More often than not, the big ones dominate — this is quite true in the Philippine automotive scene as data has consistently shown that sales of SUVs, MPVs, pickup trucks and light utility vans are substantially higher than other vehicle types. While durability, resistance and comfort could top the list of reasons, there are over a dozen other rationalizations for the choice of vehicle among them the huge cargo space as Filipinos for some reason seem to bring lots of stuff with them wherever they go, and passenger capacity as Filipinos love to bring the whole family, including extended members like aunts and uncles, grandmas and grandpas, cousins, even pets — and probably the entire neighborhood — with them on out-of-town trips, special gatherings, camping, glamping and other kinds of road tripping.
Out of the big vehicles earlier mentioned, there's a notable rise in popularity of pickup trucks during the last quarter of 2019, as shown by sales data culled by an automotive-focused online publication. This isn't surprising though as data in 2018 also showed that of the total vehicle units sold for both private and commercial vehicles, more than one-eighth of them were pickup trucks.
It is easy to see why pickup trucks have gained importance in the local market. The Philippines is prone to calamities especially typhoons which can cause flooding and landslides, has rough terrains and bad road conditions in certain areas, and is largely agricultural. The pickup truck is one of the best vehicles to traverse a hilly path or rough road, wade through flood, survive a slippery road, and carry a load of vegetables or sacks of fertilizers or poultry feeds. Aside from these, the pickup truck is exempted from the heavy excise tax imposed by the government on vehicle purchases making it a cheaper option than most vehicles sold locally.
If you're one of those who is keen on owning a brand-new but decently-priced pickup truck, we have listed the possible best choices for you. Read on to know more about these recommended brands and models and we hope you'll be able to make an informed decision should you proceed with purchasing one.
Advantages of Owning a Pickup Truck
If you're unsure whether a pickup truck is a vehicle that suits your needs, we have listed the benefits of this type of vehicle.
Off-Road and All-Terrain Capabilities. Have you ever noticed those mean-looking wheels with large tires that have deep, open treads in a pickup? Or peeked at the parts of the frame from the wide gap between the wheels and the fenders? The parts of the pickup, from the body to the tires, as well as its suspension setup, are designed to give it off-road capabilities. A pickup truck usually has a full-frame construction, a high ground clearance and has a four-wheel (4WD) drivetrain enabling it to roll on and off paved or gravel surfaces. All these make the pickup capable of handling all sorts of driving surfaces and rough out most weather conditions.
Toughness and Durability. The pickup truck's strong, ladder-type frames and the way that its body is separated from the chassis make for its toughness and allows it to handle off-roading without difficulty. This also enables the truck to carry heavy loads. More importantly, in case of an accident, the vehicle is less likely to suffer much damage. With toughness comes durability. A good pickup truck is more durable than any other vehicle in its class, all thanks to its stronger body. The separate cab and bed makeup allows for higher flexibility of the chassis enabling the pickup to pull, haul and tow with ease.
Towing and Hauling Capabilities. Ever wondered why the vehicle is called a "pickup truck"? For obvious reasons, the term "pick up" refers to the vehicle's ability to haul and transport heavy loads. This is one of the practical and main reasons people opt for a pickup truck. And this is also the vehicle's best feature. It can pull, haul and tow just about anything within its allowable weight. Some pickup truck models feature built-in towing hitches while in some other models, the hooks come as add-ons. This vehicle can haul large items with ease and can carry and transport heavy loads, like a ton of sand, wood, gravel, or fruit and veggies, in its bed. Some models like the Mitsubishi Strada and Isuzu D-MAX can carry weight of at least 954kg and 1,085kg.
Safety and Dependability Features. As mentioned earlier, a pickup truck is tough and durable. While safety on the road depends on a number of factors such as driver's skills, driver's ability to focus, weather, proper vehicle maintenance and active and vehicle's passive safety features, pickup trucks are designed to be sturdy such that they can survive crashes and sustain minimum damage in case of an accident. It can even wade through knee-deep floods, depending on the vehicle's fording or wading depth. For instance, the Ford Ranger has a wading depth of 800mm which means it can push its way through waters with half of its body submerged, making it a good vehicle to use in flood-prone areas or as a rescue vehicle.
