A Top Gear PH reader asks: Ranger, Strada or Hilux?

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by Botchi Santos | Jun 26, 2013

Good day, sir Botchi. I need help on which pickup to buy. I\'m considering it as a birthday gift to myself. I\'d like to use it for six to eight years. Right now, my choices are the all-new Ford Ranger, the Mitsubishi Strada and the Toyota Hilux--preferably 4x2 and automatic.

I like driving, visiting new places, and mountain-biking. Based on reading on your past articles, the Strada is the bang-for-the-buck pickup, but I\'m afraid a facelift is coming soon. Meanwhile, the new Ford Ranger is really manly--\"brusko,\" if I may describe it. The Hilux is just really my last resort.

Thanks in advance, and more power to Top Gear Philippines!

JM Capulong

 

Hi, JM! Yes, it\'s true that the Mitsubishi Strada is the best bang-for-the-buck pickup, which is why I own one myself and love it very much. For the price, it\'s hard to beat.

The only downside I see is that in terms of pure off-road ability, the Strada is at the bottom half, whereas the Ford Ranger, the Toyota Hilux and the Isuzu D-Max make up the top half. But since you\'re getting a 4x2 variant, then it doesn\'t matter. The only other concern I have with the Strada is that it has the smallest pickup bed, so if you need to carry really long objects, you\'ll do poorly with the Strada. I don\'t, so it\'s not an issue with me.

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As for a facelift, we do not have news yet on this one. Even I myself am curious about any changes (major or minor) anytime soon. But according to our friends at Mitsubishi, there is no news yet since its focus is on the Mirage sedan and hatchback.

The Toyota Hilux is a good car, but it is old, and the rumors are that there will be an all-new model in 2015. I do find it expensive for what you get, and despite getting a healthy boost in power with VGT and an intercooler with the 2.5-liter D-4D engine, it\'s still nowehere near as fast (and fun) as the Strada. Safe choice, but you can find better deals elsewhere.

The Ford Ranger is all-new, and feels great to drive based on my very short stint behind the wheel. It comes with the biggest, longest and widest pickup bed. But the rear seats are tight, and it really feels like you\'re driving a truck, which for me isn\'t always good. Don\'t get me wrong--it\'s a purely subjective preference. I prefer a driving environment as car-like as possible, and the Strada offers this (lower seat, lower seating position and less angled steering column) as opposed to the other pickups.

I\'ve heard from some Ranger owners who have complained that the 2.2-liter diesel engine is underpowered, especially if you like adventurous, sporty driving. Personally, I haven\'t extensively tested the Ranger in 2.2-liter diesel variants so I can\'t say for sure, but TopGear.com.ph has a thorough review of the Ranger. The 3.2-liter five-cylinder is something else. I love that truck for sure! But it\'s expensive.

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You might want to look at the Chevrolet Colorado. It\'s a really good pickup, and also good value for money. About the only aspect I dislike about it is the interior, which feels very Americana 1990s.

If you do plan on doing a lot of adventurous driving (such as going to places off the beaten path), then a 4x4 variant might be a better bet since the 4x4 system will come in handy and increase your driving ability and range to places where a 4x2 might not make it out of alive--or in one piece, if at all.

My top pick is the Strada, followed by the Colorado (despite my misgivings about the interior), followed closely by the Ranger (tight rear seats kill its chances to take the top spot for me), with the Hilux last.

I hope this helps. Good luck, and take care driving through roads less traveled. Take lots of pictures and share your adventures online.

 

Botchi Santos
Consumer Editor

Do you want Botchi to help you pick the right car? Send your inquiry to topgear@summitmedia.com.ph.

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  • TGP Rating
    --/20
    Engine
    --
    Power
    --
    Torque
    --
    Transmission
    --
    Fuel
    --
    1.8 E CVT
    Starts at P1,110,000
    TGP Rating:
    --/20
    Pros
    Light on amenities, Honda kept styling it long after it was done.
    Cons
    Light on amenities, Honda kept styling it long after it was done.
    Verdict
    Honda’s winningest combination comes when you opt for a six-speed manual transmission available in the Civic hatchback Sport, in which …
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  • TGP Rating:
    /20

    Starts at ₱

    TGP Rating:
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    Starts at ₱