Last time out, we did a spec check on the city dweller favorite pickups, the 4x2 automatic models. Those trucks had amenities such as touch screens, steering wheel-mounted controls, power amenities and so on. Of course, we haven't forgotten these trucks' blue-collar roots.
As such, we pit together the variants just above the base models, with just enough amenities to match modern sedans, while still offering utility and value. All the pickups in this lineup are two wheel drive and equipped with manual transmissions. For this spec check, we have the Chevrolet Colorado LT, Ford Ranger XLS, Foton Thunder, Isuzu D-Max LT-X, Mazda BT-50, Mitsubishi Strada GLX, Nissan Navara NP300 Calibre, Tata Xenon and the Toyota Hilux E.
Lengths and widths are largely unchanged from their four-wheel drive equivalents and with that, the Colorado is the longest pickup in the “workhorse” trim segment. The Chevrolet was outdone in width by the Foton Thunder by a mere 10 mm. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Tata Xenon is the shortest pickup, while the narrowest pickup is the Mitsubishi Strada.
Being offered to fleet and small business owners, some of these trucks are equipped with engines with lower outputs, namely the Mitsubishi Strada and the Isuzu D-Max. The D-Max has the lowest power output in this group, followed by the Mitsubishi Strada. The Ford, Mazda and Nissan retain the same power outputs as their higher spec models, while the Tata Xenon sits around the middle of the group. As for the most powerful work-spec pickup, it's a two-way tie between the Chevrolet Colorado and the Foton Thunder.
As for torque, the Isuzu has the lowest figure, while the Navara has the highest. It is also worth noting that the Navara and the Toyota Hilux are the only pickups to reach the 400 Nm mark (Overboost for Hilux at 400Nm). Transmissions on the other hand are a mix of 5- and 6-speed manuals.
Even with the addition of the Chevrolet Colorado, Foton Thunder and Tata Xenon, the Toyota Hilux still boasts of the longest bed. It is then followed closely by the Ford Ranger and Mazda BT-50 twins. At the other end of the spectrum, the Tata Xenon has the shortest bed, followed by the Chevrolet Colorado, which lost out to its Isuzu relative by 1 mm. The rest of the group hovers at the low 1500 mm range with the Nissan Navara barely getting in the said range by just 3 mm.
As for width, 10 mm separate the Chevrolet and the Foton, with the latter being the widest in its class. The Ford and Mazda twins take third behind the Chevrolet. Meanwhile, the Tata has the narrowest bed.
Because these cars are equipped with manual transmissions, these trucks can generally load more than their self-shifting counterparts. With that, the Mazda BT-50 is the only pickup that can carry significantly more than 1 ton. Its brother, the Ford Ranger misses out for the lead by just 7 kilograms. 7 kilograms also separate the Chevrolet Colorado and the Ranger, relegating the Chevy to third.
Even though it's not the segment leader, it's worth noting that the Nissan Navara can still carry over a ton despite a coil spring set-up for its rear suspension. Other pickups that can carry over 1 ton include the Foton Thunder, Tata Xenon and Toyota Hilux.
With just 109 PS to work with, the Isuzu D-max brings up the rear of the pack. Joining it is the Mitsubishi Strada which also falls shy of the 1 ton payload mark.
With these trucks being in the lower end of their respective model ranges, don't expect leather seats and automatic climate control. With that said, it's the Mazda BT-50 that comes fully loaded, which should come as no surprise being the most expensive pickup listed here. Still, a lot of these pickups have enough standard equipment to keep up with the demands of the modern pickup users. For example, most of these are equipped with reverse sensors and modern audio systems. Isuzu one-ups the field by offering a back up camera even at a sub-million base price, so does the Colorado albeit at a higher price point. Ford, on the other hand, features SYNC even with its low-spec Ranger. Meanwhile, the Mitsubishi Strada comes with a touchscreen infotainment system.
One thing these pickups do not skimp on is safety equipment. All of the models listed here feature anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and airbags equipped as standard.