The current generation of pickup trucks are also fitted with airbags, smart braking technologies, stability control systems, among other safety features.
High Power. Pickup trucks sport powerful engines with high torque and power output. This allows carrying and hauling without sacrificing the comfort, quality and safety of the ride.
Immense Space. This type of vehicle is spacious and can be as comfortable as a car. There's enough room and seats in the cab for a small family; plus, you can still tow your things like your boat or big bike, or carry precious cargo in the vehicle's bed.
Good Visibility. The driver's seat in a pickup truck affords a clear view of the surroundings and the road making it easier and safer to navigate.
Versatility. Another good thing about pickup trucks is they come with different configurations and you can select the cab or bed length, transmission type and engine that fits your need and purpose, whether it be towing, daily commute, or off-roading.
Value for Money. It may come as a surprise but many pickup trucks, such as those on our list, come cheaper by the pound. There are also often a lot of discounts offered by dealerships, not to mention that it isn't subjected to the excise tax imposed on vehicles.
Cheapest Pickup Trucks in the Philippines in 2020
Here's our least of affordable pickup trucks in the Philippine market today, with a price range of less than PHP 1 million.
7. Maxus T60
- Affordably priced
- Has good safety features
- Has a decent powertrain for a pickup truck
- A good set of 19-inch wheels
- Low-quality materials might compromise durability
- Maintenance services might be difficult to obtain
In the Philippines, the Maxus T60 comes in the form of a midsize double-cab pickup truck that comes in two drivetrain layouts, a 4x2 and a 4x4. Manufactured by SAIC under the Maxus brand, it became official in 2016 and was the first Chinese-made pickup equipped with six airbags. It is also SAIC's first-ever pickup truck model designed for the global market.
The Maxus T60 sits on a ladder-on-frame chassis and comes with a suspension layout of front double wishbones and rear leaf springs. It rolls on 19-inch alloy wheels fitted with front and rear disc brakes.
There are 3 variants of the pickup: the Maxus T60 Pro 4x2 MT, Maxus T60 Pro 4x2 AT and the top-ranging Maxus T60 Elite 4x4 AT. Under the hood of all these variants is a Euro 4 compliant 2,776cc 2.8L 4-cylinder 16-valve turbo diesel with Variable Geometry Turbochanger (VGT) and intercooler that can pump out a maximum power output of 148hp at 3,400rpm and 360Nm of peak torque at 1,600rpm to 2,800rpm. The T60 Pro comes with gearbox options of either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic, while the T60 Elite only has an automatic transmission option.
The notable exterior features are LED headlamps, daytime-running lights (DRL), rear and front fog lamps, roof rails, rain-sensing window wipers, electric outside rearview mirror, four cargo tie-down points at the back, sports bar, mud flaps for the wheel arches, side steps and an acrylic tub liner.
Inside the spacious cabin is a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment with 6 speakers system, with CarPlay pus MirrorLink and USB and Bluetooth 6 compatibility. There's a rear aircon vent, rear 12-volt socket, driver seat's 6-way power adjust and front passenger's 4-way manual adjust.
Rider assist and safety features include a keyless entry, cruise control, brake assist (BA), anti-lock braking system (ABD) and electronic brake-force distribution (EBD).
|Cheapest Variant||Maxus T60 Pro 4x2 MT 2020|
|Highlight||Scored a 5-star rating on New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) for global safety standards|
6. Foton Thunder
- Superior powertrain
- Spacious cabin
- Comfortable seats
- Spacious bed/cargo compartment
- No side-curtain airbags for passengers
- Safety features are lacking
Chinese brand Foton knows that power is crucial to a pickup truck being itself a manufacturer of big vehicles likes trucks and buses. Hence, in terms of power, the Foton Thunder is not one to sneeze at. The pickup comes in two drivetrain layouts, which are 4x2 or 4x4 both with limited-slip differential trims. Under the hood is a 2,800cc 2.8L inline-4, 16-valve turbocharged Cummins ISF CRDI turbo-diesel engine that delivers up to 161hp of power output at 3,600rpm and linked to a 5-speed GETRAG manual transmission with gear shift indicator that is capable of 360Nm of peak torque at 1,500rpm. The Foton Thunder is the first light commercial vehicle to run on a Cummins ISF engine, and the brands Cummins and GETRAG already speak loud about the value for money that you can get from the Thunder.
