The Ford Ranger has been crowned the winner of the International Pick-Up Award 2013 at a ceremony hosted by Irish magazine Fleet Transport in Dublin. The Isuzu D-Max came second, while the Volkswagen Amarok ranked third.
Last month, six pick-up trucks arrived at Commercial Motor Live at Millbrook Proving Ground, Bedfordshire, for two days of testing to determine which model would be crowned the world’s best new pick-up. The vehicles were shortlisted from the latest eligible models to enter production over the past 18 months.
Commercial Motor hosted the biennial award and invited journalists from across Europe to make up the judging panel, and gave them the chance to test the vehicles on - and off-road – as well as around Millbrook’s famous hill route.
Also competing for the title were the Fiat Strada, Great Wall Steed and SsangYong Korando Sports.
Here’s CM’s view on the top trucks.
1) Ford Ranger
With a choice of two diesel engines on test, a 2.2-litre 4-cylinder and 3.2-litre 5-cylinder, Ford demonstrated the breadth and depth of its new Ranger model by supplying Limited and top-spec Wildtrak models. With a maximum towing capacity of 3,350kg and payload of 1,336kg, the Ranger is the heavyweight of the group offers an 800mm wading depth, 232mm of ground clearance. Technological wizardry, like hill descent control, makes it the simplest vehicle to drive off-road due to its driving ease and comfort. On-road its cushioned ride reveals, a slight body wobble and a more detached ride than some rivals.
2) Isuzu D-Max
Billed as the pick-up for professionals, the Isuzu has a lot to live up to with its Rodeo successor. The D-Max is up to the task, with an excellent 2.5-litre 161hp engine developing 400Nm of torque between 1,400rpm and 2,000rpm. It's matched to a six-speed manual transmission to provide the best driveline on test. Off-road the Isuzu has fewer gadgets than the Ranger, but offers a more consistent balance between off-road and on-road behaviour. Build quality feels robust, but compared with more upmarket rivals the interior is bland and outdated.
3) Volkswagen Amarok
Winner of the inaugural International Pick-Up Award, the Volkswagen Amarok was included in the test on the merits of its latest eight-speed automatic transmission and 178hp biturbo engine combination. Like the Ford, the Amarok’s body feels slightly isolated from its chassis on the road, but off-road it proves to be another effortless vehicle to pilot. The ride is comfortable at all speeds, yet its suspension is suitably communicative. And although the engine and gearbox pairing is not as appealing as the Isuzu, the seamless and responsive 8-speed auto is a real addition to the range.