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The Toyota HiLux could this year become the first ute to claim the title of Australia’s best-selling vehicle. It’s famously and successfully marketed as ‘unbreakable’, but while that could also be applied to its stranglehold on its segment, this is a boom time for all utilities.

They account for an eighth of Australia’s new car market, and are growing. In 2009 utes were the second most popular vehicle segment after small cars; to date in 2013 4×4 models don’t even need their 4×2 twins to achieve such status.

Dual-cabs are chiefly responsible for the rise of the ute. With their increasingly accommodating rear seats and consistently versatile traybacks, these big utes – dubbed ‘One tonners’ due to their payload capabilities – have become the choice for tradies who see a vehicle that they can use as a workhorse during the week and as a family hauler at weekends.

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They also have huge appeal as an alternative lifestyle vehicle to an SUV. Manufacturers have belatedly seized on this trend to make today’s utes better suited to this dual-purpose role. There’s no greater example than safety, an area where utes have historically been poor.

In 2009, the safest utes still achieved only four out of five stars in independent crash testing, and the most you could expect as standard were anti-lock brakes and a couple of airbags. The majority of the newest utes, however, are five-star performers and offer six airbags that also help to protect occupants in the rear.

Those models comprise the Ford Ranger, Mazda BT-50, Volkswagen Amarok and Holden Colorado that feature as part of this comparison – along with the equally new Isuzu D-Max that just missed out on a five-star rating.

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Lifecycles for utes are much longer than your average passenger car or SUV, so the current Toyota HiLux, Nissan Navara (both out since 2005) and Mitsubishi Triton (since 2006) are in their twilight years but their huge popularity demands their inclusion here. (All-new Navara and Triton models are expected in 2014, with a next-generation HiLux at least another year away.)

To help CarAdvice find out which dual-cab ute is best, we enlisted the help of two builders who use utes on a daily basis. Paul Dermatis and Dean Pizzol are both builder project managers who are based in Sydney.


PRICE AND VALUE

Dual-cab utes don’t come cheap, but buyers are getting at least 5.2 metres of metal for the money. These are big vehicles (though still dwarfed by the likes of the American Ford F-150).

All ute ranges are extensive, including multiple offerings of dual or crew cab models in addition to cab-chassis and space-cab styles.

Our eight utes pivot around the $50,000 mark, with only a couple below that and most above by up to several thousand dollars. All have cheaper models below the grades we have tested here.

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A couple of anomalies arise due to press car availability: the Mazda BT-50 is the only model present with a manual rather than automatic gearbox; the Nissan Navara STX550 costs from $63,390 where we would have chosen the $57,290 STX – but they are mechanically identical.

Varying price and model line-ups also mean some top their respective ranges while others are one grade below.

Feature commonalities to all eight utes are 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, cloth seats, cruise control, trip computer, leather steering wheel and side steps and rear step. All have Bluetooth connectivity, though the Colorado, D-Max and Navara don’t offer the contemporary audio streaming feature.

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The Isuzu D-Max LS-U is the most affordable in the group at a starting price of $45,500 ($47,700 auto as tested). It doesn’t offer many key features beyond the aforementioned list, though, and its air-conditioning system is basic where the rest are either climate control or dual-zone climate (Ranger, BT-50, Navara).

It’s near-identical twin, the Holden Colorado that was also released in 2012, costs from $49,990 ($51,990 auto) in LTZ Crew Cab form and justifies some of that gap with extra features including the only standard tonneau cover in the group (soft standard but an optional $2500 hard cover was fitted to our test car).

Colorado is among five utes here to fit sports bars to the tray, joining the Navara STX, $45,740 ($48,240 auto) Triton GLX-R, auto-only $53,990 Amarok Highline, and Ranger XLT that costs from $53,390 ($55,390 auto).

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The Ford Ranger and Mazda BT-50 are the other set of twins in this comparison, built in Thailand but with engineering and development led by Ford Australia.

There’s a $4500 drop from the Ranger XLT to the $48,890 BT-50 XTR ($50,890 auto), some of which is offset by extra equipment. The Mazda adds satellite navigation but the Ford counters with an array of extras that include sports bar, auto headlights, auto-dimming rear view mirror, tow bar, rear parking sensors, privacy glass, heated side mirrors, and rain-sensing wipers that are also exclusive in this test.

Privacy glass is also offered on the Navara STX and Triton GLX-R. The $50,990 ($53,490 auto) Toyota HiLux is the only other model to include sat-nav as standard (unless paying extra for the STX550), while it also has auto lights and is the only one with a DVD player.

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The Amarok matches the Ranger’s heated side mirrors and rear sensors, though is the only ute on test with auto windows all round and a steering wheel that adjusts for reach and not just height. The BT-50 follows all Mazda vehicles with no-cost metallic paint availability.

Mazda is the most miserly with its warranty, though, with just two years/100,000km. (The company will bump up the warranty to the latter if the BT-50 is driven less than 100,000km after two years.)

Volkswagen gets positive marks for making its warranty three years regardless of mileage, but Isuzu and Mitsubishi offer the greatest piece of mind with five-year warranties – though the D-Max’s covers up to 130,000km where the Triton is up to 100,000km. All other models come with three-year/100,000km coverage.

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RUNNING COSTS

Fuel economy is covered under our Engines & Performance section, so here we’re focused on the biggest running cost (resale) and servicing. For residual values, we looked at Glass Guide’s worst-case forecasts for each vehicle after three years and 60,000km.

Five utes sat around the 48 per cent (Ranger, Navara, Amarok) and 47 per cent (D-Max, BT-50) marks.

The Colorado is predicted to lose the most value over the period, worth just 44 per cent of its new-car price. And perhaps predictably, it’s the highly reputable HiLux that sits at the top for resale, with 51 per cent, though the Triton matches it.

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Six of the eight brands offer capped-price servicing to provide convenient transparency for buyers, though costs still vary greatly between Ford, Holden, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen.

The HiLux is the cheapest ute to service, with Toyota charging $170 for each of six services. A total cost of $1020 over three years is most closely matched by the Colorado ($1180) though that’s for five services only (including an initial complimentary service).

Ford, Mitsubishi and Volkswagen stretch their servicing out over four years at every 15,000km. The Amarok is next cheapest at $1933, followed by the Triton ($1950) then the Ranger ($2095), while Nissan has the highest capped price servicing by some margin, with the Navara needing $2867.17 to be looked after over three years.

