Car News

Top 5 best-selling 4×4 utes

We’ve gone through the sales numbers… Here are the top 5 best-selling 4×4 utes in the country.

The people have spoken! Here are Australia’s five best-selling 4×4 utes. It’s good news for Ford which has been struggling with sales in just about every other segment it plays in, and probably a shock for Toyota fans to see the Ranger streaking ahead.

It’s interesting to see that the closely related Mazda BT-50 is nowhere on the list and that the once strong selling Navara is sitting a long way back in fifth place. Mitsubishi, which is playing in the game with old gear in many of the segments it plays in is still selling well with the Triton here and, if you want a real shock, its compact SUV, the ASX is the best-selling compact SUV… but I think that’s as much to do with price as anything else.

  1. Ford Ranger (28,026 sales year to date Sep 2017)

It’s not surprising that the Ford Ranger consistently battles with the Toyota HiLux for outright sales honours in the 4×4 ute category – it’s one of the best all-rounders in the segment.

Single-cab Rangers are available as a cab-chassis only, while the Super-cab and Double-cab variants are available as a cab-chassis or pick-up.

Ford Ranger is Australia's best-selling ute

There are two turbo-diesel engine options for 4×4 Ranger. The 2.2-litre four-cylinder is only available on base-spec XL double-cab models while the 3.2-litre five cylinder is available across the entire 4×4 range.

The 3.2-litre engine is definitely the pick of the engines, making a claimed 147kW of power at 3000rpm and 470Nm of torque from 1750-2500rpm. It can be mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed auto transmission.

On-road performance is impressive from the 3.2-litre engine, and it works best with the smooth shifting and intelligent auto transmission. There’s loads of torque from low in the rev range and the Ranger carries heavy loads well. Ranger’s 3500kg braked-towing capacity is at the top of the class too.

The Ranger’s suspension set-up is similar to others in the 4×4-ute category with independent strut suspension up front and a live axle at the rear with leaf springs. It doesn’t offer the sportiest handling in class, but ride quality is up there with the best and it carries a load well.

The Ranger offers good ground clearance (232-237mm depending on model) for off-road driving and decent wheel travel, particularly at the rear. Low-range reduction is excellent, the manual variants offering an impressive 52.5:1 overall reduction in first gear for slow-speed rock crawling (the auto is 42.2:1). A standard rear diff lock on most models, combined with the Ranger’s effective electronic traction control, limits wheel spin on steep inclines and uneven surfaces.

Ford Ranger is Australia's best-selling ute

The Ranger is packed with safety features that were once only found on high-spec 4×4 wagons, certainly not on utes. Standard gear across the range includes Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Hill Launch Assist, Trailer Sway Control, Load Adaptive Control, Emergency Brake Assist and Roll Over Mitigation. High-spec models are also available with Adaptive Cruise Control with Forward Collision Alert, Adjustable Speed Limiter, Driver Impairment Monitor, Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keeping Aid, TPMS and more.

The Ford Ranger ranges in price from $39,090 for the 2.2L XL Single-cab cab-chassis to $59,590 for the 3.2L Double-cab Wildtrak.

  1. Toyota HiLux (26,039 sales year to date Sep 2017)

Until the recent rise of the Ford Ranger, the Toyota HiLux had been Australia’s bestselling 4×4 ute… for as long as anyone can remember. The current HiLux, launched in 2015, has a lot going for it, and it’s backed by Australia’s most comprehensive dealer network.

The cab-chassis HiLux 4×4 is available in Single Cab, Extra Cab and Double Cab variants, while the pick-up is available in Extra Cab and a Double Cab variants.

Ford Ranger is Australia's best-selling ute

With the recent deletion of the 4.0-litre petrol V6 engine, the HiLux 4×4 is now only available with turbo-diesel power: 2.4-litre and 2.8-litre four-cylinder engines.

As you’d expect, the 2.8L engine is the pick of the two, and it develops a competitive 130kW of power and 420/450Nm of torque (six-speed manual/six-speed auto). It’s also a smooth and quiet engine.

While the HiLux certainly doesn’t offer class-leading on-road performance, it develops nice torque from low in the rev range and works well with the smooth-shifting automatic transmission. Towing capacity is a class competitive 3000-3500kg depending on engine/model, and the HiLux certainly has enough grunt to fulfil duties as a heavy-duty hauler.

The HiLux has independent front suspension and a live-axe rear with leaf springs. Ride quality isn’t quite a match for the more compliant Ford Ranger, but the HiLux steers nicely and it settles down once there’s a load in the tray.

Off-road performance is good, thanks in part to the HiLux’s excellent rear wheel travel and decent ground clearance. SR and above models are also equipped with a rear diff lock, but once engaged it deactivates the electronic traction control, so on some steep inclines you’re better off leaving the diff lock button alone.

Standard safety equipment across the HiLux 4×4 range includes vehicle stability control, active traction control, hill-start assist control and trailer sway control. Pick-ups come standard with a reversing camera and SR5s are equipped with hill descent control.

The Toyota HiLux ranges in price from $36,990 for the 2.4 Single-cab cab-chassis Workmate through to $58,440 for the 2.8 Double-cab SR5+ auto.

  1. Mitsubishi Triton (14,827 sales year to date Sep 2017)

There’s a lot to like about the Mitsubishi Triton 4×4, not least of which is its spritely performance, selectable full-time four-wheel drive system (Super Select II) and, of course, its competitive pricing.

The cab-chassis variants of the Triton are available in Single, Club and Double Cab body styles, while the pick-up variants are available with the Club or Double Cab bodies.

