Currently reading: Top 10 best pick-up trucks 2024
With cargo space, versatility and plenty of luxury features, today's pick-up trucks have become great, tax-efficient alternatives to cars. These are our favourites

The recent history of the European pick-up truck market is an uncharacteristically epic tale of boom and bust, of unexpected twists and turns, new arrivals and sudden exits. It’s a lot more interesting than you might think.

Not so long ago, these vehicles were such big business that almost every major volume car maker was planning an entry. Many wondered if Europe might, like North America, finally and fully embrace the lifestyle pick-up. And now, after brands like Renault, Fiat and even Mercedes-Benz tried - and failed - to establish a presence in the segment, which has been through both rapid expansions and contractions, only the doughtiest operators are left.

The lifestyle experiment certainly left its mark on this segment. Formerly pretty utilitarian machines have become increasingly glamourous and lavishly kitted out, as their makers have wooed private buyers and fleet ‘user-choosers’ with SUV-level comfort and refinement, eye-catching style and family-friendly versatility.

It has certainly worked, evidenced by the number of double-cab pick-up trucks on UK roads. The tax man noticed too, however, so in 2024 HMRC decided to bring things back to earth and eradicated a big part of the tax benefit for double-cab pick-ups – before quickly changing its mind and reversing the decision.

So where does that leave us? Well, pick-ups still make a lot of sense, particularly as a tool for the job. So long as it can carry at least a tonne of payload, it’s possible to claim the VAT back on the purchase price (which is why their prices are usually quoted ex-VAT). And if you're self-employed and use one as a commercial vehicle, you will pay just £320 in VED per year.

If you plan to then also use your company pick-up for private miles, it could be a lot cheaper than an equivalent petrol or diesel car, as pick-ups attract only £792 of company ‘van’ tax per year for 20% taxpayers.

Here's our pick of the best pick-up trucks for 2024.

1. Ford Ranger

1 Ford ranger top 10

Pros: Broad engine range, accurate and composed handling, competitive value

Cons: No electric version (yet), hot Raptor isn't a proper commercial vehicle

An all-new Ford Ranger landed in UK showrooms in 2023, to all intents and purposes as the third-generation model to the UK. This is Britain's most popular small truck. So while the rest of this market has shrunk, Ford has continued to make hay (and no doubt carried it in the Ranger's generously sized load bay) - and if the advancements of the latest-generation model, our new class favourite, are any reliable guide, it should continue to.

While the late-1990s original was developed in partnership with Mazda, this latest iteration (essentially a development of the old T6 one) is the fruit of a commercial vehicle collaboration with Volkswagen that allows the German firm to essentially rebadge the Ranger - after some lightish interior and exterior design tweaks - as the Amarok.


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The new Ranger has made a fairly big leap in terms of desirability. Taking on more of the visual presence of Ford’s iconic US-made F-150, it has a squarer-set and more rugged look. Plus it has a much more digitally savvy cabin, with Ford’s latest, portrait-orientated Sync 4 touchscreen infotainment system on board, as well as digital instruments. Cabin design and material quality have improved notably too.

The Ranger’s engine range has been broadened out and now includes 168bhp, 202bhp and 237bhp V6 turbo diesels within the regular model range, as well as a 207bhp diesel and a new 288bhp turbo V6 petrol engine in the sporty Ranger Raptor.

A petrol-electric plug-in hybrid version of the Ranger is coming in 2025.

The four-pot diesels have better running refinement than plenty of rivals, as well as strong torque - and the 10-speed automatic gearbox with which most are partnered (only entry-level models are six-speed manuals) is smooth and slick.

To drive, the Ranger shows pretty minimal dynamic compromises compared with a similarly sized car. Its leaf-sprung rear axle feels firm and causes it to fuss over some lumps and bumps, but not many, while it steers unusually fluently and precisely for a pick-up, with decent body control and a respectable grip level on Tarmac.

Most Rangers are sold as double-cabs, but it remains available as a single-cab model as well. However, buyers of this version will need to settle for the most basic trim level, the least powerful engine and a manual gearbox.

The Ranger’s working credentials are strong, The payload is now wide enough to carry a Euro pallet, and in terms of weight it's rated for anything between 1035kg and 1207kg, depending on model. (The Raptor versions carry less and can’t be registered or taxed as commercial vehicles.)

The Ranger Raptor does get trick Fox suspension that allows it to do a passable impression of a Dakar dune-basher, however. The long-travel springs and dampers enable it to cover rough terrain at outrageous speeds, while on the road there's much greater composure and control than you might expect of a pick-up. Better still (for your entertainment, if not your wallet), the twin-turbocharged 288bhp 3.0-litre petrol V6 has enough poke to put the frighteners on the hot hatch.

