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Bigger and badder than an SUV: 4 pickups to check out on a €20k budget

Looking for a workhorse that will also make an impression? We’re here to help.

PICKUPS HAVE ALWAYS been first and foremost used as work vehicles. Whether on a farm or a building site there’s no disputing the practicality that a pickup can offer over an SUV or van.

But an increasing number of buyers are looking to the pickup as a vehicle that can also be just as useful for leisure reasons. Many models now offer twin cab setups which are those that include rear passenger seats. And as the variety of models has increased, so too has the level of refinement and comfort inside them.

While on the road these pickups have become more civilised to drive and more economical to run. So if you’re considering a lifestyle change or want something different to the usual SUV – or perhaps you’re merely looking to upgrade – here’s our list of some great pickups that you can pick up (sorry!) for €20k or less.

1. Volkswagen Amarok (2010-onwards)

Source: DoneDeal

Still seen as one of the poshest on sale today, the Volkswagen Amarok is the company’s first attempt at a pickup. Its twin cab layout still leaves plenty of room in the rear load bay for a Euro pallet plus a little more. Unlike some, the load bay comes lined, and there’s also the option to add a lockable cover or even add a roof section, though the latter doesn’t fit on all that easily.

Much like its vans, the Amarok’s interior is the usual Volkswagen standard, and all of the surfaces feel hard-wearing and robust. Comfortable seats are a bonus and the storage throughout the cabin is reasonably good. The automatic transmission is nicer to use, but the manual is still quite smooth and easy to drive.

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2. Toyota Hilux (2005-2015)

Source: DoneDeal

If you want what is arguably the most proven pickup on sale, then you should look no further than a Toyota Hilux.

Long before it gained public notoriety through Top Gear’s inability to kill one, the Hilux was the workhorse of tradespeople around the world. This sixth generation model is one of the best, and there is plenty of choice on the market. Its ability to carry up to 1,100kg in the rear or tow up to 2,500kg makes it one of the most capable vehicles you can buy. Add to this Toyota’s solid reputation for reliability and the Hilux is one that’s hard to knock.

All versions come with a selectable four-wheel drive for when you hit more challenging terrain. Its interior might not be all that flash, but it’s functional and should put up with all that you can throw at it.

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3. Nissan Navara (2005-2016)

Source: DoneDeal

If it’s chunky looks that you’re after, the Nissan Navara will most likely tick your box. It is capable of carrying big loads in the rear with a payload of up to 1,250kg depending on the model and engine. However, there have been some reports of chassis issues – and while these seem rare, it is something to look out for when buying, especially if you intend to carry particularly heavy loads.

The engines all have good amounts of low-down power, and on the open road, the Navara handles well. It is one of the more civilised pickups on the market, and this is also reflected inside the cabin.

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4. Mitsubishi L200 (2006-2015)

Source: DoneDeal

The Mitsubishi L200 was sold in both single and double cab formats, but it is the latter that is both more common and more useful. These were powered by a 2.5-litre diesel engine that came with either 134 or 175hp.

Compared to some others on our list, the Mitsubishi is on the more utilitarian side of the pickup spectrum, which isn’t bad if you’re just looking for a load-lugger. It has one of the highest towing capacities and can carry up to 1,120kg of cargo in the back.

The cabin has a solid feel with some bright surfaces, but some might not like the overly complicated radio system that Mitsubishi insisted on installing. While the L200 is quite capable on mud and offroad, on the tarmac it is less impressive with steering that is best described as vague and a fair amount of wind and road noise at speed. Still, if you want something that’s well-equipped and dependable, the L200 is one to consider.

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About the author:

Dave Humphreys

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