Pick-up truck sales have skyrocketed over the last ten years. What used to be rugged, utilitarian workhorses are now among the top-selling vehicles in the country. They even outsell several sedans these days.
One could argue that the pick-up revolution kicked off in the mid-2010s with more inviting interiors, safety, tech, and comfort. Sure, they're not exactly car-like to drive, but the modern pick-up won't snap your spine in half when you hit a bump.
In the span of twelve months, the Philippines saw four new pick-ups enter the fray. These are the upgraded Toyota Hilux, the redesigned Isuzu D-Max, the slightly tweaked Ford Ranger, and most recently, the heavily updated Nissan Navara. The only models that are effectively carryovers are the Mitsubishi Strada and Chevrolet Colorado.
But with four of the six stalwarts in the class getting significant updates and upgrades, we reckoned it's a good time to put all of them together in a spec check. Let the spec sheet battle commence.
For this spec check, we will look at all the range-topping models offered by the manufacturers. For the Hilux, we're choosing the Conquest 4x4 A/T and the LS-E 4x4 A/T for the D-Max. Nissan's top-of-the-line Navara is the Pro4X, while its counterpart at Mitsubishi is the Strada Athlete. As for the American duo, we choose the High Country Storm and the FX4 Max variant for the Ford Ranger.
Why not the Raptor, you ask? That's because the Raptor is a specialty vehicle with no true competitors in the market. Think of it as a niche truck. As for the rest of them, they're all similarly specced and priced.
As these are all top-of-the-line models, all come with their most powerful engines. The Ranger FX4 Max leads the pack with 213 PS and 500 Nm from its 2.0-liter Bi-Turbo diesel. At the opposite end is the Mitsubishi Strada Athlete with its 2.4-liter MIVEC turbodiesel putting out a still-impressive 181 PS and 430 Nm.
Just behind the Ranger is the Toyota Hilux Conquest. Its re-tuned 2.8-liter turbodiesel now packs 204 PS and 500 Nm of torque. It edges the Colorado High Country by 4 PS (200 PS) but is tied for torque at 500 Nm. Despite being unrelated, the Nissan Navara Pro4X and Isuzu D-Max LS-E have the same power output at 190 PS and 450 Nm of torque.
Now for the part that matters the most for these trucks: the bed size. Before, the Ford Ranger had the biggest bed in terms of length, width, and depth. But now, the all-new D-Max has surpassed it in terms of length at 1,570 mm versus the Ranger's 1,549 mm. Tied for bed width are the Navara and Ranger at 1,560 mm each, while the Navara boasts the best depth at 519mm.
The shortest bed here belongs to the Colorado at 1,484 mm. It also has the shallowest bed at 466 mm. Meanwhile, the narrowest goes to the Strada at 1,470 mm. If there's something that can be said about their dimensions, it's that the beds are getting bigger than before.
Carry that weight
When it comes to payload capacity, the Toyota takes the lead with a rating of 1,085 kg Isuzu and Nissan made strides in boosting payload with the D-max at 1,055 kg and the Navara at 1,017 kg. What makes the Navara's figure impressive is the fact that it uses coil springs.
Three pick-ups couldn't quite reach 1,000 kg. These are the Colorado (987 kg), Ranger FX4 Max (981 kg), and the Strada (905 kg). But isn't the Ranger rated up to 1,300 kg? The reason for the FX4 Max's lower payload is because of the Fox dampers. These shocks favor off-road performance in over load-carrying. That's the compromise to achieve a smoother ride off-road, That said, 981 kg is still a strong number.
Climb every mountain
For those who venture off-road, ground clearance is very important. The highest off the ground is the Hilux Conquest at 279 mm. Behind it is the Ford Ranger FX4 Max with a clearance of 256 mm. Meanwhile, the D-Max LS-E comes in at third with 240 mm.
The rest of the trucks here hover in the 220 mm range. The Navara Pro 4X has 225 mm worth, while both the Colorado High Country Storm and Strada Athlete stand at 220 mm each.
Ford every stream
Despite having the most ground clearance, the Toyota Hilux Conquest does not have the deepest water fording capabilities. Instead, it's a three-way tie among the Ford, Isuzu, and Chevrolet at 800 mm each. That said, the Toyota's 700 mm rating is nothing to be ashamed of, along with Nissan and Mitsubishi's 600 mm wading capacities.
So, what's the most affordable way to get a fully-loaded, four-wheel-drive pick-up? That would be the Chevrolet Colorado High Country Storm. With a retail price of PHP 1,638,888, it's the least expensive by a significant margin. But do note that production stopped last year after GM Thailand closed operations. The plant was since purchased by Great Wall Motors.
The Ford Ranger FX4 Max is the second most affordable model at PHP 1,698,000, but it's about PHP 50,000 more than the Chevy. Meanwhile, the Mitsubishi Strada Athlete retails for PHP 1,760,000, about PHP 60,000 more than the Ranger FX4 Max.
As for the Isuzu, Nissan, and Toyota, those all hover within the PHP 1,800,000 range. The D-Max LS-E retails for PHP 1,825,000, whole the Hilux Conquest starts at PHP 1,830,000. The most expensive in this group is the Navara at PHP 1,849,000.
With four new pick-ups launched within the last 12 months, the local pick-up war is as hot as it gets. From the numbers above, all of them are closely matched for the most part. Now, it's for you to decide which offers the best drive, value, and performance.