Top 10 best pick-up trucks 2024

Top 10 best pick-up trucks 2024



With cargo space, versatility and plenty of luxury features, today's pick-up trucks have become great, tax-efficient alternatives. These are our favourites

The recent history of the European pick-up truck market is an uncharacteristically epic tale of boom and bust, of unexpected twists and turns, new arrivals and sudden exits. It’s a lot more interesting than you might think.

Not so long ago, these vehicles were such big business that almost every major volume car maker was planning an entry. Many wondered if Europe might, like North America, finally and fully embrace the lifestyle pick-up. And now, after brands like Renault, Fiat and even Mercedes-Benz tried - and failed - to establish a presence in the segment, which has been through both rapid expansions and contractions, only the doughtiest operators are left.

The lifestyle experiment certainly left its mark on this segment. Formerly pretty utilitarian machines have now become increasingly glamourous and lavishly kitted out, as their makers wooed private buyers and fleet ‘user-choosers’ with SUV-level comfort and refinement, eye-catching style and family-friendly versatility.

It certainly worked, evidenced by the number of double-cab pick-up trucks on UK roads. The tax man noticed too, however, so in 2024 HMRC decided to bring things back to earth and eradicated a big part of the tax benefit for double-cab pick-up trucks, before changing its mind and reversing the decision.

So where does that leave us? Well, they still make a lot of sense, particularly as a tool for the job. So long as it can carry at least a tonne of payload, it’s possible to claim the VAT back on the purchase price (which is why their prices are usually quoted ex VAT), and if you're self-employed and use one as a commercial vehicle, you'll pay just £320 in road tax per year.

If you plan to then also use your company pick-up truck for private miles, it could be a lot cheaper than an equivalent petrol or diesel car as pick-up trucks only attract attracted £792 of company ‘van’ tax per year for 20% tax payers.

Here's our pick of the best pick-up trucks for 2024.

*1. Ford Ranger*

*Pros*: Broad engine range, accurate and composed handling, competitive value

*Cons*: No electric version (yet), Raptor’s not a proper commercial vehicle

An all-new Ford Ranger landed in UK showrooms in 2023, which to all intents and purposes is the third-generation model to the UK. This is Britain's most popular small truck. So while the rest of this market has shrunk, Ford has continued to make hay (and no doubt carried it in the Ranger's generously sized load bay) - and if the advancements of the latest-generation model, our new class favourite, are any reliable guide, it should continue to.

While the late-1990s original was developed in partnership with Mazda, this latest iteration (essentially a development of the old car's T6 platform) is the fruit of a commercial vehicle collaboration with Volkswagen that allows the German firm to essentially rebadge the Ford - after some lightish interior and exterior design tweaks - as an Amarok.

The new Ranger has made a fairly big leap in terms of desirability. Taking on more of the visual presence of Ford’s iconic, US-made F-150 pick-up, it has a squarer-set and more rugged look, and a much more digitally savvy cabin, with Ford’s latest, portrait-orientated Sync 4 touchscreen infotainment system on board, as well as digital instruments. Cabin design and material quality have improved notably, too.

The Ranger’s engine range has been broadened out and now includes 168bhp, 202bhp and 237bhp V6 turbo diesels within the regular model range, as well as a 207bhp diesel and a new 288bhp turbo V6 petrol engine in the Ranger Raptor. A petrol plug-in hybrid version of the Ranger is coming in 2025.

The four-pot diesels have better running refinement than plenty of rivals, as well as strong torque - and the 10-speed automatic gearbox with which most are partnered (only entry-level models are six-speed manuals) is smooth and slick.

To drive, the car shows pretty minimal dynamic compromises compared with a similarly sized passenger car. Its leaf-sprung rear axle feels firm, and causes the car to fuss over some lumps and bumps, but not many - while the Ranger steers unusually fluently and precisely for a pick-up, with decent body control and a respectable Tarmac grip level.

Most Ford Rangers are sold as double-cabs, but remains available as a single-cab model as well. However, buyers of this version will need to settle for the most basic trim level, the least powerful engine and a manual gearbox.

