Choosing Pickup Trucks Ideal for The UK’s Roads
Far from the out and out, no-frills work horses of the past, manufacturers of modern pickups have identified the growing appetite for light commercial trucks and brought their offerings right up to date. We look at how these vehicles have evolved along with a top-level guide to the most popular pickups on offer today.
Shaped by the landscape
In the UK, our road and city infrastructure has developed and evolved on the back of Victorian (in some cases Roman!) layouts, leading to slim farm tracks and tight inner-city roads. Even our motorways are comparatively narrow, due to the need to maximise available real-estate. Manufacturers have initially been hesitant to either develop large pickups or directly import USA vehicles, which are developed for the country’s vast landscape and would be impractical. This, combined with our far higher fuel prices, led manufacturers to look at developing Europe-focussed vehicles. Manufacturers from Japan were arguably the first to bring us the household pickup names we see on our roads today, utilising engine technology to create more efficient, Euro-compliant, smaller displacement engines.
Initial pickups from the likes of Toyota and Nissan had the necessary loading capacity and reliability but lacked the creature comforts of saloon and SUV vehicles, such as reactive suspension, AC, high quality upholstery and ICE – keeping them firmly in the commercial-only camp. However, with the UK’s poor road surfaces and people wanting to use their vehicles for multiple applications, modern pickups now boast features that would rival those of the luxury vehicle market – yet still retain impressive loading capacities (over a tonne) and towing power.
Here’s a roundup of three popular pickups, perfect for life on Great Britain’s highways.
Needing little introduction, the Hilux has been the backbone of many commercial fleet for the last 30 years. Getting public applause following Top Gear’s torturous testing, which involved it being submerged in the sea, placed atop a building set to be demolished, and converted into a car-boat, The Hilux can apparently do it all. The current model boasts a 2.4ltr diesel engine which produces around 145bhp and can achieve 40mpg. With a towing capacity of 3,200KG and a load capacity of over a tonne, the Hilux is set to be a popular option for the UK market.
No pickup line-up would be complete without an option from Ford and the Ranger continues to uphold Ford’s well-deserved reputation. With contemporary looks, SUV comparable levels of comfort and an impressive safety check list, the Ford Ranger really can do it all. The 2ltr diesel is considered the best pick by many automotive journalists and puts out nearly 170bhp. Capable of carrying 1,200kg and towing an additional 3,500kg, the handsome Ford Ranger looks set to be a success.
The Navara has been in Nissan’s line-up for many years now, and while its dependable reputation for offering a blend of impressive on and off-road performance remains, the latest models benefit from modern, well-appointed interiors, consistent with Nissan’s current range. The Nissan also benefits from qualifying for the UK’s light commercial vehicle tax. The engine is a 2.3ltr diesel, available in two power modes depending on the vehicle specification, putting out either 168bhp or 187bhp. As with most of the vehicles on this list the Navara can tow 3,500kg making it the ideal workhorse for the UK market.
While we’ve only looked at three vehicle models here, it should be noted that other manufacturers including Mitsubishi, Isuzu, VW and Hyundai also offer high quality pickup variations, and as we referenced in a previous article, PHEVs and fully electric-powered vehicles are continuing to gain in popularity.
Speak with our friendly, expert team today to discuss your pickup truck and light commercial vehicle hire needs.
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