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Best pickup trucks in the UK in 2020

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A good pickup truck has been a popular buy in recent years for a number of reasons. Their go-anywhere ability, wash-down loading bay and cabins that (often) have space for five are just three reasons, but a favourable tax loophole is another crucial one.

Because pickup trucks are classified as commercial vehicles, they qualify for much lower benefit-in-kind tax bills, which means that they have been popular with company car drivers that want a working vehicle for the week and family transport for the weekend in one package.

These are the best pickup trucks on sale in the UK. All are capable of carrying a payload of more than one tonne, which is necessary to get that beneficial tax status. Some are better suited to those that spend their time on tracks, while others are perfectly happy on motorway jaunts.
Volkswagen Amarok
The Volkswagen Amarok is the pickup for those that want a truck that can keep a family happy at the weekend but will still pull its weight as a weekday working vehicle.

It has arguably the best interior of the pickup truck class, with a level of fit, finish and materials that is much more lifestyle than working tool. It isn’t as posh as the latest VW SUVs, but the soft-touch materials, clear buttons and comfortable seats are all welcome. The infotainment screen isn’t the latest version, but it still offers the likes of Apple Carplay and Android Auto.

Despite all this, the Amarok will still hold its own as a hardy truck. The beefy 3.0-litre V6 diesel engines are refined, powerful and are all paired with a smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox. It’s practical, with a payload well over a tonne, but it is heavy too – all Amaroks weigh more than 2,040kg, which means that they are restricted to commercial vehicle speed limits – 50mph on single carriageway roads and 60mph on dual carriageways.

It’s expensive, but it does a good job of blending work and play, so for some it will be able to take the place of two vehicles.

Find a Volkswagen Amarok here.
Isuzu D-Max
If you want your pickup to be more biased towards the working week then the Isuzu D-Max is a strong option. The interior is definitely more utilitarian than some rivals, with hard plastics and a basic look. It’s designed to be wiped down easily and to take hard knocks rather than impress family members with its luxury.

There is plenty of practicality, though, with room for five in the cab and a loading bay that is bigger than some rivals. Unlike other pickups, there is also the choice of three models – a single cab, extended cab and double cab.

The engine range looks pretty small by comparison to rivals with their big 3.0-litre units – at just 1.9-litres it has to be worked hard at times, but it is still capable of hauling a heavy trailer and it doesn’t need AdBlue, which is one of the marginal gains that will make running a D-Max a tiny bit cheaper. The low purchase price is another big bonus – fewer toys means less to stump up. If you are going to spend more time traversing fields than on the motorway then it makes a lot of sense.

Find a Isuzu D-Max here.
Isuzu D-Max
Nissan Navara
The Nissan Navara is a middle ground pickup truck, with a good blend of both practicality and comfort. A lot of that comfort comes courtesy of a rear suspension setup that is rare for the pickup market – instead of an agricultural leaf-spring setup it gets a more sophisticated coil-sprung rear arrangement, which is closer to what you would get on a car.

This means that the ride and handling is also a bit more car like, although it isn’t quite as smooth as an actual car.

The Navara’s engines are 2.3-litre diesels, with a choice of two power outputs and both are strong performers. The Nissan is able to tow the legal maximum of 3500kg, regardless of which one you go for, and every version has a payload of more than 1100kg.

Find a Nissan Navara here.
Nissan Navara
Toyota Hilux

The Hilux has a hard-earned reputation for being a rugged workhorse, but there are plenty of models in the truck’s range that are designed to appeal to those who want a touch of comfort too.

The higher trims get a touchscreen infotainment system that is like those in Toyota’s latest passenger cars, while you can also get leather seats, bits of chrome and heated seats.

In the Double Cab model you get a generous amount of space for five adults and a rear bench that is set higher than those in the front, which makes it easy for kids to see out.

The driving experience is still on the agricultural side, as you feel the bumps at lower speeds and the engine is noisy, but it is a strong performer on surfaces that aren’t covered in tarmac.

Find a Toyota Hilux here.
Toyota Hilux
Ford Ranger
The Ford Ranger has more different versions than pretty much all of its rivals, with the usual choice between single cab, super cab and double cab. It also has six different trims, the top one of which is the outlandish Ranger Raptor.

The Raptor features a series of wild upgrades including beefed up suspension, striking styling features and huge wheels with all-terrain tyres. The problem is, all this extra weight means that the payload is only 620kg so it doesn’t qualify for the van tax system. It isn’t the best working vehicle as a result, and is aimed at those that want a toy first and foremost.

The rest of the Ranger line up does qualify as a commercial vehicle, though, and models like the Wildtrack give a little of the outlandish look but with the necessary payload to get the low tax status.

The latest engines sound small at 2.0-litres, but the Biturbo engines are powerful and relatively swift in some setups – 0-62mph takes as little as 9.0 seconds.

Find a Ford Ranger here.
Mitsubishi L200
The Mitsubishi L200 is a mainstay of the pickup class and was most recently updated in 2019. Mitsubishi looked to bring a touch more comfort and more of a ‘lifestyle’ feel to the vehicle, as it dropped the more utilitarian single cab models to focus on the club cab and double cab versions that tend to appeal to those that want their truck to be all things to all people.

Like many others in the class, the L200 has a selection of increasingly well-equipped models with names that are more and more outlandish as you go higher up the range – Trojan, Warrior and Barbarian. Go for the top spec and you get supremely comfortable seats, a wide range of safety kit, a heated steering wheel and lots of stylistic flourishes.

This doesn’t stop the L200 being great off road, with a load of systems to help it deal with tricky terrain all available. That said it isn’t as refined or adept on road as some of its rivals. There is only one engine available, which means it isn’t as powerful as some of the competition, while the automatic gearbox isn’t as slick as the one in the VW Amarok for example. Despite the luxury focus, it’s hard to shake the feeling that the L200 is slightly more biased towards those who want an off roader rather than an all-rounder.

Find a Mitsubishi L200 here.
Mitsubishi L200
SsangYong Musso
The SsangYong Musso might not be the most well-known model in the pickup class, but it has a lot going for it. Unlike most pickups, the Musso has two different lengths available, with the longer model adding 31cm of space.

Add in that the longer and shorter models both have a payload of over a tonne, can take a Euro pallet and can tow up to 3500kg and the numbers look good for the Musso. The long and comprehensive warranty is another big plus.

Even though the cabin is smart and has good space for five, the poor on-road manners and comfort will put off some buyers. It’s cheap to buy, but it comes with caveats.

Find a SsangYong Musso here.
SsangYong Musso

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