The Ranger’s working credentials are strong, too, The payload is now wide enough to carry a Euro pallet, and in terms of weight is rated for anything between 1035kg and 1207kg, depending on model. (The Raptor versions carry less, and can’t be registered or taxed as commercial vehicles.)

The Ranger Raptor does get trick Fox suspension that allows it to do a passable impression of a Dakar dune-basher, however. The long-travel springs and dampers enable it to cover rough terrain at outrageous speeds, while on the road there's much greater composure and control than you might expect of a pick-up. Better still (for your entertainment if not your wallet), the twin-turbocharged 288bhp 3.0-litre V6 petrol has enough poke to put the frighteners on the hot hatch.

Ford's approach to Ranger pricing, and its wide choice of models, and its various on- and off-road static and dynamic advances make it our number one pick-up for 2024.

*Save money with new Ranger deals from What Car?*

*2. Toyota Hilux*

*Pros*: Hard-working capability, as tough as they come, Toyota dealer service backup

*Cons*: Four-cylinder diesel engines get noisy when working hard

The Hilux has been part of Toyota's commercial vehicle range since the late 1960s, and it has since garnered a reputation for such versatility, dependability and robustness that none of us batted an eyelid when Toyota decided to dub the fully loaded version ‘Invincible’. It’s also the only vehicle that’s really challenged the Ford Ranger’s European-market sales dominance in recent years.

Regardless of trim, the Hilux is comfortable and decently finished inside, and also more refined and more pleasant to use than some of its rivals. Creditable ride and handling sophistication distinguish it too, as do dimensions that allow it to narrowly escape feeling elephantine on tighter roads.

As part of a mid-life update in 2019, the car got new bumpers and some cabin and equipment revisions, one of which made for better provision of active safety systems - features as useful on the school run, building site and everywhere in between. A year later, Toyota refined the car's chassis, styling and interior again, improving ride and handling by another step, and adding equipment and visual appeal for range-topping Invincible X versions. 

Later again, a racily badged Toyota Hilux GR Sport version was added to celebrate the brand's success in the gruelling Dakar rally.
It wasn’t quite the Raptor-alike that it appeared, but an a more serious GR Sport II is coming. Our correspondent George Barrow has already driven it and reckoned it’s a much better road vehicle, but still can’t match the Ranger off-road.

The Toyota comes with a choice of 148bhp 2.4-litre and 201bhp 2.8-litre four-cylinder diesel engines, which don't make it sound exciting next to some multi-cylinder options, even if the 2.8 has plenty of real-world performance and surprisingly decent refinement for such a big-banger four-pot (when it’s not revving hard, at least).

Those who do need to transport heavier cargo might also be pleased to find out that its carrying capacity exceeds that of most of its competitors.

As well as the usual double cab, the Hilux is also available as a single-cab and an extended cab (which Toyota calls Extra Cab). As with the Ranger, those versions are restricted to the no-frills entry-level trim and the basic 2.4-litre engine.

*Save money with new Hilux deals from What Car?*

*4. Isuzu D-Max*

*Pros*: Tough, good value, much kudos among Welsh hill farmers

*Cons*: Ride and handling are rougher than others, diesel engine lacks oomph

You would imagine Isuzu to be quite good at building pick-up trucks, since that is all it sells in the UK. The Isuzu D-Max has been a quiet mainstay of the pick-up truck market for years, and was given a thorough refresh in 2021.

The D-Max comes in quite a wide variety of configurations, from Utility, the bare-bones workhorse spec, through more lifestyle-oriented versions with an infotainment system, to the Raptor-alike ‘Arctic Trucks’ version with raised suspension and knobbly tyres. Depending on the trim level, you can choose between a single-cab, an extended cab and a double cab. The D-Max is the only pick-up truck to offer the extended cab in combination with the posher trims.

During our assessments, the D-Max's improved interior, five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, and acceptable on-road manners all marked it out as a better vehicle than its predecessor. The D-Max still sits on a ladder chassis, which means that it's very stout and still extremely capable off road, albeit less well-mannered in its ride and handling than some.

Where it does still lag behind the competition is with its powertrain. It's the same 1.9-litre diesel as before, and we found that while it's quieter than it used to be, it's still gruff, and performance from the 162bhp unit is still lethargic. The 0-62mph sprint takes close to 13sec whether you have the six-speed automatic gearbox or the six-speed manual. 

