CAR COMPARISON: THE BEST UTES IN AUSTRALIA
Looking for a new Ute? Well, nothing screams Australian culture like off roading in an indestructible, ragged Ute. In fact, Utes are so Australian that in 2019, they dominated our new car sales market with the three best selling Utes listed as the Toyota Hilux, the Ford Ranger and the Mitsubishi Triton respectively. Consequently, we understand that new cars are not a buy that you should take lightly. Unless you have millions of dollars at your disposal, buying a new car to drive for a couple of days and dropping it like a hot potato is virtually unheard of. When looking to buy a Ute, you should think about exactly what purpose you’ll be using that bad boy for! To make this task easier, we have broken the top four Utes into categories to aid you in your decision making; Toyota HiLux SR5, Ford Ranger XLT, Mitsubishi Triton GLS Premium, the Isuzu D-Max LS-T (which was released recently in Australia).
New Ute Power and Engine:
In terms of force, the Mitsubishi Triton GLS Premium owns a 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engine that dishes out 133kW of power via a six-speed auto transmission. It’s got a modernised design, performs quite well and gives a smooth and refined ride for the daily drive. In regards to towing capacity, 3,100 kg is the limit and payload of this Ute is at 855kg.
The Toyota HiLux SR5 possess a bigger 2.8-litre turbo diesel but gives off slightly less power at 130kW, through a six-speed auto transmission. Nonetheless, the towing capacity and payload for the Toyota HiLux is at 100kg more than the Mitsubishi Triton; at 3,200kg and 955kg. It is said to be quite accommodating on the roads for the daily drive and has a well-deserved reputation for being tough (flashback to the Top Gear crew failing to destroy this brute).
The latest car news, the Isuzu D-Max has a powerful 3.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo diesel engine paired with a six-speed automatic or manual transmission. It is said to give 140kW of power. It has a high towing capacity of 3,500kg and can carry an impressive 1,024kg in its tray, even more than its rival the Ford Ranger XLT.
However, if you’re looking for the biggest and most powerful engine, the Ford Ranger XLT holds its own with a 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo diesel engine, mated to a six-speed auto transmission giving 147kW of power. It can hold 1,003kg in its tray and is among the highest range of towing capacity at 3,500kg.
Ute Driving and Off Road Capabilities:
Utes aren’t just known for their ability to carry large loads, half the fun of owning a Ute is knowing you can explore rougher terrain and unknown territory in these beasts.
The Ford Ranger XLT has light steering and good traction for off roading, with dual range gearing. It’s got a decent 800mm wading depth to accommodate those muddier adventures. Its features include:
- Hill Launch Assist making short work of hills and slopes
- Electronic Stability Control to help control sliding in your slippery adventures
- Locking Rear Differential to get better grip during those harsher conditions
People in the back of this Ute who accompany you on your adventure have adequate head and legroom but you won’t want to include more than two mates. However, it is quite a large vehicle and is more difficult to drive in city conditions. Finding car parks for this mammoth Ute could prove to be difficult.
The Toyota HiLux SR5 is an excellent off roader. It’s quite nimble and can handle itself on tougher terrain. It has slightly less wading depth at 700mm, but is still a reasonable amount. It also features Hill Start Assist, Electronic Traction Control and superior underbody protection which comes as no surprise considering the Toyota HiLux is most well-known to be the most durable Ute in general. People in the back seats have ample leg room and can rest assured they finally have air vents!
The Mitsubishi Triton GLS Premium is lighter than most Utes with a sportier feel. On the city roads, the Mitsubishi Triton trumps its rivals partly due to its 11.8m turning circle, making it easier to manoeuvre in tighter spaces. Despite this, Mitsi still has an ability to tread where other vehicles cannot. This Ute includes the following car features:
- Electronic Stability Control
- Electronic Traction Control
- Trailer-sway Control
- Rear Diff Lock
The Mitsubishi Triton manages a tight grip in near impossible conditions and the tyres hold surprisingly well in the face of adversity! It is also unique in its Air-circulating Roof Pod that recycles cool air to its passengers.
The latest car news, Isuzu D-Max LS-T has been improved to ensure the vehicle is not as “heavy” as the previous model, by tweaking the steering to require less effort. There is also a smaller turning radius. It’s wading depth has gone from 600mm to 800mm, which is on par with its opponent; the Ford Ranger XLT. It also includes Rear Diff Lock, and the rear suspension has been fine tuned for driving stability. Lastly, the cabin have been beefed up and rivals that of the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger, making trekking with mates more comfortable.
