If you're a carpenter, and working for someone else, the best used car is whatever you like that gets you to work on time and holds your tools – in short, practically any used car will do. If you are self-employed though, chances are that you will need to haul around lumber and other supplies, along with possibly a number of power tools. That means that you don’t need, or want, a car or sedan. More likely, you are in the market for a good used truck, or possibly an SUV.
With that in mind, we have evaluated a number of vehicles, and settled on the Ford F-150 and the Chevy Silverado as being best in the large truck class, the Toyota Tacoma as the best small truck, and the Chevy Traverse and Ford Silverado as the best SUVs for the carpenter.
Ford F-150: This venerable offering from Ford comes in V6 or V8, rear-wheel drive or 4x4. We suggest the long wheel base version if you plan on hauling lengths of lumber or if you’re transporting a lot of equipment. This is a nice, comfortable truck in addition to being very reliable.
Chevrolet Silverado: The Silverado isn’t quite as visually appealing as the Ford, but it is equally reliable. It also comes in V6, V8, rear-wheel drive and 4x4. It shares the stage with the F-150 when it comes to towing capacity (both in the neighborhood of 10,000-11,000 pounds depending on configuration).
Toyota Tacoma: If you do mainly interior work, this smaller truck will likely haul everything you need. It can also handle light towing, so if you need to add a trailer for bigger jobs, you won’t have a problem. It is available in rear-wheel drive and 4x4, with the exception of the X-Runner, which is only available in rear-wheel drive.
Chevrolet Traverse: The Chevy Traverse is a very roomy SUV. It seats eight people, and you can fold down or even remove the seats to haul all of your supplies and equipment. It also steers and handles beautifully, and features extra mirrors to reduce blind spots – a useful feature when maneuvering around the work site.
Ford Flex: Large doors and a low floor make it very easy for you to move supplies and equipment in and out of the vehicle. You can fold the seats down to increase your cargo capacity, and there are plenty of hooks you can use to hang up your gear. The Flex drives like a car, but gives you the cargo capacity that a car doesn’t offer.
If you’re hauling expensive wood for interior work, we suggest that you buy a cap if you purchase a used truck.