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Isuzu and Mazda, the only brands not to offer CPS, are in the same ballpark. The D-Max LS-U costs $2625 with an average service cost of $375, but offers the largest number of services (seven) – which Isuzu says is important for vehicles typically operating in a hard-working environment. It also argues its services include air-con pollen filter replacement that would cost an extra $150 per service for its twin, the Colorado.

Mazda’s BT-50 is only about $27 short of costing $1000 per year for servicing, with a total recommended servicing cost of $2919.24 over three years.


ENGINES: TORQUE AND TOWING

Turbo diesel power rules the ute roost, for the pulling power advantage these torque-biased engines holds over petrol.

If you’re buying a ute purely on torque output, the Nissan Navara STX is the clear pick. Its 3.0-litre V6 produces 550Nm – 17 per cent more torque than the next strongest engines, the 470Nm 3.2-litre five-cylinder found in the Ford Ranger and Mazda BT-50, and the 2.8-litre four-cylinder in the Holden Colorado.

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It’s also the most powerful, with 170kW, though the impressive numbers don’t equate to towing bragging rights. For braked towing capacity, the Navara sits at a segment average of 3000kg alongside D-Max, Triton and Amarok, all of which are 500kg shy of the class-leading Ranger, BT-50 and Colorado. The HiLux is last, with 2500kg.

The D-Max, although related to the Colorado, also continues with a (modified, 380Nm) 3.0-litre four-cylinder, as does the HiLux. The Toyota has the least amount of torque (343Nm) but at least delivers peak torque from the lowest point in the rev range here – 1400 to 3400rpm.

The Triton has the second smallest engine – a 2.5-litre four-cylinder – and the second lowest torque output in auto form: 350Nm at 1800rpm.

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Volkswagen’s Amarok TDI420 has just a 2.0-litre four-cylinder, but it employs two turbochargers to produce a healthy 420Nm.

The German ute takes a different route in other ways, too. It’s the only model in the group with an eight-speed auto, compared with a seven-speeder for the Navara STX, six-speeders for the Ranger, BT-50 and Colorado, five-speeders for D-Max and Triton, and just a four-ratio auto for the HiLux.

Amarok also stands out with permanent all-wheel drive (dubbed 4Motion), where the rest are rear-wheel drive with part-time four-wheel drive – selected either electrically by dials or mechanically via secondary levers depending on model.

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Triton has selectable all-wheel drive for all surfaces including the bitumen, though the rest of the group are rear-wheel-drivers with selectable high range (4H for higher-speed off-roading) or low range (for trickier, low-speed off-roading).

Ranger, BT-50 and Amarok include lockable rear differentials as standard, which is optional on Triton.


ENGINES: PERFORMANCE

The Volkswagen drivetrain is a standout for other reasons, because it’s by far the slickest found in its class. It comes closer than any of the diesels on test to mimicking a petrol engine in the way it sounds and revs. There’s still some diesel clatter but not to the extent heard in all other engines.

Smoothness is aided by the smart-shifting eight-speed auto that reacts quickly to changes in gradients, downshifts adeptly under hard braking, and upshifts quickly to exploit the maximum torque that kicks in at 1750rpm. If you’re in a sportier mood, use the tipshift to hold gears because this is a diesel engine that will rev eagerly towards a 5000rpm redline.

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The Ranger and BT-50 five-cylinder – with its slightly offbeat diesel note – doesn’t have such a good top end, but it’s decent down low and has a particular sweet spot between 2000 and 3500rpm. This was especially noticeable using the six-speed manual of the BT-50, which also proved to be quicker than the auto Ranger in CarAdvice’s performance tests.

The Mazda took 8.0 seconds to go from 80-120km/h in fourth gear compared with 9.3 seconds for the Ford.

Ford, however, did give us a brand new Ranger that initially had just 50km on the odo, and there’s no doubt its all-round performance was hampered by an engine that had yet to loosen up.

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Still, shifting quickly in manual diesels is a challenge and the Ranger was still quicker from 0-100km/h: 12.6 v 13.4 seconds.

The Mazda was joint-slowest in the standing start test, along with the Triton that was singularly slowest in rolling response (9.7sec) and with an engine that sounded the least refined on test.

Toyota was also towards the back of the pack on times, with figures of 13.1sec and 9.5sec not helped by the engine’s comparative lack of grunt or auto’s shortage of ratios.

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The HiLux is the lightest of the group, though, even if at 1945kg that’s a relative description.

Holden’s Colorado scored respectable figures of 11.8sec and 8.6sec, behind or slightly ahead of its slightly-bigger-capacity twin, the D-Max (11.5 and 8.7sec). The Colorado is noisy at idle and low revs, however, while the Holden’s auto also felt the busiest of the self-shifters, struggling to determine the appropriate gear.

Speed is far from everything when it comes to workhorse utes, though, and the HiLux, as well as the BT50, Triton and D-Max, hardly feel insufficient for their purposes.

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If performance is a priority, the Navara STX is untouchable. In the 0-100 sprint it was the only ute to duck below 10 seconds – going two seconds faster than the next quickest ute (Amarok, 11.7sec). It also topped the 80-120km/h tests, using all of its mid-range might to record a straight 7.0 seconds.

The effortless nature of Nissan’s V6 was noticeable beyond the numbers, with a quick-thinking auto while it was also one of the quietest performers along with the VW.

There’s no question of the importance of fuel economy, and CarAdvice’s real world figures show a greater spread of numbers than the official ADRs. According to the official combined cycle, just 1.5 litres separates the best-in-class D-Max (8.1L/100km auto) and worst-in-group Triton (9.6L/100km auto).

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CarAdvice’s figures – calculated after testing on a mixture of freeway, urban, rural and forest trail – revealed the D-Max to still be the most efficient of the auto diesels, with 10.0L/100km, but nearly four litres worse for the Ranger (13.7L/100km).

It’s difficult to say how much the newness of the Ford’s five-cylinder affected the result, though it was the heaviest vehicle on test at 2159kg. The BT-50 had only a few hundred more kays on the clock though a direct comparison isn’t possible as the Mazda’s 9.2L/100km result benefited from the manual gearbox.

There were no excuses for the Triton (13.4L/100km); the Navara can argue 11.9L/100km is acceptable for class-leading outputs and performance; Colorado (11.2L/100km) and HiLux (11.1L/100km) were top-half performers; the Amarok (10.2L/100km) was a commendable third place (and auto runner-up) for economy.

