Today Ford have announced that the first ever Ranger Raptor will be coming to Europe – and will be on sale by mid-2019.

With the Ranger only becoming more popular in Europe, Ford have developed a truck that many spannermen have spent hours in the workshop building themselves.

Ford’s other Raptor – of the F-150 variety – doesn’t have much of a presence in Europe, but the popularity of the Ranger has lead the way for a Raptor with more European proportions.

Chief among the technical specification is the 210bhp, 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel EcoBlue unit with 368lbf.ft to boot and comes paired to Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission.

The baby Raptor’s chassis is strengthened by low-alloy steel and Fox shock absorbers feature position sensitive damping. These offer higher damping forces when off-road, but soften up for comfort and handling on smoother, more even surfaces. Aluminium control arms support these at the front, whilst the rear setup is a new and bespoke coil-over system that minimises lateral movement. Brakes are 332mm ventilated discs all-round, that’re 32mm wide at the front and 24mm at the back.

BFGoodrich All-Terrains  – in 285/70 R17 guise – adorn the 17-inch alloys and are custom made for the Ranger Raptor.

An F-150 Raptor-inspired grille adorns the front end, and flared composite wheel arches allow for further suspension travel and larger tyres. Underbody protection, rock-deflecting side-steps and a ruggedised front bumper prepare the Ranger for off-road mayhem – and make it look awesome.

The Raptor features all of the features and interior tech from the standard Ranger – but does have added driving modes: Normal; Sport; Grass/Gravel/Snow; Mud/Sand; Rock and Baja mode. Most interesting of those is the last – tailored for, you guessed it, dune bashing.

Next summer is quite far away, especially given that we’ve been dreaming of this for years. Try watching the video below – we find it helps.

There was a lot of hype surrounding the arrival of the new Amarok at the start of this year. VW’s double-cab had already gained a lot of admirers despite having the smallest engine on the market (a 2.0 TDI), but now here it was being reinvented with a 3.0 V6 TDI that was one of the biggest.

The engine was always going to be the biggest talking point with the revised Amarok. It’s available with three different power outputs… or at least it will be once the launch process is fully complete.

That’s because you can currently get it in 224 and 204bhp form, in each case with an eight-speed auto box as standard. Later this year, VW   says, the 204bhp unit will gain a manual gearbox as standard. 

At the same time, there’ll also be a 163bhp version of the engine; this too will be manual as standard. The range will also be expanded to include a Startline model specced with fleet and business customers in mind.

 

For now, however, we have a range of three. The Trendline is comfortably specced, while the Highline adds some bling and luxury. You might also still get one of the Aventura launch models, but the 224 Highline tested here is the range-topper going forward.

Our test vehicle had optional brown leather, but even without this the feeling of quality in its cabin is obvious from the word go. The dash is all hard plastic, but the standard of build is very good and the centre console is rock solid.

The seats don’t have lumbar adjustment, however. We found ourselves shuffling around in them after an hour behind the wheel when we first drove the Amarok last winter; this time, long journeys on the motorway proved that it’s a comfortable enough place to sit, but we still found ourselves reaching in vain for a lumbar lever after a while on board.

The Amarok is not alone in lacking this apparently obvious feature, but a more surprising black mark is the lack of decently proportioned stowage space up front. The cubby, glovebox and door pockets are all small and awkward to get into, so you’re likely to end up leaving things like your shades, keys and wallet in the bin and cup holders in the centre console.

Most seriously, however, we were disappointed by the lack of knee room in the back seats. We commented last time that you’d struggle to get four tall adults on board without at least one or two of them having something to grumble about; this time, we found that a five-year-old couldn’t get into his car seat without the driver (who stands at 6’1”) having to slide forward and hunch up.

The back of the rear bench does at least drop forward to create a flat platform. Whether this is really better in practice than just putting things on the seats is open to question, but it’s there.

Also there are hidden stowage bins under the front seats, which might help save you from having to take small items with you when you leave the vehicle parked up. But when it comes to practicality, obviously in a pick-up it’s all about the rear bed, and this has a tough plastic liner with four lashing rings proud of it, as well as a 12-volt socket in the side of the bed.

