The first Toyota Tacoma was introduced in the US market in 1995 and came as a replacement for the Hilux. Unlike the old Hilux (also known as the Toyota Pickup) the Tacoma was more refined and came with better ride quality, superior handling abilities and also a bigger payload capacity.
The Tacoma was considered for a long time one of the best pickups form the market, mostly due to its high reliability and versatility.
Unlike the American pickups, the Tacoma wasn’t only a basic, utilitarian workhorse as thanks to its comfortable cab and the decent ride quality it also coped great with non commercial applications and many used it as a lifestyle vehicle.
The Toyota Tacoma was available in both 4x2 and 4x4 configurations and came with a choice of 2.4, 2.7 and 3.4 liter engines which developed between 142 – 190 hp.
The Chevrolet S-10 shared the same underpinnings with the GMC Sonoma and it’s around since 1980. During its long life, the Chevrolet S-10 was sold in two generations and represented the American offensive to the success of the Japanese pickups.
However, despite being cheap, reliable and practical, the S-10 was still a half step behind its Japanese rivals which continued to be the segment leaders.
Basically, the Chevrolet S-10 was a compact pickup designed to offer a good compromise between practicality, comfort and efficiency.
The second generation Chevrolet S-10 was offered in regular, extended and crew cab bodies with short and long beds. The vehicle was also offered with a choice of three engines including a 118 hp 2.2 liter, 165 hp 4.3 liter V6 and a 195 hp 4,3 liter Vortec. The Chevrolet S-10 went out of production in 2005 when it was replaced by the Colorado model.
The GMC Sonoma was commercialized between 1994 -2004 and served as a base for all the following midsized pickups designed by the company.
The truck had a competitive price, was pretty efficient and was also highly versatile being able to cope with a wide range of arduous applications.
The Sonoma was built in two generations and the second generation can be still seen today, in isolated corners doing some heavy duty jobs.
The old GMC Sonoma however, wasn’t at the same level with its Japanese rivals and this is one of the reasons which made GMC realize that it should leave this model behind and move on.
The latest generation GMC Sonoma was offered in regular, extended and crew cab bodies with short and long beds. Engine choices included a 2.2-liter four-cylinder (118 horsepower), a 4.3-liter V6 (165 hp) and the Vortec 4.3-liter V6 (195 hp).
The Ford Falcon ute is one of the sportiest pickup from the market and it’s only real rival is the Holden SV6 ute.
The vehicle was born after Ford decided to chop off the back of its high class Falcon sedan and added a set of chassis rails with a live axle and leaf springs.
The vehicle was especially developed for the Australian market and it’s unlikely to be seen in other areas. Ford has also came up with a sportier version of its pickup, but the standard model was left to deal mostly with utilitarian purposes as it has a more serene and rugged character.
The Ford FG Falcon ute has a starting price of $27.795 and offers a generous payload of 1240kg.
The old Chevrolet Colorado was starting to show its age and its cabin and technologies were slightly behind of what you’d expect to get from a modern pickup.
Luckily, Chevrolet took notes and decided to come up with a completely new Colorado which represents a huge step forward in terms of style, comfort and technology.
While the old Colorado had big lacks in the comfort and safety features departments, the new generation solved all these problems.
Initially the new 2012 Chevrolet Camaro was launched in Thailand with a choice of turbo diesel four cylinder engines available in 2.8 and 2.5 liter displacements. Three cab configurations are offered including crew, extended and regular. Maximum towing capacity of the Colorado reaches all the way up to 6,000 lbs.
The Foton Blizzard is a no nonsense pickup launched in 2007. The vehicle was designed to withstand the punishment of harsh jobs without backing down and to do it with minimum costs. There is no secret that the Foton Blizzard isn’t as upscale as its Japanese or American rivals, but it not as pricey either, being the cheapest pickup in its class. Needless to say, that it also comes with small costs of ownership.
The Blizzard is based on the old Isuzu Fuego, after Foton has acquired some of the tooling from Isuzu. The vehicle is available in both 2WD and 4WD configurations and it’s powered by a 2.8 liter turbo diesel engine. The Foton Blizzard has a gross vehicle weight of 2370kg and offers a maximum payload of 1000 kg.
The Chinese manufacturers are getting stronger and stronger. We are also happy to see that they are fast learners too, as their products are evolving fairly fast.
One of the youngest Chinese companies is Foton which builds both trucks and passengers cars. Unlike other compatriots which are known solely in their home market, Foton decided to bet big and plays on an international level selling its vehicles all over the world.
However, the company is still working hard to convince us about the quality and reliability of its vehicles, as their Chinese origins aren’t exactly confidence inspiring.
The Tunland is the newest pickup build by the company and luckily, it doesn’t look identical with any other existing pickup from the market (in the past Foton was known for its copy and paste designs). The Tunland is marketed as being the strongest Chinese pickup in its class and joined the one tonne pickup market in 2012.
The vehicle is equipped with a 2.8 common rail turbo diesel engine and has a maximum payload of 1040 kg with a maximum towing capacity of 2500 kg.
The Mazda B Series (also known as the Bravo) was a versatile workhorse sold between 1998 – 2006. The vehicle was available in both 2WD and 4WD drive versions with single cab, cab plus and dual cab body configurations.
The B Series was designed to offer a good mix between a recreational and utility vehicle and came with a pretty comfortable cab and adequate ride and handling abilities.
Engine options included a 2.6 liter fuel injected petrol and a 2.5 liter turbo diesel which offered the biggest power and torque in its class. The Mazda Bravo was developed together with the Ford Courier and shares the same power train, design and technologies with its sibling.
In late 1980s, Dodge decided to try its luck in a completely new segment and thrown itself in the compact pickup race. Dodge’s first compact pickup model was named the Dakota and competed against strong opponents like the Toyota Tacoma or Nissan Frontier.
The Dakota’s size was one of its main advantages as placed it into the big gap between the small and big full-size trucks.
Thanks to its relatively compact exterior dimensions and a smart chassis design, the Dodge Dakota had good road manners with a forgivable ride and a proper handling.
The vehicle was offered in both 4x2 and 4x4 configurations with a choice of V6 and V8 engines which develop 210 hp and 230 hp, respectively. Dodge ended production of the Dakota in 2011, but has promise to come up with a replacement.