There’s no question that the Ford Ranger Raptor is one of the bestselling pickups on the Philippine auto market. A seriously powerful and capable truck, the Raptor was got what it takes to take on all comers. Its energetic engine choice—a 2.0-liter Bi-Turbo Diesel (210hp, 500Nm)—make it a good choice for hauling, towing, and ferrying, and the 10-speed automatic transmission only helps it achieve its full potential. Add to that the 4x4 system that comes with a shift-on-the-fly feature that lets drivers choose between 2WD and 4WD more easily, and you’ve got a truly versatile pickup in your hands.
Other Ranger Raptor creature comforts include active park assist, smarter start button, navigation system, voice-controlled SYNC 3, and a first-in-class tailgate lift assist that smoothens the drop of the tailgate, thereby easing the strain on the cables and hinge by preventing the gate from freefalling. Meanwhile, an 8-inch TFT touchscreen and leather-wrapped steering wheel with controls serve as the infotainment focal points for the entire cabin. Meanwhile, an 8-way power adjusted driver’s seat elevates driving convenience.
Needless to say, the long-running pickup nameplate from arguably the most trusted American car brand is easily one of the best choices for a pickup truck. But is it the right choice for you? We pit Ford’s predatory off-roader against its biggest rivals so you can choose which one deserves your hard-earned money more.
Toyota’s top of the line pickup comes in four different variants, including two 4x4s and 4x2s, and a choice between an automatic or manual gearbox for each. The Toyota Hilux Conquest is powered by the same fuel-efficient and durable engine used in the current Hilux lineup; a 2.8-liter four-cylinder, 16-valve DOHC Variable Nozzle Turbo with Air-cooled Intercooler and a 2.4-liter version of the same engine. Both are befitting for any off road activity. Engine output maxes out at 201hp and 500Nm for the 2.8L and 148hp and 400Nm for the 2.4L.
The new Hilux Conquest is now equipped with a Smart Key/Entry feature and furnished with a new black interior trim and a 6.5-inch display to go with the Steering Wheel Audio Control. Overall, the Conquest’s cabin is just the same as the next top Hilux variant. In terms of safety, the Conquest 4×4 models get anti-lock braking system with electronic brakeforce distribution (ABS-EBD), hill-start assist, stability control with traction control, downhill assist, and trailer sway control. Meanwhile, the Conquest 4×2 gets only three airbags along with ABS-EBD. A reverse back-up camera and clearance sensors are also onboard.
The SsangYong Musso Grand pickup lineup is powered by a 2.2-liter diesel engine that dishes off 181 horses and 400 to 420Nm of torque depending on variant, of which there are three: 4x2 MT, 4x2 AT, and 4x4 AT. The top-spec SsangYong Musso Grand4x4 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.
An 8-inch touchscreen comprises the infotainment system, complete with Apple Carplay and Android Auto connectivity. The Musso Grand is a long-wheelbase version of the standard Musso with a longer cargo bed. That said, Musso’s premier pickup is not only the longest pickup truck in the market, but also the one with the widest and deepest. Suffice to say, when it comes to rear cargo storage space, you can’t get any better than the Musso Grand. Likewise, both Musso pickup lines (Musso and Musso Grand) are the only ones in the market that offer two suspension options–coil springs and leaf springs. Standard safety include ABS anti-lock brakes with EBD and brake assist, anti-rollover protection, electronic stability, hill descent control, and rearview camera (4x4 AT only).
The Mitsubishi Strada Athlete welcomes onlookers with a blacked-out Dynamic Shield, black front bumper garnish, 18-inch black alloy wheels, black roof, roll bar and side decal accents complemented by a two-tone finish. All these add up to a tougher aesthetic compared to the no-less sporty standard Strada pickup.
Under the Athlete’s hood is Mitsubishi’s old reliable 2.4L MIVEC Turbo Clean Diesel engine and 6-speed automatic transmission with Super Select 4WD II system. This pairing produces around 179hp and 430Nm of torque for the Three Diamond’s top-ranging pickup line. A Super Select 4WD-II with off-road traction control allows drivers to choose between three different drive and terrain settings (2H, 4H, and 4LLc) for better handling on any road condition, even the stickiest mud.
For its interiors, the Strada Athlete displays a two-tone black and orange leather with orange stitching accents in its seats, gear shift panel/knob and parking brake lever (4x4 variant only). The pickup also comes with a whole suite of safety and driver assistance systems that includes Blind Spot Warning with Lane Change Assist, forward collision mitigation, hill start assist, rear cross traffic alert, trailer stability assist, and ultrasonic misacceleration mitigation system, to name a few. Infotainment is handled by a 7-inch touchscreen complete with GPS navigation and reverse camera.
The Isuzu D-Max Boondock looks ready to take on any earthly terrain, especially with its impressively the tall 247mm ground clearance. Blacked-out mirror covers, roof rails, side stepboards, alloy wheels, over fenders, and cargo extender complete the Boondock's aggressive appeal. Inside, an 8-inch multi-information touchscreen display takes center stage, appearing seamless unity with the rest of the dash and cabin's features. Perforated genuine leather covers the front and back seats, further establishing the cabin's upmarket leanings.
For power, the Isuzu D-Max Boondock relies on a Euro 4-compliant 3.0-liter Blue Power diesel engine with intercooler that produces 175hp and 380Nm. There are two transmission choices on offer: a 6-speed automatic with sequential shift and a 6-speed manual with gear shift indicator. For entertainment, Isuzu’s top-ranging pickup provides occupants with Bluetooth, USB AUX, and iPod connectivity.
Nissan has expanded the 4x4 VL lineup from one to three, with the 4x4 VL 7AT Sport Edition now accompanied by 4x4 VL AT and 4x4 VL 6 MT trims. All of the Navara’s 10 variants are powered by a 2.5-liter diesel engine that delivers 187hp and 450Nm of torque. The engine is connected to either a 7-speed automatic transmission with manual mode or 6-speed manual, depending on trim.
Inside, the Nissan NP300 Navara 4x4 VL features a black interior theme along with silver accents, with the center console standing out from the dashboard due to its glossy black finish. It’s obvious that Nissan went to great lengths to make the Navara’s a cabin feel sedan-like. Exterior furnishings unique to the Sport Edition include sport roll bar with LED cargo lamp, Sport Edition front skirt, gun metallic painted side step, gun metallic painted rear bumper, and bed liner.
Nissan’s pickup line has arguably the best ride comfort in comparison to its rivals in the Philippine market (save for the Musso Grand that offers suspension options), thanks to a five-link coil-spring suspension set-up that breaks away from the traditional leaf spring suspensions of others. So, if you're looking for a pickup truck that has a car-like ride comfort and features, the Nissan NP300 Navara 4x4 VL should be on your shortlist.
Photos from Ford, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Ssangyong, Isuzu