The UK pick-up truck market is stronger than ever – and quite right too. Modern pick-up trucks are as much about generous equipment, technology, and driving enjoyment as they are about load-hauling capacity, and are just as good at ferrying the family around as lugging heavy cargo. A pick-up truck with a payload of more than 1,000kg is classed as a light commercial vehicle, i.e. a van, which means you pay a flat rate of road tax. You can claim VAT back on the truck if you use it for work.
Features you should look out for include switchable four-wheel-drive (use all four wheels on tricky terrain, then select a two-wheel mode on the road to improve fuel consumption), low-range or low ratio gears, and differential locks. The former make your wheels turn more slowly on difficult ground, so you move more slowly but have more torque, lots more power, and better braking ability. The latter improves off-road grip by making all the wheels on the axle move at the same speed, pushing equal power through to each one.
Here are five of the best pick-ups to consider:
Volkswagen has positioned the Amarok as a premium pick-up – a segment it had to itself until the Mercedes Benz X-Class came along – and, while ruggedly practical, it feels high-quality, with a well-finished cabin and attractive dashboard, and a surprisingly car-like drive. Older versions have a 2.0-litre engine, while newer models have an incredibly punchy 3.0-litre V6 Tdi engine with up to 221bhp and 406 lb ft of torque.
Packed with technology from the Mercedes-Benz passenger car lineup, the X-Class has made premium pick-up trucks a serious thing. It's based on, and almost identical to, the Nissan Navara, though with a different suspension and interior. There's a choice of engines, gearboxes, and trim levels, all of which are generously equipped.
Winner of What Van?'s best pick-up truck award in 2017, the Navara is superb both off-road (thanks in part to its low-ratio gears) and on, with responsive steering, a smooth, refined engine, and good body control in corners and at speed. In newer versions, a 2.3-litre diesel engine with up to 187bhp replaces the older 2.5-litre engine, and multi-link rear suspension with coil springs works well at reducing the back-end bounce typical of the genre. The car-like cabin feels good quality and is well equipped, with excellent visibility and plenty of space even for adults in the back.
Consistently popular in the UK, and now in its fifth generation, the beefy, good-looking L200 is one of the very best used pick-up trucks you can buy. It can carry up to a 1,050kg payload in its 1.47m-long load bay, or tow up to 3,100kg. The 2.4-litre engine in more recent models performs strongly, delivering up to 178bhp and, on the tarmac, it’s impressively sophisticated with accurate steering, a composed ride, and a lightweight build.
The powerful, durable Ranger has an excellent off-road ability. Powered by two mighty engines – a punchy, smooth 158bhp 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel, or a super-strong five-cylinder 3.2-litre power train – it can carry a payload of up to 1,199kg or tow up to 3,500kg. It’s well equipped with technology and safety features too.
Knowing all this now you are ready to go on a hunt for your next van. Check our available stock for many different types of pre-owned commercial vehicles.
Panel vans, minibuses, pick-ups, and tipper vans from the biggest makes are all available at great prices.
If you'd like to test drive one of the used vans for sale, have a look at our website to see what we have for you, and call us at our Essex dealership on 01279 216163. Ask us about our vans on finance and van contract hire offers too.