Importantly, though, many buyers will forgive it for that, since all variants undercut their Hilux equivalents on price.

*Save money with new D-Max deals from What Car?*

*4. Volkswagen Amarok*

*Pros*: Mainstream ICE trucks don’t get much more desirable than this 

*Cons*: Pricier than the closely related Ford Ranger

If any car kick-started the short-lived 'lifestyle pick-up' craze, it was the original Volkswagen Amarok. Of course, other makers had already delivered generously equipped and plushly finished double-cab models before, but none had the genre-crossing appeal of the VW, which combined a truck's tough utilitarian qualities with an exterior aesthetic and interior finish that aped its desirable passenger cars. We've long been big fans.

Yet despite its apparent popularity, the Amarok didn't make quite enough financial sense for VW's bean counters to sign off development of an all-new, independently engineered second-generation version. So, as we've mentioned, the latest VW is actually a joint venture with Ford. That said, the Blue Oval took the lead on the development, largely because its version is likely to outsell its German counterpart by about two to one, but also because both cars are based on the old Ranger's T6 platform.

Externally, just the roof panel, door handles and external mirror housings are carried over from the Ford, but the new Amarok has a chunkier and more aggressive look than before. Inside, the Ranger's architecture is once again used, but it has been draped in VW specific materials to give an appreciably upmarket feel. We found it to be well equipped, comfortable and easy to get along with, feeling even more like an SUV than its surprisingly classy predecessor.

Currently, there's a choice of diesel engines, with the pick of the bunch being the smooth-revving 237bhp 3.0-litre V6 TDI that's mated to Ford's 10-speed auto (the only transmission choice in the UK) and permanent four-wheel drive. From our experience behind the wheel, it steers neatly enough, and VW has brought its influence to bear with improved refinement and comfort, but that leaf-sprung rear axle still struggles with rougher roads, betraying the Amarok's commercial roots. 

Still, if you're after a truck with more than a sheen of car-like appeal and cabin quality, the Amarok takes some beating.

*Save money with new Amarok deals from What Car?*

*5. KGM Musso/Ssangyong Musso*

*Pros*: Value for money, loadbed flexibility, cabin space

*Cons*: Few luxury features, rough ride

If you are after a left-field affordable pick-up option, there is always KG Mobility, the carmaker formerly known as Ssangyong, which offers the Musso – a name meaning 'rhinoceros' in South Korea, where this vehicle is produced. It's a far cry from the vaguely sporty, Ken Greenley-designed SUV of the same name that came to the UK in the mid-1990s, but we found that it delivers respectable performance and handling, as well as strong towing capacity and utility for value-savvy buyers.

The Musso's 199bhp, 2.2-litre diesel engine offers more grunt than some in the class, and its rating to tow 3.5 tonnes (although only with an automatic transmission - the manual is 3200kg) on a braked trailer also trumps certain rivals. 

We think it looks a little peculiar in standard form with its short load bay, but does offer four seats big enough to be usable by adult passengers. That it's also one of the shortest cars of its kind stands to make it appeal to those who've struggled to get vehicles like these into UK-typical parking spaces.

If you need a full-length bed, you need to opt for the highest trim level, Saracen, which opens up the option of the Saracen+. That extends the load bed length from a mere 1300mm to 1610mm, which is more than you get in the Ranger.

When we drove it, we discovered the Musso corners with very decent grip and roll control, and the fairly light steering (and helpfully small diameter steering wheel) has better centre feel than many of its rivals. The same goes for the low road and wind noise. 

Ride comfort only just clears the threshold of acceptability, but the engine feels torquey low down and impressively quiet when you're cruising, the six-gear spread giving it very long legs.

Next year, KGM plans to launch an electric 4x4 pick-up truck based on the new KGM Torres SUV.

*Save money with new Musso deals from What Car?*

*6. Maxus T90EV*

*Pros*: It’s an electric pick-up that you can actually buy, and it won’t cost a fortune

*Cons*: It’s not exactly desirable or upmarket, restless ride

If or when the UK’s commercial vehicle market is fully electrified, how many people will recognise this little-known, Chinese-made truck as one of its pioneers?

