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Sunday 19 November 2017

Motoring: Pick up a bargain for all terrains

Tried and tested: Toyota Hilux
Tried and tested: Toyota Hilux
High Spec: The Ford Ranger.
Nissan Navara
Durable: The VW Amarok is a powerful pick-up that can tackle the most demanding of jobs.
The Mitsubishi L200 is a competitively priced option.

Aidan Timmons

Values of pick-up double cabs are holding firm because there is a scarcity of stock nationwide. With is in mind, Aidan Timmons selects five solid options in the used market.

Toyota HiLux

Background

Toyota's HiLux has enjoyed years of seemingly operating on a different level to the rest of the pack.

Toyota's claim to building the most reliable vehicles in the world might sometimes sound a little lofty, except when the HiLux is concerned.

Its reputation is based on its durability and versatility.

Engine and Cabin

Most buyers opt for the 3.0-litre diesel SR5 version, which kits out the interior with enough creature comforts to please even the most discerning owner.

It's got road manners in spades but don't expect it to be an exceptionally comfortable daily cruiser, especially on knobbly tyres.

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It's the HiLux's well-rounded package and versatility in coping with whatever is thrown at it that really defines this pick-up.

Euro pallets fit in the cargo area comfortably, while the torque from the engine is content with towing horse boxes or heavy trailers all day.

It's got a payload of 945kg, which is right at the upper limit for most pick-up double cabs.

Only the Volkswagen Amarok fitted with heavy-duty leaf springs surpasses this to any noticeable degree.

As tools of the trade go, the HiLux is the master key - it will do it all and then some.

Residuals

Residual values, particularly for the 3.0 litre SR5 Auto, almost perform at the levels of the Landcruiser, which is at the peak when it comes value retention.

Even high-mileage HiLuxes are sought after. Once they reach a price they tend to sit and represent value for money for some buyer or another.

The 2.5 diesel is generally a couple of grand behind the 3.0 litre and is a fine choice for those of you who want a HiLux, but don't quite need to call on the extra reserves that the bigger engine has at its disposal.

Nissan Navara

Background

Nissan really fancied the Navara as a rival to the HiLux's crown. At one point the Navara represented 50pc of all the new pick-ups sold. The "old model", which ran from very late in 2005 until 2011, was priced very competitively against the Toyota.

It was a brave move considering these prices compare a manual Navara to an automatic transmission HiLux. But Nissan's pick-up packed a mighty punch and it has stood its ground when a lot of other double cabs fell out of favour with commercial vehicle buyers.

Engine and Cabin

The Navara was generally considered a 'pretty' 4x4, but it's probably more accurate to describe it as having rugged, good looks. Most buyers sensibly chose the LE spec and fitted a canopy. Some even opted for the higher-level Premium version.

There were all sorts of IT packs and other features that could be fitted. So depending on your intended usage for the Navara, you could find one with all or none of the goodies. Navaras were popular among workers in the construction sector.

This means that while the mileage might be a bit saucy on some models, they probably haven't had a hard life towing or dragging themselves around mucky fields.

Residual values

The Navara is a fine choice and back in hot demand. The newer model arrived with a cheaper spec XE model and a payload of 845kg. Values for the last of the old model 2011 LE spec can sometimes look a little expensive against the first of these base models from 2012. Don't be put off by this. Always compare like with like.

Mitsubishi L200

Background

Before the Navara came along, the L200 was arguably the only legitimate rival to the HiLux. But when Mitsubishi launched a new model in November 2006, it arrived to a very mixed reception.

Just over a year later, the economy ground to a screeching halt and the pick-up market became one of the biggest casualties.

Still, at prices considerably lower than its rivals, the L200 is a sound choice for someone on a budget looking for a reliable pick-up.

Engine and Cabin

There are a few different trim levels to choose from. Keep a watchful eye out for the Dakar Edition which ran for a brief stint in 2008.

Otherwise you'll find plenty of Invite and Intense models. The latter is the better spec and holds a premium of up to €2,000 above Invite versions. Intense models come with air con, alloys, a multi-functional steering wheel.

Canopies are a common addition but they taper a little more than the Navaras so check that the space inside suits your needs. Or remove it altogether and get a decent protective coating for the cargo area. A revised model was launched in 2012, but save for a new frontgrille and some minor feature upgrades, it looks virtually identical to the model which ran from 2006 onwards.

Residual values

The L200 starts life a bit cheaper than its rivals and stays there, but doesn't lose an acre of ground to them.

It's always been a solid performer and makes for a sensible purchase for buyers in this market. L200s are very scarce as sales plummeted in recent years so you might have to wait to find a good, clean one.

Mitsubishi dealers are most likely to see them as they won't be afraid to take them in so they're your first port of call.

VW Amarok

Background

Only around since 2011, the Amarok hasn't exactly set the pick-up double-cab market on fire. It's a big, imposing and hardy jeep, but in my opinion it is the easiest to live with on the road.

On a like-for-like basis (or as close as it can be balanced) the Amarok is the most expensive pick-up in its class. Still, it's not all show and no go - it's ready to get its wheels mucky and can hack a hard day's work.

Engine and Cabin

Surprisingly, the Amarok is fitted with a 2.0 TDi engine. Power is beefy, though, 180bhp (or 163 for the 2011 and 2012 models). There's loads of torque too. The engine feels more at home on the road than any other pick-up. Oddly, there isn't a lot of sound insulation and the engine has no cover.

The interior is massively comfortable. Most buyers opted for Highline models, which gives you Bluetooth, cruise control and a leather multi­functional steering wheel. There is no lock on the tail gate on early models but the tailgate itself is plenty heavy and won't buckle under a sizeable weight.

I towed a huge trailer with about 70 bags of fire logs (nearly two tonnes) with the Amarok and the engine pulled with plenty of strength.

Opt for the heavy-duty rear leaf springs and the payload accommodated jumps from 942kg to 1,041kg.

Residual values

The new price works against it. Used Amaroks make very sensible choices, but we need buyers in the new market to make the commitment in the first place.

Ford Ranger

Background

Despite the Ranger's enormous stature, it is often overlooked when buying a pick-up double cab. It performs similarly to the L200. There are lots of different specifications within the range but high trim levels are priced at the upper end.

Engine and Cabin

If you're buying a used Ranger then you won't have much of a choice in engines. You'll have to take whatever is on offer. This can range from anything as small as a 2.2 diesel (from 2012 onwards) to a 3.2 diesel. The older models which ran from 2007 until 2011 came with a mix of 2.5 and 3.0-litre diesel. Specifications are also wide ranging.

Expect to see plenty of XLT, Wildtrack and Limited models. The last option is most popular in the new model with the 2.2 litre diesel engine and comes with extras including heated leather seats and cruise control.

Residual values

A new 2.2 litre diesel Limited will cost close to €36,000 including VAT. Values don't quite perform at HiLux levels but they don't plummet either.

Rangers are scarce and there doesn't need to be a huge following for them for prices to remain fairly steady.

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