Once the preserve of farmers and tradespeople, pick-up trucks now have a broader appeal and are becoming increasingly common in the UK.
With their rugged looks and off-road capability, plus improved comfort, safety and equipment, they’re an alternative to SUVs and vans with more of a car-like driving experience.
They come in various shapes and sizes, but the most popular type of pick-up in the UK is the double cab, which features a four-door body and room for five passengers inside.
Double-cab pick-ups with a payload of more than 1,000kg (one tonne) are classed as Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs), which means they benefit from lower company car tax, regardless of CO2 emissions or vehicle price. Also, LCVs currently pay a fixed rate (£260) of VED, or road tax, rather than follow the CO2-based regime laid out for cars.
The UK's best-selling pick-up by some margin is the Ford Ranger, followed by the Mitsubishi L200, but there’s another half-dozen worth considering if you're in the market for one.
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Based on the award-winning Mitsubishi L200, the Fullback was a speedy way for Fiat to enter the one-tonne pick-up market when it was launched in 2017. With a 3.1 tonne towing capacity and strong 2.4-litre diesel engine, it can hold its own, though the ride quality did come in for some criticism.
However, poor sales and tough new emissions laws mean the Fullback has now been axed from the Fiat model range, which means it could be a great time to snap up a nearly-new bargain.
The UK's most popular pick-up is rugged yet comfortable. It's also versatile with genuine off-road ability and boasts a 3.5-tonne towing capacity. Available as a single cab, super cab or double cab, the latter is a great option for business users looking for a work vehicle that's family-friendly when they clock off.
With an upgraded version arriving in 2019, boasting enhanced performance, fuel efficiency, connectivity and driver assistance tech, there's little danger of the Ranger dropping down the Top 10. Look out for a high performance 'Raptor' version too! What Car? reckons the Ranger is "certainly one of the best of its kind available".
Winner of the Working Pickup of the Year 2019 Award in the Professional Pickup & 4x4 awards and awarded What Van? ‘Pick-up of the Year’ for the second consecutive year in 2018, the one-tonne Isuzu D-Max has a 3.5 tonne towing capacity and is praised for providing a quieter, more economical driving experience.
Coupled with a generous five-year/125,000-mile warranty package and five years’ roadside assistance, the rugged D-Max is a competitively-priced, capable pick-up. What Car? concludes: "The Isuzu D-Max does the pick-up fundamentals very well, but it lacks the polish of its class-leading rivals."
Mercedes-Benz finally entered the one-tonne pick-up market in 2018 with the X-Class which is closely related to the Nissan Navara. Premium quality, comfort, impressive off-road ability and a powerful 2.3-litre diesel engine combine to give it the X Factor.
"While some will continue to grumble that it’s just a Navara in fancy dress, Mercedes has done more than enough to ensure that X-Class buyers will be getting a rather different experience, and for the most part a substantially improved one," says Parkers.
Crowned 2018 Auto Express Pick-up of the Year and named ‘Best Pick-up’ by both CarBuyer and Parkers, the Mk 5 Mitsubishi L200 has a great reputation for good value, durability and practicality.
With new and established rivals all upping their game, Mitsubishi is rising to the challenge in 2019 with a bold facelift, plus safety/driver assistance upgrades. "The fifth-generation Mitsubishi L200 is the best yet – good enough to demand a place on any pickup buyer’s shortlist," says CarBuyer.
The Mitsubishi L200 also makes it into the top 10 of Britain’s most popular vans and pick-ups.
Winner of the International Pickup Award 2016 and What Van? Pick-Up of the Year the same year, the Navara has gone on to win several trophies and is a big-seller globally. With its combination of on-road refinement and off-road capability, it’s one of the best pick-ups available in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
CarBuyer says: "The Nissan Navara is a full-on pickup truck with the practicality to match, but it also drives well, making it one of the class leaders."
SsangYong’s acclaimed Musso was named Best Pick-Up in the 2019 DieselCar & EcoCar Top 50. Launched in 2018, it's superb value for money and comes with a tempting seven-year, 150,000-mile warranty as standard.
It may not have the most sophisticated ride, but it's tough, durable and has genuine off-road ability. It can tow up to 3.5 tonnes, carry a tonne and power comes from a gutsy 179bhp 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine.
With a legendary reputation for durability and reliability, the rugged Toyota Hilux is one of the world's most popular pick-ups. Powered by a 148bhp 2.4-litre four-cylinder diesel, it has a maximum towing limit of 3,200kg, can carry more than a tonne and is available as a Single Cab, Extra Cab and the most popular Double Cab.
"The Toyota Hilux is a pick-up renowned for its reliability and tough build quality. The latest version is more family-friendly, too," reckons CarBuyer.
Hugely successful globally, the VW Amarok is one of the plushest pick-ups on the market. It's been around since 2010, though it was refreshed in 2017, and is available as a five-seat, four-door double cab.
Powered by mighty 3.0 litre V6 TDI engines with various outputs, it's not short of pulling power. It also has a towing capacity of up to 3.1 tonnes combined with big payloads of up to 1,154kg. A "meaty 3.0 V6 engine and quality finish give the Volkswagen Amarok a genuinely premium feel," says Auto Express.