Farm Ireland

Sunday 20 January 2019

We're picking up on the Pickups: 7 of the best pickup options for farmers

The new Ford Ranger pickup.
The new Ford Ranger pickup.
FarmIreland Team

FarmIreland Team

Few owners expect as much from their vehicles as farmers. From towing to carrying heavy loads, and operating on all kinds of surfaces from tarmac to open field, farm pickups really are expected to do it all.

With the improvement in the economy and construction on the up again, there's been a revival of interest in the workhorse pickup.

Most sales are in double cab formats, and market research shows a significant shift to include leisure lifestyle use, as these vehicles have become much more comfortable to drive and be driven in.


Long-time top seller in the format is Toyota's Hilux (€29,250), smooth in running and in its latest form finished as well as any passenger car on the inside.

Brand new with a sweep of improvements. Cabin much quieter, good spread of driver/passenger equipment, bigger load area. The new 2.4-litre diesel is far more economical but has good power and torque (148bhp, 400Nm). Overall towing capacity is up too. And there is better rear-seat space. Accounts for a large number of Irish purchases.

Against: You have to stop and switch to get into Low. Poor ride over some secondary roads.


Nissan's Navara (€34,995) is the International Pickup 2016 winner, with a stronger chassis and new suspension as well as a stylish exterior.

The big thing in the Navara's favour is the coil-spring five-link rear suspension system (instead of leaf). It can tow up to 3.5 tonnes (up from three with its predecessor). Also worth noting are two new 2.3-litre diesel engines, a single turbo (160hp, 403Nm) and a twin turbo (190hp/450Nm).

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The difference in ride quality with this model is marked. Even though it has the box-frame chassis as its predecessor, the rear suspension gives the Navara a big advantage on the road.

Against: Complaints and bits and pieces of trouble with the older model.


Ford's Ranger (€28,150) has been significantly upgraded, with two engine options, which are said to have improved economy by up to 20pc.

It has selectable 4x4: 2WD (rear-wheels) for ordinary on-road, 4WD High for towing or poor underfoot conditions and 4x4 Low for the gruelling stuff off-road or in snow and ice. You can shift between 2WD and 4x4High at speeds of up to 120kmh. And it pulls like hell.

Against: Not as supple a ride on the road as the Navara. These things matter now with the amount of driving on tarmac that farmers do.


Mitsubishi's L200 (€29,950) was completely changed last year and along with a more upmarket interior it gives more space for rear passengers. A classic in reputation.

It's relatively new, relies on the maker's renowned technology and benefits from upgrades in suspension, interior and equipment. The new 2.4 litre 181bhp diesel (manual, auto) provides big torque (430Nm @ 2,500rpm). The cargo area (1,520 mm) is now 15mm deeper (475 mm). Towing capacity is up to 3,100kg

The cabin is quieter (they've done a lot of work blocking sound intrusion). And it's roomier (+20mm longer, 10mm increase in shoulder room). The 5.9m turning radius is among the best in class. I found the Super Select 4WD (four driving modes) worked really well.

Against: Despite its makeover it still doesn't match the likes of the Ranger for overall rugged looks - a big factor among buyers - and rear cabin space remains a bit tight.


Imposing piece of work with powerful engine and 4x4 fly-by-wire. There is a two-stage turbo for seamless delivery of pulling power (400Nms) and it tows three tonnes. It has impressive all-round ability.

Against: With so many new competitor vehicles arriving, there is a danger it is starting to date a bit especially in the cabin where rivals have vastly improved their interiors.

The Isuzu D-MAX (€POA) is a name which symbolised rugged and trusted workhorse pickups for decades. That hasn't changed in its current iteration.


Volkswagen's Amarok (€37,450) is now promoting its 'Rock 'n' Road abilities as acknowledgement of the dual-use for pickups these days. A brand new V6 engine gives possibly the most grunt of any of its competitors.

Volkswagen is giving its Amarok an overhaul and bringing in a 3-litre V6 diesel. The new engine can develop 163bhp, 204bhp or 224bhp depending on model, and they are rolling out all three versions here. The 224bhp has 550Nm of torque. That's a lot of pulling power.

Towing capacity now ranges up to 3,500kg. And prices start from €31,268 excluding VAT. There is permanent all-wheel drive, Torsen differential and 8spd automatic gearbox. Overall dimensions are the same.

Against: Changes to the looks are not dramatic (new front bumper and headlight set-up etc) but there is a new dashboard layout.

Fiat Fullback

A new arrival to the pick-up market is Fiat with the launch of the Fullback pick-up. With a payload of up to 1 tonne, and able to tow up to 3.1 tonnes, the Mitsubishi derived machine is more than capable of tackling tough jobs. It’s priced from €30,750.


Others in the frame include the Great Wall Steed (€28,329), and the SsangYong Korando Sport (€29,995), both suited to lighter work and leisure needs but quite capable of handling tough treatment.

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