Thus provisioned, the Amarok is well equipped for a duty of work, and our test vehicle also had a rigid flat deck to keep things secure. The tailgate locks, too (using a key, rather than as part of the central locking circuit), and you can spec the vehicle without a rear bumper to let it drop fully down and sit vertically, allowing you to reverse right up to loading bays.

As is often the case with pick-ups, there are areas in which the Amarok frustrates us. Its dash looks outstanding, and it’s as well made as it is thought out – but if you have any sort of need for proper rear seat space, you’ll come up against a serious obstacle.

A car would need to be pretty heavy to have 224bhp and not feel at least reasonably fast. The Amarok is indeed pretty heavy, but it does still feel usefully brisk by pick-up standards – even if the gearbox takes a fair bit of winding up when left in auto mode.

It does change gear smartly when you start working the paddles behind the steering wheel, however. All the same, with so many ratios to deal with it’s a lot more relaxing to leave it in auto and just live with the rise and fall of the revs.

While the auto unit is genuinely sophisticated, we do find ourselves looking forward to the day when the Amarok gains a manual. Even though it will be limited to less powerful versions of the same engine, we have little doubt that they’ll be more enjoyable to drive and quicker from A to B in the hands of a typical pick-up driver.

Talking of A-to-B pace, the Amarok’s steering takes a lot of getting used to before you can handle it with confidence. It’s nice and light around town, but gains more weight than is necessary at speed – so much so that at first, you might find yourself thinking something is jamming it. We really did find it that unnatural. The extra weight seems to be trying to make up for a lack of feel, too.

Our previous experience with the Amarok was in a version with 19” alloys and 255/55 tyres, so we were hoping the 225/60R18s on this model would allow a gentler ride. Not that we found it harsh previously, but there were some jitters from the suspension which upset its poise at times.

Happily, there was no sign of that this time. The Amarok still feels heavy over speed bumps and so on, but while the impacts certainly come through they do so without upsetting its composure, and its suspension settles straight back down – even when running unladen.

We also noticed a complete lack of vibration through the vehicle’s drivetrain and pedal box. That’s a particular boost to its refinement, which is generally as high (by pick-up standards) as its cabin quality would have you expect.

All the same, the entry-level Amarok will come on 16” rims – and we can’t help thinking about how much fun it would be with a manual box and a set of 265/75R16s. That’s a reference to the tarmac, but it also rings every bit as true off-road – not least because manual models have low box, but autos do not.

For many (and we’d be among them), this would be an absolute deal-breaker on the Amarok tested here. While you can’t yet get one with the correct equipment for proper all-round use, however, models with the auto box do have an Off-Road button which brings hill descent control into play and modifies the behaviour of the ABS to suit loose ground.

This is certainly necessary with no low range, but to be fair on the Amarok it’s almost unbelievably agile, and tractable, in really tight conditions. The auto box works well enough when used manually, and at these speeds the steering is lovely and light, so the physical effort required to drive it is low, but we found it quite mentally tiring to be constantly working the paddles on terrain where we’d being leaving a manual in low first or second and letting it find its way.

Once again, then, we think the arrival of the manual box will be the making of this Amarok. It does great things with big alloys, low-profile road tyres and a gearbox we wouldn’t choose – so with proper tyres and a manual with low box behind it, we expect the vehicle to demonstrate just how good this engine is capable of making it.

Volkswagen’s options list includes a locking rear diff, too, as well as heavy-duty underbody protection. And of course the aftermarket is right across the sort of accessories it takes to bring out the best in a good truck. Wait a little longer, then, and the Amarok has the potential to become the best off-roader in the one-tonne market. For now, while it’s very good, that’s despite itself – this is a tale of massive potential waiting to be realised.

The Amarok tested here lists at £30,495 – that’s £37,627 on the road if you pay your VAT, and the options on this truck would kick the latter figure up to £39,805. We were critical of the vehicle’s high price when we drove the Aventura model at launch; to be fair, VW is not alone in flirting with the £40k barrier for its top trucks, but it still concerns us that at that sort of money, flaws like the lack of rear knee room become harder to forgive.

You do of course get plenty of kit for your money. And the Amarok has a level of build quality that instils great confidence in it as a product – though we’d expect it to have a warranty which at least matches the best on the market, and 36 months or 60,000 miles is trounced by the 60 months and 100,000 miles for which Nissan will look after you if you buy a Navara.

