Pick-Up of the Year 2014
Nominations: Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-Max, Mitsubishi L200, Toyota HiluxIsuzu D-Max
Happily the floods have subsided at long last throughout most of the country although the damage that was done will remain evident for many months to come. And there are householders who will testify that if a tide of dirty, grey, debris-and-sewage-ridden water comes swirling towards your front door, then the sight they will welcome the most is that of an Isuzu D-Max pick-up coming to the rescue laden with sandbags.VansA2Z can certainly testify to the effectiveness of D-Max in that role, helped in no small measure by its narrow girth and manoeuvrability. And while gross payload is quoted at around 1.0 to 1.1 tonne depending on the model selected, it will shift more weight than that under emergency conditions.That's because D-Max is designed as a workhorse rather than as a Chelsea tractor, and is just as at home in a farmyard or on a construction site than it is parked outside a fancy West End boutique. It should therefore come as no surprise that it has driven off with our Pick-Up of the Year award for the second time in a row.Customers can choose from either a 4x2 or a 4x4 and opt for a four-door double cab, a two-door single cab or a stretched single cab with rear-opening half-doors. Power comes courtesy of a 163hp 2.5-litre diesel married to either a six-speed manual gearbox or a five-speed automatic. It helps enable 4x4 models haul a braked trailer grossing at up to 3.5 tonne, meaning even more sandbags can be delivered.Four different levels of specification are offered and are generous. Even the most basic model in the line-up comes with air-conditioning and electric windows. Mention should also be made of the five-year/125,000-mile warranty; a tribute to D-Max's reliability and durability.
Ford's stylish Ranger collects our Highly Commended pick-up prize. A wide range of models, strong engines, a high standard of equipment and the strength and ubiquity of the Big Blue Oval's dealer network all combine to make it a sound choice that is unlikely to disappoint.