The fifth running of the International Pick-up Award test trials took place at the Tierp Arena, 120 km north of Stockholm in Sweden. In all, 8 vehicles were up for appraisal by 18 members of the International Van of the Year jury, with 5 brands in contention for the prestigious prize. In alphabetical order, the Ford Ranger, Mitsubishi L200, Nissan Navara, Renault Alaskan and Toyota Hilux battled it out over three days of scrutiny on-road, on-track and off-road. The 3 other vehicles that made ‘guest appearances’ were the Ford Ranger Raptor, the RAM 1500 and the reigning champion, the Volkswagen Amarok V6.
Day 1 was taken up with fuel consumption tests with additional on-road activity on a set rural route with on-track action in the shape of a speed drag race on the motorsport circuit that has made its name for this category of racing along with hosting the Nordic Finals of the FIA European Rally Cross Championships. The Tierp Arena facility covers 200 acres, has its own air-strip and can facilitate up to 1,000 campervans at any one occasion. The 4×4 off-road track has just been completed, so the IPUA event gave the circuit its first official blessing. Needless to say, the venue was a hive of activity and its CEO; Urban Axelsson, a former speed drag racer, was pleased with the positive response from the international audience present and the promise of spreading the word on the variation of facilities available on site.
What was the adjudication panel looking for this time around in deciding the Pick-up King for 2020? All-round efficiency from economical powertrains, durability, capability, safety, driver and passenger comfort, superior ride and handling, the best in off-road ability as well as good design both inside and outside the cabin. In addition to the test drive programme, brand representatives were invited to highlight the merits of these vehicles and answer any questions to the curious jury members.