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DRIVING

Utes still need to have the ability to carry heavy loads, so you won’t find any of the multi-link or torsion beam suspensions found under most passenger cars or SUVs.

Leaf spring rear suspensions are consistent throughout our range, along with ladder-frame chassis. Rear drum brakes are also common, with the HiLux an exception with disc brakes both front and rear.

So all utes are equal when it comes to compromising between handling loads and roads, though some are more equal than others.

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Volkswagen, as the first mainstream European manufacturer to build a ute, actually offers buyers a choice of suspension for the Amarok depending on needs.

A standard heavy-duty suspension is for buyers expecting their ute trays to regularly pile on the pounds; a no-cost-option ‘comfort’ suspension, fitted to our test vehicle, removes a leaf from the rear springs to improve ride comfort but does cut the payload by 200kg.

There’s still a firm ride to the Amarok and it won’t absorb bumps as well as a well-sorted big SUV, but its comfort levels on the majority of roads are only bettered by the Ranger and Navara, followed by the Ford’s more stiffly sprung twin, the BT-50.

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Despite its age, the Nissan’s ride, while lumpy on the freeway, is nicely supple and cushions occupants on bumpy roads that bring intrusions to the cabins of the HiLux, D-Max, Triton and Colorado.

The VW, Ford and Mazda utes, however, are in an elite club when it comes to having the most car-like behaviour on the road. Each manages to avoid the undesired body movements noticeable to varying degrees in the other models. The Toyota, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Isuzu and Holden all feel like they need a load in the tray to reduce bouncing over undulating country roads.

The steering in the Ranger and BT-50 is particularly uncanny in their car-like traits – both perfectly weighted and relatively direct compared with rivals that require much more arm-twirling to navigate corners or turns (none more so than the boat-like Triton).

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Amarok’s steering isn’t quite so precise around the straight-ahead position, though its smoothness and light weighting is impressively familiar from any other Volkswagen.

If you were a tradie trading up from a great-handling car-based ute like the Holden Commodore Ute, the Amarok, Ranger and BT-50 would be a less dramatic change dynamically than stepping into the others.

The HiLux, though, was a surprise in a way. Despite being the oldest ute on test, there’s a simple solidity to the Toyota in the way it copes with corners, offers decent steering weighting and accuracy, and has a suitably meaty feel to its pedals.

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The steering of the D-Max and Navara is also likeable, though the Colorado’s steering is vague and suffers badly from rack rattle. The Holden also had the worst brake pedal calibration in the group – feeling like hard work to bring to a stop compared with the other utes – and it sits at the bottom of the group for refinement.

Disappointing NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) was especially embodies by some of the most excessive wind noise and an annoying buzz from the dash whenever the engine reached 1700rpm.

The Isuzu’s ride is jiggly though again it shades its Holden relative in another area because the Colorado is choppy over uneven surfaces. Mitsubishi’s Triton also struggles with body control, and is the least convincing on country roads owing to its ultra-slow steering and sloppy handling.

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All of the utes can handle sloppy conditions, though. We took the group through a challenging forest trail that included deep water crossings, big and muddy ruts, and steep, rocky climbs and descents, and all traversed successfully.

That includes the Amarok that has the lowest ground clearance in the group, at 192mm, and is the only vehicle not feature a low-range transfer case. Instead, though, the TDI420’s auto employs a short first gear to aid crawling (with high-geared 8th gear for economy) and an Off-road Mode can be activated at up to 130km/h via a button to alter the calibration of the stability control, electronic diffs and brakes to adjust for trickier terrain.

The hill descent control employable below 30km/h also proved effective.


CARRYING PEOPLE

Our three-up testing supported our driver-only assessment, with Paul and Dean occupying rear seats and finding the Colorado and Triton offered the least comfortable rides – the Holden especially due to its excessive pitching and the Mitsubishi especially for its excessive bounce that saw them hit their heads on the roof.

Most headroom was afforded by the Amarok (pictured below), HiLux, Ranger and BT-50, with the best forward vision and best under-thigh bench support provided by the same utes.

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The Amarok’s bench has the best bench angle but was also declared the firmest. The Colorado and D-Max have relatively soft benches in comparison.

HiLux is a bit squeezed on width to take three adults as comfortably as other utes, though the Navara has the least accommodating rear seat.

The Nissan (pictured below) is short on legroom and footspace, and its bolt-upright seatback means awkward, knees-up posture for passengers regardless of (adult) height. It’s also the only ute in this group to omit a centre rear headrest. None of the utes offers rear vents, though.

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Up front, the HiLux and Triton interior designs betray their age – looking a decade old compared with newer utes such as the Amarok, Ranger and BT-50. The Navara’s chunky, vertical dash still holds up well.

The Ranger and BT-50 twins go different ways (though with some shared parts), with the Ford adopting a more machismo look to the Mazda’s smarter, cleaner design that was the test team’s preference. (Exterior design is another matter, however, with the Ranger’s styling considered vastly better for its vehicle type not just against the Mazda but the rest of the group.)

The Isuzu and Holden brother-in-laws share much of their interior parts, including an infotainment display that’s disappointing for its narrowness and lack of colour compared with similar screens from other newer-generation utes.

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The D-Max, however, has a higher perception of quality. The Colorado’s fit and finish lets it down especially, with misaligned joins and a window switch panel that wouldn’t take much effort to break off from the door.

Cheap roof lining is found on every ute, and soft plastics are rare – making way for hard plastics that are excusable in a ute’s case for the sake of durability.

The variety of surface textures lift the image of both the Ranger and BT-50, though it’s the Volkswagen Amarok that has the classiest interior design thanks to instrument dials, heating and ventilation controls and an infotainment screen that clearly relate the Amarok’s cabin with the likes of the Golf and Passat.

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Even the (large) door bins are carpeted, while no ute could match the satisfying door-closing thuds of the VW that enhanced its reputation for build quality on test. (The driver’s door of our test BT-50 was actually difficult to shut, though this is the first time we’ve experienced this problem with the Mazda.)


CARRYING LOADS

When it comes to tray dimensions, the verdict from our guest tradies, Paul and Dean, were that none of the utes could claim a decisive advantage that would make you choose one over the other.

