The pick-up sector continues to go from strength to strength but most of the interest is at the top end of the market, James Dallas reports
If there is any glamour in the light commercial vehicle market then it is fair to say the place to find it is in the expanding pick-up sector.
As more and more manufacturers attempt to muscle in on the action, it is not the single-cab workhorse they focus on but the desirable double-cab where emotion as well as practicalities influence purchasing decisions.
Sitting proud at the prestige pinnacle of the sector is the VW Amarok.
A facelifted version will arrive in showrooms in November and, even more so than the original launched in Europe in 2010, it is targeted squarely at the lifestyle end of the market.
Far from conforming to the current trend for downsizing engines, the updated Amarok is all about power and will be offered solely with a 3.0-litre V6 TDI powertrain, available with outputs of 163, 204 and a mighty 224hp. This engine replaces the 2.0-litre TDI with outputs of 140 and 180hp. The 224hp unit with an eight-speed auto will precede the others, which go on sale in January.
In contrast to VW, Toyota covers all bases -the eighth generation of its Hilux, on sale from July, will get a 148hp 2.4-litre turbo diesel engine with stop/start to replace the 2.5 and 3.0-litre units in the current model.
It comes with a six-speed manual gearbox in the 4x2 version or a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions in 4x4 derivatives. Prices, all excluding VAT, range from £19,177 to £29,435.
Toyota will continue to offer the truck in Single, Extra and Double-cab bodystyles and the manufacturer has confirmed that for the UK market it will increase towing capacity from 2.8 to 3.5-tonnes to match the class leaders the Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-max and Nissan Navara.
Auto Styling Truckman has launched a range of hardtop covers for the new Hilux. The top-of-the-range Grand includes a new hidden seal design and tailgate configuration, remote central locking, roof bars, a sliding bulk-head window, an automatic interior light, tinted windows and vinyl lining.
The GLS, meanwhile, features sliding side windows with heavily-tinted safety glass and the S-Series includes the option to specify gull-wing opening doors.
The double-cab version of Fiat Professional’s rebadged Mitsubishi L200, the Fullback, went on sale in June with prices starting from £20,995 – a tad more than its donor’s £19,749 base point. The Fullback comes in three trim levels - SX, LX and LX Auto. It is powered by Mitsubishi’s 2.4-litre diesel engine, which offers either 150hp (SX) or 180hp (LX and LX Auto). The outputs emit 169g/km and173g/km of CO2 and return 44.2mpg and 42.2mpg, respectively.
Renault at the ready
Renault has revealed a production-ready version of its Nissan Navara-based Alaskan pick-up in South America prior to the model coming to the UK in January. The Alaskan will be powered by a 2.3-litre diesel engine with outputs of either 160hp or 190hp, both feature in the firm’s Master van range. Two other powertrains are available depending on markets – a 160hp 2.5-litre petrol unit, and a 2.5-litre diesel engine with 160hp and 190hp but these are not expected to come to the UK.
In sales terms the pick-up sector goes from strength to strength - rising 17.3% to 4219 in June and tracking 10.9% ahead over the first six months of the year on 22,893.
On the second-hand scene, sales of pick-ups at auction have tailed off as the onset of summer has taken us out of the typical 4x4 season, according to RV analyst Glass’s.
Nevertheless, Andy Picton, CV editor, says the first few Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 have started to appear at auction and have been well received. But he says both the previous generation L200 and Nissan Navara have seen a reduction in conversion rates.
A Toyota Hilux Invincible with plenty of optional spec will find a new home with little difficulty, claims Picton, but says the Ford Ranger is finding life difficult. Whether due to heavy discounting on the outgoing model or unattractive specification levels, Picton says late year examples of Limited (just beneath the flagship Wildtrak) are struggling and must be fitted with both sat nav and camera to achieve best prices.
|What’s coming when|
|Fiat Fullback||June 2016|
|Toyota Hilux||June 2016|
|L200 single/club cab||August 2016|
|Volkswagen Amarok facelift||November 2016|
|Isuzu D-max||summer 2017|
|Renault Alaskan||January 2017|