There is nowhere for a dual-cab 4×4 ute to hide when it costs over $50K plus on-road costs.

SOME utes under that threshold focus on rugged simplicity and value for money over a passenger car-like level of performance, convenience equipment and active safety technology. But if the top dogs want to ask top dollar, then let’s apply the blowtorch.

Whether it be enhanced off-roading, extra luxury and refinement, or high-end cabin comfort and safety, the below top 5 dual-cab 4×4 utes over $50K all satisfy one or another.

Ford Ranger Wildtrak

Australia’s second most popular ute – after the HiLux – is bred, if not born, here. The Thailand-made Ford drivers superbly well for a ute, with excellent steering, balanced ride comfort, one of the best back seats in a dual-cab and, thanks to a recent facelift, a punchy 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel engine with 157kW/500Nm.

The $63,990+ORC Wildtrak scores forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking (AEB) including pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, traffic speed-sign detection, adaptive cruise control, auto reverse-park assistance and auto up/down high-beam. That’s in addition to heated leather seats, digital radio, sat-nav, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone mirroring, leather-look dash, tub liner with 12v outlet, a roller-shutter blind and sports bar. It’s expensive, but loaded.

It also gets a mighty 1549mm-long and 1569mm-wide tray, 961kg payload, 237mm ground clearance, 3.5 tonne towing, and 7.4 litres per 100 kilometres fuel usage. Buy before December 31 to get five years’ free servicing – otherwise, three year/45,000km check-ups ask $1470 and a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty is standard.

Volkswagen Amarok V6

Welcome to the best engine and sharpest dynamics in the dual-cab 4×4 ute game. Usually priced from $51,990+ORC, at the time of writing you can get a 165kW/550Nm 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6-powered Amarok Core auto from $51,990 driveaway.

The Amarok Sportline retails for $3000 more, and the luxe-focused Amarok Highline for $5000 again, all with a 7.9-second 0-100km/h claim. Perhaps this isn’t one for the family, given the lack of rear curtain airbags in this generation, while all the above active safety technology of the much slower and noisier Ranger Wildtrak isn’t available.

More competitive is the 1555mm-long and 1620mm-wide tray, 989kg payload, and 3.5 tonne towing, if not the 192mm ground clearance and 9.0L/100km claimed combined-cycle consumption. The Volkswagen also rides the bumps a little more firmly, yet doesn’t steer as fluently. However, if you buy before December 1 an extra two years is added to the three year, unlimited kilometre warranty, though $1728 servicing to three years or 45,000km is higher than average.

Toyota HiLux Rugged

It isn’t cheap at $54,990+ORC or $56,990 driveaway at the time of writing, but the HiLux Rugged is focused on off-road capability. You get bush-ready tyres, a bullbar, a steel rear bar with step, towbar, extra underbody protection (like side rock rails), a snorkel, a tub liner, rear tailgate protection, a sports bar with tie-down hooks, rubber floor mats, sat-nav and digital radio but not much else.

In short, it’s ‘no BS’, albeit for a premium. The 253mm ground clearance forces the 237mm-rated Ranger Wildtrak into segment second place, and likewise the 45-degree front-corner approach angle bests all 28-30deg rivals, even if payload crumbles to 762kg. The 130kW/450Nm 2.8-litre turbo-diesel is average, though the manual’s 3.5 tonne towing is competitive.

It’s nothing special inside, or to drive, and the three year/100,000km warranty is unimpressive. Bi-annual or 10,000km servicing is annoying too, however the first six services cost $240 each – $1440 to three years or 60,000km, but just $960 if you do a lot of kilometres and 40,000km clicks over first.

Holden Colorado LTZ

Both this Colorado, and the Triton below, prove that lightning can strike twice. Lower model grades are our sub-$50K picks as much as these flagships are our $50K-plus picks. One of the reasons this Colorado LTZ takes fourth spot is because its usual $52,690+ORC pricetag remains one of the best-value – yet at the time of writing it’s on-sale for $51,990 driveaway. Option leather and heated seats for $1500 and it becomes $54,190+ORC. Even without a driveaway offer that’s $9800 cheaper than Ranger Wildtrak.

Okay, you don’t get AEB, auto reverse-park assist, traffic sign detection, and auto up/down high-beam, but that’s about the only missing items. The 2.8-litre turbo-diesel matches the Ford’s 500Nm, while at least a forward collision alert and lane-departure warning are included – unlike the Mitsubishi – as are a tonneau cover, sports bar, auto on/off headlights and wipers, auto-dim rear-view mirror, sat-nav, digital radio and electric-adjust driver’s seat.

The 1484mm-long and 1584mm-wide tray is decent, as is 3.5-tonne towing, a 1029kg payload, $1197 servicing to three years/36,000km, and a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty.

Mitsubishi Triton Exceed

How much do mere millimetres and kilograms mean to you? It’s impossible not to include the $48,990+ORC Triton Exceed among this $50K-plus crew, especially when at the time of writing it costs $46,990 driveaway, with a $2000 fuel card and $1000 of accessories. We’re talking, even with offers aside, $15K less than Ranger Wildtrak.

Yet Mitsubishi still includes alloys, fogs, side steps, sports bar, keyless auto-entry, dual-zone climate control, leather trim, heated front seats, electric-adjust driver’s seat, auto on/off headlights/wipers, auto-dim rear-view mirror, digital radio and CarPlay/Android Auto (if not integrated nav), all before its better-looking facelifted successor arrives in showrooms in early 2019. But it may be more expensive, though.

Anyway, its 1520mm-long and 1470mm-wide tray isn’t the biggest, nor is its 3.1 tonne towing, yet its 133kW/430Nm 2.4-litre turbo-diesel offers ample performance, the interior is nicely trimmed and the rear seat is almost as comfy as the Ford – while eclipsing Amarok, HiLux and Colorado. So unless those tray millimetres and towing kilos matter, it’s impossible to find better for this price – especially considering the five-year/100,000km warranty, four years’ roadside assist and decent (if not cheap) $1510 servicing to three years or 45,000km.


2019 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Review


2019 Mercedes-AMG A35 Review

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also