The good news is that once the Amarok range is complete, you’ll be able to buy one for a lot less than this. And, in our view, it will be the right one. Combine a manual box with a more modest spec level and, having worked the discount game, you should be in the best model for less than £30k. At which point, we think the pick-up market may well have its first five-star truck.

First featured in 4×4, December 2017 issue.

The Navara is the first mainstream double-cab to use coil springs at the back rather than the more traditional leaves. It’s still a live axle, of course, but this is now controlled by a multi-link set-up promising more sophisticated dynamics than have been possible on pick-ups prior to this.

We’ve had some experience of coil-sprung double-cabs before. The Ssangyong Musso Sports from the mid-naughties managed to distinguish itself by riding and handling far worse than any of its cart-sprung rivals, and the Walkinshaw edition of the old Mitsubishi L200 proved that coils alone aren’t the answer when a truck still needs the ability to tote a tonne.

Thus the NP300 is a vehicle which comes to the UK with a number of questions to answer. In the top-spec form tested here, it feels convincing from the moment you get aboard, with a properly integrated media screen within a dash which, despite being fashioned in hard, wipe-clean plastics, is pleasingly stylish to look at.

We found the dash and centre console rather creaky, however. The latter in particular can be wobbled from side to side from the back seat. There’s a good range of stowage options, though, and the view ahead across a vast, swooping bonnet is excellent. The seats are as classy as any we’ve experienced aboard a current double-cab, too.

Those in the rear are kind of snug, however: one six-footer can’t sit behind another without one or both having to make compromises. Our test vehicle had a sunroof, too – and from the back seat, our view was basically of the head lining dipping down in front of our eyes to accommodate it.

Under the bonnet, the 2.3-litre turbo-diesel engine is available with two different outputs. Here, we’ve got it in 187bhp, 332lbf.ft form.

It’s not the most refined at idle, with a fair amount of clattery noise that doesn’t settle until you put it under load. There’s little in the way of vibration, though, and though it’s vocal when revved the engine does pull very well through the standard-fit six-speed manual box.

A 10.8-second 0-62 time sounds about right, or even a little on the pessimistic side. More to the point, it feels as if it will accelerate just as strongly with 1000kg in the back or a heavy trailer on the back. The towing limit is 3200kg, so you’re a step down from the legal maximum.

On the road, the Navara feels light on its feet the way the old D40 model never did. There’s none of the crashing and shuddering that came from that truck’s front end when it hit rough roads, though we did find the back getting loose on the way round fast corners on a couple of occasions.

In terms of ride, though, the coil springs don’t change much. When all’s said and done, they still need to hold up a tonne of cargo; if anything, we’d say the Hi-Lux and L200 are a touch smoother over bumps.

Where the Navara’s rear coils certainly should come into their own is off-road. The multi-link set-up should allow usefully more travel than a pair of leaf springs, and sure enough it does seem to be more supple over axle-twisting terrain. This may be the rationale behind Nissan’s decision only to offer a locking rear diff as a factory option.

As it is, the old D40 felt heavy and clumsy off-road – and you couldn’t accuse this one of being either of those things. On the contrary, it’s more agile than its size would have you assume.

Very few people buying one of these from new will take it that far, however. For them, the Navara turns in a thoroughly tractable, sure-footed performance on the sort of ground that accounts for 99% of off-tarmac driving in the real world.

On the subject of real-world concerns, the Navara is usefully cheaper than the equivalent Hi-Lux, and if you’re using it as a daily driver there are ways in which it’s arguably better. Its multimedia system doesn’t look like an aftermarket add-on, for example.

Whether it will hold its money as well is open to question, however. And for off-roading, you need to add another £500 for that diff-lock.

Nonetheless, the Navara is a totally convincing vehicle which, at this level, comes with all the kit you expect in a lifestyle truck.

 

First featured in 4×4 November 2017 issue.

The much talked about X-Class V6 has now been announced, available only in high-spec trim and triggering a reshuffle to the X-Class line-up.

The V6 X 350d comes with 4MATIC all-wheel drive out of the box and has selectable drive modes and a seven-notch automatic transmission.

