Best utes

    Australia’s Best utes as ranked by CarExpert

    Australians love dual-cab utes. These dual-purpose vehicles have become the go-to family car of choice for many Aussies, with generous tax incentives for business owners sweetening the deal for potential buyers, too.

    It is fast approaching a decade since the Toyota HiLux became Australia’s number-one selling vehicle – a position it has held ever since 2015, while the Ford Ranger has edged it out a number of months in recent times, too. 

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    Ford Ranger
    8.4
    Ford Ranger
    $36,380 - $87,990

    Pros: Class-leading comfort, high-end interior technology, expansive model range

    Cons: Prices keep going up, supply remains a concern, no hybrid yet

    Towing capacity: Up to 3500kg braked

    The new-generation Ford Ranger is one of the most talked about new vehicles in Australia, and for good reason – given it has won CarExpert's Ute of The Year 2023.

    Wait times for the new Ranger vary depending on the variant, but can be from immediate to around six months, for the likes of the popular Wildtrak and performance-focused Raptor.

    The new-generation Ranger ute has a bolder design, more interior technology, full-time four-wheel drive in some variants, a V6 diesel option, and plug-in hybrid-ready architecture. Ford developed, designed and engineered the Ford Ranger and Ford Everest in Australia.

    It feels like it was made for Aussie needs and wants, with an expansive range of models spreading from more work-oriented entry-level cab-chassis models, through to the almost $100K-on-the-road Raptor, which makes use of a model-specific twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine and rally-ready suspension. Perfect for the school run, worksite visit, or blasting across the outback.

    Ford offers a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, and there’s capped-price servicing with intervals set at 12 months/15,000km.

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    Double Cab Pick Up and 4 more
    80 L > 727 to 1096 km
    4WD/RWD/4x4
    2500 - 3500 kg Towing Capacity

    Signature ride comfort, refinement

    No manual gearbox option at all

    Pros: Class-leading comfort, high-end interior technology, expansive model range

    Cons: Prices keep going up, supply remains a concern, no hybrid yet

    Towing capacity: Up to 3500kg braked

    The new-generation Ford Ranger is one of the most talked about new vehicles in Australia, and for good reason – given it has won CarExpert's Ute of The Year 2023.

    Wait times for the new Ranger vary depending on the variant, but can be from immediate to around six months, for the likes of the popular Wildtrak and performance-focused Raptor.

    The new-generation Ranger ute has a bolder design, more interior technology, full-time four-wheel drive in some variants, a V6 diesel option, and plug-in hybrid-ready architecture. Ford developed, designed and engineered the Ford Ranger and Ford Everest in Australia.

    It feels like it was made for Aussie needs and wants, with an expansive range of models spreading from more work-oriented entry-level cab-chassis models, through to the almost $100K-on-the-road Raptor, which makes use of a model-specific twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine and rally-ready suspension. Perfect for the school run, worksite visit, or blasting across the outback.

    Ford offers a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, and there’s capped-price servicing with intervals set at 12 months/15,000km.

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    Volkswagen Amarok
    8.3
    Volkswagen Amarok
    $50,990 - $79,990

    Pros: Strong standard equipment list, expansive range of models, available with V6

    Cons: No ‘cheap’ versions, compromised media system, firmer riding than Ranger

    Towing capacity: Up to 3500kg braked

    The second-generation Volkswagen Amarok is the product of a collaboration between the German brand and Ford, with the Ranger in the ‘Rok having been codeveloped and designed in Australia.

    Volkswagen says it knows what works for it as a brand, so there are no 4x2 models, and no cab-chassis models, and all versions sold here are dual-cab pick-ups. That means buyers who want something else will have to shop elsewhere.

    There’s a range of models available, with Ford-sourced engines featuring across the board, including a single-turbo diesel 2.0-litre for the Core (125kW/405Nm), 2.0-litre bi-turbo-diesel for the Life and Style models (154kW/500Nm), 3.0-litre V6 diesel for Style, Panamericana and Aventura, and a very interesting 2.3-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder with 222kW/452Nm – that perky thing is familiar from the EcoBoost Mustang and Focus ST.

    One thing’s for sure - VW didn’t want to roll the arm over and simply be an also-ran in the Australian market. The last Amarok sold better here than anywhere else in the world, and the new, second-gen model was designed with Australia front of mind, as well as other big ‘bakkie’ markets like South Africa, where it’s built.