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Ford's approach to Ranger pricing, its wide choice of models and its various on- and off-road static and dynamic advances make it our number one pick-up for 2024.

Save money with new Ranger deals from What Car?

2. Toyota Hilux

2 Toyota hilux top 10

Pros: Hard-working capability, as tough as they come, Toyota dealer service back-up

Cons: Four-cylinder diesel engines get noisy when working hard

The Hilux has been part of Toyota's commercial vehicle range since the late 1960s, and it has since garnered a reputation for such versatility, dependability and robustness that none of us batted an eyelid when Toyota decided to dub the fully loaded version Invincible. It’s also the only vehicle that has really challenged the Ford Ranger’s European-market sales dominance in recent years.

Regardless of trim, the Hilux is comfortable and decently finished inside, and also more refined and more pleasant to use than some of its rivals. Creditable ride and handling sophistication distinguish it too, as do dimensions that allow it to narrowly escape feeling elephantine on tighter roads.

As part of a mid-life update in 2019, the car got new bumpers and some cabin and equipment revisions, one of which made for better provision of active safety systems - features as useful on the school run, building site and everywhere in between. A year later, Toyota refined the chassis, styling and interior again, improving ride and handling by another step, and added equipment and visual appeal for the range-topping Invincible X version. 

Later again, a racily badged Toyota Hilux GR Sport version was added to celebrate the brand's success in the gruelling Dakar Rally.

It wasn’t quite the Raptor-alike that it appeared, but a more serious GR Sport II is coming. Our correspondent George Barrow has already driven it and reckoned it’s a much better road vehicle but still can’t match the Ranger off-road.

The Toyota comes with a choice of 148bhp 2.4-litre and 201bhp 2.8-litre four-cylinder diesel engines, which don't make it sound exciting next to some multi-cylinder options, even if the 2.8 has plenty of real-world performance and surprisingly decent refinement for such a big-banger four-pot (when it’s not revving hard, at least).

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Those who do need to transport heavier cargo might also be pleased to find out that its carrying capacity exceeds that of most of its competitors.

As well as the usual double cab, the Hilux is also available as a single-cab and an extended cab (which Toyota calls Extra Cab). As with the Ranger, those versions are restricted to the no-frills entry-level trim and the basic 2.4-litre engine.

Save money with new Hilux deals from What Car?

3. Isuzu D-Max

7 Isuzu d max top 10

Pros: Tough, good value, much kudos among Welsh hill farmers

Cons: Ride and handling are rougher than others, diesel engine lacks oomph

You would imagine Isuzu to be quite good at building pick-up trucks, since that's all it sells in the UK. The Isuzu D-Max has been a quiet mainstay of the pick-up market for years and was given a thorough refresh in 2021.

The D-Max comes in quite a wide variety of configurations, from Utility, the bare-bones workhorse spec, through more lifestyle-oriented versions with an infotainment system to the Raptor-alike Arctic Trucks version with raised suspension and knobbly tyres. Depending on the trim level, you can choose between a single cab, an extended cab and a double cab. The D-Max is the only pick-up to offer the extended cab in combination with the posher trims.

During our assessments, the D-Max's improved interior, five-star Euro NCAP safety rating and acceptable on-road manners all marked it out as a better vehicle than its predecessor. The D-Max still sits on a ladder chassis, which means that it's very stout and still extremely capable off road, albeit less well-mannered in its ride and handling than some.

Where it does still lag behind the competition is with its powertrain. It uses the same 1.9-litre diesel engine as before, and we found that while it's quieter than it used to be, it's still gruff, and performance from the 162bhp unit is still lethargic. The 0-62mph sprint takes close to 13sec whether you have the six-speed automatic gearbox or the six-speed manual. 

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Importantly, though, many buyers will forgive it for that, since all variants undercut their Hilux equivalents on price.

Save money with new D-Max deals from What Car?

4. Volkswagen Amarok

3 Vw amarok top 10

Pros: Mainstream trucks don’t get much more desirable than this 

Cons: Pricier than the closely related Ford Ranger

If any car kick-started the short-lived 'lifestyle pick-up' craze, it was the original Volkswagen Amarok. Of course, other makers had already delivered generously equipped and plushly finished double-cab models before, but none had the genre-crossing appeal of the VW, which combined a truck's tough utilitarian qualities with an exterior aesthetic and interior finish that aped its desirable passenger cars. We've long been big fans.