Foton claims that the Thunder's engine integrates modern thermal engineering and emissions technology and has reduced noise and vibration levels.
The Foton Thunder boasts strength and durability, courtesy of its rigid chassis built on a ladder-on-frame layout and its reinforced steel body. A suspension setup of front independent double wishbone and rear parallel leaf spring ensures good balance and stability. It rolls on 16-inch wheels, which when combined with the low-range gearbox and powerful engine, makes tackling extreme off-road conditions almost effortless.
The Thunder has a large load bay with dimensions of 1,520mm in length, 1,580mm in width and 440mm height. This allows the pickup to carry up to 1-ton worth of cargo.
Safety features come in the form of dual airbags, child safety lock and rear-parking sensor. Other notable features are remote-controlled power windows, leather seats and interior lights-off delay.
|Cheapest Variant||Foton Thunder 4x2 MT|
|Highlight||Powered by Cummins ISF engine paired with a GETRAG 5-speed manual transmission system|
5. TATA Xenon
- Fuel efficient at 5.6km per liter
- Good off-road capability
- Good suspension setup
- Nice exterior design
- Affordable price
- Small legroom for backseat passengers
- Lack of cruise and stability control
- No side/curtain airbags for back-seat passengers
- Back seats can be uncomfortable during a long drive
Indian brand TATA has designed its pickup van, the TATA Xenon, to be reliable, fuel efficient and fun to drive even on rugged terrains, giving this vehicle a competitive edge versus other brands and models of this class. Whether it's for personal use of for business, the pickup truck combines affordability, toughness and decent looks with modern amenities.
Two drivetrain layout variants are offered for this pickup model, the rear-wheel drive dual-cab 4x2 and four-wheel drive 4x4 Xenon X2.
The TATA Xenon can be counted upon as a regular workhorse with its 2,179cc 2.2L Dicor inline-4 turbocharged diesel engine that can churn 148hp of maximum power at 4,000rpm and 320Nm of peak torque at 1,500rpm. This power mill is attached to a 5-speed manual tranny.
The Xenon's stability and handling are made possible by its independent suspension with double wishbone in front with a torsion bar shock absorber, and a parabolic leaf spring at the rear with hydraulic double acting shock absorber. The pickup is fitted with a set of 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels.
A comfortable cabin with a trendy modern finish awaits the Xenon driver and passenger, with notable features such as a two-tone color dashboard, electronically controlled windows and side mirrors, a tilt-able steering wheel, lumbar support for the front seats and a mobile charging port.
The pickup also comes with standard safety features such as dual airbags in front, auto-leveling headlamps, ABS and a limited slip differential for a better grip of the road.
|Cheapest Variant||TATA Xenon Dual-Cab 4x2 MT|
|Highlight||Low price range with reliable features|
4. Nissan Navara
- Power figures are impressive; brisk performance
- All-around view monitor
- Comfortable cabin
- Good towing capacity
- Good off-road capability
- Minimal safety and ride assist features for this variant
- No cruise control feature
- No rear parking sensors
Nissan is among last year's top 10 best car brands and in spite of current challenges brought by COVID-19, the fact that the brand is well trusted will never change. The Nissan Navara is the Japanese automaker's entry to the pickup truck market segment and it doesn't disappoint especially in terms of looks, comfort and reliability.
Like almost all pickup models out there, the Navara comes in either a 4x2 or a 4x4 drivetrain layout. In the Philippines, there are seven variants for the 4x2 Navara catered to consumers different requirements, while six variants are offered for the 4x4. This article focuses in the cheapest trim which is the standard Nissan Navara 4x2 6-Speed MT.
All variants have a single engine choice, a 2.5L 4-cylinder 16-valve diesel engine that produces varying power outputs based on the variant. The Navara's standard 4x2 variant's engine produces 163hp of maximum power output at 3,600rpm and 403Nm of peak torque at 2,000rpm, mated with a 6-speed manual gearbox that sends power to the rear wheels.