All trays are inevitably shorter than those found on the Falcon and Commodore two-door utes, while they said a 1.8 x 1.2 metre sheet of plywood common to the building trade, for an example, would still need to be laid over the back of the tailgate.

That includes the Amarok, which brings the biggest tray to the group in length, width and width between wheel arches. For the record, the Colorado has the shortest tray, and the Triton has the narrowest (including distance between wheel arches).

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All have good tray depths, though tradies Paul and Dean pointed out that noticeable gaps between the bottom of the tailgate and the tray floor on the Colorado and Navara had potential to see smaller tools fall out.

Most of the utes provide four tie-down points though the Ranger and BT-50 provide six. The Ford also includes a handy 12v 20amp charge point. The Nissan Navara differs by including four adjustable points on the sides with two tray rails to accommodate more adjustable points.

These utes are known as ‘One Tonners’ owing to their ability to carry about half the vehicle’s own mass, with of our group able to carry more than 1000 kilograms and the other half less. (Figures vary slightly where manual transmissions are available.)

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The Mazda BT-50 gets the Samson award with its 1088kg payload capacity, ahead of the other one-tonne-plus carriers the Colorado (1047kg), Ranger (1041kg) and D-Max (1015kg).

The HiLux (940kg) and Triton (931kg) are similar, and the Navara is relatively weak-armed with a 906kg payload. Volkswagen’s Amarok can haul 969kg with standard Heavy Duty suspension but falls to just 769kg with the lighter Comfort suspension.


SAFETY

As we said in the introduction, ute manufacturers have made big safety steps in recent years. Volkswagen started the trend in 2011 when the Amarok became the first dual-cab ute to achieve a maximum five-star rating from independent crash test body NCAP.

The Ranger and BT-50 followed later the same year, and the Holden Colorado joined the club in 2012. Its Japanese twin, the Isuzu D-Max, just missed out, however. It scored perfect marks in side impact and pole tests but rated lower than the Holden for occupant protection in the offset frontal crash test. Its four stars put it on par with the older models – Triton, HiLux and Navara.

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All trim grades of the dual-cab utes offer electronic stability control, which can help prevent an accident in the first place. It’s worth noting, however, that HiLux models below the range-topping SR5 miss out on this important technology.

There’s still more that could be done from all the makers. It’s surprising only the Amarok TDI420 and Ranger XLT are the only utes here to include rear sensors as standard. They’re optional on the BT-50 XTR and Holden Colorado LTZ, while the Navara STX550 we tested does feature them but not the regular STX we’re essentially comparing.

There’s a fairly large ink stain on Volkswagen’s safety book, though, because the Amarok is the only ute in the group to not offer a side curtain airbag that can also help protect rear passengers in the event of an accident. The HiLux (pictured below) also disappoints by including a lap-only belt for the centre rear passenger.

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THE CARADVICE VERDICT

It’s not unexpected that its newer-generation utes that occupy the top three positions in our comparison test, though it’s the class of 2011 rather than the class of 2012 that excels.

The Holden Colorado is in the latter group and was a US$2 billion development project according to General Motors, though while its joint highest towing capacity and five-star crash rating will appeal to many buyers the disappointing levels of refinement and interior quality, plus a choppy ride, are among the factors that let it down.

Mitsubishi’s Triton was one of the picks of this segment not so many years ago, but age has caught up with it faster than either the year-older Toyota HiLux and Nissan Navara and it’s the least appealing of the dual-cab utes to drive.

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The HiLux and Navara sit in the middle of this pack, along with the Isuzu D-Max.

There’s solidity to the Toyota that supports its tough-as-nails reputation, and while it doesn’t stand out in any particular area neither does it do much wrong. Its price tag is relatively high but is also balanced by the joint-highest resale value and cheapest servicing.

The D-Max is sharply priced but while it can’t quite match the Colorado’s standard features, the Isuzu betters its twin in terms of fit and finish while testers preferred the carry-over drivetrain to the Holden’s new 2.8-litre diesel auto combination. It also has the best warranty.

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Nissan’s Navara also falls a full star short of the best utes in class. Its V6 turbo diesel was a favourite with journalists and tradies alike, and its interior doesn’t look as old as the cabins of the HiLux and Triton. But a high price tag that equipment struggles to justify, as well as the least comfortable and spacious rear seat makes the Navara the last of these utes you’d choose for accommodating family members or work-mates, costs the Nissan points.

So to those terrific 2011 utes, the Ford Ranger, Mazda BT-50 and Volkswagen Amarok.

When it comes to car-like steering, ride comfort and the best composure on country roads (many tradies are driving enthusiasts), the Ranger, BT-50 and Amarok are on another plain.

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The Ford and Mazda twins are harder to split than the Colorado and D-Max brothers-in-law, virtually inseparable – countering each other where they do actually differ.

The BT-50’s pricing undercuts the Ranger, for example, but the Ford closes some of the gap with extra standard features. Even judging subjectively on design, the test team unanimously preferred the Mazda’s interior but equally all gave the Ford the nod for exterior design.

The Volkswagen Amarok just edges both in this comparison. Its steering isn’t as sweet as either, and its ride quality isn’t as perfectly judged as the Ranger’s. But in an era of dual-cab utes that have a broader role to play than ever before, the VW offers an excellent rear seat, the best interior in terms of design and quality, the biggest tray, permanent all-wheel drive for added assurance on slippery bitumen, and a brilliant engine and slick auto that bring deceptively strong performance and relatively parsimonious fuel consumption.

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THE BUILDERS’ VERDICT

Paul and Dean largely shared their views on each of the utes. They said styling was an important factor for them, and both struggled with the curvy designs of the BT-50 and Triton.

The Ranger was their clear pick for design, saying it looked like “a baby brother to the tough F-150 truck”. They also liked the Colorado’s look but were otherwise disappointed by “the way it drove, the way the cabin was finished, and the number of vibrations”.

Both were fans of the Navara’s torque-laden engine but had issues with its cramped back seat and dated styling.

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The D-Max and HiLux impressed them – the Isuzu for a price tag that was “perfect for tradies on a budget and just needing a work hack”, and the Toyota for its back seat comfort and reputation for aftersales, modification options and reliability.

They felt the Toyota was “a bit underpowered”, though, and the lack of a five-star crash rating for the HiLux, D-Max, Navara and Triton wasn’t ideal.

The Navara joined the BT-50, Ranger and Amarok as the best utes to drive, in their view. They felt the Ford’s superior ride comfort made it preferable to the Mazda.