Yet despite its apparent popularity, the Amarok didn't make quite enough financial sense for Volkswagen's bean-counters to sign off development of an all-new, independently engineered second-generation version. So, as we've mentioned, the latest Amarok is actually a joint venture with Ford. That said, the Blue Oval took the lead on the development, largely because its version is likely to outsell its German counterpart by about two to one but also because both cars are based on the old Ranger's T6 platform.

Externally, just the roof panel, door handles and external mirror housings are carried over from the Ranger, but the new Amarok has a chunkier and more aggressive look than before. Inside, the Ranger's architecture is once again used, but it has been draped in Volkswagen-specific materials to give an appreciably upmarket feel. We found the Amarok to be well equipped, comfortable and easy to get along with, feeling even more like an SUV than its surprisingly classy predecessor.

Currently, there's a choice of diesel engines, with the pick of the bunch being the smooth-revving 237bhp 3.0-litre V6 TDI that's mated to Ford's 10-speed auto (the only transmission choice in the UK) and permanent four-wheel drive. From our experience behind the wheel, it steers neatly enough, and Volkswagen has brought its influence to bear with improved refinement and comfort, but that leaf-sprung rear axle still struggles with rougher roads, betraying the Amarok's commercial roots. 

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Still, if you're after a truck with more than a sheen of car-like appeal and cabin quality, the Amarok takes some beating.

Save money with new Amarok deals from What Car?

5. KGM Musso (formerly Ssangyong Musso)

6 Ssangyong musso top 10

Pros: Value for money, loadbed flexibility, cabin space

Cons: Few luxury features, rough ride

If you're after a left-field affordable pick-up option, there's always KGM (the car maker formerly known as Ssangyong), which offers the Musso – whose name means 'rhinoceros' in its homeland of South Korea. 

It's a far cry from the vaguely sporty, Ken Greenley-designed SUV of the same name that came to the UK in the mid-1990s, but we found that it delivers respectable performance and handling, as well as strong towing capacity and utility for value-savvy buyers.

The Musso's 199bhp 2.2-litre diesel engine offers more grunt than some in the class, and its rating to tow 3500kg (although only with an automatic transmission; the manual is 3200kg) on a braked trailer also trumps certain rivals. 

We think it looks a little peculiar in standard form with its short load bay, but it does offer four seats big enough to be usable by adult passengers. That it's also one of the shortest cars of its kind stands to make it appeal to those who've struggled to get vehicles like these into UK-typical parking spaces.

If you need a full-length bed, you need to opt for the highest trim level, Saracen, which opens up the option of the Saracen+. That extends the load bed length from a mere 1300mm to 1610mm, which is more than you get in the Ranger.

When we drove it, we discovered the Musso corners with very decent grip and roll control, and the fairly light steering (and helpfully small diameter steering wheel) has better centre feel than many of its rivals. The same goes for the low road and wind noise. 

Ride comfort only just clears the threshold of acceptability, but the engine feels torquey low down and impressively quiet when you're cruising, the six-gear spread giving it very long legs.

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Next year, KGM plans to launch an electric four-wheel-drive pick-up truck based on the new KGM Torres SUV.

Save money with new Musso deals from What Car?

6. Maxus T90EV

6 Maxus t90 top 10

Pros: It’s an electric pick-up that you can actually buy, it won’t cost a fortune

Cons: It’s not exactly desirable or upmarket, restless ride

If or when the UK’s commercial vehicle market is fully electrified, how many people will recognise this little-known Chinese-made truck as one of its pioneers?

The Maxus T90EV is Britain’s very first electric pick-up. Made in Wuxi by a brand owned by Chinese giant SAIC (which also owns MG), the T90 is a mid-sized truck that has been modified in order for registration as a working pick-up in the UK. In other markets, it’s rated to carry less than 1000kg, but since its UK CV tax status depends on a one-tonne classification, Maxus has uprated the vehicle’s load-carrying capabilities for UK sales.

If you recognise the badge on the grille, it may be because this brand was born when SAIC bought British van maker LDV, formerly Leyland Daf. It’s available through a UK dealer network of 60 outlets from a little under £50,000 excluding VAT, and it will deliver significant tax savings for those who pick one in place of a conventional diesel truck.

The T90EV is powered by a 201bhp electric motor that gives it more than adequate power, acceleration and drivability. However, its driving environment, while modern, is quite plain and sparsely fitted out. 

Its ride and handling are rougher than the pick-up class norm (the ride especially having been compromised by Maxus’s efforts to reinforce the load-carrying capability).