    The company also wanted to make the Amarok feel like a VW to drive, so it has a number of changes made to it, such as the steering and interior finishes, but the least convincing execution of “we’ll do it differently” is arguably the multimedia system, which is fiddly to use and misses out on the usability of hard climate control buttons below, a la the Ford.

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    Dual Cab Utility
    80 L > 808 to 1127 km
    AWD
    3500 kg Towing Capacity

    Pros: Strong standard equipment list, expansive range of models, available with V6

    Cons: No ‘cheap’ versions, compromised media system, firmer riding than Ranger

    Towing capacity: Up to 3500kg braked

    The second-generation Volkswagen Amarok is the product of a collaboration between the German brand and Ford, with the Ranger in the ‘Rok having been codeveloped and designed in Australia.

    Volkswagen says it knows what works for it as a brand, so there are no 4x2 models, and no cab-chassis models, and all versions sold here are dual-cab pick-ups. That means buyers who want something else will have to shop elsewhere.

    There’s a range of models available, with Ford-sourced engines featuring across the board, including a single-turbo diesel 2.0-litre for the Core (125kW/405Nm), 2.0-litre bi-turbo-diesel for the Life and Style models (154kW/500Nm), 3.0-litre V6 diesel for Style, Panamericana and Aventura, and a very interesting 2.3-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder with 222kW/452Nm – that perky thing is familiar from the EcoBoost Mustang and Focus ST.

    One thing’s for sure - VW didn’t want to roll the arm over and simply be an also-ran in the Australian market. The last Amarok sold better here than anywhere else in the world, and the new, second-gen model was designed with Australia front of mind, as well as other big ‘bakkie’ markets like South Africa, where it’s built.

    The company also wanted to make the Amarok feel like a VW to drive, so it has a number of changes made to it, such as the steering and interior finishes, but the least convincing execution of “we’ll do it differently” is arguably the multimedia system, which is fiddly to use and misses out on the usability of hard climate control buttons below, a la the Ford.

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    Isuzu D-Max
    8.2
    Isuzu D-Max
    $32,200 - $67,500

    Pros: Smooth engine, excellent safety suite, easy steering

    Cons: Pricier than some rivals, narrow driver's footrest, waiting lists

    Towing capacity: Up to 3500kg braked

    The new-generation Isuzu D-Max has been around for a few years now, and has proven it has what it takes to compete with the big-name players in the ute segment, thanks in part to a greatly improved drive experience, tech offering, and the inclusion of more desirable and feature-rich high-spec models.

    The new-gen D-Max has impressed reviewers with its relatively smooth and pushy 3.0-litre turbo-diesel engine, which produces 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque.

    The brand also offers a 1.9-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine making 110kW of power and 350Nm of torque in some of the more affordable variants in the model range.

    The D-Max is backed by a six-year/150,000km warranty, and comes with seven years of capped-price servicing (12 month/15,000km intervals), and seven years of roadside assist.

    The top-spec version of the D-Max, the X-Terrain, is one of the country’s most in-demand vehicles even years after it launched, and despite the fact it doesn’t get a more powerful engine or changes to its suspension.

    One has to wonder if Isuzu will expand the range further to offer a more fitting flagship. Time will tell!

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    Crew Cab Chassis and 4 more
    76 L > 950 to 1134 km
    4x4/4x2
    2800 - 3500 kg Towing Capacity

    Torquey, smooth powertrain

    Price hike since launch

    Pros: Smooth engine, excellent safety suite, easy steering

    Cons: Pricier than some rivals, narrow driver's footrest, waiting lists

    Towing capacity: Up to 3500kg braked

    The new-generation Isuzu D-Max has been around for a few years now, and has proven it has what it takes to compete with the big-name players in the ute segment, thanks in part to a greatly improved drive experience, tech offering, and the inclusion of more desirable and feature-rich high-spec models.

    The new-gen D-Max has impressed reviewers with its relatively smooth and pushy 3.0-litre turbo-diesel engine, which produces 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque.

    The brand also offers a 1.9-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine making 110kW of power and 350Nm of torque in some of the more affordable variants in the model range.

    The D-Max is backed by a six-year/150,000km warranty, and comes with seven years of capped-price servicing (12 month/15,000km intervals), and seven years of roadside assist.

