With their large truckbeds, generous towing abilities and business tax benefits, pickup trucks are a popular option for people who need to haul trailers, caravans or lots of equipment. The cream of the crop can provide all of this, while also providing such day-to-day niceties as a spacious cabin, smooth drive and decent fuel economy.
But how do you sort the wheat from the chaff?
To help you do just that, carwow has compiled its definitive list. These are the best pickup trucks currently on sale:
- Volkswagen Amarok
- Ford Ranger
- Toyota Hilux
- Mitsubishi L200
- Mercedes X-Class
- Nissan Navara
- SsangYong Musso
- Isuzu D-Max
- Ford Ranger Raptor
- Ford F-150
Of all the 4×4 pickup trucks that you can currently buy, the Volkswagen Amarok is the apex. It fulfils all the pickup essentials, with a maximum payload of up to 1,154kg and a towing capacity of up to 3,100kg.
However, it isn’t just a load-carrying one-trick pony. For starters, it can return a surprisingly sensible fuel economy of 35mpg. The interior is spacious enough for two adults and two children, while providing such features as leather upholstery and climate control from the base-level trim up.
The 200hp, 3.0-litre V6 is the best engine available for the Amarok, thanks to its suitable blend of guts and smoothness.
Offering a wide array of diesel engines to pick from and the choice of a two- or four-seat cabin, the Ford Ranger proves surprisingly adaptable for a small pickup truck. Get a four-seater with a 2.0-litre, 213hp engine beneath its bonnet and you can’t go far wrong. It has a ton of pulling power, able to tow well over three tonnes, while returning fuel economy of between 32 and 36mpg. Depending on the trim, the Ranger’s truckbed can handle payloads of up to 1,200kg.
Inside, the Ranger feels smooth on the road as you drive, although the engine can sound rather noisy when pushed hard.
The Toyota Hilux takes the unique advantages of a double-cab pickup truck and emphasises them to the nth degree. Not only is it famously reliable; every version of the car, from the entry-level trim up, can carry payloads over 1,000kg and is able to tow over 3,200kg. Unlike some alternatives, it’s also able to fare well offroad thanks to its high ground clearance, making mincemeat of uneven terrain.
Sadly, the trade-off for the Hilux’s strength is that, to accommodate big loads, it has been given very stiff suspension. This means you should expect a bit of a bumpy ride.
If you want a pickup that will last you for the long run, the Mitsubishi L200 is a good call. It’s a safe option, having scored a respectable four stars in Euro NCAP tests, but, more impressively, it has a five-year/62,500-mile warranty.
The L200 is able to tow up to 3,000kg and, in the back, you can carry up to 1,060kg of kit. Get a model with a 180hp, 2.4-litre diesel engine and you’ll be served up enough power to easily lug those big loads, too.
Mercedes has always been synonymous with comfort and quality, and the X-Class is one of the most high-end pickup trucks on the market.
Despite its ability to haul up to 1,140kg in its truckbed and tow up to 3,500kg, the X-Class is one of the most comfortable pickups to drive, feeling just as smooth as the VW Amarok at the top of this list. Inside, the X-Class boasts an intuitive infotainment system, too.
If you regularly tow or haul large amounts, get your X-Class with the 250d engine, which is adaptable despite not being the fastest.
Although pickup trucks are usually preferred for their rugged strength in hauling and towing, the Nissan Navara has a more welcoming and car-like edge to it. Inside, it can easily accommodate four adults in its cabin, while the upholstery and infotainment are comfy and intuitive, respectively.
None of this takes away from the Navara’s 1,050kg truckbed either, nor its ability to pull along up to 3,500kg. If you want to squeeze as much performance as you can from this pickup, get it with the 3.3-litre, 170hp engine. Unfortunately, even if you do, it will still suffer from some wind noise and wobble on the road.
Starting at under £21,000, the SsangYong Musso’s price tag undercuts that of many other pickup trucks currently available. You shouldn’t mistake this low cost for a lack of ability, either. The Musso can tow up to 3,500kg, while its truckbed can take 1,050kg. The rear end even has a 12v socket, which you can use for power tools and other necessary, hardy equipment.
In the Musso’s cabin, you’ll find ample space for two adults and two children, as well as some pleasant, soft-touch materials and Bluetooth-compatible infotainment. Upgrading to the car’s Rebel trim upgrades the tech to include an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility.
The main chink in the Musso’s armour, however, is its bouncy and stiff suspension.
As a pick-up truck, the Isuzu D-Max absolutely nails the fundamentals. It keeps up and even outdoes many of its alternatives by being able to tow 3,500kg and carry up to 1,300kg in its truckbed. The cabin can accommodate a family of two adults and two children, too.
Furthermore, its infotainment is surprisingly good, especially to the top-level trim’s nine-inch touchscreen, which proves bright and intuitive to control.
Sadly, the D-Max is far from fun to drive, lacking the smoothness that you would be able to find in something such as the VW Amarok.
The Ford Raptor is the big, aggressive brother of the brand’s Ranger. It makes the pickup an off-road-ready behemoth powered by a 2.0-litre engine with a ten-speed automatic gearbox.
The Raptor is fun to drive, both on and off the Tarmac, gripping tightly and navigating uneven terrain with ease.
However, the Raptor suffers considerably in the realms of towing and truckbed capacity. While every other pickup on this list can carry over a ton, the Raptor tops out at 620kg. Furthermore, compared with the Ranger, the Raptor can tow a ton less, with anything heavier than 2,500kg set to get the better of it.
The Ford F-150 is not available to buy in the UK. However, it deserves a wildcard slot on this list, purely because it is the granddaddy of modern pickup trucks. Its popularity – especially in the United States – has made it one of the best-selling road vehicles ever, with Business Insider reporting that nearly 900,000 F-Series trucks were sold in 2017 alone.
Bigger is better in America and the F-150 is no exception. The car has a 3.5-litre V6 engine with a 136-litre fuel tank. It can also tow a ridiculous 5,171kg.
Go to carwow.co.uk/best for more essential top 10 lists and buying guides.