UTES & CAB CHASSIS – MEDIUM
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.
Mazda’s BT-50 became a Ford re-skin in 2011 and the 2021 model did the same on Isuzu Ute mechanicals. It was updated for 2022, 2023 and for 2024.
HiLux, the traditional market leading 4WD ute model, has been under Ford Ranger pressure since 2015 and lost its 4WD market leadership to Ford in 2017 and in 2023 . However, upgraded models helped in 2018, 2019 and 2022. 48-volt electrics arrived in 2024.
The Ranger Mk II model was released in August 2015 and updated every year since. A high performance Raptor model and a two-litre bi-turbo with 10-speed auto option were announced in early 2018, and the two-litre option was extended in 2021. The 2023 model was released in mid-2022, upgrades in early 2024 and a 2025 Hybrid model planned.
Mitsubishi Motors’ restyled 2015 Triton made its international debut in 2014 and was released in Australia in crew cab form initially in May 2015. Upgrades were made in late 2016, with a facelift and new auto box for 2019, and further changes for 2020 and 2022. The replacement model will come in February 2024.
The revitalised SsangYong Musso dual cab ute was released in December 2018, following lacklustre sales of its predecessors. A new look was incorporated in mid-2021 and updates in early- and late-2023.
The remanufactured RAM 2500 and 3500 RHD models have achieved success in Australia, and were joined by the lighter-duty 1500 version in mid-2018. A petrol V8 is the standard offering and a three-litre diesel option was released in August 2019. The TRX came in 2022 and the Laramie Sport and Big Horn in mid-2023.
The Great Wall 2017 Steed was replaced by the GWM Cannon in Australia in 2020. An XSR version was released in mid-2023.
The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 has been given the right hand drive treatment by GMSV. Like all US-market ‘1500’ series utes it has limited payload of around 700kg, but can tow up to 4500kg.
Ford Australia has confirmed pricing and specifications for the Australianised F-150 that is backed by a nationwide dealer network and five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty.
Although it had the smallest engine capacity in the crew-cab ute class the Amarok had ample grunt and was physically larger inside and in the cargo tray than HiLux and Navara crew-cab utes. A V6 option was released in October 2016 and a Walkinshaw special and long-wheelbase options in 2020. Off-road specials were released in early 2022 and the replacement model, in April 2023.
The new 160kW LDV T60 Max has arrived, to accelerate the brand’s growing popularity in Australia. It’s still around 20 grand cheaper than the opposition, but with more than comparable power and torque. Upgrades were added in late-2022, but we’re not allowed to do a tow test!
The third-generation Isuzu Ute D-MAX retained the three-litre, turbocharged and intercooled diesel for 2021 and added minor upgrades for 2022 and 2023. The 1.9-litre diesel was made optional on the SX grade for 2023.
Jeep has re-entered the Australian 4WD ute market after an absence of 35 years. The newly announced Gladiator is based on the Wrangler four-door, but with an extended wheelbase.
The ‘Benz dual-cab ute is based on the Nissan Navara, using its chassis, most body parts, four cylinder diesel powertrain and driveline. Rumours in mid-2019 suggested the X-Class may be discontinued and it was, in late 2020.
We compare the 2015 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.
The Foton Tunland is a well-made, keenly-priced ute from China, with American-designed powertrain components, making it one of the best value for money utes in the market.
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.
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.
The Land Rover Defender cab/chassis and utes are no more. Production ceased on January 29, 2016 and the replacement model is a wagon-only model – no ute.
Post-2012 Colorados had different engines and transmissions from D-MAXs. Upgrades were made in 2016, 2017 and 2019, before an announcement that the Holden brand and the Colorado would disappear from the market in late 2020.
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, Allan Whiting from Outback Travel Australia reports.
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, upgraded again in March 2017 and early 2018, and a re-skinned model was announced in late 2020.
‘Never judge a book by its cover’ our parents urged us as children and the old saw applies to the Mahindra Pik-Up. 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).