    The top-spec version of the D-Max, the X-Terrain, is one of the country’s most in-demand vehicles even years after it launched, and despite the fact it doesn’t get a more powerful engine or changes to its suspension.

    One has to wonder if Isuzu will expand the range further to offer a more fitting flagship. Time will tell!

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    Mazda BT-50
    8.1
    Mazda BT-50
    $35,370 - $73,945

    Pros: Handsome exterior, smooth engine, refined interior

    Cons: Interior screen feels aftermarket, softer look, warranty less than Isuzu

    Towing capacity: Up to 3500kg braked

    The Mazda BT-50 shares all the important mechanical bits with the Isuzu D-Max, but has a unique look and slightly different interior -- including one crucial missing item: pop-out cupholders at the edges of the dashboard. Both cars are built at the same factory in Thailand, and both launched in 2020.

    As with the Isuzu, the Mazda packs a full suite of active driver assistance technologies, and is comfortable towing a heavy load thanks to its smooth, torquey engine. In recent times, Mazda has added a number of high-end variants to add to the off-roader appeal of the ute range, and indeed it has more hardcore offerings than the Isuzu, when it comes to a made-for-play style design.

    Most Mazda BT-50 models are powered by a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine with 140kW and 450Nm, although the entry XS comes with a 1.9-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine with 110kW of power and 350Nm of torque. If those outputs look familiar, it's because they're identical to the D-Max, as both use the same powertrains.

    The Mazda BT-50 is backed by a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, which is good for the class, but behind the mechanically-related Isuzu.

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    Dual Cab Chassis and 3 more
    76 L > 950 to 1086 km
    4x4/4x2
    3000 - 3500 kg Towing Capacity

    Pros: Handsome exterior, smooth engine, refined interior

    Cons: Interior screen feels aftermarket, softer look, warranty less than Isuzu

    Towing capacity: Up to 3500kg braked

    The Mazda BT-50 shares all the important mechanical bits with the Isuzu D-Max, but has a unique look and slightly different interior -- including one crucial missing item: pop-out cupholders at the edges of the dashboard. Both cars are built at the same factory in Thailand, and both launched in 2020.

    As with the Isuzu, the Mazda packs a full suite of active driver assistance technologies, and is comfortable towing a heavy load thanks to its smooth, torquey engine. In recent times, Mazda has added a number of high-end variants to add to the off-roader appeal of the ute range, and indeed it has more hardcore offerings than the Isuzu, when it comes to a made-for-play style design.

    Most Mazda BT-50 models are powered by a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine with 140kW and 450Nm, although the entry XS comes with a 1.9-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine with 110kW of power and 350Nm of torque. If those outputs look familiar, it's because they're identical to the D-Max, as both use the same powertrains.

    The Mazda BT-50 is backed by a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, which is good for the class, but behind the mechanically-related Isuzu.

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    GWM Ute
    7.8
    GWM Ute
    $35,990 - $52,990

    Pros: Exceptional value for money, strong standard equipment list, new off-road focused flagship

    Cons: Some safety tech annoyances, not the best ute to drive, a few tweaks away from excellent

    Towing capacity: Up to 3500kg braked

    This new-generation GWM Ute – also known as GWM Cannon – has made a name for itself in Australia, with strong sales and an ever-expanding model range helping to keep things fresh and interesting.

    After launching with a three-model, pick-up only line-up, the brand has recently added a couple of cab-chassis variants the appease the tradies who were buying pick-ups only to remove the tubs to fit a tray anyway. And there’s also the new XSR model, which is an off-road-focused variant that scores a number of key changes including a new selectable four-wheel drive system, front differential lock, revised suspension, more ground clearance and off-road armour such as rock rails, steel bumpers and more.

    All versions on sale currently are powered by a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine with modest outputs of 120kW and 400Nm, which is less than most of the main rivals. But the price is lower, so there you go. There are affordable rear-wheel drive models, but if you choose a 4WD GWM Ute that isn’t the XSR, you get a system that operates in full-time 4WD in Standard and Sport modes, or rear-wheel drive in Eco mode. There’s also low-range 4x4 mode, selectable by hitting a button.

    Some of the best attributes for the GWM Ute are its size, both in the tub (one of the biggest on the market), and in the cabin, which is far more spacious for second-row occupants than the Ranger, Amarok, HiLux, D-Max, BT-50 and others.

