Let’s face it: It’s not cheap to own a brand new pickup truck these days. Gas can be expensive, especially for this type of vehicle that only averages around 22 miles per gallon (or less)*.
So why still buy a pickup? First, they’re tough, and they can carry heavy loads very well. These trucks also have stronger outer frames that give you added protection and security, since their high ground clearance helps you to clearly see the road (and potential troubles) ahead.
Many high-quality pick-up trucks can be quite costly, with a price tag of more than a million pesos today. But no need to worry; most of the popular ones that are available today have affordable variants that you can take advantage of. They include the following:
4×2 MT (P961,000)
Nissan Navara looks as handsome as the Northern Spanish region it was named after, and its interiors are no slouches in the attractiveness department as well.
Rumors say that its front seats were designed with the help of NASA research. We’re not sure about that; but what we do know is that Nissan Navara offers a comfortable cabin, good power, above average stability, and effective handling that’s far better compared to its predecessor.
This pickup has a 2.5L 16-valve engine that can go with either a 6-speed (manual) or a 7-speed (automatic). It’s also available in either a 4×2 or 4×4 configuration.
GL 2.5 2WD M/T – EURO 4 (P955,000)
Mitsubishi Strada (also known as Mitsubishi Triton) has come a long way, starting as Mitsubishi Forte in 1978 and evolving as one of the most popular pickup trucks in the country today.
Sporty, athletic, and powerful, this vehicle has put a lot more emphasis in “user experience”, combining the comfort of a sedan PLUS the reliability and power of a pickup truck. There’s more spaciousness to the interiors, with good rear seat-back angle, generous cushion length, and great legroom for taller passengers and drivers alike.
It now shares the same engine with Montero Sport SUV, so expect the engine to be a lot quieter even during higher speeds.
The Strada still uses the 2.5L 16-valve DOHC diesel engine, which can be paired with a 5-speed manual or automatic transmission.
3. Isuzu D-Max
Flexi Qube 4×2 MT Cab Chassis Manual Diesel (P792,000)
Isuzu D-Max may share the same platform with other cars like the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, and the Isuzu i-Series, but it still stands out enough to attract a huge following here in the Philippines.
This pickup’s reliability is a well-known fact, but it most updated version promises a more enjoyable experience and lesser noise on the road. It also handles off-road driving competently, with a smoother gearbox that sips less fuel compared to its predecessor.
Isuzu D-Max offers a 3.0L 4JJI-TC (HI) diesel engine, with a VGS turbocharger and intercooler. It also comes with either a 5-Speed automatic transmission or a 5-speed manual transmission.
2. Toyota Hilux
2.4 Cab & Chassis 4×2 MT (P788,000)
The Toyota Hilux started its journey as the RN10 (short-wheelbase form) in 1968. Almost half a century later, it has become a well-known utilitarian pickup that not just offers great acceleration, increased fuel efficiency, and better steering, but also a comfortable experience on the road.
Still, it’s not a car that’s solely designed to please your senses. It’s still a rugged vehicle through and through, and is notorious for a tough exterior that can withstand a lot of abuse.
The Toyota Hilux comes with either a 2.4L and 2.8 L 4-cylinder VN Turbo Intercooler diesel engine.
1. Ford Ranger
2.2L Cab and Chassis 4×2 MT (P720,000)
2.2L Single Cab 4×2 MT (P780,000)
Ford Ranger is one of the best pickups when it comes to balanced handling and a smoother ride. What’s more, this car can wade through water that’s 800 mm deep, so you don’t need to worry about the occasional floods that happen in Metro roads.
This truck can look a bit imposing (and expensive), but don’t be fooled — Ford Ranger offers the most number of affordable variants mentioned here.
So even if you can’t afford that 3.2L Wildtrak 4×4 Ranger priced at PhP 1.7 million, you can downgrade a bit and still drive the same brand new model for a price that’s less than P800,000.
Ford Ranger has a 2.2L Duratorq TDCI diesel engine that can be mated with a 5-speed MT or 6-speed MT.
*Compare that with a subcompact / city car that averages around 31 mpg, and you’ll see why these small vehicles are such a big hit among budget-conscious people.