Take your pick 08 June 2012

Pick-ups are not just for the leisure and owner-operator markets. Many larger operators are adding them to their commercial vehicle fleets. John Challen looks at two new offerings

The light commercial vehicle sector continues to expand in several directions. As well as more compact car-derived vans, such as Fiat's Punto-based product, and the rise of the combi van platform, the number of contenders in the pick-up truck market has also increased.

Great Wall Motor chose April's CV Show to launch of its Steed model – the Chinese manufacturer betting on winning custom on price, with no apparent reduction in quality. Starting at £13,998 for what is clearly a well-equipped double-cab 4x4 pick-up, the firm expects business to be brisk.

Great Wall is promsing more than just a low-cost versatile load-lugger, though. Steed comes with a galvanised steel skin and a rust-proofed ladder-frame chassis, strengthened and braced by reinforced middle cross-members. There is also an impact-resistant rear beam and a reinforced cargo bed.

Carrying capacity compares well with many other pick-ups already established, too – with a payload of 1,000kg, towing capability of 2,000kg (braked trailer and 750kg unbraked) and a cargo bay measuring 1,380mm x 1,460mm x 480mm.

It also delivers good fuel economy, via its newly-developed 2-litre, 16-valve turbocharged diesel powerplant (30.1mpg urban; 37.7mpg extra urban; 34.0 mpg combined) – and comes in at a low insurance rating of just 7A.

As for the powertrain itself, this is a four-cylinder diesel fitted with charge air cooled intercooler, new glow plug technology and a VGT (variable-geometry turbocharger), with Delphi high-pressure common-rail direct injection and EGR (exhaust gas recirculation).

It's also long stroke – and hence its maximum power of 143PS at 4,000 rpm, as well as torque of 305Nm over a rev-band from 1,800 to 2,800 rpm – delivered through a six-speed manual box and an 'on-demand' part-time, four-wheel-drive, selected by pressing a dashboard button on the move.

Incidentally, Great Wall also says it has already established a nationwide network of 40 dealers, with standards of customer service "that will break new ground in the pick-up market".

Take it to the (D-)Max
Meanwhile, Isuzu's all-new D-Max pick-up will be covered by a unique-in-class five-year/120,000-mile warranty, according to the company. The manufacturer claims a lot of interest, and believes that the added assurance over maintenance scheduling will persuade even more individuals and operators to choose the D-Max.

"Warranty cover for five years, or 120,000 miles, gives buyers of the new Isuzu D-Max peace of mind for longer than any other pick-up in the UK," insists William Brown, general manager for Isuzu UK. "Isuzu has become renowned for producing rugged, durable pick-ups, and we're now demonstrating our absolute confidence in the toughness of our new product."

The new Isuzu D-Max will be available with four specification levels and three cab configurations – extended cab, single cab and double cab. Prices range from £14,499 for the single cab 4x2 derivative, rising to £21,499 for the range-topping 'Utah' specification double cab automatic.

The new Isuzu D-Max's five-year / 120,000-mile warranty comprises a standard 36-month / 60,000-mile manufacturer's warranty and an extended warranty provided by the importer, Isuzu UK, for up to a total of 60 months or 120,000 miles, whichever comes sooner. Customer deliveries begin in early July.

John Challen

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