Best pick-up trucks 2023
Pick-up trucks need to be practical, reliable and capable workhorses. We’ve put together a list of the best pick-ups currently on sale in the UK…
Modern pick-up trucks have come a long way from their utilitarian past, with the current crop of options offering a smoother ride, plusher interiors and all of the creature comforts and luxuries you’d hope for in a new car. As a result, new pick-up trucks are more versatile and usable than ever before. On top of their new-found comfort, modern pick-up trucks offer attractive tax rates and unrivalled storage space.
In the past decade, some car manufacturers had reason to believe that there would be strong demand for pick-up trucks as they became more reliable, comfortable and suitable for everyday driving. Unfortunately, the market failed to take off as they had hoped so there are fewer options now available than there once were. The likes of the short-lived Mercedes X-Class, the Nissan Navara and Mitsubishi L200 (once one of our most favourite pick-ups of all) have come and gone, and while the US has seen the arrival of hybrid and electric pick-up trucks from the likes of GMC, Rivian and Tesla, at the moment there isn’t as much variety in the UK.
If you’re looking for a brand-new pick-up truck in 2023, then there’s no need to panic, because there are still some fantastic options on sale in the UK. We’ve rounded up this list of the best pick-up trucks you can buy new in 2023 to help you find the perfect workhorse.
The best pick-up trucks in the UK
But which pick-up trucks on sale in the UK are the best? Here we list all the trucks in dealers right now, with six models available to choose from...
1. Ford Ranger
Previous versions of the Ranger were solely focused on practicality and usability, but the latest version has embraced the chiselled, square-jawed styling of Ford’s iconic F-Series pick-ups from the USA. The Ranger’s cabin has also taken some big steps forward in terms of comfort, quality, space and most noticeably, technology.
Now more than ever, the Ranger has a sense of style to go with its workhorse image, 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 when they’re off the clock.
It still feels built to last though, has excellent off-road ability, can tow up to 3,500kg and most versions satisfy the one-tonne payload requirement that's needed for a pick-up to qualify as a light commercial vehicle – the only exception being the fire-breathing Ranger Raptor.
Once again there are single or double-cab bodystyles on offer, plus a wide range of trim levels for the four-door model, from the hard-working XL models to the luxurious Platinum spec. The mid-range Wildtrak trim is our pick of the range, because it comes with everything you might need or want, including a whopping 12-inch touchscreen, leather upholstery, a raft of driver safety aids and Soft Ride suspension for greater comfort.
Most versions are powered by Ford’s faithful 2.0-litre EcoBlue four-cylinder, but select models are available with a smooth 3.0-litre V6 diesel – our preferred motor thanks to its extra muscle and refinement. Lower-spec models get the four-pot paired with a six-speed manual, while the rest of the range features a 10-speed automatic transmission that delivers simply seamless gear changes.
2. Volkswagen Amarok
The Ranger’s more upmarket sister truck misses out on the top spot here due to its narrower line-up and higher prices, while the highest-spec versions can’t carry a one-tonne payload. However, there’s no denying that the latest Amarok is a classy, desirable yet still very practical pick-up truck.
Developed in conjunction with the Ranger, the latest Amarok looks and feels a bit touch above the Ford inside and out. The cabin features plenty of leather and metallic trim, while the portrait-orientated 12-inch touchscreen runs VW’s own software and graphics. There’s no shortage of kit on board, with most models getting wireless smartphone charging and connectivity, a 360-degree camera system, adaptive cruise control, matrix LED headlights and even ambient lighting.
Passenger space is an improvement over the previous-generation Amarok, too, with decent room in the back, although the load bed is the same size as its predecessor. It measures an almost-square 1.62 metres long by 1.58 metres wide, with a width of 1.22 metres between the wheelarches.
As with the Ranger, you can get the Amarok with four-cylinder or V6 diesel engines, and all but the base model are equipped with the Ford-sourced 10-speed automatic gearbox. With the V6 under the bonnet, the Amarok feels almost as refined and cultured as a large SUV to drive, while the lofty driving position offers a good view of the road ahead.
3. Toyota Hilux
The Hilux is an icon of the pick-up world, having made its global debut in 1968, with owners in some of the most inhospitable places on earth relying on its durability and a certain British television show demonstrating the Japanese truck’s indestructible nature in speculator fashion. So if there’s one pick-up that deserves to have a model named ‘Invincible’, it’s the Hilux.
The latest Hilux is bigger in every dimension than before, benefiting that all-important load bay, which is a full 130mm wider than the last Hilux’s. Power comes from either a 2.4-litre or 2.8-litre four-cylinder diesel, with the latter offering a healthy torque figure of 420Nm, while all versions can tow up to 3,500kg.
Inside, the Hilux is a huge improvement over the previous model. Gone are the flimsy plastics and dated switchgear, replaced by a dashboard which looks and feels like it’s from one of Toyota’s passenger cars. However, the more recent Ranger and Amarok have moved things on even further now.
There are plenty of hard plastics to remind you that you’re in a pick-up, but it’s now on par with the impressive but now-discontinued Nissan Navara for fit and finish. The Invincible model has a decent kit tally, too, with an eight-inch infotainment display with DAB and Bluetooth, cruise control, climate control and keyless start, while the Invincible X gets even more kit and a unique looking front end, too.
The Hilux is surprisingly good to drive, although the big diesels aren’t as smooth as the Ford’s or VW’s. There’s lots of tyre squeal, too, but the ride is comfortable, the steering is accurate and body control isn’t too bad considering the elevated stance. As with any pick-up, if the load bay is empty, the ride can be a little bouncy and there's flex detectable in the chassis.