Paul the Builder lores

Paul (pictured above) and Dean had the most to say about the VW Amarok, believing it was the most car-like of the group, and wondering if it was almost “too flash to be a tradie’s vehicle”.

They loved the “high-tech” gearbox and were amazed by the small engine that loved to rev yet delivered plenty of pulling power. Both said the availability of capped price servicing for the VW helped to overcome concerns about the company’s reliability saga, though Dean said his love of serious off-roading meant the lack of a low-range transfer case for the TDI420 model ruled the Amarok out for him personally.

The Ford’s superior ride comfort placed it above the Mazda in their rankings, and both named the Ranger as their overall favourite despite concerns about the Ford’s fuel consumption.

This comparison review first appeared in the August/September issue of the CarAdvice iPad magazine app. Head to the Apple App Store to download the entire issue.

Photography by Matyas Fulop.

 

Ford Ranger XLT
 
Price: from $53,390
Engine: 3.2-litre 5-cyl turbo diesel
Power: 147kW at 3000rpm
Torque: 470Nm at 1500-2750rpm
Transmission: 6-sp automatic, part-time 4WD (manual standard)
0-100km/h: 12.6 seconds
Fuel consumption: 9.2L/100km claimed (13.7L/100km on test)
CO2 emissions: 246g/km

Holden Colorado LTZ
 
Price: from $49,990
Engine: 2.8-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel
Power: 132kW at 3800rpm
Torque: 470Nm at 2000rpm (440Nm man.)
Transmission: 6-sp automatic, part-time 4WD (manual standard)
0-100km/h: 11.8 seconds
Fuel consumption: 9.1L/100km claimed (11.2L/100km on test)
CO2 emissions: 242g/km

Isuzu D-Max LS-U
 
Price: from $45,500
Engine: 3.0-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel
Power: 130kW at 3600rpm
Torque: 380Nm at 1800-2800rpm
Transmission: 5-sp automatic, part-time 4WD (manual standard)
0-100km/h: 11.5 seconds
Fuel consumption: 8.1L/100km claimed (10.0L/100km on test)
CO2 emissions: 214g/km

Mazda BT-50 XTR
 
Price: from $48,890
Engine: 3.2-litre 5-cyl turbo diesel
Power: 147kW at 3000rpm
Torque: 470Nm at 1500-2750rpm
Transmission: 6-sp manual, part-time 4WD (auto optional)
0-100km/h: 13.4 seconds
Fuel consumption: 8.9L/100km claimed (9.2L/100km on test)
CO2 emissions: 235g/km

Mitsubishi Triton GLX-R
 
Price: from $45,740
Engine: 2.5-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel
Power: 131kW at 4000rpm
Torque: 350Nm at 1800rpm (400Nm man.)
Transmission: 5-sp automatic, RWD with selectable full-time 4WD (manual standard)
0-100km/h: 13.4 seconds
Fuel consumption: 9.6L/100km claimed (13.4L/100km on test)
CO2 emissions: 253g/km

Nissan Navara STX
 
Price: from $57,290
Engine: 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel
Power: 170kW at 3750rpm
Torque: 550Nm at 1750rpm
Transmission: 7-sp automatic, part-time 4WD
0-100km/h: 9.7 seconds
Fuel consumption: 9.3L/100km claimed (11.9L/100km on test)
CO2 emissions: 246g/km

Toyota HiLux
 
Price: from $50,990
Engine: 3.0-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel
Power: 126kW at 3600rpm
Torque: 343Nm at 1400-3400rpm
Transmission: 4-sp automatic, part-time 4WD (manual standard)
0-100km/h: 13.1 seconds
Fuel consumption: 9.3L/100km claimed (11.1L/100km on test)
CO2 emissions: 245g/km

Volkswagen Amarok TDI420 Highline
 
Price: from $53,990
Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl twin-turbo diesel
Power: 132kW at 4000rpm
Torque: 420Nm at 1750rpm
Transmission: 8-sp automatic, AWD
0-100km/h: 11.7 seconds
Fuel consumption: 8.3L/100km claimed (10.2L/100km on test)
CO2 emissions: 219g/km





  • James

    Go ford!!

    • Chris

      Great to see the Colorado selling up a storm, the second best selling truck after Hi-lux in August……and amazingly no Fords in the top ten !!!
      Top 10 cars in August*

      Mazda3 4180
      Toyota Corolla 3680
      Toyota HiLux 2880
      Holden Commodore 2800
      Hyundai i30 2550
      Toyota Camry 2380
      Holden Cruze 2370
      Mazda CX-5 1910
      Toyota RAV4 1780
      Holden Colorado 1720

      • Hung Low

        Shows the power of the badge because the Better looking isuzu DMax twin has a better driveline, interior, quality and warranty.

        • Random

          And less thirsty!

  • Jacob

    Did Great Wall not offer a test car?

    Not that I would buy one.

    • Zaccy16

      wheels mag still say that they won’t be given a test car of the x series wagon from great wall so maybe the case with this test as well?

  • Loft

    I wanna see a comparison test of the low end 4wd utes as I’ve never seen one, Im thinking ,Great Wall, tata, mahindra, ssangyong, foton, zx auto

    • barry

      SSangyoung a bit pricier than those other utes and only available in diesel.I know a Acton sports owner with the new styled front end with the 2.0 Diesel.Its a cut above those competitors in styling and one of the few utes to have a full function trip computer.Commodore ,Falcon and BT50 the others.
      Foton might be the best allrounder but just overpriced for this market.Mahindra would be as tough as nails off the road.

      • Igomi Watabi

        I’m quite partial to the SSangyong, now that they’ve re-done the front end styling.

        • barry

          Resale is not like Hilux.If you bough new you would have to keep for a minimum of 5 years.

  • Sumpguard

    No surprise on the Ranger. Great looks and those I’ve spoken to that own them absolutely love them. The only issue I have is the asking price.

    • Brayden Cresswell

      There new drive away price is not bad.

  • LC

    The Ford F150 isn’t all that much bigger than the offerings here. Only 10% larger than the Ranger/BT50 (0.5 meters).

    On the other hand, the F250/F350/F450…

  • Captain Nemo®™

    “There’s a fairly large ink stain on Volkswagen’s safety book, though,
    because the Amarok is the only ute in the group to not offer a side
    curtain airbag that can also help protect rear passengers in the event
    of an accident” Not to mention an even larger stain on the reliability book too. Epic fail on VeeDud’s part with the lack of curtain airbag, would hate to be in the back in the event of a accident. But most will never see a work site just a few flat-packs from IKEA on a Saturday morning.

