 diesel engine if you plan to do any towing. It offers the best balance between performance and price. On top of that, you’ll find the Titan XD is attractive and functional inside. It’s the perfect vehicle for taking the family out once your work is done. They’ll remark at the smooth ride, which isn’t typical for a truck with this type of capability. The one thing that might shy you away from picking this as your next truck would be the large turning radius you need to maneuver. It doesn’t steer quite as easy as one would hope. Of course, that’s natural in a larger vehicle, and most people expect it.

9. 2019 Ram 1500

2019 Ram 1500 - right side viewThere was a lot of hype surrounding this truck when it was released; mainly, because it was completely redesigned for the model year. Many auto enthusiasts claim it’s one of the smoothest riding trucks ever to be built. On top of that, the interior is spacious and tastefully outfitted. These crew cabs come with a roomy rear seat; among the largest in its class.

When properly equipped, the Ram can tow 12,750 pounds and haul 2,300 pounds. While that might not be the highest in the class, it certainly is competitive. Compared to the previous year, this Ram also shed 225 pounds while adding a strong steel construction to the truck frame.

Ram also began offering a mild hybrid engine, referred to as eTorque. There’s plenty of technology available in this crew cab truck as well. Choose from a 12-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and USB ports. With the Ram 1500 on your side, there’s no limit to the tasks you can accomplish and the fun you can enjoy.

10. 2018 Toyota Tacoma

2018 Toyota Tacoma - left side viewBack in 2016, the Tacoma was redesigned and automatically came with high regards. One of the best things it has going for it is the amazing resale value. You can expect this truck to hold its value which makes it one of the better investments.

In addition, it offers a clean interior and decent off-road ability. Payload ratings are decent, but the towing capacity lacks slightly. Where the Tacoma really shines is with its reliability. The Double Cab (Toyota’s name for the crew cab trucks) receives rave reviews from many auto establishments. Even Edmunds named it one of the Best Midsize Trucks for the year.

Final Thoughts

When you’re looking at trucks for sale, you see that there are plenty of options available to you. The key is finding the perfect balance between affordability and dependability. If you need the best tow ratings, you’ll likely have to spend a little more. Of course, purchasing a used crew cab truck is always an option to help save a little dough.

All of the major manufacturers offer four-door trucks in their lineup that are worth looking into. Some of them focus heavily on the utility and neglect the luxuries while others work so hard on providing a posh environment, they forget it’s a truck in the first place. The point is, whatever you need or want, you’ll find it with a little bit of searching and effort.

Brian Jones
About Brian Jones

Brian Jones spent over 30-years at various dealerships as an ASE Certified Master Tech. These days he works with those dealerships to create quality automotive content while spending more time with his family near Dallas, TX. In his spare time, you'll still find him playing with tools, cars, and many other "manly" gadgets. Brian's passions include traveling, pickup trucks, and anything related to motorsports.