4. Isuzu D-Max
The Isuzu D-Max is a top pick-up choice, offering low running costs, a five-year warranty and a 3.5-tonne towing capacity, while the broad range of models means there's a truck to suit all sorts of jobs.
All trucks use the same 1.9-litre twin-turbo diesel engine, which develops 360Nm of torque but is more efficient than the 2.5-litre diesel it replaced in 2017.
The double cab gets a load bay of 1,485mm by 1,530mm, but the payload capacity varies based on the model you choose – with the maximum being 1,161kg. The maximum towing weight is 3,500kg.
The top-spec V-Cross comes with plush car kit such as 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. The Arctic Trucks AT35 is also based on this spec, with few changes inside, but a dramatic external makeover, with 35-inch Nokian off-road tyres, massively flared wheelarches and an even taller ride height.
5. SsangYong Musso
The SsangYong Musso includes a 2.2-litre diesel under the bonnet, and selectable four-wheel drive allows you to drive in 2WD mode to help save fuel. There are six-speed manual and auto gearboxes offered, too. The Musso's load bed isn't quite as large as those of some rivals, but it still meets the tax-friendly one-tonne payload limit.
SsangYong offers EX, Rebel, Saracen and Saracen+ trim levels, all of which are well equipped with a great range of kit taken straight from the Rexton SUV. We'd go for the Rebel at least, which comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, heated and cooled seats and a heated leather steering wheel.
If you need extra load space then the top-spec Musso Saracen+ actually features a longer wheelbase and an extended bed. It has a load bed length of 1.61m and an overall length of 5.4m which, Ssangyong claims, makes it the biggest double cab pick-up with the longest load bed on the market.
6. Maxus T90 EV
Rather than using a bespoke EV platform, the Maxus has its battery-electric running gear fitted to the chassis of an existing combustion-engined model. As a result, it’s a more traditional looking pick-up than the Rivian R1T or even Ford F-150 Lightning, but isn’t as capable off-road as contemporary diesel pick-ups. Some of that is because it’s rear-wheel drive and the 201bhp electric motor that sits in between the back wheels hangs lower than the differential, reducing ground clearance and departure angles.
The T90 EV’s 88.6kWh battery is substantial, and Maxus claims it’s good for a range of 220 miles on a full charge. It should be cheaper to fuel than similar sized diesel-powered pick-ups, however, with price starting at a whisper under £50,000 (excluding VAT), the T90 EV is more expensive than a top-of-the-line Ranger that’s better equipped, higher quality, far more capable off-road and come with the added peace of mind of a familiar badge.
At least the Maxus T90 EV has a one-tonne payload, so it qualifies for the light commercial vehicle Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) rates of taxation, and has a braked towing capacity of 1,500kg, although diesel rivals can tow far more.
Pick-ups coming soon
While the majority of new pick-up trucks coming soon will only go on sale officially in North America, that doesn’t mean those of us on this side of the pond aren’t going to be treated to a new model now and again.
Ineos Grenadier Quartermaster
Ineos made quite the splash in the off-road SUV market when it launched its Grenadier SUV and now the brand has unveiled a pick-up truck version called the Grenadier Quartermaster. The Grenadier’s ladder-frame chassis has been extended by 305mm for the Qaurtermaster, allowing it to accommodate a large, open load bed which is big enough to take a standard Europallet with room to spare. It's powered by a pair of BMW-sourced 3.0-litre straight-six engines – one petrol, one diesel – but the Quartermaster's maximum payload of 760kg means that it doesn't qualify for the commercial vehicle tax breaks afforded to rival double cab pick-ups with capacities over one tonne. The Quartermaster also has a starting price of over £66,000, so it's best viewed as an alternative bodystyle for Grenadier buyers who want the extra versatility of the open load bed, not a commercial workhorse.
Munro MK1 pick-up
Scottish off-road vehicle manufacturer Munro revealed a utilitarian pick-up version of its all-electric MK1 off-roader in May 2023. The blocky EV starts from £49,995 and has been designed to mix off-road ability and practicality for customers operating in ‘ultra-challenging environments’. Power comes from a choice of 61.2kWh or 82.4kWh batteries, with the most powerful version sends 381bhp and 700Nm of torque to all four wheels for a 0-62mph time of 4.9 seconds. The MK1 pick-up also boasts 480mm of ground clearance, plus impressive departure and approach angles of 84 and 51 degrees, respectively.
Toyota Hilux Hydrogen
Toyota has announced it’s working on a hydrogen-powered version of its second-generation Hilux right here in the UK at its plant in Burnaston, Derbyshire. It features running gear from the second-generation Mirai saloon, which is currently the only FCEV you can buy in the UK. The Mirai has an official range over 400 miles, however the less aerodynamic Hilux is unlikely to offer quite such an impressive figure, while this early development of hydrogen-powered truck will be two-wheel drive only.
Volkswagen ID. Buzz pick-up
The Volkswagen ID. Buzz Cargo won our Best Electric Van award in our 2023 New Car Awards, but it might not be the only commercial application for the retro-inspired EV. A patent image that surfaced online suggests VW is considering a pick-up truck version of the ID. Buzz. The image shows a double cab-style ID. Buzz with a pick-up bed and a drop-down tailgate, although the firm has yet to confirm whether a truck will be joining the rapidly expanding ID. Buzz range. At least one company in Germany has also developed an aftermarket pick-up coversion of the ID. Buzz, too.
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