    It also has the maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating, though some of its safety systems seem to be included just to tick the box for that rating, as they could do with some fine-tuning. Thankfully, the most interruptive item - active lane-keeping/steering assistance - can be disabled.

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    Dual Cab Chassis Tray, Dual Cab Utility
    4x4/4x2
    3000 kg Towing Capacity

    Pros: Exceptional value for money, strong standard equipment list, new off-road focused flagship

    Cons: Some safety tech annoyances, not the best ute to drive, a few tweaks away from excellent

    Towing capacity: Up to 3500kg braked

    This new-generation GWM Ute – also known as GWM Cannon – has made a name for itself in Australia, with strong sales and an ever-expanding model range helping to keep things fresh and interesting.

    After launching with a three-model, pick-up only line-up, the brand has recently added a couple of cab-chassis variants the appease the tradies who were buying pick-ups only to remove the tubs to fit a tray anyway. And there’s also the new XSR model, which is an off-road-focused variant that scores a number of key changes including a new selectable four-wheel drive system, front differential lock, revised suspension, more ground clearance and off-road armour such as rock rails, steel bumpers and more.

    All versions on sale currently are powered by a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine with modest outputs of 120kW and 400Nm, which is less than most of the main rivals. But the price is lower, so there you go. There are affordable rear-wheel drive models, but if you choose a 4WD GWM Ute that isn’t the XSR, you get a system that operates in full-time 4WD in Standard and Sport modes, or rear-wheel drive in Eco mode. There’s also low-range 4x4 mode, selectable by hitting a button.

    Some of the best attributes for the GWM Ute are its size, both in the tub (one of the biggest on the market), and in the cabin, which is far more spacious for second-row occupants than the Ranger, Amarok, HiLux, D-Max, BT-50 and others.

    It also has the maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating, though some of its safety systems seem to be included just to tick the box for that rating, as they could do with some fine-tuning. Thankfully, the most interruptive item - active lane-keeping/steering assistance - can be disabled.

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    Toyota HiLux
    7.6
    Toyota HiLux
    $26,475 - $74,990

    Pros: Upgraded suspension balances comfort with load-lugging, torquey engine, improved interior technology

    Cons: Slow and heavy steering, dated interior, six-month service intervals

    Towing capacity: Up to 3500kg

    The Toyota HiLux has long been the number one ute in Australia, which means it's under attack from all angles.

    It was most recently updated in 2020 with a more powerful 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine, as well as HiLux retuned spring rates, shock absorbers and suspension bushes, and revised cabin mounts.

    A total of 33 models are available, with a choice of three cabin styles and three engines, along with cab-chassis or ute bodies.

    The most powerful engine in the 2022 Toyota HiLux range is a 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel, which has 150kW of power and 500Nm of torque when fitted with a six-speed automatic. Manual models develop 420Nm.

    Lower grades offer a 110kW/400Nm 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel, while the entry-level versions are fitted as standard with a 122kW/245Nm 2.7-litre four-cylinder petrol engine.

    The HiLux is backed by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.

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    Double Cab Pick Up and 4 more
    80 L > 721 to 1111 km
    4x4/RWD
    2500 - 3500 kg Towing Capacity

    Suspension upgrades are a meaningful improvement

    Short servicing intervals

    Pros: Upgraded suspension balances comfort with load-lugging, torquey engine, improved interior technology

    Cons: Slow and heavy steering, dated interior, six-month service intervals

    Towing capacity: Up to 3500kg

    The Toyota HiLux has long been the number one ute in Australia, which means it's under attack from all angles.

    It was most recently updated in 2020 with a more powerful 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine, as well as HiLux retuned spring rates, shock absorbers and suspension bushes, and revised cabin mounts.

    A total of 33 models are available, with a choice of three cabin styles and three engines, along with cab-chassis or ute bodies.

    The most powerful engine in the 2022 Toyota HiLux range is a 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel, which has 150kW of power and 500Nm of torque when fitted with a six-speed automatic. Manual models develop 420Nm.

    Lower grades offer a 110kW/400Nm 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel, while the entry-level versions are fitted as standard with a 122kW/245Nm 2.7-litre four-cylinder petrol engine.

    The HiLux is backed by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.

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