Pickups these days have transcended their former farm and ranch roles to become the secondary family car for the businessman or weekend warrior. Chalk it up to improvements in their ride comfort, cabin amenities, and overall sophistication that have made them indespensable in the urban setting.
Most popular are the 4x2 models equipped with automatic transmissions as they combine comfort and convenience with haul-anything capability. With the major players unveiling clean sheet designs or new engines last year, you can expect the pickup truck market to continue to grow from there.
If you're looking for a comfortable workhorse, we will help you decide by lining up six pickups and run the numbers on each of them. In this spec check is the Ford Ranger XLT, Isuzu D-MAX 2.5 LS, Mazda BT-50, Mitsubishi Strada GLX-V, Nissan Navara NP300 EL Calibre and the Toyota Hilux 2.4 G.
It could be said that a pickup's dimensions are a rough gauge of a its maneuverability and capacity to carry loads. Much longer than their PPV equivalents, all these pickups are well over five meters long with the Mazda BT-50 topping the list and the Nissan Navara being the shortest. Except for the Mitsubishi Strada, all the trucks here are over 1800 mm wide.
What do these numbers mean? With its length, the Mazda BT-50 should prove to be the most accommodating and commodious truck on paper at least. However, it's not all about the exterior size with these trucks. For this spec check, we have also included bed sizes and payload capacities as these are vital numbers pickup owners need when they use their trucks for business (or leisure).
All these mid-spec pickups are powered by four-cylinder diesels with variable geometry turbos and common rail injected engines. This is where the similarities end as each manufacturer came up with different approaches for their engines.
In this spec check, it's the Isuzu D-Max that makes the least power at 136 PS but it makes up for it when it comes to torque with a rating of 320 Nm. Despite having the smallest engine at 2.2-liters, the Ford Ranger and the Mazda BT-50 put out an impressive 150 PS and 375 Nm of torque. The Toyota Hilux needs another 200cc to produce 150 PS but trumps the Ford and Mazda cousins when it comes to torque at 400 Nm.
Vying for the top spot in horsepower are the Nissan Navara NP300 and the Mitsubishi Strada GLX-V. While the Navara puts out 163 PS, the Strada produces 178 PS. However the Navara is the truck that makes the most torque in the class at 403 Nm. The Strada has to make do with 400 Nm, just like the Hilux.
Perhaps one of the key selling points of pickups is the bed size — the bigger the bed, the more you can load. The longest bed in the class belongs to the all-new Toyota Hilux, measuring in at 1,555 mm. The widest bed belongs to the Ford and Mazda twins at 1,560 mm while the Mazda has the tallest bed at 513 mm.
There are some curiosities here though. For example, the Isuzu D-MAX and Nissan Navara have beds significantly wider than their lengths. On the other hand, the Hilux, despite having the longest bed, ranks second narrowest.
Payload capacity is perhaps one of the main reasons why people buy pickup trucks in the first place. Pickups in this segment are usually called 'one ton trucks' for their ability to carry 1,000 kilograms on their beds.
However, the Mitsubishi Strada falls a little shy of the 1,000 kilo mark with a payload capacity of 980 kilograms. While there were initially doubts regarding the Navara's move to coil springs over beefier leaf springs, the Nissan boasts a payload capacity of 1,012 kilograms. Up next is the Toyota with a slight advantage over the Navara at 1,020 kg. The Isuzu D-MAX offers the highest payload capacity of 1,058 kilograms — impressive despite having the lowest power output in this spec check.
One would expect the Ford and Mazda twins to be exactly the same when it comes to hauling cargo. Surprisingly, it's the Mazda that can carry more than the Ranger by a slim margin. The Ranger XLT can carry up to 1,090 kilograms while the the BT-50 is rated at 1,097 kilograms — a very strong showing from the Ford and Mazda despite having the smallest engines in the group.
Standard on all these pickups are power amenities, in car entertainment systems and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution. When it comes to equipment levels, the Nissan Navara offers a lot of first-in-class features for PhP 1,130,000, the lowest in the group. It holds the distinction of being the only pickup equipped with coil springs and a class-first and class-leading seven speed automatic for fuel efficiency.
The Mitsubishi Strada offers a lot of standard kit for the price. It has Navigation, a Tire Pressure Monitoring System, Touchscreen LCD, Wi-Fi Connectivity and a Reverse Camera for Php 1,158,000. The Isuzu on the other hand is equipped with a Multi-Information Display, Tire Pressure Monitoring System, Navigation, Touchscreen Display, HID headlights and a handy reverse sensor.
The Ranger is relatively bare in XLT form, but at the very least has a Multi-Information Display, bluetooth phone connectivity and MP3 player compatibility. The same goes for the Toyota Hilux, with the addition of a Touch Screen Display.
One of the reasons why the Mazda is the most expensive truck in this list is the amount of standard equipment usually reserved for the top spec models. It is the only one equipped with automatic climate control, four airbags, stability control, traction control and hill start assist.