Available exclusively with the range-topping Power trim, the 350d wears painted bumpers and has chromed simulated underguards, a chrome rear bumper with integrated step and chrome trimming around the fog lights and along the shoulders of the truck, plus 18″ six-twin-spoke light weight alloys.

There’s keyless entry and push-button start, and the interior is what you’d expect from a Merc range-topper. The seats are Artico leather with Dinamica microfibre accents in the upholstery, and the steering wheel is leather, too. The dashboard is leather coated and the cabin features aluminium detailing, too. Mercedes’ latest infotainment features in the dash with DAB radio, bluetooth connection and nav, with the rotary controller and touchpad at the bottom of the centre console.

The permanent 4WD features three different settings that include 4MAT automatic, 4H high-range and – most importantly – 4L low-range settings.  Dynamic Select transmission management helps customise the vehicle’s response to the driver and includes Eco, Comfort, Sport, Off-Road and Manual driving modes.

The headline of this piece is that there are three litres of V6 under the bonnet that produce 254bhp and 406lbf.ft. The lightweight design features a single-stage turbo and cylinder liner coating – which is also used in F1. But you knew that, of course…

The V6 X 350d is on sale now, with prices before VAT starting at £38,350, and first deliveries are expected to come in November this year.

FCA have this morning outlined their latest Five Year Plan, and it focuses on it’s best-selling marques. You may have guessed that Jeep is one of them, and it is set to have nine new or refreshed vehicles by 2022. The presentation pencilled in an exciting new DesertHawk badge for high-speed sand coverage due in a couple of years.

Plans for the brand outline a brand-new A-segment baby SUV, filling the presently vacant rung below the Renegade, which will be replaced by an all-new version.

C-segment vehicles will remain as the Wrangler and the Compass – the latter of which will be refreshed – whilst the D-segment will see a new Cherokee, plus new entrants of a 3-row SUV and the long anticipated truck.

Above them a two-row Grand Cherokee will sit alongside an E-seg three-row, and in the category above Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer models will return.

Each of the vehicles in the plan will come with plug-in hybrid as an option, and hybrid and electric power will replace diesel engines in Jeep vehicles by 2022. The brand intends to offer 10 PHEV models and four purely electric. Autonomous features will grow into the range over the next five years, with level 3 autonomy expected by 2021. European targets are set at nine PHEVs and five mild hybrids.

Only the latest JL Wrangler will remain as it is on the current European line-up.

It was also announced that FCA plan for the Ram Trucks brand to also grow, with a production Ram TRX off-road pick-up, a new mid-sized pick-up to compete with the Ford Ranger et al, plus new versions of the Ram 1500 and Heavy Duty models.

 

SsangYong is on a roll. Buoyed by a steady stream of new, modern products to replace the staid vehicles it relied on for way too long, the Korean 4×4 specialist started this year by celebrating overall success in our 4×4 of the Year awards with the new Rexton.

Based on the same platform as the Rexton, with the same engine and choice of gearboxes and very similar cabin, the new Musso is a quantum leap forward from the model currently being sold under the same name.

We’ve had an early test, on British roads, of a Korean-spec Musso. Aside from the fact that it’s left-hand drive, the only difference between this and the one coming to Britain is in the details, so this is a good indication of what’s on the way.

Starting in the cabin, the Rexton’s influence is clear. There’s even a strip of leather across the dashboard, complete with contrasting stitching.

Elsewhere, materials remain high-quality by pick-up standards, with soft-touch surfaces on much of the dash and excellent leather seats which managed to be both soft and comfy yet impressively supportive. They put you in a good driving position, too, from which your view all around is particularly fine – even over your shoulder, thanks to a C-post that’s no bigger than it needs to be.

There’s plenty of headroom, too, and enough leg room to let a six-footer drive without needing to move his seat all the way back. This is handy if there’s another six-footer sat behind, because the seat-backs have no give in them at all – but the good news is that aside from the Ford Ranger, we think the Musso probably has the most rear knee room in the double-cab market. It’s possible for two tall adults to ride in tandem without either feeling the squeeze, and there’s not a lot of trucks we can say that about. All-round, few double-cabs can match it for accommodation.

