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.
The old Fiat Punto Van opened to road for the new Grande Punto Van which is both stronger and bigger than its predecessor. Yet the old Punto van was a pretty good product, but due to its poor marketing strategy it never managed to catch the market’ interest and sales were shy to say the least.
The vehicle was based on the passenger version of the Punto hatchback and to obtain the conversion Fiat removed the rear seats and replaced the rear windows with metallic panels to make the vehicle more practical.
The however was available with both petrol (1.2-liter) and diesel (1.3-litre JTD) units which developed 60 and 70 hp.
The Fiat Punto van was priced from $ 12.000 and competed against models such as the Opel Corsa van, Renault Clio van, Ford Fiesta van and Peugeot 206 van.
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.
The Hino brand is a part of the Toyota company and was launched in 2008. The brand has managed to build a pretty solid image in the trucking industry, thanks to its sturdy and reliable vehicles that share the same quality standards with Toyota’s cars.
At the moment the brand’s lineup consists of two trucks which cover a wide range of GVWs (gross vehicle weights) from class five to class seven models.
The conventional cab model is available as a class 6 and 7 truck with gross vehicle weights ranging from 23.000 to 33.000 lbs. The class 6 versions are equipped with a 220 hp engine, while the class 7 trucks come with 260 hp on tap.
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.
The Skoda Praktik van is based on the Roomster passenger car. The vehicle comes with a pretty generous load volume which is separated from the driver’s cabin with a sliding panel. The relatively compact exterior dimensions make the Skoda Praktik best suited for delivery services, traders, florists and other small business owners.
The vehicle is offered with two petrol engines (1.2 12V HTP and 1.4 16V) and one diesel engine (1.4 TDI PD). Skoda says that the standard payload capacity of 560 kg can be increased up to 640 kg. The Skoda Praktik is priced from $26,990.
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.