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The Best First Trucks To Buy

December 11, 2020

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Today we wanted to sit down and chat a bit about a question that we get quite often. We get a lot of messages that say, "Hey man, I'm 16 and I'm looking to buy my first truck. What would you recommend?" So today, we're gonna be sitting down and talking about our top five picks for your first truck.

Stay tuned, by the way, our number one truck is sure to be a real heater.  Before we do that, though, you should know that once you get your truck, you're probably gonna wanna mod it. I mean, I did, Banker did, we all did it.

The good news, though, I know a great place that you can order an aftermarket lift kit, wheels, and tires, and get it shipped all of your doors for free: customoffsets.com. Also, we really should lay down some ground rules before we get started. This list, It's just our personal thoughts, and it doesn't necessarily cover all the options out there. Additionally, let's face it: if you're north of the good old salt belt like we are, chances are you're gonna have to deal with a little rust. 

 

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Table of Contents

5. 1999-2002 Silverado

4. 2002-2008 Dodge Ram

3. 1997-2003 Ford F-150

2. First-Gen Toyota Tundra

1. Cat-Eye Silverado

 

5. 1999-2002 Silverado

 

All right, we got that out of the way; let's get into it. Diving right into it here, the number 5 truck on our top five list of best first trucks is the '99 to 2002 Silverado. One of the best bang for your buck trucks right now, these GM 1500s can be had all day long for under $5000. If you find one of these, make sure you find one with a 5.3 liter V8, which makes around 285 horsepower.

 

silverado

 

These trucks look good, they sound great with exhaust, and the best part yet, you can find several lift kits for these trucks under the $1500 mark from some of the biggest manufacturers, Rough Country, Superlift, Zone, pretty much all of them.

Additionally, there are 100s of examples of these trucks in our gallery, which you can find at custom offsets.com/gallery, on 20 by 12s and 33s, which is a great tire pairing on these trucks. For looking fantastic and having a super functional tire pairing, the 1999 to 2002 Silverado is our number five truck on the list.

 

chevy silverado

 

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4. 2002-2008 Dodge Ram

 

 Coming in next at number four on our list is the 2002 to 2008 Dodge Ram. Dubbed as the third-gen because it was, well, the third generation... math. The 2002 to '08 Ram was a complete revamp on the Ram truck lineup.

It featured an updated frame, updated suspension, updated powertrain, and a revamped interior. So in other words, Dodge pretty much reworked the whole truck for this one. While definitely not a new truck anymore, the third-gen Ram still looks good even in 2020.

 

dodge ram

 

Additionally, they're available with a HEMI, which is pretty freaking neat. A six-inch lift kit for these trucks is right around 1200 bucks, and it'll give you enough clearance to fit 35s and 12-wides pretty easily. For those reasons, the third-gen Ram comes in at number four on our list.

 

third gen ram

 

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3. 1997-2003 Ford F-150

 

 Coming in at the number three spot is none other than the '97 to '03 Ford F-150. While not necessarily one of my favorite body styles, these trucks are available in plenty. I mean, a quick search will tell you that there are almost 400 of them listed for sale on Auto Trader right now, and they're all under $5000, making them an excellent buy for the bucks.

 

ford f150

 

Offered in stunning colors like silver and burgundy, okay, so maybe they're a little bit more traditional and less stunning with their colors, but either way, these trucks are still a great value, especially when they feature the 5.4 liter V8, which puts out about 260 horsepower and right around 350 foot-pounds of torque.

In terms of suspension, these trucks are in about the same boat as the rest, with most of the major manufacturers offering five-inch kits for under $1000. Most notable here is actually the Zone six-inch lift kit, which you can scoop up for just over 1300 bucks, which makes it a pretty decent buy.

 

f150

 

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2. First-Gen Toyota Tundra

 

All right, in our runner-up spot, something that's pretty controversial actually. The First-Gen Toyota Tundra. While it's not always the first choice when it comes to your first truck, see what I did there, the first-gen Tundra offered a 4.7 liter V8, which was in fact the first V8 that Toyota ever offered in a pickup.

The first generation was slightly larger than its predecessor, the T100, and was produced between 2000 and 2006. Later in its production years, Toyota also offered these trucks with a TRD supercharger on both the V6 and the V8 trucks, although it can be pretty tough to find those anymore.

 

toyota tundra

 

Still, the first-gen Tundra looks pretty good, and overall, it's pretty reliable for what it is. Plus, they were rated good by the IIHS in the frontal crash testing, making this one of the safest trucks at the time. The best part about these trucks, like all Toyota trucks, is that lift kits are dirt cheap.

Seriously, you can get a full-on coilover kit for your first-gen Tundra for just over 1300 bucks, which is gnarly. While you're not gonna get a massive wheel and tire in there, you can still fit a 33 on a 12-wide pretty easily, just as long as you're willing to do a little persuading with a BFH. 

 

first gen tundra

 

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All right, it's time for our number one. What do you guys think it is? 

 

1. Cat-Eye Silverado

 

Coming in at the number one spot is the ever-hyped, always appreciated, and beautiful Cat-Eye Silverado. Well, okay, hold on; technically it's the Silverado and the Sierra since both trucks share the same mechanical parts. Engine, driveline, it's literally the same truck.

The only difference is the Cat-Eye gets the Cat-Eye things, the grill, and the lights and stuff, you know. Either way, this generation of trucks is heavily sought after and makes a great truck for just about anyone. The 5.3 liter V8 is a solid engine, and personally, I've seen them run for over 200,000 or more miles with little to no maintenance.

 

cat eye silverado

 

It's important to note that if you're just getting started, chances are your budget might be a little smaller than you'd like. So be sure to find one that has good maintenance records, and you should have no issues.

Another really awesome thing about the Cat-Eye is that it utilizes the same suspension components as the trucks before it, which we talked about before, meaning that you can score a lift for sub-2000 bucks. Pair that with a nice set of wheels and tires, and you've got quite the setup for not a lot of dollars.

And when you get a wheel and tire package from Custom Offsets you will not only get money off of that package, but you will also get free shipping and free mounting and balancing as well. On top of that, we offer as low as 0% APR financing too. 

 

chevrolet silverado

 

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There you have it, folks, there's our top five trucks. If you're just getting into it, do you agree with our list? Did we miss one?

 

 

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