The Maxus T90EV is Britain’s very first electric pick-up. Made in Wuxi, China by a brand owned by Asian car-industry giant SAIC (the same group that owns the Roewe and MG Motor brands), the T90 is a mid-sized, ‘one-tonne’ truck that’s been modified in order for registration as a working pick-up truck in the UK. In other markets, it’s rated to carry less than 1000kg, but since its UK CV tax status depends on a one-tonne classification, Maxus has uprated the vehicle’s load-carrying capabilities, and launched it in the UK in 2022.

If you recognise the look of the Maxus badge on the grille, it may be because this brand rose when SAIC bought Britain’s LDV firm, formerly Leyland DAF. It’s available through a UK dealer network of 60 outlets, from a little under £50,000 excluding VAT, and it will deliver significant tax savings for those who pick one in place of a conventional diesel truck.

The T90EV itself is powered by a 201bhp electric motor that gives it more than adequate power, acceleration and drivability, but its driving environment, while modern, is quite plain and sparsely fitted out. 

Its ride and handling are rougher than the pick-up class norm (the ride especially having been compromised by Maxus’s efforts to reinforce the car’s load-carrying capability). Real-world range is worth roughly 200 miles, or a little less when driven exclusively on the motorway.

*7. Ineos Grenadier Quartermaster*

A pick-up truck version of the Ineos Grenadier is due to go on sale soon. We’ve not driven it yet, but it stands to reason that it will be very similar to the standard Grenadier.

The Quartermaster is 305mm longer than the Grenadier Station Wagon, giving it a load bay that measures 1564mm long and 1619mm wide – large enough to carry a standard Euro pallet.

Its towing and payload capacities match those of the five-seat Station Wagon. It can pull up to 3500kg and carry up to 835kg or 760kg (in petrol and diesel guise, respectively, excluding the driver’s weight). That means it won’t qualify as a commercial vehicle and will remain more of a lifestyle choice.

Used as such, it ought to be quite impressive. The load bay is fitted with 400W power take-off and four tie-down rings, while the tailgate can support up to 225kg when open. It should be one of the best off road, with 264mm of ground clearance and an 800mm wading depth. Its maximum approach, breakover and departure angles are 35.5deg, 26.2deg and 22.6deg, respectively. Prices start from £66,215

*8. Ford F-150 Lightning*

*Pros*: Huge, fast, comfortable, makes your race paddock diesel generator redundant.

*Cons*: Huge, heavy, left-hand drive, and so far not sold in the UK officially

Ford was the first of the big, blue-chip American truck makers to reveal that it was developing an all-electric version of a full-sized pick-up, its F-150. It was announced to the world before the Tesla Cybertruck and many other truck brands followed suit as a result.

Now, the F-150 Lightning has been on sale in North America for a couple of years and Ford is beginning to look to export markets for it. It hasn’t been confirmed for the UK yet, but it is being imported into EV-dominated Norway, with other European-market distribution rumoured to be under consideration. And that was enough to entice us to put a left-hand-drive, specially imported version through our full road test process.

The results did not disappoint. The more powerful 568bhp version of the Lightning tipped our scales at a little over 3.1 tonnes, and needed more than 15m for its turning circle. And yet it still dispatched 60mph from rest in 4.5sec and a standard quarter mile in less than 13.5sec – faster, in both cases, than the celebrated BMW ‘M46’ M3 coupé.

In unloaded running, the car proved good for Ford’s 300-mile electric range - even if its outright carrying capacity (800kg) was limited by its heavy battery pack. It could ‘offload’ up to 9.6kW of mains power for on-site power tools; it had a 1.7m loadbay with a full-sized step hidden in the tailgate; and fully independent suspension for a surprisingly comfortable ride, as well as a huge and comfortable cabin.

The Lightning’s sheer size, its left-hand-drive-only cabin layout, and its likely near-six-figure price are all likely to make it a rare sight in the UK, assuming it does ever get officially imported here. But, amazingly, it’s sufficiently versatile that it’s still not hard to imagine a great many uses for one.

