Best double-cab pick-up trucks

With huge loadspace, off-road ability and luxury options, the best double-cab pick-ups are surprisingly good family cars - with tax benefits

Leon Poultney
Jul 6, 2018

Once, there was a time when the thought of owning a big, basic, unwieldy and fuel-guzzling pick-up truck was preposterous.

But customers that don't work on a farm or building site have begun to use pick-ups in the American way - as lifestyle vehicles. Large loading areas are used to carry motorbikes, boating equipment and other bulky goods around with ease, while powerful engines and four-wheel drive make them suited to towing heavy trailers and caravans.

As a result - and partly thanks to the favourable company car tax benefits that come with four-door double-cab pick-ups - manufacturers have begun adding car-like comforts, such as touchscreens, heated seats and leather interiors. With a row of rear seats (complete with Isofix mountings) and large door bins for storing drinks and snacks, you could feasibly use a pick-up as a family car.

 

Opting for a double-cab pick up does mean that the rear load area is smaller than a standard two-door pick-up, but it remains a great deal larger than any standard car boot. Scroll down for the best double-cab pick-ups on the market now.

  

Best double-cab pick-up trucks

VW Amarok

Manufacturer price from £25,430 exc. VAT
Length 5,254mm  Max. payload 1,126kg  Load length 1,555mm

The latest Amarok is only available in a double-cab variant and that speaks volumes of its 'lifestyle' intentions, as does the choice of a powerful 3-litre V6 diesel engine that's designed to spend more time cruising along motorways than hauling bricks across a building site.

Although the rival Mercedes-Benz X-Class is more upmarket, the Amarok comes top of this list because it drives extremely well, with a generally smooth ride and less bouncing over bumps and dips than most rival options. It's capable off-road and it represents slightly better value for money.

Inside, there's plenty of room for five occupants and access via the four large doors is relatively simple, even if it does require a bit of a step up. There is also scope to specify a roll cover or hardtop for the bed area, should you wish to use it as a more conventional boot space.
VW Amarok buying guide

  

Mercedes X-Class

Manufacturer price from £27,310 exc. VAT
Length 5,340mm  Max. payload 1,092kg  Load length 1,587mm

This list wouldn't be complete without a mention of the Mercedes, as it is arguably the first true premium pick-up truck of its kind.

Clamber into the interior and gawp at the typically flashy switchgear, the over-sized dashboard screen system and the incredible fit and finish of the dashboard.

Seats can be festooned with leather, floor mats are fashioned from deep-pile carpet material and on-board technology includes a digital radio, reversing camera, live traffic information and the ability to stay connected to the vehicle via a bespoke smartphone app.

Mercedes also claims that this is the most customisable pick-up interior on the market, with the widest choice of interior trim options and accessories, while the driving experience has been tuned for comfort.

It's a tough call between the Amarok and this but based on value and power, the Volkswagen just about pips it.
Mercedes X-Class buying guide

 

Fiat Fullback

Manufacturer price from £23,074 exc. VAT
Length 5285mm  Max. payload 1,045kg  Load length 1,520mm

Although this is a Mitsubishi L200 underneath the fancy clothing, the Fiat is more focused on the consumer market, so is only available in a double-cab body style and with a 2.5-litre engine in a choice of two power outputs.

The more powerful 180hp version is quieter at speed, and worth the premium if you are going to be racking up the miles. The car's standard specification includes a good-sized dashboard screen, alloy wheels, climate control and cruise control.
Fiat Fullback buying guide

 

Nissan Navara

Manufacturer price From £19,988 exc. VAT
Length Up to 5,300mm  Max payload up to 1,074kg  Load length Up to 1,758mm

Nissan overhauled its Navara range in 2016, ditching the archaic suspension of old and introducing a modern system that ensures its pick-up rides better and more comfortably on the road, without diminishing the car's off-road ability.

The current Navara has also been transformed inside, where it now more closely resembles a Nissan Qashqai than a truck. Higher-specification models include a 7in touchscreen with digital radio and reversing camera; all Navaras have Bluetooth wireless phone connectivity, comfy seats and plenty of room for a family in the double-cab variants.
Nissan Navara buying guide

 

Ford Ranger

Manufacturer price from £18,645 exc. VAT
Length up to 5,362mm  Max. payload 1,296kg  Load length Up to 2,317mm

What was once a mightily powerful workhorse for those used to lugging cement mixers around is now a more rounded lifestyle offering thanks to the introduction of Ford's excellent SYNC 3 touchscreen system and improved interior and exterior styling.

Many of the cabin's materials are now soft to the touch and finished with greater eye for detail, while the technology on-board includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, as well as adaptive cruise control and voice control.

As double cab pick-up trucks go, this is still one of the most aggressive to behold, with an imposing grille, bulging bodywork and a neat range of alloy wheels. However, despite the push towards a more stylish pick-up, some of the old handling habits still come to the fore, as it can become uncomfortably bouncy over rough road surface and the engines are a bit noisy.
Ford Ranger buying guide

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