Saturday 22 October 2016

Quality and art of the 'double cab' pickups

Published 21/09/2016 | 02:30

The Toyota Hilux
The Toyota Hilux

When it comes to pickups, what the market lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality. Pickup 'double cabs' fetch strong prices on the used market and so opting for a new model might not work out as expensively as you might think.

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Scarcity dictates that values hold strong so they make good investments. Many people buy double cabs as second family cars so they have a broad market appeal that helps bolster values.

There are some tasty finance options now available throughout the commercial market, too. Just be sure to do your homework. Here is a run-down of the big players. We are sticking with double cabs because they are by far the biggest sellers.

Ford Ranger

The Ranger is gigantic but streamlined. There are two engines to choose from, a 2.2 litre and a 3.2 litre diesel. The payload for the 3.2 is a little less than the 2.2 but torque spikes from 385Nms to 470 Nms so the bigger engine is better suited for anyone that needs a Herculean towing capacity of 3,500Kgs. Visibility is great owing to its high stance and a raft of safety features like Lane Keep Assist and Traffic Sign Recognition will keep this enormous machine on the straight and narrow. The interior is vastly improved, too.

Isuzu D-Max

Remember when an old Cobra model D-Max was the double cab of choice for many pickup drivers? The recession certainly put an end to that. However, the latest-model 2.5 diesel will do more dirty work than the old one, which was geared more for the construction sector. The D-Max boasts some impressive figures with a payload of over 1,000kg and a hefty amount of torque. Worth a look again in our opinion.

Mitsubishi L200

The L200 was updated late in 2015. The old one had a bit of a peculiar shape once a canopy was fitted but the latest model is better. It also benefits from Mitsubishi's newest 2.4 DiD engine which is honey sweet and smoother than the old 2.5 diesel. Excellent ground clearance and not too light on its feet, the L200 is a capable workhorse regardless of whether the going is soft or firm. Good value for money, too.

Nissan Navara NP-300

At one point, the old model Navara used to represent 50pc of all new sales of pickups. As good as the one new is, it's hard to see that happening again. Like its competitors, the Navara has ditched its old engine and gone with a new 2.3-litre diesel with a choice of 160bhp or 190bhp. If you're on a budget, go for the entry level XE model. It comes in under €35,000. Good machine for that money.

SsangYong Korando

Like the D-Max, SsangYong commercials suffered hefty blows during the recession. If you are still feeling the pinch then the Korando Sports has an eye-catching, entry-level price tag of €29,995, which includes a fully lined load area that can take a Euro pallet. It has a 2.0-litre diesel engine and represents good value for money for someone looking to squeeze the last cent out of value out of their purchase.

Toyota Hilux

Not only did Toyota launch a brand new Hilux this year, it introduced a new 2.4 litre diesel engine across the range. It looks and performs more car-like than the old model but retains all of the traditional Hilux pedigree off-road. If the new model is anything like the last one, it will be virtually indestructible. Payloads vary depending on specification but most hover around 1,110Kg, which is a marked improvement on the old model. There was a noticeable price increase - because there hadn't been one for a long time so it all came together with the new one. It's partly explained by a big hike in equipment too. A Hilux always represents good value for money. Not many vehicles can claim that.

Volkswagen Amarok

This is probably the most car-like of all the pickups, in its road manners and interior comforts. The 2-litre diesel engine might sound wimpy but with 180bhp and loads of torque, it is anything but. And you will now have a choice of two V6s. It is also a dab hand at traversing poor off-road terrain. Volkswagen offers comfort or heavy duty rear leaf springs depending on how much of a hard time you will give it. Euro pallets fit width-ways in the load area and even with the permanent 4Motion 4WD, fuel efficiency is excellent.

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