    • Karl Sass

      Not durable enough to be a passenger car let alone a commercial vehicle.

      • Dave

        LOL that would be why they are selling to a lot of mining companies then eh?

        • Jim

          @Dave: Maybe a VW can put miles on its odo with the weekly assistance of a dealer. But they are nowhere close to Japs in reliability.

          Source: Mitsubishi Lancer owner from India that put 141,000 kms on its odo. I shift my gear at least 50 times/km (no exaggeration) and my Mitsu still manages with occasional servicing. Here, Mitsu is not even considered a reliable brand. Toyota, Honda and Mahindra are considered reliable.

          A VW or Skoda could do 300,000 kms or even more but you will spent at least the same price of the vehicle.

    • super_hans

      I dont know how the Amarok got rated well for forward vision. I wasnt impressed with the visibility at all, the big chiselled panels and letterboxed greenhouse on the outside are obtrusive from within the cabin giving a small viewport with a huge expanse of bonnet to peer over. Made it a bit more of a guess to position offroad and through gates and just seems unnecessary given its hiding a small 4cylinder in there.

    • Johnson

      Vee Dud! Haha, I get it! Brilliant as always Nemo.

    • Matt

      doesn’t have them yet it still performs as well as the rest of them so they obviously aren’t as vital as you think

  • Roundedbrick

    On day car journalists will include the Defender 130 in these “dual cab” tests.

    • AUSDAVIDZ

      And the SsangYong Actyon??

      • LC

        How about the dual-cab 78 Series?

  • Ute Man

    My only issue with the VW, this is why I wouldn’t get one, is the lack of factory bull bar.

    The bulk of these vehicles once an aftermarket bull bar is fitted drop a star rating, hence why I would want a factory fit. I’ve also been told first hand from a VW sales person that VW will usually site over heating problems caused by air flow resctictions when using an aftermarket the bull bar as a reason to deny warranty.

    Though personally, I like the Ranger the best but I’d be waiting for a midlife cycle change on the HiLux before upgrading… whenever that will be.

    • Matt

      ARB bullbar on my amarok haven’t had a single issue and the rating is still the same and the economy hasn’t suffered

  • hiluxdriver

    Mazda BT50 – get rid of the orange in the head lights, and it would look half decent – look at all other mazdas in the range – they have clear headlights because they look better

    if only mazda had a ute with a body of the new mazda 6 – why don’t they? They have the good design sense in their genes, shouldn’t be that hard to design a ute that’s equally sexy in styling as all other mazda models. Holden nailed it with the Commodore ute, although its’ a shame they couldn’t make cab chassis versions.

    Also, I’m a tradie & drive a 2WD hilux ute, the one thing all ute manufacturers are getting wrong is the HEIGHT of the trays. 4×4 utes are actually terrible as a real work use, because their loading height is too high – BAD for the back! It’s worse if you choose a cab chassis and put on an aluminium tray – the height increases by another 200mm and you’ve now gotta lift more than a metre to load stuff onto the tray. That’s why most commercial vehicles, the REAL tradies choose 2WD.

    Try it yourself – lift 10x 20kg cement bags onto the back of your utes, and you’ll soon see that the 2WD the easier one to work with on a daily basis, 4×4′s loading heights are just ridiculous, they are only for show.

    • super_hans

      I know what you mean, I almost had a nasty accident loading a 200kg kawasaki up into the bed of a hilux. A regular off-the-shelf ramp doesnt provide a very safe grade to load a bike into the tray because of the height

  • Don P

    Here in Canada we have only two choices for a mid size truck Nissan frontier and toyota tacoma…so your lucky to have all those to chose from. But the prices seam huge over there. We pay mid 30K here in Canada. But I,m not sure how the our dollar matched up to yours. I have a Tacoma and love it but will likely be forced to go full sized with my next truck due to lack of interest in mid sized units. But full sized trucks rule here in canada and we do use them.

    • Homer

      There in Canada indeed you guys are lucky. YOu can even import from the States. The prices here are gouged by the manufacturers plus as they have huge profit margins and our government does not let us import cars (if tehy do tehre will be a hughe tax). Yeah I am moving to Canada then. tired of this socialist government and overpriced items (not just cars but electronics etc etc)

      • Igomi Watabi

        What a remarkably simplistic view. Homer would spin in his crypt.

  • AUSDAVIDZ

    And wrong comment, FIAT in Italy have a ute, YEARS before vw

  • Rocket

    Having driven the Ranger and the HiLux the Ford is the better ride but the HiLux has earned its stripes over the decades. Just like the Focus is better than the Corolla people find comfort in the Toyota badge.

  • Captain Obvious

    If I had to use it on site, the hilux is still a winner for me. I don’t hit the roof whilst wearing a hard hat, there is a slot there for my safety glasses and the pedals are still well placed with chunky steel caps. I can also get parts the next day and any clown can fix it when I am out in the boonies. The review doesn’t cover the intended purpose of these vehicles very well besides a sound grab from a couple of city tradies.

    Would never own a Shamarok (fleet manager’s term, not mine) unless I was a city based weekend warrior.

    • Matt

      sit in a “shamarok” and you can’t hit your head it has more room than the hilux, more power than the hilux, more towing than the hilux, better traction system than the hilux. The hilux is out dated man but the new one is coming out soon which will be interesting looks pretty decent BMW did the engine

  • Matt

    Hi Caradvice, where did the road/offroad test take place?

  • marc

    CA, would be interesting to see how they drive/compare with a boat or a trailer with cement bags.

  • O123

    I see so many utes on the road, often in full spec, How are all the tradies affording them?

    • Joe

      ….because their union backing allows them to be HUGELY overpaid and underworked for what they do, that’s why they can afford them……..

      • pro346

        not every tradie is in a union a lot are sub contractors or own the business..tradies are overpaid because people now don’t like to do physical work .

      • Igomi Watabi

        You don’t know very much about the construction industry, do you Joe?

        • Captain Obvious

          Second that.

        • Paul

          What rights would we have without unions ? NONE !!!