A full-length and fully boxed ladder-frame underneath the Nissan Navara makes it sturdy and stiff, while the five-link suspension at the rear allows a comfortable ride for passengers regardless of terrain. It rolls on 15-inch steel wheels.
One feature of the Navara 4x2 MT that's worth noting is the Nissan Intelligent Mobility in the form of an Around View Monitor — a feature that provided the driver with a 360-degrees view of the pickup truck. It also has a keyless entry and central-locking feature.
|Cheapest Variant||Nissan Navara 4x2 6-Speed MT|
|Highlight||Intelligent amenities from the Nissan Intelligent Mobility technology|
3. Toyota Hilux
- Good off-road capability
- Proven to be reliable and tough
- Affordable price point
- Minimal safety and ride-assist features for this variant
- Not too fuel efficient
Leading automobile manufacturer Toyota's most popular bunch of vehicles in the local market include the midsize pickup van Toyota Hilux. It is not only in the Philippines where this pickup has gained good standing, it is also widely popular worldwide for being a reliable workhorse for almost any task. The Philippine model of the 2020 Toyota Hilux boasts improved looks and more powerful engine options. The 2021 Hilux has been most recently unveiled, and will be released in the market around August this year. It is said to sport considerable changes such as a bolder front fascia with enlarged grille and front bumper as well as LED headlights; it will also have a fresh set of wheels and LED taillights, depending on the variant.
The current eighth-generation Toyota Hilux arrived in the local scene only 5 years ago, but since it has been contributing a healthy amount of market share for Toyota Philippines. The latest model of the pickup truck is based on Toyota's IMV platform similar to the SUVs Toyota Fortuner and Innova. One of its best features is its robust carrying capacity straight off the factory.
Like most pickup vans, the Hilux comes in either a 4x2 or 4x4 drivetrain, with seven variants for the former and five variants for the latter, each designed to cater to a customer's specific needs and budget. This article focuses on the lower trim priced below PHP 1 million, which is the Toyota Hilux 2.4 J 4x2 MT Diesel.
Under the hood of the lower variants, including the Toyota Hilux 2.4 J 4x2 MT, is a 2.393cc 2.4L 4-cylinder 16-valve 2GD-FTV turbo-diesel motor that can deliver a maximum power output of 147hp at 3,400rpm and an all-out torque of 343Nm at 2,800rpm, attached to a 5-speed manual gearbox.
The suspension setup of the Toyota Hilux consists of a double wishbone in front and a rigid axle with leaf springs at the rear. It rides on 15-inch steel wheels.
|Cheapest Variant||Toyota Hilux 2.4 J 4x2 MT Diesel|
|Highlight||Tested reliability and performance; shares the same Toyota IMV platform with the Toyota Fortuner and Toyota Innova|
2. Mitsubishi Strada
- Good off-road capability
- Good mechanical setup and strong chassis
- Stiff suspension is great off the road but not on-road
- The heightened stance causes a slight body roll
- Engine is noisy and unrefined if you step on the gas pedal
Widely recognized in the Philippines' pickup truck market segment, the Mitsubishi Strada, which is now on its third generation, has been given a cosmetic update last year making it more good-looking than ever. The new, more muscular-looking model boasts Mitsubishi's Dynamic Shield exterior design language, which includes the "X" fascia, which is similar to its siblings the Mitsubishi Xpander, Mitsubishi Montero Sport and ASX. Slimmer headlights which were split to have the main lights on top of the signal lights and C-shaped chrome accents especially for the fog lamps complete the front look.
Outside of the looks department, the Strada promises to conquer any road, urban or country. Its interior is also made to provide comfort with soft-pad materials lining the cabin.
The facelifted pickup truck has two drivetrain layouts, with seven variants available for the 4x2 layout, and three for the 4x4. This article focuses on the cab and chassis variant, the Mitsubishi Strada Cab and Chassis 2.5D 4x2 MT, which is powered by a 2,477cc 2.5L 4-cylinder 16-valve Common Rail Direct Injection 4D56 diesel engine that can pump power of up to 134hp at 4,000rpm and a maximum torque of 324Nm at 2,000rpm. This engine is paired with a 5-speed manual transmission.
