As pickup trucks become more popular, drivers use them more and more for regular transportation. They used to be for work purposes only, which is when the single cab trucks were popular. Now, they need to be comfortable, have lots of seating, and feature all the regular car amenities. That’s why it’s hard to find affordable single cab trucks on the market anymore.
If you would still prefer a light-duty truck work truck, you’re in luck. We’ve found some exceptional models from the used market and some more modern options as well. If you don’t care about family-hauling or the latest technology, a single cab truck might just be the best vehicle for you.
Why Single Cab Trucks are Better
Single cab trucks remain one of the most practical vehicles for a weekend warrior. They are also great for taking to the job when you have a second vehicle for regular driving.
These trucks tend to come with four-cylinder or V6 engines. These provide enough power to get the job done while saving fuel. Even though people refer to them as compact, they are often quite spacious inside.
A single cab truck is ideal for driving around a job site. You won’t be as concerned with protecting an expensive vehicle and you’ll have plenty of hauling ability. With more people looking to combine their work truck into their daily driver, these single cab trucks simply aren’t as popular anymore.
That’s why they are more difficult to find. If you want a lower cost option for work, then the single cab truck might be right for you. These cheap trucks give you all the capability you need without all the extra amenities you don’t want to pay for.
1. 2001 Nissan Frontier
If you want a cheap single cab truck, you can’t go wrong with the Frontier. It was redesigned in 1998 and was superior to its competitors of the time. This truck has a larger front bumper, reconfigured headlights, and a revised grille.
With the updated model also came a new interior. Nissan added a more modern instrument panel, larger radio, plus climate control. The seat fabrics look like woven metal which further reinforces the industrial theme of this truck.
The Regular Cab is offered in two trim options featuring either the 2.4-liter inline-four engine that produces 143 horsepower or the 3.3-liter V6 engine instead. Then, there’s the option to use a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. The best part about these single cab trucks is that there are numerous models available on the used market for under $5,000.
2. 2014 Dodge Ram 1500 Express
If you need an affordable single cab truck, you can’t go wrong with this workhorse from 2014. Even then, it retailed for $16,000, which is less than most pickups. The regular cab seats three people and came with a choice of the 6-foot-4-inch cargo bed or the extended 8-foot option.
It also came with 17-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, black bumpers and a grille, locking tailgate, vinyl floors, air conditioning, spray-in bedliner, plus cruise control. Other standard features include tilt-only steering, six-speaker sound system, plus USB inputs.
What set this apart from other single cab trucks made for work were all the options. On the used car market, you could find one of these with plenty of additional amenities. Look for keyless entry, cloth upholstery, power mirrors, power locks, carpeted floors, a five-inch touchscreen, satellite radio, and Bluetooth.
There is also an HFE trim. This stands for high fuel economy and it works in conjunction with the standard V6 engine. This trim only comes on the regular cab truck, so you won’t find it with the crew cab. It includes an automatic engine stop-start, mandatory 3.21:1 rear axle ratio, tonneau cover, power accessories, and cloth upholstery.
3. 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Work Truck
One of the most popular pickups still on the used market is the single cab Silverado 2014. The regular cabs came with either the 6.5-foot standard bed or an extended 8-foot option. You can only get the regular cab with the base Work Truck trim or an LT upgrade. Either way, you’re getting a lot of truck for your money.
The Work trim comes with two different subsets; the 1WT or the 2WT. The first includes 17-inch steel wheels, cruise control, air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, and a tilt steering wheel. It also comes complete with vinyl seating, rubber floors, a four-speaker sound system, and USB ports.
If you find a 2WT on the used market, you’ll get stainless-steel finish wheels, a chrome grille, chrome bumpers, deep-tint glass, keyless entry, power mirrors, Bluetooth, and an upgraded sound system. Going even further to the LT trim gives you the E-Z lift tailgate, cloth upholstery, alloy wheels, carpet flooring, six-speaker audio system, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The standard engine on all these trims is the 4.3-liter V6 engine that produces 285 horsepower plus 305 pound-feet of torque. It comes paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
What’s exceptional about this particular truck is that it received a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA. That’s because it included antilock disc brakes, side curtain airbags, traction and stability control, front airbags, and OnStar as standard equipment. Rearview camera, front park assist, lane departure warning, and forward collision alert were all options that you should look for to achieve additional peace of mind.
4. 2011 Ford Ranger
You should easily be able to find one of these single cab trucks for under $10,000. This was the last year that the Ranger was offered before it took its break. We don’t recommend this truck for more than work because it is slightly dated and cramped. With that said, you won’t find anything quite as capable for the price.
The regular cab model comes with an XL, XLT, or Sport trim level. It also comes standard with a six-foot bed, but there was a seven-foot bed available for fleet purchases. Those are harder to find in the used market.
TH XL comes equipped with a trailer hitch, 15-inch steel wheels, air conditioning, standard stereo, and upholstery. The XLT earned foglamps, full power accessories, leather-wrapped steering wheel, keyless entry, CD player, and upgraded exterior trim. At the top of the levels, the Sport featured a full-size spare, sidestep bars, center console, and bucket seats.
This single cab truck is powered by a 2.3-liter inline-four which produces 143 horsepower plus 154 pound-feet of torque. Standard equipment includes a five-speed manual transmission, but you’ll probably find many of them with the optional five-speed automatic instead. There is also an available 4.0-liter V6 engine option that yields 207 horsepower plus 238 pound-feet of torque. We recommend splurging on that option instead if the budget allows.
