As one of if not the most anticipated vehicle the year it came out, the Nissan NP300 Navara pickup was an instant hit back in 2015. Five years on, the Japanese-made truck is much improved with more power, more torque, better suspension, and more advanced technologies than ever.
All of the Navara’s 10 variants are powered 2.5-liter diesel engine option that supplies the pickup’s upper range with 187hp and 450Nm of torque. A lesser-powered version of this engine powers the lower trims with 158hp and 403Nm. Nissan pairs this engine with either a 7-speed automatic transmission with manual mode or 6-speed manual, depending on trim.
Inside, the Navara features a plush softsurfaces with the center console standing out from the dashboard due to its glossy black finish. Silver highlights give the interior a smart and stylish accent. The pickup also offers a choice between leather and fabric seat upholstery. Other quality interior furnishings include an auto dimming rearview mirror with compass, illuminated vanity mirrors, a 3D TFT drive computer display, 8-way power driver seat Intelligent Key with Push Engine Start/Stop, and an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Great strides were made to ensure the Navara’s cabin feels as sedan-like as possible. And thanks to a high strength chassis, fully boxed ladder frame, and multi-link coil-spring suspension system that breaks away from the traditional leaf spring configurations found in others, this pickup has arguably the best ride comfort than any other option out there. Add an affordable price range of PHP929,000 to 1.64 million to the equation, and you’ve got an entirely enticing pickup truck prospect in your hands.
Of course, despite these quality features, the NP300 Navara isn’t going to be everybody’s cup of tea. For those looking for a midsize pickup to buy, here are other great alternatives.
There’s no question that the Ford Ranger from the Blue Oval is one of the bestsellers in its class, and arguably the Nissan pickup’s most capable rival. With 15 variants to choose from (including the Ranger Raptor), the most powerful engine in its segment, and unmatched towing and payload capacity, the Ranger is a natural choice for a wide variety of pickup shoppers.
The Ranger boasts an energetic engine choice, starting with a newly introduced 2.0-liter Bi-Turbo Diesel that’s good for 210hp and 500Nm. The 2.0-liter Turbo Diesel (178hp, 420Nm) and 2.2-liter TDCi Diesel (158hp, 385Nm) are carried over for the Ranger’s lower variants. An equally new 10-speed automatic transmission only helps it achieve its full potential, but a 6-speed automatic and 6-speed manual remain available options for the lower trims. Add to that the 4x4 system that comes with a new shift-on-the-fly feature that lets drivers choose between 2WD and 4WD in a flash, and you’ve got a truly versatile pickup in your hands.
As for creature comforts, the Ranger contains a first-in-class tailgate lift assist, active park assist, smarter start button, navigation system, and voice-controlled SYNC 3 infotainment system, aided by an 8-inch TFT touchscreen and steering wheel controls for operational flexibility. An 8-way power adjusted driver’s seat elevates driving convenience further.
For those looking for more power but want a more affordable choice than the Ford Ranger, the Chevrolet Colorado is an attractive proposition. A 2.8-liter Duramax turbo-diesel engine—good for 200hp and 500Nm—gives the Colorado a 1-ton hauling capacity, and effectively makes it one of the most powerful pickup truck to buy locally.
Although pickupsaren’t generally known for interior quietness, the Golden Bow Tie certainly went to great measures to ensure the Colorado’s cabin is as serene as a pickup can get, thanks to liberal application of insulating soft-touch materials all over the cabin. Ample legroom characterizes both front and rear seat sections, and upmarket elements abound, including a more intuitive and ergonomic center console, easy closing doors, tire pressure monitoring system, up/down anti-pinch windows, and the latest Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system conveniently operated by smartphone compatible 8-inch touchscreen.
It’s the number one selling pickup in the land, and the country’s second bestselling vehicle for 2019—that’s really all you need to convince you that the new Toyota Hilux is a worthy buy. Recently refreshed in time for the 2021 model year, the Hilux carries 13 different variants in all, including three 4x4s and 10 4x2s, complete with a cab and chassis option for commercial-minded buyers.
The power sources for the Hilux’s latest version remain to be a pair of GD-FTV engines— a 2.8-liter (1GD-FTV, 201hp with 420 – 500Nm of torque depending on transmission) for the 4x4 variants and a 2.4-liter (2GD-FTV, 148hp and 400Nm) for the 4x2 models. Though these are the same engines found in the outgoing model, they have been adjusted for more power. Transmission options include 6-speed automatic and 6-speed manual, depending on trim.
Inside, the 2021 Hilux remains largely the same as the outgoing version, save for an updated infotainment system. A large 8-inch touchscreen now sits on the dash of the upper trims, complete with hands-free Bluetooth, with Apple Carplay, Android Auto, and Smart Device Link connectivity, as well as AM/FM/ Bluetooth/USB compatibility and six speakers to handle the audio output (only four in lower trims). Behind the steering wheel of the new Hilux lies a 4.2-inch TFT multi-information display that also comes with tabs that indicate outside temperature, shift range indicators, an “Eco” monitor, and other important trip information.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a vehicle that comes with the endorsement of the President, but the Isuzu D-Max just so happens to have that honor. And rightly so, because this impressive pickup from the popular Japanese commercial vehicle maker looks ready to take on any earthly terrain, especially its top-of-the-line Boondock, with its impressively the tall 247mm ground clearance. For those looking for extreme sportiness, the Boondock has the look to match its off-road features with its blacked-out roof rails, mirror covers, side stepboards, overfenders, alloy wheels, and cargo extender.
