Pickup trucks aren't just commercial vehicles capable of carrying huge payloads & tackling any road surface, they're often used as personal vehicles too thanks to their SUV-like interiors. They're the perfect vehicles for adverse weather driving, so we asked Vanarama Commercial Vehicle Expert Tom Roberts to take a closer look at 3 of the best pickup trucks currently available to lease.
It's been interesting to watch pickup trucks evolve over the past decade. It feels like only yesterday they were considered to be strictly utility vehicles with squat single cabins & paint-chipped loading bays. Nowadays they're essentially road-dominating, 4-wheel drive SUVs, with comfortable interiors, car-like handling & box-like loading bays.
To be classed as a light commercial vehicle (LCV) for business finance purposes, pickup trucks must be able to carry a payload of over 1000kg. It's actually the key reason why the standard Ford Rangers are proper LCVs while the Ford Ranger Raptor variant is technically classed as a car, because it can only carry a payload of just over 600kg.
Pickup trucks occupy an interesting niche in the LCV sector. To most, vans feel like proper LCVs with added modern comforts, while pickup trucks are often seen as a simple bridge between cars & vans - but they're so much more than that. They're go-anywhere, hardy, capable machines that can double up as personal & commercial vehicles, & the vehicles I'm looking at today are 3 of the best examples available to lease right now.
Mitsubishi L200 Double Cab DI-D 150 Barbarian 4WD
If there's one pickup truck that has never been shy of showing off the fact that it can handle any type of road surface - whether that's mud, snow, deep water or asphalt - it's the Mitsubishi L200. Any long-time viewers of our YouTube channel might remember we even drove one up an indoor ski slope just to see if it could hack it.
Like the Nissan Navara, you'll find 2.3-litre diesel engines under the bonnet & some of the biggest AdBlue tanks in the sector that offer 12,000 miles of better emissions before needing refilling. The engines allow the L200 to carry payloads of up to 1,080kg across the range - whether the vehicle is a single or double cab configuration. Similar to other pickup trucks, it's also capable of towing up to 3,500kg of braked towage.
For me, the L200 offers drivers an incredible proposition - all the luxury interior & exterior design of a modern SUV (its front end in particular looks very much like the Mitsubishi Outlander) with all the practicality of a modern, cutting-edge pickup truck.
Ford Ranger Wildtrak 2.0 EcoBlue 213 Auto 4WD
I've always said that if you asked a child to draw a pickup truck, they'd draw something that looked like the Ford Ranger. 3 generations in, this truck still has strong appeal & better engines than ever. The latest refresh saw Ford make the smart choice of sticking their tried & tested 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel engines under the hood. If you're wondering why that was a smart choice, it's because they're the same engines that power the Transit Custom & Transit vans - they offer excellent running costs.
Today's Ranger comes in every configuration you can think of - single cab, double cabs & super cabs - in a variety of trim levels from basic, to the mid-range Limited & top-spec Wildtrak. The loading bay is spacious - even at the smaller sizes - offering excellent 1,000kg-plus payloads. Like the other trucks on this list, it too can tow 3,500kg of braked towage.
When you look at the top 10 best-selling commercial vehicles in the UK right now, you won't find any other trucks apart from the Ford Ranger. That says it all.
Nissan Navara Double Cab Tekna 2.3DCI 190 TT 4WD
I've always had a thing for the Nissan Navara. Every single one I've driven - from this & the previous generations - has felt well-rounded & easy to handle. Having spoken to many drivers of the Navara, I've found out that a key reason they choose one is the 5-year warranty - something Nissan are so proud of that they whack stickers on the tailgates that say it!
Powering this line of vehicles are 2.3-litre diesel engines that are not only efficient, they're also very quiet. The loading bay offers class-leading payloads of up to 1,310kg (depending on the model chosen). Those powerful engines also enable the trucks to tow a fully-loaded braked trailer weighing up to 3,500kg.
On a personal note, I feel that other pickup trucks are more powerful & practical, but the Navara's style & capabilities speak to me. It's no-nonsense, stylish & durable in a very modest way. It wants to be the vehicle you rely on for family time as much as business needs & I believe it succeeds.
Picking a pickup truck (try saying that after a few beers) is easier than picking a new van because there's less to consider. All commercial pickup trucks have 1000kg payloads (or more), they all have excellent SUV-like interiors & most can tow up to 3,500kg of braked towage.
Seriously, you could make your decision based on style & interior function first, then on looks. Sounds like good, clean fun to me. Happy hunting.