There’s a decent amount of oddment stowage, too, and overall build quality appears close to that of the Rexton. As does the equipment you get for your money – we’ll leave the specifics out, as UK models will likely differ from this one, but there’ll be a range of three trim levels and at the top, you’ll get a truly premium level of kit. As an indication, the vehicle here had stuff like air-conditioned seats and a heated steering wheel.

It also had 20” polished rims, complete with 255/50R20 tyres, which are pretty much the exact opposite of what we like to see on pick-ups. But if the Musso range is going to mirror that of the Rexton, this is what top models will come with.

One definite difference to the Rexton is that whereas that vehicle comes with independent rear suspension on AWD models, all Mussos have a live rear axle. This is coil-sprung, which remains a rarity in the pick-up market.

You also get a part-time, dual-range transfer case as standard, mated to a choice of six-speed manual or auto gearboxes. This all goes together to make what looks on paper like a well sorted vehicle for on and off-road use.

Starting with the latter, we found that the limits were definitely set by the low-profile, road-pattern tyres. No surprise there – but what was very pleasing to note was that when pushed, the rear axle displays excellent articulation, particularly on the bump stroke. A rather low rear bumper, coupled with the inevitable long overhang, means there’s an element of vulnerability back there, but based on the limited amount we were able to do on this early drive the suspension is unusually good at following the terrain.

What the coil springs can’t do is hide the fact that they’re specced to hold up a tonne. Inevitably, this means the suspension is upset by all but the smoothest roads – though while there certainly is plenty of thumping, even in sharp-edged pot-holes the impacts are never harsh. The body does get jolted around a fair bit at lower speeds on uneven urban roads, but once you get it moving things are a lot more settled. We haven’t yet had the chance to drive the Musso at cruising speeds, but at this stage’s we’d say the results are promising for a composed motorway ride.

We haven’t been able to tow with the vehicle yet, but SsangYong advises us that it will be rated to haul 3500kg (3200 with the manual box) while also carrying 1050kg of cargo. At the time of writing, the testing and approval process was still underway, but the company believes this will give it the highest gross train weight in the market.

It certainly has the brakes for the job, as we found out when a driver in the employ of a very well known courier company lost control of his 7.5-tonner while coming towards us round a corner. And while an unladen test can only tell you so much, the engine does pull strongly – 181bhp is backed up by 295lbf.ft at 1400rpm in manual form, and 310lbf.ft at 1600rpm in autos. It raises its voice when your foot goes right down, but is quiet enough not to cause a disturbance at higher speeds. Again, though, we can’t yet comment on motorway cruising.

What we can say is that from this first, brief look, the Musso does appear to do a good job of taking the good stuff from the Rexton and applying it to the pick-up market. It’s solid, spacious inside and, without rewriting the rules, represents a quantum leap forward from the truck it will replace, vaulting SsangYong from the bottom of the one-tonne pile to a position in which it can compete on a level footing with the rest of the pack.

It also comes with a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty, and with running costs mattering so much to most people that could go a long way to convincing some buyers. So too could prices which SsangYong says will start at less than £20,000 plus VAT – these are yet to be confirmed, as has the exact spec of the three-strong UK range. But it’s clear that value for money will continue to be a key part of the proposition.

Weigh all that up against fuel consumption and emissions of 35.8mpg and 211g/km (32.8 and 226 auto), and residuals which will likely be on the weak side, and you have a number of questions to ask yourself. By no means are they clear cut, though – and for the first time in the UK pick-up market, SsangYong certainly does have an answer.

Fiat raised an eyebrow or two in the pick-up world when it decided to launch a badge-engineered version of the Mitsubishi L200. The Fullback could be described as a me-too model – or, more sensibly, as an expedient way of allowing fleet customers to address all their light commercial vehicle needs in one deal. Either way, though, the new Fullback Cross is more than just someone else’s truck with a Fiat badge on it.

Sitting at the top of the Fullback range, the Cross model is based on the already well-equipped LX, meaning it has full-tim four-wheel drive and a 180bhp version of the now-familiar 2.4-litre turbo-diesel engine.

What it also has is a locking rear differential. Typically these make all the difference to a pick-up’s performance off-road. By nature they’re light at the tail, and lift wheels very easily – especially when unladen, and being able to lock the rear diff to prevent drive being lost this way is an important weapon in the driver’s arsenal. Many manufacturers use traction control as an alternative to this – some systems work better than others, but in our experience none at all as are effective as the traditional tech.