When it comes to car safety, you can trust the Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger and Mitsubishi Triton to boast a 5 star ANCAP safety rating; which is the highest rating available. All three of these Utes have important car safety specs such as:
- Lane Departure Warning
- Adaptive Cruise Control
- Traction and Stability Control
- Rear Traffic Alert
- Rear Parking Sensors
- Autonomous Emergency Breaking
- Hill Start Assist
Due to the Isuzu D-Max LS-T recent release through the latest car news, it is hard to give a definitive answer on this Ute safety specs. However, Isuzu are definitely aiming for a 5 star ANCAP safety rating and have upped their game when it comes to car safety tech, incorporating features such as:
- Front sensors
- Rear Parking Sensors
- Hill Start Assist
- Hill Descent Control
- Emergency Stop Signal
There are also subtler characteristics at play that make the Isuzu D-Max more appealing such as integrating “low-rebound MDI polyurethane” into the seat cushions, which for reasons not yet known to us, has been aimed at lessening driver fatigue on longer commutes.
The Toyota Hilux SR5 and Ford Ranger XLT both have rear cameras whereas the Mitsubishi Triton GLS Premium has a 360-degree camera, which comes in handy when you want to make sure there are no obstructions around the Ute not just in the rear. However, the Mitsubishi Triton does not come with an impairment alert monitor like both of its rivals; which will be convenient on those interstate commutes and you need to be reminded to take a break. Lastly, The Toyota HiLux and Mitsubishi Triton both have seven airbags, whereas the Ford Ranger has six, which shouldn’t impact the car safety, in any big way. When it comes to safety, all Utes are dependable, safe and definitely built to code.
Extra Ute Features:
Entertainment features are more important to some more than others. However, when planning to buy a new Ute, it is important to remember these vehicles are worker bees; built for tough labour and heavy lifting and not for entertainment purposes.
The Toyota HiLux SR5 features a 7.0-inch touch screen and a colour display screen in the dash. It also has privacy glass to help shade in warmer weather, side steps to help us shorties into the Ute, satellite navigation and rear air vents for back seat passengers’ comfort. However, it does not come with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
The Mitsubishi Triton GLS Premium also has a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for streaming your own music and using your phones maps. It has keyless entry; making it easier if your hands are full, dual zone air-conditioning; so the front passenger and driver can set their desired cabin temperature independently, and heated seats to keep your butt warm on colder days. However, the rivals of this Ute have wider rear seats and a slightly bigger cabin.
The Ford Ranger XLT includes a bigger 8.0-inch touchscreen also equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also has adjustable lumbar support, which is better for your back especially on longer treks, a 230-volt inverter that can power house hold electrical items and a 12-volt power outlet in the tray; ideal for a small fridge or camping light. However, life in the back seat can be a bit of a squeeze for three mates.
The Isuzu D-Max LS-T has the biggest infotainment screen with 9.0-inch goodness which can be hooked up to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There will also be a digital speed display so you know exactly what speed the Ute is and cool features such as height- and reach- adjustable steering, dusk-sensing headlights, and dual zone air-conditioning. Isuzu has definitely raised the bar since their last Ute model when it comes down to material luxuries.
Ute Fuel Consumption:
In regards to fuel efficiency, the Toyota HiLux SR5 consumes the least with 7.7 litres/100km whereas the Mitsubishi Triton GLS Premium consumes 8.6 litres/100km and the Ford Ranger XLT consumes 8.7 litres/100km. However, it is important to remember that these stats are tested in specific environments so they may not actually take into account real life conditions.
Utes Price range and Warranty:
The priciest of the three vehicles is the Ford Ranger XLT starting from $54,990 Drive Away. It comes with a 5-year unlimited km warranty and scheduled servicing is once a year (or at 15,000km).
The Toyota HiLux SR5 is from $53,990 Drive Away and also comes with a 5-year unlimited km warranty and capped price servicing. However, servicing is 2-3 times a year which is annoyingly frequent.
Lastly, the Mitsubishi Triton GLS Premium is the most ‘value for money’ at $50,290 Drive Away with a 7-year warranty and once a year scheduled servicing (or at 15,000km).
In short, What To Ride thinks nothing beats being the owner of a Ute. These versatile vehicles not only look great with that tough and rugged vibe, but are also decent off roaders and can carry hefty amounts of equipment. Whether you opt for Toyota HiLux SR5’s Ute durability, Mitsubishi Triton GLS Premium’s fancy car specs, Ford Ranger XLT’s brute strength, or Isuzu’s cool new car features you’re unlikely to be disappointed. What To Ride believes these Ute brands will carry, move and enthral you for years to come!