Real-world range is roughly 200 miles, or a little less when driven exclusively on the motorway.

7. Ineos Grenadier Quartermaster

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A pick-up truck version of the Ineos Grenadier is due to go on sale soon, priced from £66,215. We’ve not driven it yet, but it stands to reason that it will be very similar to the standard Grenadier 4x4.

The Quartermaster is 305mm longer than the Station Wagon, giving it a load bay that measures 1564mm long and 1619mm wide – large enough to carry a standard Euro pallet.

Its towing and payload capacities match those of the five-seat 4x4. It can pull up to 3500kg and carry up to 835kg or 760kg (in petrol and diesel guise respectively, excluding the driver’s weight). That means it won’t qualify as a commercial vehicle and will remain more of a lifestyle choice.

Used as such, it ought to be quite impressive. The load bay is fitted with 400W power take-off and four tie-down rings, while the tailgate can support up to 225kg when open.

It should be one of the best pick-ups off road, with 264mm of ground clearance and an 800mm wading depth. Its maximum approach, breakover and departure angles are 35.5deg, 26.2deg and 22.6deg. 

8. Ford F-150 Lightning

4 Ford f150 lightning

Pros: Huge, fast, comfortable, makes your race paddock's diesel generator redundant.

Cons: Huge, heavy, left-hand-drive, not sold in the UK officially

Ford was the first of the big blue-chip American truck makers to reveal that it was developing an electric version of a full-sized pick-up, its F-150. It was announced to the world before the Tesla Cybertruck, and many other brands followed suit as a result.

Now, the F-150 Lightning has been on sale in North America for a couple of years and Ford is beginning to look to export markets for it. It hasn’t been confirmed for the UK, but it is being imported into EV-dominated Norway, with other European-market distribution rumoured to be under consideration. And that was enough to entice us to put a left-hand-drive, specially imported version through our full road test process.

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The results did not disappoint. The more powerful 568bhp version of the Lightning tipped our scales at a little over 3.1 tonnes and needed more than 15m for its turning circle. Yet it still dispatched 60mph from rest in 4.5sec and a standard quarter mile in less than 13.5sec – faster, in both cases, than the celebrated E46-generation BMW M3 coupé.

In unloaded running, the Lightning proved good for Ford’s claimed 300-mile range - even if its outright carrying capacity (800kg) was limited by its heavy battery pack. It could ‘offload’ up to 9.6kW of mains power for on-site power tools; it had a 1.7m loadbay with a full-sized step hidden in the tailgate; and it had fully independent suspension for a surprisingly comfortable ride, as well as a huge and comfortable cabin.

The Lightning’s sheer size, its left-hand-drive-only cabin layout and its likely near-six-figure price are all likely to make it a rare sight in the UK, assuming it does ever get officially imported here. But amazingly, it’s sufficiently versatile that it’s still not hard to imagine a great many uses for one.

9. GMC Hummer EV

Hummer ev top 10

Pros: Monstrously quick, super-capable off road, can do crustacean impression

Cons: Not available through official channels, weighs four tonnes

If electric pick-up trucks are proving to be all about excess, GMC's Hummer EV may be the most excessive of all. In range-topping form, it has a tri-motor powertrain with 1000bhp and some 1000lb ft of torque, its battery capacity is a humongous 213kWh and it weighs a little over four tonnes. It couldn’t therefore be driven in the UK by anyone without a Category C commercial vehicle licence.

Built on General Motors’ new Ultium EV architecture, the Hummer has quite some party tricks. With an armoured underbody, it’s designed for peerless off-road performance. It can also 'crab walk', tilting its steered front and rear axles to the same angle and waltzing sideways without turning at all.

On air suspension, it rides quite gently too, besides from performing every bit as brutally as you would imagine. European availability is unlikely and UK distribution even more so, apart from through unofficial routes.

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For more, read our first drive report here.

10. Hennessey Mammoth 1000 TRX

7 Hennessey mammoth top 10

Pros: The ultimate statement truck, quick, tough

Cons: Probably a £150,000 purchase, will drain your bank account

If you’re going to bother suffering all the inconveniences of running an imported, full-size, left-hand-drive, American-market truck (and between the overhung parking spaces, the dwarfed road markings, the missed barrier tickets and all the rest, there are plenty), some would say that you might as well run a proper one. And ‘proper’ would certainly be one word to describe the Hennessey Mammoth.

