Top Five of the best contestants International Pick-up Award 2018

Every second year or so, the International Van of the Year (IVOTY) jury select the winner of the International Pick-up Award (IPUA), based on new models launched by manufacturers during that period. Initiated in 2009, the IPUA has evolved to become a major accolade in the automotive sector. Over the years, experience and expertise has been built up by the expert adjudication panel representing 15 European Member States.

Now more than ever, Pick-up trucks have become more popular, due to the evolution of the species and customer demand. Here-to-fore these utility-cum-leisure pursuits all-round vehicle was dominated by Japanese manufacturers with Ford and subsequently Volkswagen entering the field (literally). Three more brands see sales growth potential in this specialist segment that’s becoming more mainstream and have launched or are about to launch new models or with their own take on existing models. Following test trial evaluation events in Ireland, the UK and Norway where the Ford Ranger and Nissan Navara followed the inaugural winner, the Volkswagen Amarok, the next hosting is set for Romania at the end of October.

Fiat Professional tied up with long-term campaigners, Mitsubishi to badge up its L200 Double Cab Pick-up, make it its own and call it the Fullback. Everything about the Fullback is L200 as the same drivetrain and interior fittings are used. From the 2.4 litre diesel, 4WD power is provided either by a 150 or 180 hp, offering 430 or 380 Nm respectively.

Two associated brands Renault and Mercedes-Benz which continues to collaborate on joint car and van projects have both looked to the Nissan Navara (IPUA winner 2016) as a platform to create their own 1-tonne Pick-up. The Renault Alaskan and Mercedes-Benz X-Class have benefited from the initial development by their Japanese counterpart and spent some considerable millions of euro in tuning and turning it into their own. Alaskan is more of a sister vehicle to the Navara as it uses the same engine line and body shape. At its heart is the 2.3 litre Renault-Nissan Alliance 2.3 litre twin-turbo diesel.

Mercedes-Benz has stretched the Navara’s body length; it’s also lower slung, a little wider too. Again, the same 2.3 litre diesel is used initially, with options on the power output at 161 or 188 hp. A 3.0 litre V6 diesel is due later. Apart from the bodywork and interior changes, the suspension settings on the X-Class have been stiffened further. Significantly both of these new Pick-ups are manufactured alongside the Navara at Nissan’s plant in Barcelona, Spain.

Toyota, with its Hilux is what many within the industry look up to, due to its long history in the business. This Japanese marque remains a stand-alone Pick-up manufacturer, for now that is. The latest Hilux introduced last year follows on from decades of heritage stemming from toughness, reliability and long life.

Having benefited from a slight makeover on the launch of its new V6 diesel engines the latest Volkswagen Amarok has further broadened its power choice and upgraded its specification not only to meet customer demands but also to stem the tide of competition, from the newcomers in particular.

Interesting times ahead as a number of other mainstream manufacturers enter the segment in the next few years. The official announcement and presentation for the IPUA 2018 will be made at SOLUTRANS, France in November.

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