Pickup trucks aren’t your beasts of burden anymore. They are, in fact, as luxurious, comfortable, and refined as some high-end SUVs. Once considered a niche product in a carmaker’s lineup, they now play an important role, especially as Filipinos look for vehicles, which feel adept at handling Manila’s less-than-perfect roads and occasional flash floods.
With so many choices out there, here’s a round up of the pickups you can buy for less than P2-million.
Ford rode the wave of excellent design and product know-how to catapult the Ranger to become one of the most sought-after trucks in the market (it’s currently the bestselling nameplate in the 4×4 category). The “Built Ford Tough” truck couples timeless looks with a selection of powerful yet fuel-efficient motors and a capable chassis. Ford’s excellent lifestyle positioning is shown perfectly by the Ranger Raptor—a special high-speed, off-road performance truck that has many imitators, but remains unmatched in the industry. (The new 2022 Ford Ranger will be unveiled today. Read more about it in a follow-up article. – Ed.)
Lighting may be flashy, but it’s thunder that truly scares. And like its namesake, if there’s one legitimate threat to the usual pickup stalwarts, it’s the Foton Thunder. Despite being a Chinese brand, the Foton Thunder is conceived and engineered from the ground up as a next-generation pickup. In external dimensions alone, it can stand toe-to-toe with the biggest of them (the Foton is the largest Chinese pickup in the market). Open the hood, and you find a Cummins ISF 2.8-liter CRDi engine that promises 33 percent less maintenance cost and a long block life of up to 500,00 kilometers between overhauls.
The D-MAX’s first full model change for the better part of eight years, it’s a culmination of the Japanese brand’s expertise in producing world-class commercial vehicles. The D-MAX rides on a bigger, stronger platform mated to a 190hp 3.0-liter turbo diesel (a smaller displacement next-generation RZ4E is also available). The design is definitely more head-turning and more athletic, while inside, it’s more upscale and luxurious. The D-MAX is rated 5 stars in terms of safety too thanks to its suite of Advanced Driver Assist System or ADAS.
Another offering from a Chinese brand, the JAC T8 is being billed as “the full-featured truck at an entry-level price.” True enough, its top-of-the-line variant doesn’t even breach P1-million. Yet, the T8 comes with HID headlights, leather seating, a touchscreen infotainment system, and a 2.0-liter turbo diesel engine with 136hp and 320Nm of torque.
While Maxus is known more for their vans and SUVs, they did come up with the T60. It’s the longest and widest among the pickup trucks in this round-up making it perfect for those who need something for both work and play. Powering it is a 2.8-liter diesel with variable geometry turbo, while the body features a toughened construction thanks to laser welding. It also scores high in value proposition with a touchscreen-based infotainment system, steering wheel controls, leather seating, and more.
In a segment dominated by toughness and ruggedness, the all-new 2022 Mazda BT-50 heads towards a different direction by offering elegance and premium style in a pickup truck. It fuses its trademark Kodo design with a new high-strength platform. It also features a standard 3.0-liter turbodiesel engine across the line-up. It packs 190hp and 450Nm of torque. Together with a 6-speed automatic and a reduced body weight, it results in significant improvements to both performance and fuel economy. Inside, the brand’s commitment to human-centric design is as prominent as ever, with comfortable and supportive seats made of low-rebound MDI polyurethane material. Meanwhile, the horizontally laid out cabin amplify the sense of space. Soft-touch paneling, regardless of variant, extends from door-to-door.
Taking on the “Dynamic Shield” design concept first seen in the Xpander and Montero Sport, the Strada finally hits its stride in terms of visual appeal. The new front-end is powerful with its angular LED projector-type headlights, harmonized grille design, and angularly sculpted curves. Knowing its customers will use the Strada for both private and commercial use, engineers strived to balance the two by equipping it with an impressive MIVEC diesel engine. These changes are capped off with larger front discs and caliper pistons, and larger rear dampers.
The pickup truck that brought forth the “truck wars,” the Navara receives a substantial update this year. While it remains mechanically unchanged (it’s only one of two pickup trucks in the market to offer a coil spring rear suspension), the new interlocking frame grille, taller hood, and single-piece stamped tailgate make it a certified head-turner. It’s also technology rich with features such as a 7-inch TFT display and the full gamut of Nissan Intelligent Mobility features such as blind spot warning, 360-degree camera, and more. All but the base EL variant gets the more powerful 190hp 2.5-liter engine. Also new is the PRO-4X, tailor-fitted to off-road enthusiasts who want nothing but the best.
SsangYong is the only Korean offering on this list, but despite that, the Musso line-up is quite diverse with two wheelbase sizes and two rear suspension choices. Regardless of choice, it pushes the luxury envelope in the pickup truck class by offering features such as ventilated seats, a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, and more.
The undisputed leader in the pickup truck segment, the Hilux is synonymous with Toyota’s values. Throughout the years, it’s gained a reputation for its sturdiness. Combined with its high ground clearance, excellent powertrains, and solid list of standard features, it makes not just for a reliable work vehicle, but also comfortable enough for family use. Making the Hilux gain even more street cred is the first-ever Gazoo Racing variant—the Hilux GR Sport. Feted by Toyota’s motorsports division, it carries a more striking look as well as improved handling and ride thanks to revised shock absorbers.