The pickup van sits on a reinforced ladder-on-frame chassis and it is equipped with a suspension layout of independent wishbone up front and a live axle with leaf springs at the rear. Its wheels are fitted with front disc brakes and rear drum brakes for a good stopping power.
Other features include power steering, power windows and audio controls on the steering wheel.
Being just a cab and chassis, this variant can be configured to add to its chassis a bed, an enclosed van-type, a passenger layout or other specific configurations that the pickup truck owner requires.
|Cheapest Variant||Mitsubishi Strada Cab and Chassis 2.5D 4x2 MT|
|Highlight||Reliable mechanical setup and strong chassis|
1. Isuzu D-MAX
- Fuel efficient and Euro 4 compliant
- A sizeable bed
- God off-road capability
- Less power for this variant
- Small 15-inch wheels
The Isuzu D-MAX is Japanese carmaker Isuzu's entry to the pickup truck segment of the Philippine automotive market, where the vehicle has a huge following and subscriber base. The widely popular pickup truck shares the same platform as the GMC Canyon, the Chevrolet Colorado and its own siblings the Isuzu i-Series which assures consumers of its reliability and off-road competency. The negative feedback about the older iteration, which are screeching noise on the road and lack of fuel economy have been addressed by Isuzu in its most updated version, making the Isuzu D-MAX a formidable workhorse to beat.
The midsize pickup truck has a variety of configurations: a cab and chassis, a double cab and a five-seater. It has two drivetrain options, a 4x2 and a 4x4, with a wide range of variants for each option as well. In this article, we will focus on the 2020 Isuzu D-MAX RZ4E LT 4x2 MT, which has a 4-door double cab, body-on-frame format.
The current-generation Isuzu D-MAX comes with two choices of engine: a 1.9L 4-cylinder 16-valve turbodiesel motor and a powerful 3L engine, both featuring Isuzu's Blue Power technology which is Euro 4 compliant and ensures fuel efficiency. The Isuzu D-MAX RZ4E LT 4x2 MT is powered by the first Blue Power engine option which delivers 148hp of maximum power output at 3,600rpm and 350Nm of peak torque at 1,800rpm and mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox pushing power to the rear wheels.
The Isuzu D-MAX RZ4E LT 4x2 MT has a notable bed size of 1,485mm long, 1,530mm wide and 465mm tall enabling it to support large and heavy cargo. Owners can also accessorize the van with extra items such as a bed cover or camper shell, or others.
The heavy-duty pickup truck sits on an independent double wishbone with coil spring suspension system in front and semi-elliptical leaf springs at the back. This variant gets a set of 15-inch steel wheels, fitted with ventilated disc brakes in front and leading and trailing drums at the rear for stopping power.
|Cheapest Variant||Isuzu D-MAX RZ4E LT 4x2 MT|
|Highlight||Powertrain with Blue Power technology for enhanced fuel efficiency and less carbon emission|
The reality is that it isn't inexpensive to own a bigger vehicle, such as a pickup truck these days. But for many Filipinos the good old pickup truck is practical and reliable and caters to many of their needs. While a few choose the pickup truck for their bold, muscular and attractive appeal that will make the driver look cool and sporty, many pickup truck owners choose this vehicle to serve a purpose, primarily as a workhorse to help them transport products and produce, as a means of transportation for a daily or weekly commute from rural to urban and back, as a vehicle for towing and hauling, as a regular companion for the adventurers who are constantly traveling to the farthest nook in the country, or for use to help out people in times of calamities such as rescuing stranded people or delivering rescue goods. There are many other uses for the pickup truck, which gives you value for your hard-earned money.
The good thing is many well-respected carmakers have built different configurations for their pickup van models to give consumers leeway, especially when it comes to budget, which many Filipinos are conscious of. The list that we presented here gives you a choice to look for the best but cheapest, not to mention widely popular, pickup truck that you can find in the local market today. There's no good and bad choices here – simply choose the one with features that best match your purpose in buying a vehicle and your piggy bank.