Live local, get around without breaking the bank
It's a no brainer. You got a working truck, still paying off student loans then you want to lease a new or used vehicle? Keep driving the truck. Ford parts are easy to get. Get an indie mechanic you trust to keep it running. Pay off debt as soon as possible. USA economy is driven by most residents constantly in debt and living above their means. Don't be part of the crowd. Be better than that.
This matters only if you’re looking to resell. Cost per use however is a different story: it’s generally cheaper to repair than to buy. A $1,000 repair that lasts you a year comes to $83/mo, cheaper than any car payment. And you can insure liability only due to low market value which makes for big savings. Of course don’t repair at the dealer... a good indie mechanic and buying parts online for half the price is the way to go.
You only need a newer car when updated safety features make a difference.
E.g., older vs modern car crash test
Certain upgrades like rearview cameras or better headlights can be cheap and easy to install. Others, like ABS... not.
Also, it obviously depends on usage. Commuter vs. recreational, etc.
Getting rid of the commute might be the best move of all