The L200 is available with a locking rear diff – but only with part-time four-wheel drive. Higher-spec models gain the full-time system that’s also used on the Fullback Cross – but lose the locker. This was frustrating when Mitsubishi first launched the full-time system in 2005, so it feels rather as if this new Fullback is a case of Fiat making the L200 into the vehicle we’ve always wished it would be.

To go with the off-road potential this offers, the Cross is lightly ruggedized, if that’s not a contradiction in terms. It gains toughened wheelarches and side steps with a matt black finish, as well as a satin-effect skid plate, and its 245/65R17 tyres are wrapped around black alloys.

If prepping vehicles for off-road work is your thing, you’ll immediately write all this off as mere styling, all of which would be unbolted and replaced with proper heavy-duty stuff from the aftermarket the moment you got your hands on it. That would be rather a harsh verdict, all the same, as Fiat is honest about the Cross being pitched as an eye-catching lifestyle truck fit for work and play alike, but there is indeed an element of show-not-go to its spec. In particular, the design of the six-spoke alloys means their faces are close to being flush with the tyres’ sidewall, which is a recipe for scratches when you’re churning your way through ruts.

Nonetheless, the Fullback Cross proves very competent off-road. Even on standard tyres, it deals well with the wet, sloppy conditions many will encounter frequently in day-to-day working life, following the ground confidently without any sign of wanting to go sideways. With 317lbf.ft, there’s plenty of torque for slugging away through mud or heaving itself up hills, though with this version of the engine you pay for the higher output by needing to rev it to 2500rpm before it’ll give you all it’s got – but despite this, it’ll scale very decent climbs at little more than tickover, and the gearing in the six-speed manual box never feels high.

You’d need more aggressive tyres for the diff-lock to make an appreciable difference in muddy conditions. However, at a crawl over uneven terrain, it comes into its own. The ground does need to be very rough – much more so than most owners will attempt to tackle in their expensive new trucks – but where two wheels lighten up at once, the locker allows you to keep on taking it gently rather than using extra speed to get through. And that’s good for the vehicle, its passengers, its load and the ground beneath it.

On the road, the Fullback is a fine performer, with a smooth, quiet ride on the motorway which makes it very agreeable indeed. The engine hauls it up to speed without any problem at all and feels as if it has plenty more to give, even when you’re keeping up with the traffic in the fast lane, and with the cruise control set it’ll rumble along all day without skipping a beat. You don’t need to fidget with the steering to keep it in its lane, either.

On A and B-roads, the steering is engaging, with plenty of feel and response as you chuck it into corners. Of course, there’s body roll, but it’s well controlled and doesn’t prevent you from enjoying yourself. As always with off-road vehicles, the trick is to drive with its foibles, not against them – accept it for what it is, and it’s a big, cheerful bundle of laughs.

Ride-wise, poorer road surfaces do set up a bit of fuss at the back, at least when there’s not a load of pea shingle in there to damp it down. But even when running unladen you can clobber it into an alloy-trasher of a pot-hole without feeling like the world’s coming to an end. Refinement is perfectly good by general pick-up standards, though the gearchange from the six-speed manual box is a bit mechanical.

Last time we drove a Fullback, we noted that the clutch had an oddly high biting point. No such trouble this time, however – it’s as easy to drive as you want it to be, with the option of full-time four-wheel drive adding an extra element of stability in wet conditions – and one which no other pick-up currently offers in combination with a rear locker.

Something else we grumbled about last time we drove a Fullback was its multimedia system, which defeated our every attempt to pair it with an iPhone and struggled to hold on to a DAB signal. This time, again no problem. We’d still like to know who it was that decided digital radio had to be so complicated to operate, but the sound and reception in the Cross were just fine – and having plugged our iPhone in to the USB port, it registered within seconds.

Elsewhere inside there’s heated leather seats and so on giving you the full luxury treatment. The leather feels tough rather than sumptuous – as always, we’d sooner see good fabric than so-so hide – but the seats are perfectly supportive and despite no adjustable lumbar support are comfortable over longer distances.