For power, this Isuzu D-Max relies on a 3.0-liter Blue Power diesel engine with intercooler that produces 175hp and 380Nm. A Euro 4-compliant construction guarantees the D-Max is one of your more eco-friendly choices in the market. There are two transmission options to choose from: an automatic with sequential shift and a manual with gear shift indicator, both of which are 6-speed gearboxes.
Inside the D-Max, an 8-inch multi-information touchscreen display heightens the dashboard design, appearing in seamless unity with the rest of the cabin's aesthetics and features. Perforated leather covers the front and back seats of the top variants, further establishing the cabin's upmarket allure. For entertainment and whatnot, the D-Max provides occupants with USB, Bluetooth, auxiliary, and Apple CarPlay connectivity.
Since 2019, the Mitsubishi Strada has been imbued with the Dynamic Shield fascia, matching the design signature seen in the rest of the Three Diamond’s current lineup. In the Strada Athlete—the Mitsubishi pickup’s top-ranging variants—this modern façade is complemented by a sporty front bumper garnish, roll bar, 18-inch alloy wheels, side decals, and a black two-tone finish.
Under the hood of the latest Strada is Mitsubishi’s signature 2.4L MIVEC Turbo Clean Diesel engine that pushes the pickup to 179hp and 430Nm of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission handles the Strada’s shifting duties, smoothened by a Super Select 4WD II system. This is aided by an off-road traction control that allows drivers to choose between different drive and terrain settings for improved road grip on different road conditions.
For its interiors, the Strada Athlete plays with a two-tone black and orange combo with orange stitching accents in its seats, gear shift panel/knob and parking brake lever (available in the 4x4 variant). The pickup also comes with a whole suite of safety and driver assistance systems that includes Forward Collision Mitigation (FCM), Blind Spot Warning with Lane Change Assist (BSW with LCA), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), and Ultrasonic Misacceleration Mitigation System (UMMS) to name a few.
The SsangYong Musso pickup lineup is powered by a 2.2-liter diesel engine that dishes off 179hp, with a torque range of 400 to 420Nm, depending on variant. Buyers can choose from four different Musso types starting with the base 4x2 MT, 4x2 AT, 4x4 AT, and the Musso Grand 4x4 AT. The top-spec SsangYong Musso Grand 4x4 AT hosts power-adjustable driver and passenger seats, contrast stitching, premium brown leather seat covers, and heating and ventilation controls and vents for both front and rear occupants.
The Musso Grand has its length going for it. As the long-wheelbase version of the standard Musso with a longer cargo bed, Musso’s premier pickup is not only the longest midsize pickup truck in the market, but also the one with the widest and deepest truck bed. Suffice to say, when it comes to rear cargo storage space, you can’t get any better than this offering from the lesser-known Korean car manufacturer.
Likewise, the entire Musso pickup line is the only one in the market to offer two suspension options–coil springs and leaf springs. Standard safety include ABS anti-lock brakes with EBD and brake assist, electronic stability, hill descent control, anti-rollover protection, and rearview camera (4x4 AT only). For infotainment, the Musso relies on an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
Pickup truck shoppers who prioritize safety will be glad to know that there’s an affordable available in the market with a five-star safety rating. As the first China-produced pickup to receive the highest safety mark rated by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), the Maxus T60 appears ready to get rough and dirty with its more established competitors. With three configurations to choose from (Pro 4x2 MT, Pro 4x2 AT, Elite 4x4 AT), this newcomer is a serious contender from the get-go.
This Ayala-backed offering draws power from a 2.8-liter VGT diesel engine with a power range of 136hp to 150hp and torque range of 350Nm to 360Nm, depending on trim. The most powerful engine is installed in the 4x4 variant, and both manual and automatic transmissions are 6-speed types.
Interior-wise, the Maxus T60 possesses some nifty convenient features that allows it to stand toe-to-toe even against its big-time rivals, including cruise control, keyless entry, 6-way power driver seat, multifunction steering wheel, and a 10-inch touchscreen monitor with Apple CarPlay and Mirrorlink connectivity.
After nine long years of the same old same old, the Mazda BT-50 finally got the long-overdue all-new version it deserves. Sourced from Isuzu Motor Limited on an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) basis, the all-new Mazda BT-50 pickup is fully redesigned for 2020, with a 3.0-liter diesel engine under the hood, pushing the truck to 187hp and 450Nm of torque, along with 3500kgs of towing capacity.
As an Isuzu build, most of the truck heavily resembles the 2021 D-Max, especially the interior. But even so, the new Mazda pickup still manages to step out on its own design-wise, starting with the Kodo-Soul of Motion theme that characterizes the exterior’s sleek appearance.
Just like the D-Max, the BT-50 comes with a choice of a 6-speed auto or 6-speed manual transmission, and is also constructed on a ladder-frame chassis with leafspring rear suspension for more reliability with heavy loads. Advanced interior systems include Smartphone connectivity, Bluetooth, and cruise control, with the addition of both dynamic stability control and traction control systems thrown in for good measure.
Photos from Nissan, Ford, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Chevrolet, Isuzu, SsangYong, Maxus, Mazda