Able to carry heavy loads and tow incredible weights, pickup trucks offer sport enthusiasts the all-round, ultimate package. They are well-suited to a wide range of activities and they offer a commanding view of the road. Plus, pickups usually have excellent ground clearance and 4×4 capabilities, able to venture off the beaten track for wild adventures.


This class of vehicle was once a gas guzzling, brash, no frills affair more suited to industrial work, but the sector has made great efforts to transform the capabilities and the qualities of pickups to suit a broad range of purposes, all wrapped up in a more family-friendly package. Typically, the current generation of pickups are:

  • More comfortable
  • Better to drive, with a smoother ride experience
  • Available with luxury tech, like heated seats
  • Still off-road 4×4 warriors, able to tackle tough terrain and the worst weather with ease
  • Able to tow incredible weights
  • Quite affordable, retaining much of their value
  • As safe as other cars, with the latest safety features and equipment
  • Heroic, when it comes to helping someone stuck in the mud or those who need towing
  • Like Swiss army knives of the motoring world, ideal for adventurers, camping holidays, families, and for transporting equipment


Whilst the comfort levels and driving quality of pickups can’t quite match those of an SUV, sports utility vehicles certainly don’t match pickups for their high levels of practicality. If you have a lot of equipment to carry or you need to tow several canoes or quad bikes, then these trucks are definitely worth considering, especially if you enjoy off-roading, as few cars can match their abilities in that domain. Read on to see our top 10 best pickup cars for sports enthusiasts and see if there’s a model that takes your fancy.


The small, but effective Ford Ranger is a stylish looking pickup. It’s offered with the choice of a two or four-seater cabin (we’d recommend sports enthusiasts opt for the latter for the extra room for friends) and, impressively, it can tow over three tonnes. On top of its very high levels of practicality, the Ranger is also good to drive and it sees a decent return of up to 36 miles per gallon (MPG). Furthermore, there are lots of customisation options and body styles to choose from, as well as the fantastic Raptor variants, which offer an unbeatable off-road experience – able to withstand a lot of punishment and unstoppable no matter how tough the terrain. All round, it’s an ideal car for adventurers who like to journey on and off the beaten track.

Best features:

  • Very practical
  • Good to drive
  • Off-road Raptor models



If you have a lot of equipment to cart around, from a trailer lined with canoes, to heavier gear like quad bikes, the Toyota Hilux is a load-lugging beast that should be close to the top of your list. It can carry over 1,000kg, which is mighty impressive, and it can tow over three tonnes too. When it comes to off-roading, the Hilux continues to impress with its raised clearance for tackling the muddiest of banks. The only point that stops it from snatching the top spot is the fact that the ride experience is a bit firm thanks to the stiff suspension, which is used for its impressive carry weight and off-road strength. In other words, it’s not as good to drive as the Ranger. However, in its favour is the fact that the Toyota Hilux is renowned for being incredibly reliable – a point that is very reassuring for those looking to purchase a pre-owned pickup truck.

Best features:

  • Incredibly reliable
  • Impressive carry weight
  • Great off-road ability



If you’re looking for a pickup truck that has a more premium feel to it, then put the Volkswagen Amarok in first place as this pickup is a class leader when it comes to its high-quality cabin. It’s spacious enough for four adults, it’s finished with soft leather upholstery, and it provides a comfortable ride experience, whether driving around town or at high speeds on the motorway. For carrying sports equipment, the Amarok can tow just over three tonnes and it has a maximum payload of 1,154kg. It’s also a 4×4, with impressive off-road capabilities, allowing you to venture off the tarmac to find the perfect wild camping spot.

Best features:

  • Class leading cabin
  • Comfortable ride experience
  • Impressive off-road



Hot on the heels of the Volkswagen Amarok, the Nissan Navara is another comfortable pickup truck. In fact, it’s a class leader in this domain, proving comfy to drive for short and long journeys alike. It is available as a King Cab, with two occasional seats in the rear for infrequent use, or as a Double Cab, which fits two adults in the rear with plenty of leg and headroom. Naturally, we recommend the latter for the practicality and for the chance to share your sporting endeavours with your friends and family. Alongside its comfy cabin, the Navara can also tow up to an impressive 3,500kg and can carry a payload up to 1,180kg – perfect for carrying a wide variety of sports equipment for an adventure-filled weekend away.