Ford Ranger is Australia's best-selling ute

All 4×4 Triton models are powered by a 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine that produces a claimed 133kW of power at 3500rpm and 430Nm of torque at 2500rpm. Transmission choices are a six-speed manual or a five-speed auto. The auto is the pick of the transmissions as it hides the engine’s relatively high-rpm torque peak.

The Triton is significantly smaller than many of the other offerings in the 4×4 ute segment and, as a result, it’s also lighter. This results in excellent on-road performance and lively handling. And the aforementioned selectable Super Select II, which is standard fitment on GLS and Exceed models, offers the Triton driver the reassurance of full-time four-wheel drive when sealed roads are wet and slippery.

Maximum braked towing capacity is 3000kg for Single and Club Cab models and 3100kg for Double Cabs.

The Triton has independent front suspension and a live-axle rear with leaf springs. Unladen ride quality is on the firm side but like most utes it settles down with a load in the tray.

With the Triton, off-road capability really is really dependent on the vehicle’s spec-level. All models are equipped with electronic traction control, but only the top-spec Exceed comes with a rear diff lock. And with less wheel travel than some of its competitors, that rear diff lock certainly is a desirable feature.

Standard safety features across the Triton range include Active Stability Control, Hill Start Assist and Trailer Stability Assist. GLX and above also get a reverse camera while the Exceed adds automatic rain-sensing wipers and dusk-sensing headlamps.

The Triton 4×4 ranges in price from $32,500 for the GLX Single Cab cab-chassis to a very competitive $48,000 for the Exceed Double Cab pick-up.

  1. Holden Colorado (13,142 sales year to date Sep 2017)

Holden completely re-engineered the Colorado in 2016 and it did a very good job of it, which has been reflected in its sales success that sees it in the number four spot on the 4×4 ute sales chart.

The cab-chassis variants of the Colorado are available in Single Cab, Space Cab and Crew Cab body styles, while the pick-up is available with Space Cab and Crew Cab bodies.

All Colorado 4x4s are powered by a 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine with claimed peak outputs of 147kW and 440/500Nm (six-speed manual/six-speed auto). While output did not increased with the 2016 upgrade, the engine was revised internally to reduce noise and vibration.

Ford Ranger is Australia's best-selling ute

The Colorado is a strong on-road performer – its engine develops good torque from low revs and it has a healthy top-end. With a whopping 500Nm of torque when mated to the auto, the self-shifter is definitely the pick of the transmissions. When it comes to towing the Colorado joins others at the top of the class with a maximum braked towing capacity of 3500kg.

The Colorado runs class standard independent front suspension and live-axle rear with leaf springs. Ride quality on rough roads is reasonable, especially with a moderate load on board, and the electrically assisted power steering offers a responsive feel and good feedback.

Off-road performance falls short of some others in class and the Colorado can’t match the likes of HiLux for rear wheel travel. Its standard electronic traction control is bolstered by a limited-slip rear diff, but there’s no rear diff lock option on the Holden.

Standard safety features on the Colorado include Electronic Stability Control, Roll Over Mitigation, Hill Start Assist, Trailer Sway Control and Hill Descent Control. The LTZ and Z71 models add Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning and a tyre pressure monitor.

The Holden Colorado 4×4 ranges in price from $37,490 for the Single Cab cab-chassis LS through to $57,190 for the Crew Cab Z71 auto.

  1. Nissan Navara (9867 sales year to date Sep 2017)

The Nissan Navara is the only vehicle on this list that’s available with a coil-spring rear suspension, as well as a leaf-spring rear on some models.

Nisan Navara cab-chassis variants are available with Single Cab, King Cab and Dual Cab body styles, while the pick-up is available with King Cab and Dual Cab bodies.

Ford Ranger is Australia's best-selling ute

Single Cab Navara 4x4s are powered by a 2.3-litre single turbo-diesel engine that makes a claimed 120kW at 3250rpm and 403Nm from 1500-2500rpm. The Single Cabs also run independent front suspension and a live-axle rear with leaf springs. King Cab Navaras also have the leaf spring rear and are available with the single turbo-diesel engine, but ST and ST-X model grades score a more powerful 2.3-litre twin turbo-diesel that makes a claimed 140kW at 3750rpm and 450Nm from 1500-2500rpm. While the Dual Cab RX gets the single-turbo engine and leaf-spring rear-end, the ST and ST-X get the twin-turbo engine and coil-spring rear.

As you’d expect, it’s the twin-turbo that is the pick of the two engines. It makes good torque from low in the rev range and has a healthy top-end. The engine can be mated to a six-speed manual or an optional seven-speed auto. The auto shifts smoothly enough but sometimes has a mind of its own and won’t always hold the gear you want. The Navara has a maximum braked-towing capacity of 3500kg across the range.

Ford Ranger is Australia's best-selling ute

While unladen ride quality is good, the coil spring Navara doesn’t handle heavy loads well, exhibiting excessive rear-end sag. The leaf-spring rear handles loads much better and it’s a shame this suspension is not offered in the popular ST and ST-X dual-cab models.

The Navara’s lack of ground clearance is a hindrance off the road and its 450mm wading depth falls well short of the Ford Ranger’s 800mm. The electronic traction control is backed up by a locking rear diff on ST and ST-X model grades.

Safety features on Navara include Traction Control System, Vehicle Dynamic Control with Brake Limited Slip Differential and Active Brake Limited Slip. The ST adds a reverse camera while the ST-X also gets reversing sensors, Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control.

Nissan Navara prices range from $31,990 for the Single Cab cab-chassis DX to $54,490 for the Dual Cab pick-up ST-X auto.


Dean Mellor

Dean Mellor