      • Anthony Stephen Jones

        i have only worked in a union site for less than 5% of my work life… i have my own business and yes we get paid a lot but we earn the money through doing a job not many want to do… work smarter not harder :)

  • Kaas

    Not surprise another Mazda almost perfect score from Caradvice, yet poor sales and reputation in actual market.

    Hilux is oldest one here and still tradie’s choice… the Ford is a good alternative.

    • Kaas

      basically I see a bit of a Mazda biased in this site

  • Homer

    They are all overpriced. Just completed my malaysian trip and Hilux here is 108000 RM (A$ 36,000) Navara is about the same as teh government here does not tax commercial vehicles. Australian prices SUCK

  • Zaccy16

    Great accurate, thorough review car advice! i agree with the verdict that the bt50/ranger and amarok are miles ahead of rivals, the perfect combination between the bt50 and ranger would be the rangers looks but the mazdas interior and price, IMO the worst in the majority of areas is the hopeless colarado then the triton and hilux, the hilux desperately needs a better automatic and interior

    • pro346

      take the amarok offroad and watch it struggle…just another soft roader

      • Captain Obvious

        … and be prepared to be asked ‘does it run on soy lattes?’ if you take it to a mine site!

      • Zaccy16

        whats the videos of the amarok of road on VW’s youtube channel, it is very capable off road

        • Igomi Watabi

          When it’s not in the service department at the local dealer.

        • Captain Nemo®™

          LMAO yeah VeeDud’s “own” Youtube channel says it all hey Zaccy.
          VeeDud are not going to show the POS stuck in the sand needing a tow or a mechanic to fix it are they?

          • Dave

            funny, your really hate the Rok…….bet you have a Hilux and its the best thing you ever owned eh?
            My 2002 Hilux took 3 mechanics and a specialist diesel centre to diagnose a fault that kept putting the Diesel engine into ‘limp home’ mode…..all for a wire shorting out, so If I was stuck remote, I would have had to have been towed to the next big regional centre, no different to any of these utes, so your argument is pure Rok bashing at it’s best eh?

      • Matt

        i take my off road all the time outperforms: lancruisers with dual difflocks, bt-50′s and rangers all the time and its certainly not soft roading

        • 79DC

          Sorry, I can see it performing equally with a Ranger or BT-50, but it’s not in the same league as a LC79 with one or two diff locks. Not even close. It’s fine to love your ute, but the only way it’s going to compete with the LC79s is with modification or the Cruiser’s driver being a muppet.

  • ChiefOperator

    How can the reviewers say the VW Amarok had the best interior design when the dash looks as old as the Triton, Navara, Hilux. The Ford Ranger and Mazda BT-50 are clearly the best. What is with car reviewers and thinking VW are the best at everything when all their products are boring to look at and don’t necessarly have class leading dynamics.

    • Dave

      go drive one, then you will see, its easy to make an opinion from the sidelines…

  • pro346

    Volkswagen epic fail no low range! whats the point of a softroader dual cab

    • guest

      Vw the only ute in its class to have quality European soft touch interior.Not mentioned in the review.

      • pro346

        soft touch interiors aren’t much use when your stuck out in the mud due no low range transmission and all the other utes just breeze through it

        • un-biased

          when the insanely short first gear/torque converter combo is more capable than a manual in low range I don’t understand how it is a disadvantage? I have driven both offroad and the auto fly’s up the same stuff the “proper low range equipped 4×4′s” need low range for. I hate it when people make comments and are completely uneducated on the topic!

      • Brayden Cresswell

        Hey boys while I’m stuck here in the mud check out my soft touch interior.

        • guest

          Read the review Brayden.Volkswagen won this review…

          • Brayden Cresswell

            If you go by car advice sure it won but in there other reviews they rate the ranger over the vw to quote “but if you want our advice (as it stands today), Ford’s offering is without fail the best ute on the market. There’s not much more we can say!”
            That was from last year at launch when we didn’t know about vw’s dodgy gearboxes and there is no low range.

        • Hung Low

          Or my carpeted door bins. The positives of the Amarok that these reviewers harp on about are ridiculous. For me the only positive is its actual interior width.

      • Aquahead

        Mate, just spent a month driving an Amarok for work on an oil & gas pipeline project. The interior is the same hard plastic as the rest of them, it’s just the Vee Dub version of it. Massive failing is actually the instrument cluster cover, it’s slopes out and catches dust. Clean it with anything other then angel breath and it scratches…

        The auto was as busy as politician at fee feed, going up and down the gears, trying to find the right ratio to keep that narrow torque band working.

        We normally have hiluxs and although overall better than them, the amarok didn’t have the low down torque that diesel 4x4s need. We ended up giving to the Peggies, the ladies love it ‘cos its an auto AWD and no hassle to drive.

        The pick of all the trucks out here are the Rangers, that 3.2L engine is brilliant!

      • Kd

        The Amarok doesn’t have any soft touch plastics in its interior.

    • Matt

      it has a 8 speed auto and the manuals do have a low range i own one! 2wd, 4wd hi and 4wd low. Its not available in the autos as they 8 speed gearbox has enough ratios its unnecessary.

  • Fairlane

    You still can not beat an Aussie car based ute for the tradies in the city.

  • ILoveSuVs

    Great for intended purpose, but my god these things are (almost dangerously) slow.

    • Karl Sass

      By commercial vehicle standards these things are fairly quick.

    • paul

      I have accelerated with a 2.5 tonne Mercedes on a trailer on the back of my Amarok and kept up with traffic easily. Also, I have quite easily beat a VF SV6 merging onto a freeway

  • Brayden Cresswell

    Ill take the ford ranger easily the best car here in my opinion.

  • Leo

    A few things worth mention: although the Mazda and Ford are similar, only the Ranger is 5 star safety..I don’t understand why people never mention this…ever!

    Also, the Ranger fuel economy is the same as the Mazda..but it only has, quoting the magazine: “concerns about the Ford’s fuel consumption”…helloo…did you mean the Mazda is Ok on fuel consumption?..if not, at least you gave the false impression to everyone..

  • Paul Simmons

    “…believing it was the most car-like of the group…”
    Strange where utes have gone… 10 years ago this would have been a huge negative…

  • Seano

    At the start of the article you sat you wanted the STX not STX550, you even mention that you have to pay extra to get GPS ECt. However by the middle of the article you have forgotten the stx550 costs 10k more than the rest and talk it up in the power ratings and speed times, also there is no mention of the non 550 engine, very confusing, please proof read it.

