Best 4x4 pick-ups

Combine a practical pick-up with a go-anywhere four-wheel-drive system and you have one unstoppable car. Here are some of the best

James Wilson
Apr 6, 2022
Volkswagen Amarok front three quarters view

If you need a vehicle that can cope with serious off-roading, lugging heavy loads around and transporting the family in comfort, pick-ups are some of the most versatile, best value cars you can get. They can carry big, heavy, dirty loads, can be remarkably good value, tackle rough roads with ease and look tough. The off-road ability comes thanks to high ground clearance and the fact that the overwhelming majority of pick-ups are four-wheel-drive. There are a handful of two-wheel-drive models, but these are very much in the minority.

One of the first things to decide when looking at pick-ups, is which type of cab layout you would like. The most common are ‘single’, ‘king’ (sometimes referred to as ‘extended’ or ‘super’) and ‘double’. These classifications affect the number of seats and doors and how much interior space there is.

Single cabs only have front seats and doors, while double cabs have front and rear seats and doors. King cab versions come with space behind the front seats that can be home to some ‘occasional seats’. These are big enough and just about comfy enough for short trips, but anything major will likely be uncomfortable.

Most of the models below come with a diesel engine and a manual gearbox, a combination which is very common for pick-ups. Automatic gearboxes are an option on some models and are worth considering if you plan on using your pick-up every day, as they can make driving much less strenuous.

To qualify as one of the best 4x4 pick-ups, each model had to offer more than a four-wheel-drive system and a big load bed upon which to throw cargo. The vehicles all provide a number of selling points, from long manufacturer warranties to smart interiors or class-leading towing capacities.

All models are available to purchase second-hand for somewhere between £15,000 and £40,000, depending upon the age and specification. Bear in mind that it is fairly common for pick-ups to be sold excluding VAT. If a company is VAT registered, it can claim back the VAT like any other business purchase. If you are a private buyer, meanwhile, you'll need to make sure to check whether the listed price includes VAT. If not, you will need to add 20% onto the price shown.

Best 4x4 pick-ups

1. Fiat Fullback

Used deals Limited stock

Fiat decided to team up with Mitsubishi when it was planning its pickup truck, and the end result was the Fullback. Due to this partnership, the Fiat Fullback shares an awful lot with the Mitsubishi L200 - styling, engines, suspension...you name it. Despite this, the two models are not always equally priced, with the Fiat often representing better value. This is largely due to many drivers preferring the L200 because it has a Mitsubishi badge. If you can look past which emblem is on the bonnet, you could find some great savings here.

All Fullback models are classed as ‘double cabs’, so they have front and rear seats with doors for both rows. This layout offers the most versatile mix of cabin space, passenger space and load-carrying ability. Standard equipment levels are good, with air-conditioning, a digital radio and cruise control included on all trims.

There are two engines to choose from - both diesel - one that produces 150hp and the other 180hp. Both engines are strong, although the less powerful unit should be slightly more economical. As for gearboxes, there is a choice of one - a manual. If you are looking to tow, up to 3,100kg can be hauled by the Fullback, which is only marginally down on some of its rivals and much more than most cars can manage.

FIAT FULLBACK BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Ford Ranger

Used deals from £17,150
Monthly finance from £574*

The Ford Ranger mixes rugged styling, off-road prowess and impressive practicality rather well. Ford offers a range of different trims to suit the differing needs of pick-up drivers, including utilitarian models that are focused on getting the job done, rather than lots of fancy equipment such as large alloy wheels.

Single cab XL models are the epitome of this, as they come with a load bay that is longer than the ‘super cab’ and ‘double cab’ versions, meaning that more tools and equipment can be transported, in exchange for having less space for passengers.

Double cab Rangers can function as a workhorse or even your main family car, on the other hand - especially in more lavish trims such as Wildtrak. There is also a Ranger Raptor, which takes inspiration from the high-performance Ford Raptor, which isn’t available in the UK. All UK Raptor models come with a diesel engine, although there are 2.0-litre, 2.2-litre and 3.2-litre versions to choose from. All are strong, although the 2.0-litre units are the newest in terms of design.

FORD RANGER BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Isuzu D-Max

Used deals from £16,495
Monthly finance from £0*

For the UK market, Isuzu makes one car and one car only - the D-Max. By all accounts, it makes a compelling case for itself, not least for its great value. Much like the Ford above, Isuzu offers the D-Max in a number of flavours that will appeal to everyone from builders and bakers to drivers after a striking, high-riding family car. The most recent version of the D-Max was launched in 2021, with there being significant changes in the looks and technology departments compared with the previous generation version.

You may still want to consider the older models, though, as they can be fantastic value. Additionally, as Isuzu offers a 125,000-mile, five-year warranty, three- and four-year-old second-hand models still come with plenty of manufacturer cover compared with most used cars. In comparison, the standard warranty offered on the decidedly more expensive Mercedes X-Class pick-up is a mere three years. The D-Max is one of the few vehicles on this list that is available in two-wheel-drive, although such models are much, much rarer.