5. 2009 Chevrolet Colorado Work Truck
The 2009 Chevy Colorado came redesigned with a new power option. This light-duty pickup is on the cheaper side of single cab trucks, but will surely save you some money if that’s your goal. It was the first year that Chevy offered the 5.3-liter V8 engine which pumped out 300 horsepower. They also provided the four- and five-cylinder engines from previous models as well.
The regular cab configuration features a six-foot bed and three trim levels to choose from. The Work Truck is the base model and only came with an AM/FM stereo plus air conditioning. If you have a little extra money, the LS upgrade is worth it. It comes with upgraded trim and some options that increase comfort.
We don’t recommend this truck if you are looking for the best features on the market; this single cab truck is strictly for a low-cost work truck. Otherwise, invest in something a little more comfortable and updated.
6. 2019 Ford F-250 Super Duty
If you need a heavier duty work truck with a regular cab, you’ll be hard pressed to find one these days. One of the only models still available is the F-250 Super Duty. Of course, the price isn’t quite as low as many of our other single cab trucks, but far better than you would pay for an F-350 or F-450.
The Super Duty provides the perfect combination between usability and capability. It features modern upgrades and supportive seating. The regular cab comes with either 6.8 or 8.2-foot bed. There’s also the option to utilize the 6.2-liter V8 engine producing 385 horsepower or go with the 6.7-liter diesel V8 instead that pumps out 450 horsepower. Both of these engines come with a six-speed automatic transmission. In addition, rear-wheel-drive is standard, but you could upgrade to four-wheel-drive if you prefer.
The base XL model is the cheapest way to go, and essentially a work truck. Even still, it comes with 17-inch steel wheels, intermittent wipers, a rearview camera, manually adjustable telescoping towing mirrors, removable locking tailgate, and 2.5-inch trailer hitch receiver. It also features air conditioning, four-speaker sound system, vinyl upholstery, and a driver information display.
The Super Duty is a rare find among all the single cab trucks on the market.
7. 2006 Toyota Tacoma
The Tacoma offers a much lower cost than the others on our list. It’s a perfect choice if you need to shop cheap single cab trucks. Even though it has a lower price, it still has plenty to offer. First of all, Toyota is known for the durability and reliability. That’s why there are so many of these still floating around on the used market.
The regular cab comes with either two- or four-wheel drive. You can also get the PreRunner model which offers the suspension and looks of a four-wheel drive without all the gear. Choose from the four or six-cylinder engines and is outfitted with essentials such as a CD stereo, power points, and antilock brakes. All models also feature the composite cargo bed, built-in storage units, and tie-down anchors.
8. 1999 Ford SVT F-150 Lightning
Going back even further, you find this higher-performance single cab truck. This supercharged pickup is located on the used market for well under $10,000 and offers something a little different than our other single cab trucks.
It has a short wheelbase and short bed. This F-150 comes powered by a 5.4-liter Triton SOHC V8 engine and belt-driven supercharger. That’s what allows it to produce 360 horsepower plus 440 pound-feet of torque. Now you see that this isn’t your typical pickup.
In fact, that’s 165 horsepower more than the standard 5.4 Triton. It allows this pickup to hit 60 mph in 6.2 seconds. If you want to go even newer, the 2001 model gets 380 horsepower instead. While it’s still just an F-150, this model sure does offer some sports car-like tendencies.
It doesn’t come with an overwhelming amount of standard features, but it didn’t need to. The appearance alone was why most people purchase this truck. Of course, it does boast of having performance suspension and Z-rated Goodyear tires which most other trucks don’t have.
9. 2017 Ford F-150
Jumping forward a few years brings us to a more modern-looking F-150. Ford never fails to offer a diverse lineup of trucks that are light-duty and deliver some of the best tow ratings in their class. This generation features a quiet interior, aluminum construction, and plenty of standard features.
When you need to shop budget-friendly single cab trucks, this should be one of the first you look at. For a decent work truck, you would do fine with the XL and the 101A package. It also comes with either a 6.5- or 8-foot bed.
If that doesn’t provide enough variety for you, there are several engine choices. There’s a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 282 horsepower, a turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 that produces 325 horsepower, plus the 5.0-liter V8 that produces 385 horsepower. All of these come combined with a six-speed automatic transmission. At the top of the pack, you can get the turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 with 375 horsepower and ten-speed automatic transmission, even on the work truck.
Base features include 17-inch steel wheels, trailer sway control, automatic headlights, vinyl flooring, air conditioning, a 4.2-inch central display, and a four-speaker audio system.
10. 2018 Ram 1500 Tradesman
Ram has been a leader in work trucks for many years, so it’s no surprise that this 2018 model has everything you could want. It comes standard with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine and 305 horsepower. You could also opt to receive the 5.7-liter HEMI V8, but that jacks up the price.
The regular cab comes with either a 6-foot 4-inch bed or 8-foot configuration instead. The Tradesman is the base model and workhorse of the Ram lineup. It has very few luxury amenities but features everything you need to get the job done. Standard equipment includes the ParkView rear backup camera, vinyl seating, a class IV receiver hitch, heavy-duty shock absorbers, and six airbags.
The next level up is the Express which is also a work truck. This version gets rid of the bedliner and hitch but adds 20-inch wheels, carpeting, and body-colored exterior trim.
When you need to find the best single cab trucks for sale, many people take to the Internet. Of course, heading to Google to perform a search for “single cab trucks for sale near me” isn’t going to tell you which models are the best to choose from. That’s why we put together a list of the top ten for you. There’s a healthy mixture of cheap single cab trucks through heavier-duty pickups as well.
No matter what you’re looking for, there’s a compact truck out there for you. It’s just a matter of determining what’s important for your next truck purchase.