Similarly, the dash and floor console, though they’re finished in a hard plastic that is scratchy, are extremely well made – there’s almost no creaking from any part of them. It’s tough and rugged rather than luxurious, but all the top-spec kit does add something. It can’t work magic on the amount of space in the back, of course, but so long as you’re not carrying tall adults or bulky car seats, there’s enough space there to get by.

One other complaint we’d have relates to the pick-up bed. This is dominated by a model-unique textured sports bar, which looks cool and, we found, is capable of protecting the cab roof if you’re carrying very long items, but the bed itself is protected by a liner which, tough though it may be, offers nowhere to lash down your load. We had to run ratchet straps around the sports bar itself, which we’re pretty sure is not the idea.

The Fullback Cross isn’t unique in having full-time four-wheel drive, nor in having a rear diff-lock. But no other truck currently offers both in tandem, which gives it genuine off-road potential. It’s a good all-rounder, clearly the best option in the Fullback range, and its styling accessories certainly stand out – though in places we’d like to see a little more practicality to go with the eyeball-pleasing design.

After the reveal of a mega-limited Arctic Trucks D-Max yesterday at the CV Show, Isuzu have today revealed a special edition D-Max of their own.

The Yukon Luxe Extended Cab receives a swathe of tweaks both internally and externally, adding both flair and comfort to the popular pick-up.

Eighteen-inch Black Shadow alloys apply edge to the look of the Luxe, whilst the power assisted tailgate adds functionality – and safety. Thanks to the Pro-Lift tailgate assist, the tailgate can feel 95% lighter.

The interior has received a red and black leather makeover, instilling style and comfort into the cab of the D-Max.

The Yukon Luxe Extended Cab prices up at £22,509 before VAT, only £1,000 up on standard D-Max Yukon models. Details on the new double-cab can be found on Isuzu’s website, or at your nearest dealership.

Arctic Trucks have been busy, not only have they worked their magic on an Isuzu D-Max and Toyota Hilux for the CV Show, they’ve also done work on a Nissan Navara.

It’s the first time that Nissan have developed a European pick-up with another brand, and the result is the Off-Roader AT32.

A bespoke suspension increases the Navara’s ride height by 20mm, resulting in 243mm of ground clearance. This also gives a new approach angle of 35˚ and a breakover of 24˚. The redesigned wheel arches were necessitated by the 32-inch tyres wrapped around the 17-inch alloys. Beneath the truck there is also underbody cladding for protection over rough terrain. Optional additions to the AT32’s off-road performance include a snorkel and a front differential locker plus bigger tyres present the option of reducing tyre pressure.

The AT32 is based on the Navara double cab, and as a result adopts the standard features of hill-start assist, hill descent control, emergency braking and a birds-eye-view parking camera. It also comes with Nissan’s five-year/100,000 mile warranty, plus a five year guarantee from Arctic Trucks on the new parts.

There’s no date announced yet for the Off-Roader AT32’s arrival on the UK market.

Arctic Trucks have taken the covers off a very limited run D-Max at the CV Show. The Stealth is based on the Isuzu D-Max AT35 double cab by Arctic Trucks, and the production run will consist of only ten examples.

The exterior has been de-chromed, with roof bars, side steps, radiator grille and all of the exterior features getting blackout treatment. Even the Isuzu badges have been changed, with a colour change up front, and on the D-Max Arctic Truck badges at the back, and the standard Isuzu decal on the tailgate has gone.

Black rear sports bar and mountain top roll over cover have been added to enhance the Stealth’s image. Un-stealthily, there are LED headlights and two Lazer lightbars mounted on the front bumper and the sports bar.

Predictably, the bespoke leather interior is black. The Arctic Trucks logo is embroidered into the headrests, and also features on the 9” touchscreen set into the dash. Nine speakers have been added, along with a subwoofer and a HDMI port.

The Stealth will cost £44,005 plus VAT, but it wasn’t the only Arctic Trucks project at the show.

The other Arctic Trucks vehicle at the show was the Arctic Trucks AT35 Hilux, sporting 10” alloys, 35” all-terrain tyres and a 25% increase in ground clearance. The AT35 Hilux is available to both commercial and private buyers, and comes with the same 5-year/100,000 mile warranty as Toyota Hilux models.