It’s rugged, it’s durable, it’s powerful and it may be battered, bruised and covered in mud – inside and out. It’s a workhorse that does every job imaginable, so the farm truck has to be fit for purpose. CPM explores some of the market options.

By Melanie Jenkins

The farm truck is probably one of the most versatile vehicles on the farm. It’s required for towing, hauling and storing, all across multiple terrains and in conditions that most vehicles would have no hope of coping with. And then on the odd occasion, the farm truck has a deep clean ready to transport its owner to an off-farm event, meaning it has to serve all purposes.

Although there are numerous options on the market, a key player has recently left the UK market but others are about to join. Here’s a look at some of the new and established options on the market.

Volkswagen Amarok

Early July brought the world premiere of Volkswagen’s new 2023 Amarok.  Boasting the slogan, ‘no matter what’, the new vehicle has several upgrades which offer to increase its capabilities.

The new model is slightly longer than its predecessor at 5.35m – 96mm longer than the last model – and the wheelbase of 3.27m corresponds to an increase of 173mm – which means there is more space in the crew cab and it also shortens the body overhangs. Fording depth has also been increased: now at 0.8m, this is 0.3m more than the last model.

The fording depth of the new Volkswagen Amarok has been increased to 0.8m.

The Amarok will come in a four-door double cab or a two-door single cab version. The cargo box behind the cab offers space for the equivalent of two pallets loaded sideways in the single-cable version. Loads can be strapped down via eye rings on the cargo bed which can take loads of up to 500kg, increasing the maximum payload capacity up slightly to 1.16t.

The cargo box can also be secured using an electrically operated roll cover. This can be opened and closed from the cargo box itself, from inside the vehicle or by remote control via the vehicle key. There will once again be a hardtop for the cargo bed, which effectively transforms the pickup into an SUV.

Four different turbo diesel (TDI) engines and one turbocharged petrol engine have been developed for the Amarok. The top TDI engine is a 150kW, 3-litre V6 which produces 500Nm of torque, while the turbocharged petrol model has a 222kW 2.3-litre engine.

With a power output of 154kW, all Amarok versions will come onto the market with a new 10-speed automatic gearbox served via a (by wire) e-shifter as standard. For the 150kW version this automatic transmission will be available as an option. The new 10-speed gearbox replaces the eight-speed automatic transmission of the predecessor model. In addition, there will be six-speed automatic transmission and manual six or five-speed gearboxes for various engines.

In many markets the Amarok is being supplied with all-wheel drive (4MOTION) as standard. Depending on region and engine, there will be two different 4MOTION systems: one with selectable all-wheel drive based on the given situation, and one with permanent all-wheel drive. The drive system technology should ensure that the new Amarok is able to master any terrain and, depending on engine version, is permitted to tow up to 3.5 tonnes, says the company.

A new driver-assist system provides 20 options to help in a variety of situations – for instance, when driving on slippery surfaces or demanding off-road terrain.

Owners can expect a full set of interior features, including a digital touchscreen display and leather-look instrument panel in the PanAmericana and Adventura models. Those keen to get their hands on one can expect deliveries from the end of 2022.

Isuzu D-Max

This year marks 10 years since the introduction of Isuzu’s D-Max, with over 50,000 models sold in the UK since its launch in 2012.

This year marks 10 years since the introduction of Isuzu’s D-Max, with over 50,000 models sold in the UK since its launch in 2012. The latest version of the pick-up went on sale in 2021 and introduced better off-road capabilities with a faster engaging shift-on-the-fly 4WD system and a standard rear diff-lock on the All-Purpose and Adventure models. The ladder chassis was strengthened thanks to larger rails and an extra panel was added to provide more extensive underbody protection.

The Euro 6D compliant diesel engine delivers 120kW and 360Nm of torque and is mated to a choice of either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic, which offers up to 25% faster gear changes.

The new Isuzu D-Max is capable of towing up to 3.5t and carries over a tonne payload. Customers are presented with a number of models to choose from, including 4×2 or 4×4, three different cab types (single, extended and double cab) and four new trim levels.

lan Able, brand director at Isuzu UK says: “We’ve had a very successful decade of D-Max in the UK. We also continue to evolve the D-Max offering, with new versions that appeal right across the diverse spectrum of users that we have.”

Land Rover Defender

September 2019 saw the reinvention of the retired workhorse: the Land Rover Defender. Originally the 110 model – designed for exploring country and urban settings – was launched, shortly followed by the 90 – a commercial model – and as of May 2022, these have been joined by the 130 model, with a capacity for up to eight occupants.

Capable of carrying a maximum payload of 900kg, with a static roof load of 300kg and a towing capacity of 3.5t, the Defender also has a wading depth of 900mm.

After retiring the farm favourite Defender, Land Rover brought it back in a new form in 2019.

At launch, the Defender came with two diesel engines, with a choice of the four-cylinder D200 or D240 engines, with sequential twin turbo technology providing 430Nm of torque to optimise performance and economy. But these are being replaced with larger 3-litre straight six engines, which produce 197hp up to 296hp. A further V8 version will be able to produce 518hp.

Petrol customers can choose between a turbocharged four-cylinder P300 engine and an efficient six-cylinder P400 MHEV powertrain. The 300hp unit uses an advanced twin-scroll turbo for smooth performance and efficiency. The new 110 Defender is also available as a 2-litre petrol plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.

All engines drive through an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox and twin-speed transmission, to provide a set of low-range ratios essential for towing or off-road driving when more control is required.

INEOS Grenadier

The Grenadier Utility Wagon is for those needing a stripped back 4×4.

