Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Bargains of Christmas - Pick-Up Trucks (2013 Picks)

Our yearly feature during the season that everyone loves is on its second year. Finding a car for yourself (assuming if you are a good guy) or for your loved ones in each category is daunting, let The Ultimate Used Car Guide help you.

So, how are these bargain picks are chosen? Here are some criteria that were followed:
  • A vehicle must be available between 2003-2012
  • Reported problems from owners are minimal, based from local forums and several of my reviews
  • Vehicle value must be excellent, since they are good bargains. 
  • Must offer a competitive advantage over its rivals and must fit the buyers needs in a category
  • Availability in the second hand market must be widespread
To conclude our Bargains of Christmas series, we will be dealing with pick-up trucks for the end of the saga. Back then they used to be the farmer's choice but now they are equipped with the city-cruiser image even though people who do not have trailers drive them. Here are some of my top picks for those who want a bed this holidays.

When you need basically the basics, look no further. The D-Max can accommodate four people comfortably, sips diesel like a bird, durable to withstand any road condition, and packs a decent number of standard equipment. An innovation that competitors later added is a push button 4WD that is more easy to use. 2003-mid 2007 units utilize a direct injection fuel delivery while later ones have a CRDi system.
Recommended trim: 3.0 LS (2007-2012)

Other bets:

2003-2012 Ford Ranger 
Definitely the only American truck on the list, since we do not have any other choice. What can this truck offer the used car buyer then? Simplistic yet durable underpinnings, featured pack cabin, and powerful engines (the multi-port fuel injection engines of 2003-2006 and XL models are excluded). A tight rear seat may be a turn-off but a good choice for drives that do not involve the pavement. The larger and equally better T6 model is off this list, for now since finding one used is rare.
Recommended trim: 2.5 Wildtrack (2007-2011)

2003-2012 Mitsubishi Strada/L200 Strada
Choosing the L200 model (it has no relation to the regular cab model sold today) will give you something that is off-road capable and can haul heavy items at the expense of a bouncy ride. The Strada, sold from 2006 until today, is more suited for city duties thanks to a cabin similar to a sedan, easy to drive demeanor, and a spine friendly ride.
Recommended trims: 2.5 (2003-2006), 2.5 GLX (2006-2012)/2.5 GLX V (2011-2012)  

2003-2012 Nissan Frontier/Frontier Navara 
The year range criteria has two generation models qualify for this list, but for different demographic markets. First is the plain Frontier (the Bravado nickname was added in late 2007) that was sold from 1998 and survives until today with a few upgrades. It is durable but refinement isn't a suit; so we would recommend this for business purposes (there are models with power amenities, so have a lookout for them). The Navara was a total improvement in all ways, save for the tight rear bench and a low ground clearance. If its mostly for personal usage, choose this one.
Recommended trim: 2.5 LE 4x2 (2008-2012)

2003-2012 Toyota Hilux
Even the people from Top Gear UK did several attempts on destroying this vehicle to no avail. Still a tough pick even at used car prices. Pre-2005 models are best left for business purposes since the ride is jarring and the interior is very basic. For balance, choosing a 2005 and later model is the way to go. With a roomy cabin, off-road ready (though the lack of a limited slip differential can turn-off some), car-like standard equipment, and the most important the reliability a Toyota can provide.
Recommended trim: 3.0 G (2005-2012)

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