*9. GMC Hummer EV*

*Pros:* Monstrously quick, super-capable off road, can do crustacean impression

*Cons*: Not available in mainland Europe or the UK through official channels, weighs four tonnes.

If electric pick-up trucks are proving to be all about excess, the Hummer EV may be the most excessive of all. In range-topping form, it’s got a tri-motor powertrain with 1000bhp, and some 11,500lb ft of torque, it has a battery pack of 213kWh in all, and it weighs a little over four tonnes. It couldn’t therefore be driven in the UK by anyone without a Category C commercial vehicle licence.

Built on General Motors’ new Ultium electric car architecture, the Hummer EV has quite some party tricks. With an armoured underbody, it’s designed for peerless off-road performance. It can also crab walk, tilting its steered front and rear axles to the same angle, and waltzing sideways without turning at all.

On air suspension, it rides quite gently too, besides from performing every bit as brutally as you’d imagine. Mainland-European-market availability is unlikely, UK-market distribution even more so, apart from through unofficial routes. For more, read our first drive report here.

*10. Hennessey Mammoth 1000 TRX*

*Pros*: The ultimate statement truck, it’s quick, it’s tough

*Cons*: Probably a £150,000 purchase, and it’ll give your Shell loyalty app a workout

If you’re going to bother suffering all the inconveniences of running an imported, full-size, left-hand-drive, American-market truck - and, between the overhung parking spaces, the dwarfed road markings, the missed barrier tickets and all the rest, there are plenty - some would say that you might as well run a proper one. And ‘proper’ would certainly be one word to describe the Hennessey Mammoth.

A Dodge Ram widely modified by notorious Texan tuner John Hennessey, the Mammoth TRX 1000 is powered by a 1012bhp, 6.2-litre supercharged Hellcat V8, and it’s claimed to be the fastest-accelerating flatbed ever produced. Hennessey claims that it’ll do 0-60mph in just 3.2sec, despite being 5.8m long. It’s also capable of towing nearly four tonnes on a braked trailer.

This, then, is precisely the kind of truck that you’d expect from the maker of the 300mph-plus Venom F5 hypercar, built for no other reason than because they can. On UK roads, it feels not only huge but also typically heavy, and isn’t as rapid away from rest as you might expect - but it certainly accelerates hard once it’s rolling.

*Pick-ups coming soon*

*Rivian R1T*

The Rivian R1T is what you end up with if you set up a brand-new car business with a small band of talented engineers and an ex-Jeep designer, and you design your own electric car platform from scratch in a bid to give the world its first 'adventure EV'. 

Rivians will, according to company boss RJ Scaringe, split the difference between a modern Land Rover and a Tesla. Cars are already available in the US, and an R1S SUV will follow. Whether the Rivian R1T will come to Europe officially, or only via grey import, is unclear. Rivian has been rumoured to be scouting a European production location, but that will be primarily for vans.

The R1T was the first Rivian to hit the road. It's a compact double-cab pick-up by American norms, so it's about the size of most of the other pick-ups on this list. Rivian promises a range of 300 miles from a 135kWh battery pack, or 400 miles from a 180kWh pack. A smaller battery with a 250-mile range is coming as well.

The company says the R1T will be able to tow up to five tonnes - that's about two Range Rovers. However, it is positioned more as an adventure vehicle than a work truck, and it's expected it will only be rated to carry up to 800kg. It has not one, not two, not even three, but four motors for over 700bhp, 800lb ft of torque and a 0-60mph time of 3.0sec. Having four motors also means four-wheel torque vectoring. 

We await a UK test drive with much interest.

*Tesla Cybertruck*

The angular - and allegedly bulletproof - Tesla Cybertruck will have up to three electric motors and more than 500 miles of range in its top-level trim, with a claimed towing capacity of more than six tonnes and a loading bay the same size as that of a Ford F-150. Like Tesla's other bigger models, the Cybertruck will run on height-adjustable air suspension.

Tesla boss Elon Musk claimed that 200,000 customers placed cash deposits for the Cybertruck within a week of the vehicle's unveiling in 2019. It’s expected to cost the equivalent of between £50,000 and £75,000.


*Top 10 best 4x4s and off-roadersTop 10 best hybrid SUVsTop 10 best small SUVs*

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