Pick-up trucks tested: best for towing and carrying

Pick-ups aren’t just workhorses for farmers and tradesmen; they can also serve as family vehicles. Let’s see which of the latest crop gets the job done best...

Ford Ranger towing a caravan

Best for towing

Our contenders are all capable of pulling a braked trailer weighing up to 3500kg, but the muscular Ford Ranger makes it look easiest. It yanked our test caravan from 30-60mph in 12.5sec in our test, making it not just quicker than its rivals but a veritable supercar next to the Isuzu D-Max, which took 17.4sec. Indeed, the latter is slow enough to make you second guess pulling into traffic.

True, the D-Max stopped in the shortest distance with the caravan on the back, but it pulled to the right at the same time, whereas the Ranger – which went only slightly farther before coming to a standstill – felt the most stable.

Ford Ranger towing a caravan - side

High-speed stability is also impressive in the Ranger, and it keeps itself and the caravan under control in an emergency lane change, whereas the slower steering of the Toyota Hilux makes this sort of manoeuvre more challenging and can cause the caravan to weave in a somewhat unnerving manner.

Instead, it’s the Ssangyong Musso that you might want to consider as an alternative to the Ranger if you tow regularly; it performs almost as well in terms of stability and trailer control.

Best for carrying

All of our contenders have a maximum payload of more than a tonne, but when it comes to hauling things in its load bed, the Musso is the one to beat. Not only does it have the highest payload (1095kg) but it can lug all of that weight even when it’s pulling a 3500kg trailer, whereas the Ranger, for example, is restricted to 254kg in those circumstances.

Ssangyong Musso 2020 load bed

The Musso also has the widest load bed and aperture, and it’s the only one to come with a protective bed liner. The only limitation is that its bed is the shortest.

By contrast, the Ranger has the longest bed, although it narrows towards the bulkhead, meaning you can’t use the full length if you happen to be transporting broad sheets of plywood.

Although the Hilux has the next longest bed, its shallowness limits the height of what you can carry, and it’s the narrowest between the rear wheel arches.

As for the D-Max, it sits somewhere in the middle, providing a decent rather than exceptionally sized load area and the second-highest payload.

Isuzu D-Max 

New Isuzu D-Max load area

Maximum payload 1070kg
Maximum payload while towing 470kg
Maximum trailer weight (braked) 3500kg

Ford Ranger

Ford Ranger load area

Maximum payload 1024kg
Maximum payload while towing 254kg
Maximum trailer weight (braked) 3500kg

Ssangyong Musso

Ssangyong Musso load area

Maximum payload 1095kg
Maximum payload while towing 1095kg
Maximum trailer weight (braked) 3500kg

Toyota Hilux

Toyota Hilux load area

Maximum payload 1015kg
Maximum payload while towing 675kg
Maximum trailer weight (braked) 3500kg

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