A Dodge Ram widely modified by notorious Texan tuner John Hennessey, the Mammoth TRX 1000 is powered by a 1012bhp 6.2-litre supercharged Hellcat V8, and it’s claimed to be the fastest-accelerating flatbed ever produced.

Hennessey claims that it will do 0-60mph in just 3.2sec, despite being 5.8m long. It’s also capable of towing nearly 4000kg on a braked trailer.

This, then, is precisely the kind of truck that you would expect from the maker of the 300mph-plus Venom F5 hypercar, built for no other reason than because they can.

On UK roads, it feels not only huge but also typically heavy, and isn’t as rapid away from rest as you might expect - but it certainly accelerates hard once it’s rolling.

Pick-ups coming soon

Rivian R1T

Rivian r1t top 10

The Rivian R1T is what you end up with if you set up a brand-new car business with a small band of talented engineers and an ex-Jeep designer and design your own EV platform from scratch in a bid to give the world its first 'adventure EV'. 

According to company boss RJ Scaringe, Rivians split the difference between a modern Land Rover and a Tesla. They're already available in the US but won't come to Europe until 2026, and whether the R1T will be among those shipped over here is unclear.

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The R1T was the first Rivian to hit the road. It's a compact double-cab pick-up by American norms, so it's about the size of most of the other pick-ups on this list. Rivian promises a range of 300 miles from a 135kWh battery pack, or 400 miles from a 180kWh pack. A smaller battery with a 250-mile range is coming as well.

Rivian says the R1T can able to tow up to 5000kg – that's about two Range Rovers. However, it's positioned more as an adventure vehicle than a work truck, and it's expected it will only be rated to carry up to 800kg.

It has not one, not two, not even three, but four motors for more than 700bhp, 800lb ft of torque and a 0-60mph time of 3.0sec. Having four motors also means four-wheel torque vectoring. 

We await a UK test drive with much interest.

Tesla Cybertruck

Tesla cybertruck top 10

The angular - and allegedly bulletproof - Tesla Cybertruck has up to three electric motors and more than 500 miles of range in its top-level trim, with a claimed towing capacity of more than 6000kg and a loading bay the same size as that of a Ford F-150. Like Tesla's other bigger models, the Cybertruck runs on height-adjustable air suspension.

Whether it will be officially imported to Europe or the UK remains to be seen.


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Illya Verpraet

Illya Verpraet Road Tester Autocar
Title: Road Tester

As part of Autocar’s road test team, Illya drives everything from superminis to supercars, and writes reviews, comparison tests, as well as the odd feature and news story. 

Much of his time is spent wrangling the data logger and wielding the tape measure to gather the data for Autocar’s eight-page road tests, which are the most rigorous in the business thanks to independent performance, fuel consumption and noise figures.

Matt Saunders

Matt Saunders Autocar
Title: Road test editor

As Autocar’s chief car tester and reviewer, it’s Matt’s job to ensure the quality, objectivity, relevance and rigour of the entirety of Autocar’s reviews output, as well contributing a great many detailed road tests, group tests and drive reviews himself.

Matt has been an Autocar staffer since the autumn of 2003, and has been lucky enough to work alongside some of the magazine’s best-known writers and contributors over that time. He served as staff writer, features editor, assistant editor and digital editor, before joining the road test desk in 2011.

Since then he’s driven, measured, lap-timed, figured, and reported on cars as varied as the Bugatti Veyron, Rolls-Royce PhantomTesla RoadsterAriel Hipercar, Tata Nano, McLaren SennaRenault Twizy and Toyota Mirai. Among his wider personal highlights of the job have been covering Sebastien Loeb’s record-breaking run at Pikes Peak in 2013; doing 190mph on derestricted German autobahn in a Brabus Rocket; and driving McLaren’s legendary ‘XP5’ F1 prototype. His own car is a trusty Mazda CX-5.

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ianp55 25 October 2022

Just curious why Jeep UK still hasn't bought the Gladiator here,since FIAT bought Jeep the model range has been reduced and sales have plumitted introduction of the pickup to the range could bring some punters back  

HiPo 289 6 August 2021

This top ten is madness.  Diesel pick-ups are obsolete and will be worthless as soon as the new generation of electric trucks arrive.  For the sake of your wallet, keep running your old truck until the market switches to electric.  Otherwise you will end up wth a stranded asset that no-one wants. 

russ13b 23 March 2022

Do you apply this logic to everything with an engine? Electric isn't going to take over heavy-duty applications as quickly as you appear expect, people who actually use them as "workhorses" aren't going to risk any early adopter unreliability, and also may have insufficient charging capability.