4x4 Ute Comparison: The Verdict

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  • Earthmovers & Excavators

Which 4x4 ute will come out on top?

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Official list pricing, which doesn’t include on-road costs, has the Ranger Wildtrak ($62,190) and the Amarok Highline V6 ($61,880 inc. leather) as the two more expensive utes here. The Colorado Z71 ($57,190 list) bringing up the rear behind the Hilux TRD ($61,540 but drive-away).

What’s probably more significant than the price difference is the way these four feel and perform both on and off the road and what they represent as an ownership proposition.

Of the four, the Colorado and the Ranger are the most alike, while the Hilux is off on its own (smaller; less performance; more refinement), as is the Amarok with its V6 performance and full-time 4WD.

Price aside, it’s hard to make an argument for the Colorado here given that it can’t match the other three in more different off-road conditions, particularly on steep, gnarly trails. Away from that context the Colorado is a fine general-duties ute and in terms of what it does on-road, towing included, is very much a viable alternative to the market-leading Ranger.

The Hilux’s strength in this company is its refinement, build quality, and promise of reliability and durability. It’s as good as it gets off-road too in this company, while its remote-area service support is also second-to-none. Best real-world economy too, although the Colorado and the Amarok aren’t far behind. It however trails the field in performance and has the smallest cabin.

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Conversely, cabin size, especially its class-leading cabin length, is a Ranger strong suit. As is its big, torquey engine, excellent road manners, towing and load hauling ability, and class leading off-road ability. Feels tough too. In fact, there’s very little to criticise about the Ranger except its higher fuel use.

As a ute to drive the Amarok Highline V6 is however the best thing here, thanks to its performance, handling and grip. As noted by Editor Raudonikis on our test: "It feels like a rally car compared to the other three." Given its refinement it also feels like a "luxury car" in this company. Throw in its excellent 4x4 ability, ease of operation, spacious cabin, big tray and 6000kg GCM, and you also have a very practical ute. No rear-cabin airbags, the engine air intake, the lack of low-range to cover difficult off-road towing are the Highline V6’s main shortcomings, while the relatively thin dealer spread in country areas may count against it as an ownership proposition.



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