Best features:

  • A class leader in drive comfort
  • Good options
  • Strong carry and tow weight



Whilst it is not as enjoyable to drive as others on this list, the Isuzu D-Max is an old-school pickup truck and that carries its own charm in itself. It is rugged, it’s rough, and it lacks the refinement of its rivals. You might ask the question, why is it in fifth place? The answer is simple, the D-Max nails two things: it gets the basics of a pickup spot on, with an excellent tow weigh up to 3,500kg and a strong 1,300kg truckbed, plus it is a wild off-road ride. Take the D-Max off the beaten track and it really comes into its own, where it’s very capable in the toughest of terrains and a lot of fun too. This is one for sports enthusiasts who like rugged journeys and real off-road adventures.

Best features:

  • Strong in the pickup basics
  • Excellent off-roader
  • Old school charm



Enjoying classy styling, the Mercedes-Benz X-Class has the German marque’s premium seal of quality. It is comfortable to drive, with a particularly quiet and smooth cabin for the sector. It can tow 3,500kg and it can carry a payload of over one tonne. You can also add roller covers and load liners – perfect for carrying skis and snowboards to the Scottish Highlands and for carting mountain bikes to the nearest woodland trails. If you’re a Mercedes fan, it carries the badge appeal and adds a level of veneer, bringing an extra dash of style to the class. If you’re a pickup fan, you’ll know much of the underpinnings of the X-Class are taken from the Nissan Navara. And that is in no way a bad thing, in fact it’s great for buyers as now you can widen your selection and check two great pickups out to find the best deal.

Best features:

  • Comfortable to drive
  • Premium badge appeal
  • Quiet and smooth for the class



If you’re in the market for a low-cost, affordable pickup truck then SsangYong has answered your calls with the fantastic Musso. Available from £21,995 with a sector leading 7 years warranty, this pickup is not only cheap it’s also very capable, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with rivals. Its tow weight is at the higher end of the class too, carrying up to a whopping 3,500kg and its truckbed can cart over a tonne. It’s also available as a bigger variant, the Musso Rhino LWB, with a class-leading loadbed and a spacious double-cab cabin. For added practicality the rear end has a 12v socket, which is convenient for camping trips and ideal for an electric pump to inflate those kayaks or bike tyres for your day’s trip.

Best features:

  • Affordable, low cost
  • 7 years warranty
  • Class-leading loadbed



With an excellent reliability record, the Mitsubishi L200 is a pickup built to last. It is strong, tough, and dependable. It’ll also take whatever off-road terrain is thrown at it and make short work of it too. Furthermore, it’s as good to drive on the tarmac as it is off, although it’s certainly more fun off the beaten track. For carrying all your kit, the truckbed will take up to 1,060kg, whilst you can tow a trailer up to 3,000kg or even a caravan for overnight trips. Inside, the Mitsubishi L200 enjoys a roomy and comfortable cabin, and it comes well-equipped as standard as well.

Best features:

  • Excellent off-road
  • Good to drive
  • Roomy and comfortable



With a double-cab body style, the Fiat Fullback is a rugged pickup with an excellent four-wheel drive system and high ground clearance. Naturally, it’s well-suited to off-road adventures. In fact, if you opt for the range-topping Fullback Cross, you get a real mud monster fit for the extremes – perfect for competitive trials. The truckbed can carry a tonne and it can tow up to 3,100kg carrying all the equipment you could need. When it comes to driving, it has good acceleration and steering for the class as well. If the Fullback looks and sounds familiar, that’s because underneath its exterior it’s really a Mitsubishi L200. Again, that’s great for buyers because now you can expand your scope to find the best deal.

Best features:

  • Good acceleration
  • Excellent off-road
  • Good steering



We’ve mentioned the Raptor variant already, whilst discussing the Ford Ranger in first place. Nonetheless, this beast deserves its own spot on this list and it deserves a double mention. It might not be the best pickup for the fundamentals, with a tow weight up to 2,500kg and a loadbed of just 620kg, but when it comes to sheer fun the Raptor is at the top. It is surprisingly fun to drive even on the road, but where it truly excels is off the beaten track. Off-road, this behemoth stands head and shoulders above the rest, with mud and dirt built into its DNA. If your sport is 4×4 trials, punishing dirt tracks, and off-road sites, then the Raptor will be a true friend, tackling the most punishing terrain available, with excellent suspension that can soak up the punishment.

Best features:

  • Off-road class leader
  • Fun to drive
  • Excellent suspension


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Back to articles February 24, 2021

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