Top 3 used pickups for £9,000: Mitsubishi L200, Nissan Navara, Isuzu D-Max
"Dear Carbuyer. I've £9,000 set aside for a rugged pickup workhorse that doesn't ignore comfort or convenience. What do you recommend?"
Those in the market for a comfortable pickup have never had it so good. Many of the UK's best recognised marques have been offering comfortably trimmed pickups for years – the Ford Ranger Wildcat and Toyota Hilux Invincible, to name but a few. More recently, the Renault Alaskan has joined the field, as has the truly luxurious Mercedes X-Class, which is closely related to the Renault under the surface.
This incredible choice for new car buyers is also good news if you're looking to pick up a pickup at a bargain price – a used example can make a great-value alternative to a family SUV, or can be put straight to work if you're after a no-nonsense company hack. Make sure you have a close look at the condition of any pickup before you buy, though. Although some have an easy life of leisure and family adventure, others endure a more punishing existence. Hard treatment can be a fact of any commercial vehicle's daily life, and things are no different among pickup trucks – no matter how plush their interior.
Top 3 used pickups for £9,000
Mitsubishi L200 - the practical choice
For: Great turning circle, lots of cabin spaceAgainst: Noisy diesel, smallest payload here
The Mitsubishi L200 was among the frontrunners in establishing pickups as the fashionable SUV alternative they are today. It's a popular machine, and rightly so, with its reputation for hardiness and easy-going road manners. It's also very spacious inside, with a rear bench that'll take three adults with ease. The interior plastics win no prizes for tactile appeal, but the L200 should prove durable inside and top models are well equipped.
The load bay is usefully free of wheelarch intrusion, but some pickups can boast a higher maximum payload. They might struggle to match the L200's agility on urban roads, though – a handily tight 5.9-metre turning circle takes the sweat out of maneuvering. There's up to 178bhp on hand, too, so you'll not miss out on power – although none of the diesel engines are as quiet as you'll find in an SUV. Your £9,000 will buy you a 2013 L200 in distinctive Warrior trim.
Nissan Navara - the car-like choice
For: Huge load bed, powerful diesel engineAgainst: Overly firm ride, thirsty on fuel
Not everybody wants to be reminded that they're behind the wheel of a big beast of burden, and the Nissan Navara feels the most like a normal family car. Its 2.5-litre diesel engine is gutsy and responsive, although its 33.6mpg claimed fuel consumption falls a little short of the Isuzu D-MAX. It makes up for that by offering the greatest load capability of our shortlist – the Nissan can lug an 1,100kg payload, with an impressively long, wide load bay.
What really makes the Navara is its well designed interior. There are two separate glove boxes, deep storage compartments and space beneath the rear seats – the latter of which can be folded down to accommodate bulky items. You'll find a 2013 Navara comfortably within your budget – Acenta is our favourite spec, with its dual-zone climate control, cruise control and leather steering wheel.
Isuzu D-Max - the top-value choice
For: Towing capacity, long warranty, fuel economyAgainst: No steering adjustment, uncomfortable
The Isuzu D-Max prioritises work ahead of play, but is still far from uncivilised. It rides a little less smoothly than the two models above and there's no adjustment in the steering column. The seats aren't as well shaped as some rivals, either. However, the materials are all robust and the interior well assembled, plus four-wheel-drive models can tow up to 3.5 tonnes.
At 38.2mpg, it's fairly economical, too, and many examples within your budget will still be covered by the original manufacturer warranty – Isuzu covers UK cars for five years or 125,000 miles. Around £9,000 will get you a 64-plate car, so that warranty will be active for a little while yet. If you're after cost-effective load capacity, you need look no further.