4x4

4x4

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Isuzu has built itself a pretty solid reputation mostly thanks to its rugged trucks, but the company builds also pickups.

The Isuzu Fuego pickup truck was commercialized between 1998 - 2005 and was the typical utilitarian work horse that was usually found in the middle of nowhere carrying some serious loads at the back.

The Fuego was a success story for Isuzu until it was replaced by the newer D-Max which came up with a sharper style, stronger engines and a more refined cabin.

The Fuego was available in both 4x2 and 4x4 drive configurations and power came from either a 2,499cc or a 2,771cc engine.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The Tata Xenon is based on a heavily modified TL chassis. The vehicle uses a body on a ladder frame chassis combined with a live axle at the back, leaf springs and a pretty high ground clearance announcing us that it’s build to tackle the harshest terrains. The Tata Xenon is available in both 4x2 and 4x4 configurations, but it’ not quite in the same league as its strong Japanese rivals.

Due to its serene character it can be considered more like a lifestyle vehicle that a genuine work horse. The Xenon is powered by a 2.2 VTT DICOR engine that develops a maximum output of 140 hp. The load body is 1518 long, 1414 mm tall and 405 wide, the pickup being able to carry 260 kg.

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The GMC Canyon is the rebadged twin of the Chevrolet Colorado and shares every bit of technical and design detail with its sibling. The latest model was launched back in 2004 but, during the years it received a few small upgrades to help it deal better with competition. Though, GMC decided to replace the vehicle in 2013 as despite the continuous upgrades it remained behind its rivals it terms of style and technology.

Similarly with the Chevrolet Colorado, the GMC Canyon is offered with three engines which develop 185 hp, 242 hp and 300 hp with three body styles including regular cab, extended cab and crew cab configurations.

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The Honda Ridgeline is a breed of its own in the world of pickups. Unlike the other vehicles in this segment, which use ladder on frame construction, the Ridgeline received a unibody configuration which gives it better ride and handling abilities than what you’ll find in a regular pickup.

The vehicle is available in just one four-door body style and comes in four trim levels namely RT, Sport, RTS and RTL. All models come equipped as standard with a hidden trunk in the cargo bed, a dent-proof bedliner, a four-wheel independent suspension, a trailer hitch and a power-sliding rear window.

The Honda Ridgeline is priced between $28,450 - $34,430 and comes with a 3 year/36,000 mile warranty. The vehicle is rated as having a 5,000 lb towing capacity and a 1,500 lb bed capacity.

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The Ford F-150 was for a long time, America’s best selling pickup. Unlike the actual generation which can be considered both a life style vehicle and a work partner, the older Ford F-150 models were designed mainly as utilitarian work horses.

The 2004 generation was sold until 2008 and compared to the previous version it was built on an all new platform which gave it better driving dynamics and off road abilities. Apart from the upgraded underpinnings, the 2004 model had also received a set of exterior modifications the most obvious, being the adoption of the stepped driver’s window from the Super Duty trucks and the completely new front fascia.

The 2004 Ford F-150 was available in regular-, extended-, and crew-cab body styles. All versions have four doors and are 6 inches longer and 4 inches wider than their predecessors. The powertrain lineup includes two engine choices, namely a 4.6 liter and a 5.4 liter, both mated on an automatic transmission.

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The heavy duty pickup trucks represent a very special niche of vehicles. These trucks are usually bigger than you’ll need, stronger than you’ll need and they surely drive worse than expected, as their gargantuan dimensions aren’t exactly suited for speedy driving. Not to mention about the high center of gravity and the bone breaking suspensions.

Yet models like the Toyota Tundra had always managed to attract a lot of attention and most of them are equipped with monstrous engines which are capable of towing massive loads without breaking a sweat.

The Toyota Tundra made its big entrance in 2007, but it was met by a pretty unenthusiastic response from the market. Despite the fact that it was the biggest pickup ever build by Toyota, the Tundra never managed to attract the same interest as its American counterparts.

The Toyota Tundra is priced quite competitively with the regular cab model starting at $25,155 and it’s offered in both 2WD and 4WD configurations.


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