ISUZU D-MAX BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Mitsubishi L200

Used deals from £26,787
Monthly finance from £0*

Mitsubishi has been producing class-leading pick-up trucks for decades. They have proven to be reliable, desirable and practical. One potential sticking point for the L200, however, is the fact that Mitsubishi no longer sells cars in the UK. While this has put an end to new models, support for maintenance and parts should continue until around 2031, so drivers of older models should have nothing to worry about for quite some time.

The latest generation of L200 - the sixth version - was introduced in 2019. The core strengths of version five were carried over to version six, with these including decent value pricing, a good driving experience and strong cargo-carrying and towing capabilities. The exterior design of the different versions is like chalk and cheese, though, with the newer version looking notably more modern.

More recent models come with an imposing, angular front end, while older models have a much more rounded appearance. The interiors are much more alike, with ‘durable’ being the best word to describe them. Few pick-ups are praised for having luxurious interiors and the L200 prioritises function over style.

MITSUBISHI L200 BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Nissan Navara

Used deals from £17,950
Monthly finance from £0*

The Nissan Navara does an awful lot very well. It is a handsome devil, it offers some of the highest towing and load-carrying capacities, it can handle going off-road and it comes with relatively strong levels of standard equipment. That isn’t even the end of the benefits as Nissan offers a 100,000-mile, five-year warranty as standard - meaning that you get far more manufacturer warranty cover with second-hand models than with most rivals.

Furthermore, irrespective of whether you opt for a new, nearly new or used model, the Navara is generally great value. If there is one gripe with the Nissan, it is that rivals are better to drive. However, no pick-up is particularly agile or exciting to drive, so if you want a practical machine that is pleasant to drive rather than sporty, it's still very much worth considering.

When hunting for the best model, all versions of the latest generation Navara - which was launched in 2015 - come with a 2.3-litre diesel engine, although there are 161hp and 187hp variants. Acenta trim is a great option for those who plan to use their pick-up for business and pleasure, as it is well equipped but not too flashy.

NISSAN NAVARA BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Toyota Hilux

Used deals from £22,000
Monthly finance from £0*

Make your way to any far-flung corner of the world and the cars used in these remote, hard-to-reach places are often Toyotas. More specifically Toyota Land Cruiser and Toyota Hilux models. This is because they are regarded as some of the toughest, most reliable cars on the planet. Plus, thanks to their solid four-wheel-drive systems, they are more than capable of tackling mountain tracks or sandy deserts.

You do pay a premium for such impressive credentials, but then Toyotas can hold their value well, which contributes to strong value PCP finance monthly payments or means that if you buy one with cash, you'll get a decent amount back when you come to sell. In fact, the Toyota Land Cruiser was the second slowest depreciating new car of 2021 - made all the more impressive by the fact that most of the other models that ranked highly were super-expensive sports cars.

The latest generation of the Hilux was launched in 2021, so prices remain high if you are looking for a second-hand version. Fortunately, the previous version which was launched in 2016 was a real step up in terms of interior quality, making it easy to live with.

Toyota has an industry-leading warranty scheme, too. Up until June 2021, Toyota offered a 100,000-mile, five-year warranty, which is ahead of the standard three-year warranty offered by many brands. Now, though, the brand offers something called Toyota Relax - which effectively provides a warranty for up to 10 years or 100,000 miles, although you must get your car serviced at an official Toyota garage regularly for the warranty to be activated.

2016-2021 TOYOTA HILUX BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Volkswagen Amarok

Used deals from £15,495
Monthly finance from £0*

Living with a Volkswagen Amarok is remarkably easy. Although it is a big car, with a large load bay, the steering is light, the engine is plenty powerful and the ride is remarkably comfortable. In fact, opt for a model with an automatic gearbox and driving an Amarok is no harder than driving a large SUV. All UK models are classed as double cabs and since 2016 all Amaroks have come with a 3.0-litre diesel engine.

There are a couple of power outputs to choose from; 161hp, 201hp and 254hp. The lowest-powered engine is more suited to those needing a pick-up to haul around cargo but who don’t expect to be doing much motorway driving. The more powerful engines are better all-rounders and therefore work well for anyone wanting a pick-up to use for both business and social uses.

Although this VW is offered with four-wheel-drive (known as ‘4Motion’ in VW-speak), it is not as capable off-road as rivals like the Toyota Hilux. That said, if you don’t plan on tackling much more than a muddy field, then the Amarok should prove capable enough.

One of the Volkswagen’s biggest selling points is its interior. The VW has one of the plushest interiors of any pick-up. This is largely thanks to much of the equipment - such as the touchscreen media system - being the same as found in normal Volkswagen cars like the Golf and Tiguan.

VOLKSWAGEN AMAROK BUYERS' GUIDE

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

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