The evolution of the Pickup – In recent years right throughout Europe, we are all seeing a very visible increase in the number of pickups entering the market.
In what is a very common sight in the US and in Australia, pickups of all shapes and sizes are now appealing to Europeans in a way that has never been seen before. It’s now a common sight to see pickups driving on the autobahns in Germany, exploring the green lanes in the UK, tackling the tracks in Romania and exploring the great outdoors in general right throughout Europe, and according to recent figures the increase in numbers being purchased annually is set to continue.
So why the sudden change in consumers interest in driving pickups in Europe?. Firstly, pickups are no longer seen as just working vehicles and with the improvements in fuel consumption, comfort and technology they are now seen as a viable alternative to traditional 4WD vehicles.
Also, with the disappearance of vehicles like the Land Rover Defender, which is no longer in production, pickups are now filling a gap in the market for those in search of a 4WD that looks good, is economical to run and can also pull a boat, camper trailer or caravan.
And with this increasing trend, we are also now seeing more manufacturers who traditionally never built pickups introducing new models into the marketplace. We are also starting to see companies developing aftermarket accessories for this emerging market and so the cycle begins.
So where did it all begin? ‘ Ford Australia’ claimed to be the first company to produce an Australian “ute”, which was released in 1934. Apparently, the concept was the result of a letter sent in 1932 from the unnamed wife of a farmer in Australia asking for “a vehicle that could travel to church on a Sunday and which could also carry the pigs to the market on Mondays”. In response, Ford designer, Lew Bandt, designed a two-door body with a tray at the rear for the American Ford Model A chassis, and the model was named “coupe utility”. The original pickups were introduced in the USA as early as the 1920s and we all have seen them appear in the black and white movies.
It’s interesting to note that the worldwide market for pickups is expected to grow at a CAGR of approximately 3.7% over the next five years with the mid-size pickups proving to be the most popular in Europe (GIR Global Info Research study). So, it looks like we are in the midst of a Pick-up Revolution world-wide.
The Aftermarket Industry
With this new interest in pickups in Europe, aftermarket companies like Ironman 4×4 certainly have been making headway when it comes to developing after-market shocks for pickups. In 2018, Ironman 4×4 has gained formal approval for its range of suspension kits by German TÜV Nord and the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA).
The Australian based Ironman 4×4 is the first suspension company in the world to successfully receive this stringent approval for the most popular current model 4×4 pickups that include the Toyota Hilux, Toyota Prado 150, Isuzu D-Max, Mitsubishi L200 Triton, Nissan Navara NP300, Ford Ranger, VW Amarok, Mercedes X-Class, Fiat Fullback and the Renault Alaskan.
For German customers, this means that for their 4×4`s they can legally install the KBA/ABE certified suspension kit upgrade without requiring annual recertification. For other European 4×4 owners the TÜV Nord approval also allows for legal installation and conformity with all national and international road laws.
The Navara has been designed and engineered for the specific requirements and preferences of the European market and is manufactured locally at Nissan’s plant in Barcelona, Spain. Improving comfort and refinement while maintaining the Navara’s acclaimed off-road ability, durability, loading and towing capacity, was the overriding goal during the new NISSAN NAVARAS vehicle’s development.
The model has a robust and tough chassis which introduces a host of new engineering features designed to further improve drivability and practicality. Using the same crossover DNA that has produced popular passenger cars such as the class-leading Qashqai and X-Trail. Nissan’s five-year / 160,000 km manufacturer warranty on the Navara is impressive and highlights the companies confidence in this vehicle.
Nissan designed an all-new five-link rear suspension system for the Double Cab, providing enhanced ride comfort and improved handling on and off-road. It is also 20kg lighter than the previous leaf spring layout. The King Cab features an updated version of the leaf spring design fitted to the previous generation model.
The ‘shift-on-the-fly’ four-wheel drive system builds on the strengths of the design fitted to the previous generation model and delivers sure-footed traction over rough terrain.
FORD RANGER RAPTOR
The Ford Ranger Raptor looks the business. Every detail has been precision engineered for a tough life of mountain climbing, river wading and desert driving. From the built-for-purpose front and rear bumpers, and front skid plate, to the distinct Ford Ranger Raptor grille and the alloy wheels with durable tyres. The Ranger Raptor makes a bold statement everywhere you go. The vehicle includes a powerful, new Terrain Management System. With the push of a button, you can choose from six different modes, each one optimising performance for different terrain: Normal mode, Sport mode, Grass, Gravel and Snow mode, Mud and Sand mode, Rock mode, and for unbeatable off-road performance, Baja mode.
The Ford Ranger Raptor perfectly fuses Ford Performance DNA with good off-road capability. The well regarded Fox Pro performance-inspired suspension has been precision tuned to tackle the toughest terrains – soaking up big impacts, and smoothing out bumps and ruts with ease. The ladder-frame chassis has been forged with high-strength low-alloy steel to meet the extreme demands of off-road performance driving.
All-terrain BF Goodrich 285/70 R17 tyres have been specially developed for the Ranger Raptor. Measuring 838 mm in diameter and 285 mm wide, the design offers a tough sidewall to take on the most formidable environments with confidence, and an aggressive off-road tread pattern which provides an iron grip in wet, mud, sand and snow conditions.
