Utes and Cab-Chassis
All the utes and cab-chassis in the Australian market are here: new ute reviews and a summary of previous models, for those buying used.
UTE MAKERS PLAY MUSICAL CHAIRS
Partnerships made and broken in 2016 - January 2017
Several global joint ventures fell over in 2016 and new ones were born. Here’s the state of play at the beginning of 2017.
FIVE UTE COMPARISON - December 2015
OTA tests five 2016-model extended-cab utes on and off road.
We compare the current model Isuzu Ute D-Max with four 2016 model year upgraded utes: Ford Ranger, Toyota HiLux, Mitsubishi Triton and Nissan Navara. OTA chose extended-cab versions to test.
FORD RANGER - July 2016
Big and powerful, the Ranger is causing Toyota some worry.
Jointly-developed Ford Ranger and Mazda BT-50 utes are hounding the traditional ute-market leader in Australia. The Ranger Mk II model was released in August 2015 and was updated in mid-2016..
Chinese made, but with global-brand mechanicals - January 2017
The Foton Tunland is a well-made, keenly-priced ute from China, with American-designed powertrain components, making it easily the best value for money ute in the market.
GREAT WALL STEED
The new-look model was released in September 2016
The 2013 Great Wall was better put together than the early efforts and our brief road test indicated reasonable performance for the money. The renamed Steed model has greatly improved specifications.
The Rodeo successor scores more power and space - updated November 2016
It may seem odd that the post-2012 Colorado is down on engine displacement in comparison with its three-litre predecessor and post-2012 D-Max competitor, but the Duramax 2.5-litre and 2.8-litre engines are signs of the times. Significant upgrades were made in mid-2016
The true Rodeo successor retains the proved three-litre engine.
Isuzu Ute’s D-MAX was given a performance boost in mid-2017, along with new six-speed transmissions.
LAND ROVER DEFENDER
Not pretty and way off a five-star safety rating the aged Land Rover has finally gone - January 2016
The Land Rover Defender cab/chassis and utes are no more. Production ceased on January 29, 2016 and the replacement model isn't scheduled to appear before 2018.
Another Chinese ute attempt Down Under
Ateco has previously distributed Foton Chinese-made utes, but that agreement ended in mid-2017. Now, Ateco is distributing the LDV brand, hopefully with more longevity and market success.
The 2016 Mahindra Genio upgrade - February 2016
The Mahindra Pik Up looked a bit too agricultural for some buyers: enter the Genio. This much more handsome ute came as a short cab and a crew cab. Power and torque are lower than the market average, but so are the prices.
Well priced and ruggedly built the Mahindra should have a market slot - August 2016.
‘Never judge a book by its cover’ our parents urged us as children and the old saw applies to the Mahindra PikUp. This work vehicle’s quirky exterior hides a roomy interior, a state of the art engine, a slick transmission and the first application in this market of Eaton’s mechanically locking differential (MLD).
The styling isn't everyone's cup of tea, but the performance is there - updated August 2017.
Mazda’s ute market entries have ticked most of the boxes. The 2010 BT-50 had part of the required package for market share improvement, boasting the most potent four-cylinder diesel engine in the ute class and the post-2011 range had a class-leading five-cylinder.
The Navara-based M-B ute is due for release in April 2018
The ‘Benz dual-cab ute is based on the Nissan Navara, using its chassis, most body parts, four cylinder diesel powertrain and driveline.
The latest Triton has a great new engine. Updated December 2016
Mitsubishi Motors’ restyled 2015 Triton made its international debut in Thailand on November 18, 2014 and was released in Australia in crew cab form initially in May 2015. Upgrades were made in late 2016.
The Navara features coil rear springs on most models - March 2017
The NP300 Navara was released in June 2015, with much needed improvements in power and torque. The Series II models were announced in November 2016 and upgraded again in March 2017, when the confusing 'NP300' name tag was dropped.
NISSAN NAVARA D22
This rugged workhorse soldiered on for years beside its up-market D40 relative.
The Navara D22 4WD single and dual cab model range was released in early 2002, with power from Nissan’s ZD30 diesel. This DOHC, four-cylinder displaced 2953cc and featured an M-Fire combustion system.
Rugged but relativley sluggish, the Patrol needed an update that never came.
On paper, the Nissan Patrol ute had it over the opposition, because its live-axle, coil-sprung front end could be matched with a choice of leaf rear springs or coils In DX spec’ level. However, the execution wasn't brilliant and the Patrol finally bit the dust in 2016.
SSANGYONG ACTYON SPORTS
Now with a new Australian distributor the Actyon should kick a few goals.
When the SsangYong Actyon Sports Dual Cab Ute range was released five years ago we found a few items that we thought needed rectification. SsangYong listened and the second-generation Actyon is a serious work-and-play ute-market contender.
Bargain-priced range from India.
Tata is the world's fourth-largest commercial vehicle maker and the owner of Land Rover. This giant multinational company didn't get that way from making rubbish, but the Xenon will appeal to those wanting a basic ute, not a frills machine. Pricing is very, very good.
TOYOTA HILUX - November 2015
Market leader in its segment since it arrived Down Under the HiLux surges on.
HiLux, the traditional market leading 4WD ute model, will be under more pressure in 2016. However, the upgraded models should be good enough to keep the competition at bay.
The segment's smallest diesel is pressurised by two series turbos to high outputs - February 2017
Although it has the smallest engine capacity in the crew-cab ute class the Amarok has ample grunt and is physically larger inside and in the cargo tray than HiLux and Navara crew-cab utes. A V6 option was released in October 2016, but it's a top-spec' only vehicle.