MANILA: The Philippines is experiencing a pretty good acceleration in the pickup segment which is encouraging various automakers to add this multi-functionality drive in their fleet. Though this is not a newly introduced segment but, the choices of the customers have been changed over the time and now they want something which is much more than just a commercial vehicle. To accomplish the requirements and meet the expectations of the prospective customers, automakers are making both the ends meet. People are using pickups more as a passenger drive with an option of using it as a commercial cab if required. Keeping this in mind, the manufacturers are emphasizing on the comfort and styling, ignoring some of the features which may be not so important initially, but once you start using your pickup for daily commutation, surely you would curse yourself for not checking out on these features prior to buying it. Just go through our previous article which can assist you in narrow down your choices and then you can visit our listing of all the pickups available for the Philippines. While the previous article would help you in setting criteria while buying a pickup, this one would suggest the features you should definitely check beforehand to avoid a regret later -
Pickups are available in single and double cab options which simply means 2-seater or 5-seater cabin. Mahindra Enforcer and Ford Ranger are among those pickups which are available in both single and double cab options. The majority of customers prefer a double cab so that it can be used as a passenger-cum-commercial drive. Surely, double cab pickup looks moreover like a passenger drive giving you the liberty to host more members in the cabin. But what when you don't need these many of seats and want more cabin space, may be to pack some stuff which can't be kept at the rear? It would be definitely a wise decision to own a pickup which has seating versatility in terms of foldable seats. Just like MPVs and SUVs, there are pickups, like Toyota Hilux, which come with rear seats folding feature for more cabin space.
Well, this feature might sound pretty ordinary to even consider. But, in the long term you might need it. Pickups are usually based on SUVs and have similar ground clearance to allow off-roadings. On an average, the minimum ground clearance observed in pickups count to 200 mm which is pretty good. So for someone who is more than 5'8” in height, this feature might sound like a waste but if you are short in height or have kids, don't forget to check for the side steps in your shortlisted pickup to ease the entry and exit. Some manufacturers offer side steps in the upper variants while base trims are without them, for example - Ford Ranger Wildtrak has side steps but the XLS and XLT trims lack them.
Yes, we know that you are purchasing a pickup and this is one factor you would not miss out, but all we are talking about is storage in the cabin. So, on the load bed, you can surely pack tons of load but that doesn't mean you should ignore the cabin storage capacity. You need to keep your registration papers or may be groceries sometimes or the hot coffee which you grabbed on the driveway, and you surely just can't keep everything on the dashboard. Since pickups are equally used as passenger drives, ideally they should have multiple cabin compartments where you can keep your handy stuff. Isuzu D-Max is one of the finest examples of cabin storage offering more convenience for the occupants. So, keep the rear area to pack your snorkeling kit, fishing equipment and camping stuff for the next weekend trip and all the handy stuff in the cabin without making it look messy.
Whether you are about to use your pickup as a personal vehicle or as a commercial drive, safety is one factor which should never be ignored. There are pickups which provide basic protection aspects just to accomplish with the norms set by the government or traffic regulation authorities, just like Mahindra Enforcer, and then there are pickups which are equipped with features actually meant to safeguard the passengers, for example - Nissan NP300 Navara. Well, though this is a personal choice but considering that you would use your pickup for personal purpose and definitely love your family, we would suggest you to ensure that the safety stated by the manufacturer is not just for filling the blank spaces of the product brochure and it actually means 'SAFETY' for the passengers. Since pickups have a layout and functionality of an SUV, ensure that it has essential features like Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-Force Distribution (EBD), Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Hill Start Assist (HSA). Also, at least dual airbags and seatbelts with pre-tensioners should be there in a pickup to combat with any impact energy. You can also check the safety ratings given by various organizations to find if the shortlisted pickup can be counted among safe drives.
Pickups, the word itself flashes an image of a robust drive which can carry tons of weight or tow something really heavy. So, whether you are stuck somewhere or someone else needs help with towing, your pickup with towing equipment can prove to be a savior. Though you might be planning to use your pickup primarily as a passenger drive but there is no harm in keeping the options open. It would be a good choice to get a pickup with towing equipment already tucked with the standard drive just like Chevrolet Colorado. These equipment are also separately available on request but then they are not a piece of cake for any other mechanic to fit it properly and also they are more expensive. So a factory installed trailer-brake controller, hitch, heavy-duty suspension and other required parts can prove to be a better choice. Also, have a beforehand knowledge of its towing capacity so that you may utilize it when required.