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Six best pickup trucks for 2021

Looking for a pickup truck? Here are our top six models for 2021.

A red Isuzu D-Max driving on gravel

Pickups have gone mainstream. They’re tough, durable and at their happiest when covered in mud, tearing across fields and up hills.

However, these beasts aren’t confined to off-road tracks.

Increasingly they’re used as daily drivers where the emphasis is on creature comforts.

You can still blast through forests at the weekend.

It’s just that you’ll be perched on leather seats, enjoying climate control and a multimedia system.

The strong demand for vehicles offering rugged good looks, the practicality of a pickup and all the luxury found in a motorway cruiser has led to a competitive marketplace.

Here we look at some of the best contenders.

Depending on the type of model you choose, the price you pay for your pickup insurance will vary. 

So it’s worth shopping around to make sure you’re getting your pickup covered at a good price for you.

If you’re looking for something a little different, check out our top picks for best small vans and electric vans.

If you’re after an all-rounder, take a look at our guide to the best vans on the market.

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Our top pickup trucks:

 

Ford Ranger

Ford Ranger

The Ford Ranger is the UK’s best-selling pickup – and it’s easy to see why. Its combination of striking good looks and durability make it an attractive choice.

It was recently named the Parkers Pickup of the Year 2021. The judges insisted it was an easy choice: “No rival pickup really comes close to the Ranger’s all-round appeal.”

In fact, the toughest decision is choosing which specs best meet your needs. Are you looking for a workhorse or a power-hungry monster packed full of gadgets?

Prices vary enormously. For example, the entry-level XL costs £22,000 (exc. VAT) but there are a number of Ranger versions and extras that you can choose.

At the top end is the Raptor, which costs £42,000 (exc. VAT). This beast is equipped with everything from keyless entry and start to a rear-view camera and traffic sign recognition.

 

Mitsubishi L200

Mitsubishi L200

Mitsubishi has a long history in the pickup market. Its first foray came in the late 1970s when the Forte arrived in the North America market. That ended up being the trailblazer for the L200.

A number of incarnations have followed. Each one has been more refined and better equipped as the competition in this space has intensified.

L200 4Life is the entry-level truck and costs about £22,000. It comes in Club Cab or Double Cab versions and standard equipment includes the Easy Select 4wd System.

For those wanting more – and with at least £30,000 to spend – there is the Barbarian Plus, which Mitsubishi insists is its most advanced pickup yet.

It includes mood lighting in the centre console, soft leather seats, six speakers, beautiful 18” alloy wheels, and a chrome front skid plate for when you venture off-road.

 

Toyota Hilux

Toyota Hilux

One of the stalwarts of the pickup market.

Who can forget the attempts of Jeremy Clarkson’s Top Gear team to destroy one?

Despite being rammed into trees, dropped from a collapsing building, set on fire, hit with a wrecking ball and even left under the sea, it still managed to start!

It would be a shame to subject the latest Hilux to that sort of torture – especially with the on-the-road price ranging from £28,000 to £40,000.

At the top end of the scale is the Invincible X. This comes with a long list of nice touches, such as 5-spoke 18” black alloy wheels, ambient lighting on the doors and a power-reclining driver’s seat.

Overall, the Hilux is a solid pickup that has managed to retain its popularity despite the emergence of some strong rivals in recent years.

 

Nissan Navara

Nissan Navara

Another well-established contender in this field, the Navara was one of the first to offer a high degree of comfort, and the latest versions are just as well-equipped.

It comes in King Cab and Double Cab body styles. The latter has four doors and proper rear sets, but compromises with a shorter load bed. A chassis cab version is also available for conversions.

As far as trim levels are concerned, the entry point is Visia, which costs about £22,000 (exc. VAT) and comes with cloth seats, a DAB digital radio, mudguards and three 12v power sockets.

There are also the Acenta, N-Connecta and Tekna versions, each of which comes with an increasing amount of gadgets and sophistication.

The N-Guard is the top version and offers black 18” alloy wheels, a sunroof and various styling extras. This will cost you in excess of £30,000.

 

SsaangYong Musso

SsaangYong Musso

The first thing you’ll probably notice about the Musso is the cost. Prices start from about £22,000 (exc. VAT), which compares very favourably with many of its rivals.

However, there’s certainly more to the Musso than just the price. It also offers a decent list of equipment, a tough 2.2 litre diesel engine and a choice of body styles.

As with other contenders in this market, there are a number of trim levels. The entry-level EX, for example, comes with smart-key system and push button start.

If you want a bit more luxury – and gadgets – then consider the Rebel and Saracen levels. At the top end is Rhino, which offers extras such as automatic dual-zone air conditioning.

As an added bonus, all models in the SsangYong range are covered by a seven-year, 150,000-mile warranty.

 

Isuzu D-Max

Isuzu D-Max

It may be the only Isuzu on sale in the UK but this Japanese pick-up comes with plenty of choice to force its way into the increasingly crowded pickup market.

The D-Max hit the showrooms in March 2021 and it is already an award winner, having been named 2021 Pickup of the Year by 4x4 magazine.

The judges highlighted its interior, its driving characteristics and the new infotainment system that includes a 9” touchscreen display on the top-of-the-range model.

According to Alan Kidd, the editor of 4x4, it’s smoother and quieter at all speeds, with steering and suspension that disguise its size, and that makes it far more refined to drive: “Its cabin is a quantum leap forward with cutting-edge electronics mounted on a superb looking dash.”

 

Worthy of note 

The past year has seen the departure of two strong contenders in this market: the Mercedes-Benz X-Class and the Volkswagen Amarok. 

The X-Class, which was introduced in 2017, oozed style but sales disappointed. Cost is likely to have been a factor, with prices ranging from £32,000 to £46,000. 

The Amarok, meanwhile, has also stopped production, with only limited stock now available. This smart truck also came with a fairly hefty price tag.