Masters of Utility. The UK’s Premier Pickups for Work and Play

By Emma Williams
Masters of Utility. The UK’s Premier Pickups for Work and Play

Are Modern Pickups a Good Choice for Everyone?

You could use the word ‘WORKHORSE’ to describe pickup trucks and these days you could also class them as extremely versatile. Not only are they ideal for the building site, farm, campsites and all manner of outdoor pursuits but they perfectly perform the role of personal transport too. They are comfortable, right up there with technology and they’re smart. It’s not unusual to see families driving them as their first choice vehicle.

Once again we have researched online to see what the experts at Whatcar, Autoexpress and Autocar have recommended as the best pickups currently available in the UK. Their respective testers have considered the running costs as well as practicality, comfort, towing capabilities, mechanical refinement and how well they drive on and off the road.

Here we summarise their findings:

Ford Ranger

All three groups of experts rated the Ford Ranger the Best Pickup truck UK 2024. The Ranger goes from strength to strength and has been at the top of the tree for a good many years. The new Ranger iteration (landed 2023) has a more rugged look, its technology has a good level of sophistication and the cabin design and material quality have improved notably too. The engine range has been broadened and the good news is a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid version is coming in 2025.

Most are sold as double-cabs, but a single-cab model remains available. Its working credentials are strong. In terms of weight it’s rated for anything between 1035kg and 1207kg depending on model.

It shares some of its design with the VW Amarok. It’s on a par with the VW’s comfort and is equally as powerful and refined. The Ranger has a nicer dashboard layout than the Amarok though and the infotainment is easier to use.

As well as its Workhorse image it has a sense of style and the Double-cab version is a great choice for business users who want a capable workhorse that can also serve as a versatile family car.

Volkswagen Amarok

You could call it the Rangers more upmarket sister truck even though it doesn’t beat the Ranger to the top spot! However, it is a classy, desirable yet still very practical pickup truck.

There’s no shortage of kit in the Amarok, most models get wireless smartphone charging and connectivity, adaptive cruise control, matrix LED headlights and a 360-degree camera system. With the latest Amarok you’ll find passenger space has improved with decent room in the back particularly. As with the Ranger you can get a four-cylinder or V6 diesel engine if you desire it and all but the most basic model have the Ford-sourced 10-speed automatic gearbox.

It drives as well as the Ranger, offers equally as impressive cargo carrying credentials and is just as robust and well-built, so why has it come second best? It’s more expensive and doesn’t offer the single cab option and basically just a few bits like the infotainment system are fiddlier to use. But it comes a very close second!

Toyota Hilux

The Hilux was first launched in the UK in 1972, and is rugged and reliable. Whatcar named it best commercial pickup at their 2023 Van and Commercial Vehicles Awards. All models are well equipped but are better suited to the building site than the school run. It’s exceptional off-road with selectable four-wheel drive and more ground clearance than the Ranger.

The Hilux is available in two-door, two seat Single Cab and four-door, five-seat Double Cab configurations. There’s also an Extra Cab with ‘occasional’ seats in the back accessed through rear-hinged doors.

It’s surprisingly good to drive and the ride is comfortable except a little bouncy if the load bay is empty but this is a feature of all pickups. Talking of load bays, in the latest Hilux the load bay is a full 130mm wider than the last. The Hilux is top in durability and deserves to have a model named ‘Invincible’!

Isuzu D-Max

There are plenty of models to choose from meaning there is something suitable for every ‘job!’ They offer low running costs, a five-year warranty and a 3.5-tonne towing capacity.

The top-spec V-Cross is well kitted out with dual-zone climate control, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, leather seats with electric adjustment, courtesy light delay, parking sensors, a reversing camera and lots of safety kit. In fact if safety is paramount then the Isuzu D-max is the pickup to choose.

It’s good off-road and good value. Visibility is good and wide seat adjustment makes it easy to get comfortable behind the wheel. However, the engine is a little weak and noisy and the ride a little firm. You can choose between a single cab, an extended cab and a double cab.

KGM (SsangYong) Musso

KGM is the new name for SsangYong and as of yet nothing else has changed. This pickup is rugged, handling itself well off the tarmac, all down to its six-speed manual or automatic gearbox and selectable four-wheel drive. There are four versions of the Musso to choose from and all are well equipped with an adequate range of kit. The top models include luxuries such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, heated and cooled seats and a heated leather steering wheel.

It’s impressively comfortable, refined and corners well but is only available in one body style, a four-door, five-seat Double Cab. Only one engine available but a choice of gearboxes. It is rather agricultural though with the suspension being a bit stiff leading to a bumpy ride. A main positive though with the Musso is that it is - by some distance - the cheapest new pickup you can buy in the UK.

If you want more detailed information on the capabilities of any or all of these pickups and their different models then follow the link to our featured pages. You can also call us to speak with a knowledgeable account manager who can provide you with a personalized quote to help you understand how our competitive pickup lease deals apply to you.