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The Top 5 Best 4×4 Dual-Cab Utes for less than $50k

Dual-cab 4×4 utes are looking likely to overtake SUVs as the next must-have family vehicle, and already out-sell some SUV categories. Here’s our list of the Top 5 Best Dual-Cab 4×4 Utes for less than $50k.

SOME 143,193 4×4 utes have been sold in Australia in the first 10 months of this year. Add a seemingly mere 31,769 4×2 utes to the tally, though, and the 174,962 total has eclipsed that of both the medium SUV (174,094) and small car (169,757) segments. That’s some haul…

Overwhelmingly, too, the dual-cab sector of the 4×4 ute class is the most popular, but there is clear daylight between the most affordable, mainly Chinese- and Indian-built contenders, the mid-range models and the top-end stuff that claim big performance and big pricetags.

It’s in the mid-range where the best value lies. Sub-$50K, not over it. Here’s out top 5 value buys, with a focus on quality, warranty, and a blend of tradie- and family-focused aspects.

Mitsubishi Triton GLX+

A heavily facelifted version is arriving in January 2019, which means a bargain is ever more likely on what is already the best-value ute in the dual-cab 4×4 class. Officially the GLX+ automatic costs $39,490 plus on-road costs. However, at the time of publication Mitsubishi will sell one for $38,490 driveaway – plus a $2000 fuel card and $1000 in accessories. Standard are alloy wheels, side steps, climate control air-conditioning, plus 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone mirroring, while the rear seat is one of the comfiest. The 2.4-litre turbo-diesel offers 133kW/430Nm, it tows 3.0 tonnes, has a 1010kg payload, and its tray length/width/height is 1520/1470/475mm. Plus there’s a five-year/100,000km warranty, four years’ roadside assist and three years’ capped price servicing. It’s easily worth the $3500 extra over China’s best, the well-equipped LDV T60 Luxe.

Holden Colorado LT

It says a lot about how aggressive Mitsubishi’s Triton GLX+ pricing is, given that Holden’s deal on the equivalent Colorado LT dual-cab 4×4 auto is $43,990 driveaway with 0.9% finance at the time of publication, down from an official $49,190+ORC. You get pretty much identical equipment in both, but for its $5500 extra charge (based on special deals…) the Colorado does get a mighty 2.8-litre turbo-diesel with 147kW/500Nm, it tows 3.5 tonnes, has a 1048kg payload and its tray length/width/height is 1484/1584/441mm – trumping the narrow-body Mitsubishi for width. Holden also offers a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty, and the same for roadside assistance if you service via its capped-price program – which costs $1197 for three years/36,000km versus the Triton’s $1510 to three years/45,000km (owing to longer 15,000km intervals versus Colorado’s 12,000km).

Mazda BT-50 XTR 4×4

There is no doubt Triton and Colorado are the value stars of the class, but the BT-50 XTR dual-cab 4×4 auto is next, down from a hefty recommended retail price of $53,190+ORC to $48,990 driveaway at the time of publication. Okay, that’s another $5000 jump and quite close to $50K even with the deal, but the Ford Ranger-based Mazda is a larger vehicle. That’s not so noticeable inside, where the XTR is competitively equipped with CarPlay/Android Auto, digital radio and dual-zone climate control, but its tray length/width/height measures 1549/1560/513mm to clearly win the space race over the above two. Its 3.2-litre turbo-diesel five-cylinder makes 147kW/470Nm, it tows 3.5 tonnes and has a highest-here 1095kg payload. It’s also quite firm and sporty to drive, backed by Mazda’s five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty and $1601 servicing to three years or 45,000km.

Volkswagen Amarok Core Plus 4×4

In a similar fashion to the Triton GLX+, the Amarok Core Plus is about adding a few extra frills without being luxurious. Usually priced from $50,990+ORC, Volkswagen is shifting it from $43,990 driveaway at the time of publication, complete with alloys, foglights, reversing camera and sensors, CarPlay/Android Auto, even a sports bar. The 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel makes 132kW/420Nm and has a 988kg payload, but an eight-speed auto helps and its load length/width/height of 1555/1620/508mm closely mirrors the BT-50. There’s a contrast there, and likewise inside where the Amarok has one of the nicest and roomiest cabins, but it lacks rear curtain airbags. And it is one of best to drive and tows 3.0 tonnes, however it only has a three-year unlimited kilometre warranty (extended to five years until December 31) and servicing asks $1694 over three years or 45,000km.

Isuzu D-Max LS-T

The D-Max is the Amarok’s opposite. Basic inside and average to drive, it is the dual-cab 4×4 to choose for reliability and cheap servicing. From an official $54,700+ORC, the flagship LS-T at the time of writing asks $50,990 driveaway – at first over our budget, though 2 years’ servicing and $1000 worth of accessories are thrown in. This is the D-Max works burger, with alloys, foglights, side steps, sports bar, leather, keyless auto-entry and sat-nav. Its 130kW/430Nm 3.0-litre turbo-diesel will last forever, and its 235mm ground clearance humbles the Triton (205mm) and Colorado (215mm). It even bests the Amarok by 6mm there, while equalling the Mitsubishi for approach (30deg) angle, if not ramp-over (22 versus 24deg). The Holden, Mazda and Volkswagen all approach at 28deg, by the way. Add in standard 3.5 tonne towing and average tray length/width/height of 1552/1530/465mm, however, then consider the five-year/130,000km warranty and $1300 servicing (if you don’t get a freebie deal) to three years or 45,000km, and the unassuming

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Dan DeGasperi

Dan DeGasperi