Five-way battle between pickup trucks

Ain't no mountain high enough for Botchi's choice
by Botchi Santos | Nov 18, 2009

Hi there!

Can you please help me select the right pickup truck to be used in my farm? My farm is located in a mountainous part of Mindanao.

These are my initial choices:

- Isuzu D-Max LS Boondock II 4 X 4
- Isuzu D-Max LS 4 X 4 (MT)
- Ford Ranger XLT 4 X 4 (MT)
- Nissan Navara 4x4 (MT)
- Mitsubishi Strada 3.2 GLS 4x4(MT)
- Toyota Hilux 3.0G 4x4 (MT)

All of them are nice, but I want a tough one because I will be using it on very rough mountainous roads.

Thanks and best regards,

Wilsgranz

Hi, Wilsgranz!

What a Very distinct name you got there! Thank you for taking the time to write to Top Gear Philippines.

Here's my take on the pickup trucks you mentioned:

1. Isuzu D-Max - very noisy engines, not as powerful as the other pickups. The dealership and servicing network are also rather limited (but growing). It's good but nothing outstanding. Best to look elsewhere. The interior also mildly disappointing--cheap-feeling plastics and fabrics. I've had this truck three times in the past and found it rather underwhelming.

2. Ford Ranger - absolutely fantastic with its industry-first five-speed automatic in a diesel pickup. It has a powerful engine; and it's very, very tough--a solid off-road performer. It would be perfect if the rear seats were roomier and possessed a slightly cushier interior. Slippy-diff as standard means off-road prowess and traction is unmatched.

3. Nissan Navarra - really fast and fun both on and off the road but the rear bench is pretty upright compared to the Mitsubishi Strada and Toyota Hilux. For intense off-road driving, the Navarra doesn't enjoy the added ground clearance as the Mitsubishi and Toyota. Its six-speed manual transmission is a first. Its 2.5-liter turbo engine is a bit taxed compared to the 3.0- and 3.2-liter engines of the other trucks.

Continue reading below ↓

4. Mitsubishi Strada - best of the bunch when you consider the price, the standard goodies, the looks and the deals Mitsubishi can get for you. Performance on- and off-road is very good and a standard slippy-diff helps a lot, too. According to our off-road editor, Atty. Robby Consunji, only the Hilux outperforms the Strada but with a very stiff premium. Tightest turning circle, roomiest rear seats, sliding rear glass window, storm-trooper looks with real rally-raid competition pedigree!

5. Toyota Hilux - still probably the best if you do not take price into consideration. I've got one. It's almost five years old and has never missed a beat. Solid, reliable, fast and fun. I'd say this is the best overall if the Strada didn't undercut the price significantly.

I'd say the three trucks I'd be very confident with are the Ford Ranger (and its Mazda BT50-twin), the Mitsubishi Strada (my personal favorite) and the Toyota Hilux (which I actually own and am very very happy with).

Good luck!

Botchi Santos
Consumer editor

Lost in a sea of cars and not quite sure which one to get? Click here to email your car query so Botchi can help you pick the right vehicle! 

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