Think ‘pick-up truck’ and many will conjure the image of a rusty battered workhorse, kicking up dust in a small anonymous mid-west American town.
While the idea of the pick-up truck remains deeply American, we Brits are slowly but surely being won over by their improved refinement, sharp styling and immense practicality.
Pick-ups boast the unique ability to serve as trade vehicles in the week, but with five seats, decent fuel economy and amiable interiors, they’re more than suitable for a family road trip at the weekends.
As such, more than 47,000 pick-ups were sold in the UK throughout 2016, an uplift of 17.6 per cent on the previous year, and with a strong line-up of pick-ups to choose from, it’s no surprise that demand has remained steady with sales up by 19 per cent in the first five months of 2017.
Here, we’re looking at the finest models in the UK pick-up market right now.
Arguably the name propping up Britain’s pick-up market in its wilderness years, the L200 is now one of the most appealing and well-balanced pick-ups around.
The fifth-generation model is widely accepted as the best yet with car-like sophistication, unmistakable styling and a list of equipment longer than your arm.
A decade ago, the idea of dual-zone air con, leather seats and a touchscreen in a pick-up starting from under £29k was ridiculous but here we are, and the world is all the better for it.
The Hilux is another one of the most recognisable names in the segment, and with good reason; they’re like the Terminator, they simply refuse to die.
Currently, the Hilux is only available with one engine – a 148bhp 2.4-litre four-pot diesel – but that sums up its no-nonsense attitude. It pulls stuff (up to 3,200kg) and returns at least 40mpg if you behave yourself, so what’s the problem? Pick a trim and get on with your life.
The L200 may have kept the pick-up market alive in the UK, but the Navara is often labelled as the most accomplished and refined pick-up around.
Now in its third iteration, the latest version is the most road-focussed yet with more comfort than ever before. That isn’t at the expense of its off-road and load-lugging abilities though, with up to 3,500kg of tow capacity available with the 187bhp 2.3-litre diesel model. It’ll return healthy fuel economy in excess of 40mpg too.
The Fullback is the newest name on the pick-up playground, but it won’t feel so alien when we tell you it is little more than a rebadged L200.
It uses the same 178bp 2.4-litre all-wheel drive diesel engine to achieve identical performance and only slightly heavier running costs. It is marginally more expensive to buy too, a premium that doesn’t seem worth it considering the cheaper interior and Fiat’s less recognised reputation.
So the Fullback isn’t quite a touchdown for Fiat, but if they’ve run out of L200s at Mitsubishi, it’s an option
Maybe one of the lesser-known names in this list but the D-Max is one of the more utilitarian models here.
Its 163bhp 1.9-litre engine is clattery but no wimp, pulling up to 3,500kg, and you won’t want to get carried away upgrading spec because the tech gets embarrassing when it tries too hard.
Keep it basic and the £16k D-Max will treat you well.
Contrasting with the D-Max, the Amarok is the premium choice and one of the fanciest pick-ups out there.
With heated leather seats, 19-inch alloys, parking sensors front and back, chrome detailing, you’d feel a bit mean for making the Amarok get its hands dirty but with a 3,500kg tow capacity and 2.5 sq m load bay, the VW is certainly capable.
Which pick-up would be your first choice? Tell us in the comments below.