Ranger Raptor also features unique underbody protection to deflect off-road obstacles. The new bash plate is made from 2.3 mm thickness high-strength steel in addition to the Ranger’s standard engine and transfer case under-shields
The declared Fuel/Energy Consumptions, CO2 emissions and electric range are measured according to the technical requirements and specifications of the European Regulations (EC) 715/2007 and (EC) 692/2008 as last amended. Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are specified for a vehicle variant and not for a single car. The applied standard test procedure enables comparison between different vehicle types and different manufacturers.
2018 was the 50th anniversary of the Hilux and to mark the big birthday the 2018 Hilux Special Edition entered the market. The Hilux Special Edition boasts all the toughness, robustness, and legendary Quality, Durability and Reliability (QDR) that have made the Hilux a very popular pick up all over the world for a very long time.
Available in Double Cab format with automatic transmission, this Special Edition features an exclusive exterior design appropriate to its range-topping status. The new front new styling incorporates a revised grille, bumper, and fog light designs, and the integration of a silver under-run, reinforcing the Toyota pick-up’s tough, robust, go-anywhere credentials.
The rear benefits from a new step and the addition of a silver under-run beneath the license plate. The Hilux 2018 Special Edition reflects the ongoing growth in European sales of Toyota’s renowned pick-up as a lifestyle choice.
The Amarok V6 combines everything that you expect from an exclusive, premium-class all-rounder: The Amarok has an 8-speed automatic transmission and while first gear has been specially optimised for pulling off when towing a trailer, eighth gear reduces fuel consumption through low-speed driving on long journeys.
Equally unique: the option to combine the gearbox with the permanent 4MOTION all-wheel driveThe 150 kW2 and 165 kW3 six-cylinder turbodiesel engines with 3.0 l capacity have more than enough reserves even in the most demanding situations. Additional power comes from the overboost function, which briefly increases the performance of the V6 165 kW TDI engine by up to 180 kW depending on the driving situation.
The Amarok’s wide selection of 3.0 litre V6 TDI engines boasts enough power to tackle the most demanding terrain. 163hp to 224hp (overboost of 245hp) and 580Nm of torque.
The V6 Amarok also comes with an Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, 17-inch disc brakes at the front and 16-inch disc brakes in the rear as standard with the trailer stabilisation system providing good protection against snaking trailers.
MERCEDES X CLASS
Launched in Europe in November 2017, the X-Class unites the typical characteristics of a pickup with the classical strengths of a Mercedes: The new performance pickup has a comfort suspension with a ladder-type frame, rear multi-link solid axle, front independent wheel suspension and coil springs at both axles.
On this platform, it enters the market with different design and equipment lines, various drive variants, a wide choice of materials and colours and an extensive range of accessories developed by Mercedes-Benz which allow for further individualisation. The X-Class accommodates various uses from a robust, off-road capable pickup to an urban lifestyle and family vehicle.This pickup comes in three design and equipment variants for different working and life styles:These include the X-Class PURE,the X-Class PROGRESSIVE and the X-Class POWER
Engageable 4MATIC all-wheel drive, is available for the X 220 d 4MATIC and X 250 d 4MATIC models.With it, the front wheels can be engaged or disengaged by electric means depending on the surface. The permanent 4MATIC all-wheel drive system will only be offered in conjunction with the six-cylinder engine. All the all-wheel drive models come with Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR) on board as standard.
According to the manufacturers, almost a century of truck-manufacturing DNA has gone into the ISUZU D-MAX to deliver a kick ass pick-up
With extensive experience in building diesel engines, ISUZU has created a 2.5L Two-Stage Turbo diesel engine with 120kW/400Nm flat torque performance. .With 3-tonne towing capacity, a larger and stronger rear tray and 4X4 electronic shift-on-the-fly, this is a capable pickup. The onboard Intelligent cabin design allows good road visibility while Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA) and projector headlamps actively work to keep drivers alert to potential hazards and in control.
When combined with its tough, high tensile steel cabin, energy-absorbing front end, side-impact anti-intrusion bars and dual front airbags with pre-tensioning seatbelts you can be assured that the D-MAX is made stronger and safer for you and your passengers.
The TRITON/L200 design comes with a design concept “Rock Solid” that embodies, both inside and out, the full essence of its “Engineered Beyond Tough” development keyphrase. The front face incorporates the “Dynamic Shield” front design concept. The high engine hood line and beefier-looking lamps located higher up gives this pick up an imposing front face. New TRITON/L200 4WD models are fitted with either Super-Select 4WD, which delivers optimum traction and handling characteristics for any given surface, or Easy-Select 4WD, which simplifies switching between drive modes for different road surfaces. Both Super-Select and Easy-Select 4WD systems use a new Off-road Mode which has GRAVEL, MUD/SNOW, SAND and ROCK (in 4LLc only) settings. When engaged, Off-road Mode integrally controls engine power, transmission and braking to regulate the amount of wheel slip and thereby maximize all-terrain performance and self-extraction performance in mud or snow.