Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Patrick asks: I am planning a purchase of a pick-up truck in the near future. I moved to Europe a few years ago so I am looking at the more popular trucks there. I was considering a VW Amarok but they seem to be a bit overpriced. My question boils down to this: Asian vs. German. If it is Eastern origins, would you pick one of these over the others? Mitsubishi L200, Toyota HiLux, or Isuzu D-Max? (versus the aforementioned Amarok). BTW, I sent you $50 via Paypal back in March, I am an active supporter of your work. I’ve emailed you before. I had a ’72 Formula 400 4-speed long ago that I totaled. I still have some old iron in the garage; an ’88 Pontiac GTA, ’72 Buick Centurion, and a ’64 Buick Skylark ragtop 4 speed.
My reply: The HiLux is one of my all-time favorite 4x4s, even though it’s not sold in the U.S.
With either of its available diesel engines (current model) the thing is like the Terminator. It absolutely will not stop, ever. Or at least, not for a long time! It’s a brilliant vehicle, especially if you need real capability and value ruggedness.
The D-Max is (IIRC) a shared platform Chevy Colorado; not a bad truck – but I would personally pick the HiLux, hands-down, because of its decades’ long reputation as well as endless parts availability and (probably) lower service/maintenance costs over time. GM has a bad habit of abandoning its children… and build quality is just not up to HiLux snuff.
The Amarok – another vehicle we don’t get here – is a very close shave. For those not hip, it is a rear-drive/real-deal truck. It is not a FWD-based sort-of truck, like the Honda Ridgeline. It also offers (I think it still does) VW’s 3.0 diesel with 400-plus ft.-lbs. of torque.
That might sway me.
But, I’ll give the same advice I always do: Test drive both, to see how they feel to you. It’s really important that you like the truck, since you will have to live with it. Ideally, an hour in each on the same day, driving the types of roads you normally drive.
If it’s close, then it comes down to price – which one you can get the better deal on.
I am jealous of the options you’ve got available – as I’m sure many here are as well!
PS: For several years, I was the caretaker of a ’70 RA III 400 Formula Firebird. This car had a three speed manual, the 12 bolt rear and literally no other options at all. It even rode on 14-inch wheels. No gauges, except speedometer and fuel. It was PHS verified as something like one of 7 cars made this way.
. . .
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I live in Argentina, and while I did not drive any of those vehicles, I did talk to mechanicas who serviced them.
I would go for the Hilux. Toyota reliability, and resale value, at least here, is better than any of the competing trucks (Amarok, Ranger, Chevrolet S10). Just a bit of knowledge, this mechanic told me that in manual transmission vehicles, if the hyd clutch failed, you can replace the cylinder in the Hilux without dropping the transmission, and not on the others.
The Amarok is very popular here for city drivers, as the ride quality is purportedly better, and has a plush interior.
I absolutely agree with Eric that a test drive is in order.