    • Prospector

      I love the power that my Nissan has, along with the best interior.

  • MisterZed

    You left out the Navara D22.

  • Paul

    I have an Amarok TDI 420. The Low range 1st and 2nd gears and the locking diffs make it AMAZING off road and has even pulled out my mates Disco4! So I think it’s transmission and well designed 4Motion system more than makes up for its lack of a transfer case… I mean, why would you need it when you have 8 gears to play with?? Furthermore it’s real world consumption is around 8.4L/100 averaged out over 7000km of Sydney commuting.

    My retired mother tows her caravan around Australia with an Izuzu Dmax. She also loves it, but i think is the best for the price (as a buyer paying cash from a retirement fund we thought that it was the best way to go). Her consumption is 10.1 towing and 8.2 around town.

  • Gary

    yes i agree with loft , I am interested in foton 4×4

  • Ang

    On a recent trip across the Simpson there was an auto Amarok at Dalhousie Springs that had broken down with a faulty torque converter (just after crossing the desert). Talking to their travelling companion who had towed them out, this was the second torque converter that had failed (car was near new). Not sure if its just bad luck (x2) or an inherent weakness….time will tell.
    The good thing was that VW where doing the right thing and paying all costs for repair, towing (Dalhousie-Mt Dare), hire car etc so the couple would not be out of pocket.

  • Matt

    If it puts anyones concerns at rest, I have owned a XLT manual Ranger for 12 months now and the trip computer says the average fuel consumption is 8.9 L/100km. To put this in context, my average speed is 41 km/h due to a combination of hwy / off road / city driving. I also have BF Goodrich mud terrains fitted and a two inch lift.

  • Frank

    Why test in automatic mode? Any “real” tradie is going to buy the manual models.4-speed automatic on hilux is irrelevant for the majority of buyers since they buy manual model.

  • Needaute4x4

    Might have something to do with the fact that Mazda’s are great cars. I’ve had several and all were excellent, I’ve recommended to friends and family and they have nothing but praise for them. Sales and reputation don’t always tell the correct tale – Commodores and Corola’s sold better than all and they are both pretty average drivers cars.

  • Benjamin B.

    FoMoCo ought to sell the F-Series Super Duty overseas. They can market it as a dedicated tow vehicle, heavy-duty caravan-prep vehicle (as an alternative to the Transit) or/and lorry.

    FYI, I am an American. We do not get the mid-sized Ford Ranger (or Mazda BT-50) here. We will get the Holden Colorado rebadged here soon as a Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon (upscale version). It will be assembled in Missouri, USA. It will be equipped with a choice of two gasoline/petrol engine: a 2.5-liter I-4 and GM’s 3.6-liter V-6 with around 302bhp, and the 2.8-liter turbodiesel added later. But there is no plans by the FoMoCo to build or import the international Ranger in/to North America. Ford discontinued the North American version of the Ford Ranger (and Mazda B-Series) several years ago: it last offered a Mazda gasoline I-4 and the Ford of Europe-designed, Cologne, Germany-built petrol 4.0-litre V-6. Only the first generation North American Ford Ranger offered diesel engines, but they were discontinued because they offered very low horsepower ratings. Toyota sells a completely different truck, based on the Hilux, in North America. The Tacoma, as it is called, offers gasoline I-4 and larger-displacement V-6 engines, with a chassis tuned for North American roads. (Also worth noting, Toyota builds and sells a Texas-built full-sized American-class pickup truck called the Tundra here, offered with larger-displacement V-6 and V-8 engines.) Nissan does sell its global truck/ute here, but it is badged as a Frontier and offered with only petrol/gasoline engines. The international Ford Ranger, VW Amarok and Toyota Hilux are the only trucks in this comparison I would really like to see in North America. Honestly, I’ll like to see all of them, but I am being realistic here. The Hilux and Tacoma distant cousins are both due for an upgrade, so I figured Toyota could combine them easily. GM is already moving ahead with the Colorado and GMC Canyon. It’s now an international world market anyway. VW wants to become the top manufactural, so I also reckoned they would be interested in importing the Amarok to North America – or perhaps building it in Mexico?? Ford improved both power and efficiency of their F-150 pickup truck (and will go even further with the Ford Atlas Concept/next gen. F-150), yes; but it has also grown in both size and price. The Ranger is looking more and more likely to return to North America (hopefully with the 3.2-litre), even as a rebadged truck called the F-100.

    In order to discourage cross-shopping the F-150, the Ranger in North America can be offered with a lineup similar to: Ford’s Duratec 2.5-liter naturally aspirated gasoline I-4 (offered in the North American Transit Connect), Ford’s Duratec 35 “Cyclone” 3.5-liter naturally aspirated gasoline V-6 (the Duratec 37 is offered in the F-150), Ford’s very secretive upcoming EcoBoost 2.5 or 2.7-liter turbocharged-gasoline V-6 and Ford’s 3.2-litre turbodiesel I-5 (which will be offered in the upcoming North American Ford Transit lineup with Ford’s Duratec 37 and EcoBoost 3.5-liter V-6 engines). That lineup in my opinion seems conservative enough for Ford to offer without fear the Ranger will take away F-Series sales.

  • Kelly

    I would like to see Toyota reward its loyal followers with a much needed update to make it comparable with the other 4×4 vehicles on offer. I would like to see Toyota include ESC as standard on all models, privacy glass, dual-zone climate control, rear sensors, lockable rear diff and off-road mode as presented on the Amarok. It wouldn’t hurt to have a bit more width, head room and leg room for rear passengers. Including these things would bring the Toyota Hilux back in line with the other vehicles tested and I for one would be very happy!

  • Sheppard78

    I’ve read all the reviews and still not sure. I have it down to three trucks ( family 4×4 ) which are the Holden Colorado, Isuzu DMax or the Volkswagen’s Amarok…… What are your thoughts please?

  • obyone

    Don’t think you will see any Vee Dubs in the mines(or Rangers)

  • Jim

    My top 8 Pick-up Trucks
    1. RANGER
    2.NAVARA
    3.HILUX
    4. D-MAX
    5. BT-50
    6. Triton
    7.Colorado
    8. Amarok

  • ford fan

    go further ford!! give your best shot ford!!!

  • Paul

    After driving a Hilux for seven years I decided to but a new ford ranger , My only concern was reablity after the Toyota .Other wise the new ranger offer so much more for a much better price (shop around the prices vary quite a lot )

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