Slotting into the market as a fully off-road 4×4, the INEOS Grenadier may only just be on the cusp of commercial availability, but it’s making waves already. The order book opened back in May for those keen to get their hands on the first vehicle from the firm.

“As a new vehicle manufacturer, opening our first order books is a significant milestone and we know thousands of customers have been patiently waiting for that day,” says Dirk Heilmann, CEO of INEOS Automotive.

The Grenadier is available as a two-seat and a five-seat Utility Wagon, and a five-seat Station Wagon. The Utility Wagon is for those needing a stripped back 4×4, but still with the comfort and fittings expected of a modern vehicle. The two-seat model has a full-length flat floor capable of taking a Euro pallet. The Station Wagon has five seats, with the second row positioned further back than in the five-seat Utility variant, to offer balance between payload and rear passenger space.

With a 3.5 tonnes towing capacity, up to 2000 litres of load space and a 5.5t winching power, the Grenadier has been designed as a work horse.

As standard it has a BMW 3-litre straight six engine, permanent 4WD and an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual override.

See page 91 for more about the concept and design of the INEOS Grenadier.

Ford Ranger and Ranger Raptor

Ford’s next generation Ranger introduces a new V6 turbodiesel engine option among other practical enhancements, including rear load box access steps and load box lighting.

In addition, it has zone lighting which can be controlled via the in-cab touchscreen or by using a smartphone app. This provides 360˚ lighting around the truck or in specific zones, depending on what’s needed.

The new model has an easy-lift tailgate, which can be raised and lowered with one hand and doubles as a mobile workbench. The tailgate work surface is designed to help owners with professional or DIY jobs. Two clamp pockets concealed by spring-loaded caps in the tailgate are designed to help secure timber or other project materials, while a built-in ruler with 10mm increments (on models not fitted with a drop-in bedliner) helps with measuring.

The Grenadier Utility Wagon is for those needing a stripped back 4×4.

The new drop-in bedliner incorporates functional divider locators so that owners can create their own compartments to store gear that they might otherwise have to carry in the cabin. Dividers can be custom-made from timber at home and then installed and removed as required. As a bonus, the improved and wider moulded profile on the bedliner should be much easier to clean and it also means items are less likely to slip around.

“We’ve really packed a lot into the next-generation Ranger to inspire owners to do more of what they love to do, with features that encourage them to explore new horizons,” explains Ford’s Gary Boes. Prospective buyers can expect to be able to order the latest generation in late 2022 for delivery in early 2023.

Ford has brought more power and technological enhancement to its next generation Ranger Raptor for 2022. With a new 3-litre V6 petrol engine, the new Raptor promises an increasing power of up to 212kW and 491Nm of torque.

The new full-time 4WD system includes electronically controlled on-demand two-speed transfer case and locking front and rear differentials.

“We’ve really focused on delivering a genuine performance truck with the next generation Ranger Raptor,” says Dave Burn of Ford. “It’s the toughest Ranger we’ve ever made.” The new model will be available from late summer.

Toyota Hilux

The Toyota Hilux comes in a choice of 2.4-litre and 2.8-litre engines with six-speed automatic and manual transmissions.

The Toyota Hilux comes in a choice of 2.4-litre and 2.8-litre engines with six-speed automatic and manual transmissions

The top-of-the-range Invincible X and Invincible Double Cab models come with a choice of automatic or manual transmission. The DOHC 16-valve 2755cc turbodiesel unit generates 201hp/150kW at 3400rpm. Maximum torque is 500Nm with a six-speed automatic transmission, available between 1600 and 2800rpm. With manual transmission, the figure is 420Nm, delivered between 1400 and 3400rpm.

All-wheel drive standard on all UK models, with choice of Single, Extra and Double Cab versions. It’s capable of carrying payloads of up to 1.03t and has a towing capacity of 3.5t across the range. Off-road performance enhanced with electronic limited-slip differential.

Mitsubishi L200

Although it’s selling one of the most popular pick-ups on UK farms, Mitsubishi announced it was going to stop selling new vehicles in the UK from the end of 2021. So despite no new models of the L200 being on sale, there are still used vehicles for sale and full access to parts should they be needed.

The L200 Series 6 was the last model to be launched before Mitsubishi left the UK market. With a 3.5t towing capacity, it’s also capable of taking additional payloads of 625kg, including the driver. High end models include the capacity to switch between 4WD to on-the-fly at will.

SsangYong Musso and Torres

The latest SsangYong Musso launched back in September 2021, with four models available at a starting price below a lot of its competitors in the pick-up market.

Kevin Griffin, managing director of SsangYong Motor UK, says: “Back in 2018, SsangYong set new standards for a value-priced pick-up, with the launch of a new Musso. Now the updated 21-model Musso has a striking new front grille and further enhancements across the range.

“The Musso is great value for money and is extremely well equipped. It has a distinctive look, and like all SsangYong models offers an array of advanced safety and infotainment technologies.”

The latest SsangYong Musso launched back in September 2021, with a starting price below a lot of its competitors in the pick-up market.

The Musso powertrain employs a 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine manufactured by SsangYong, which delivers maximum power of 149kW and 441Nm of torque. The Musso’s high strength chassis and ultra-rigid body gives the platform to tow. With automatic transmission, the Musso can tow 3.5t and carry 1.14t – all at the same time.

The truck’s 4WD system features selectable 4WD with power delivered permanently to the rear wheels, and front wheel drive dialled-in electronically as required, with high and low ratios available as on and off-road conditions demand. This should provide better efficiency and greater fuel economy, claims the company.

For those after something a bit different or more along the lines of the Defender, they’ll want to keep their eyes on SsangYong as it has teased the release of its new Torres, with a prospective date set for late 2023.

This article was taken from the latest issue of CPM. For more articles like this, subscribe here.