Home' Open Road NSW Central Coast and Hunter : OR0718 Contents BEST CARS
Engine: 3.2-litre five-cylinder Transmission:
six-speed auto Power: 147kW Torq ue: 470Nm
Fuel economy: 8.7L/100km ANCAP: HHHHH
Price: $60,488 (indicative drive away)
CURRENTLY FORD’S MOST popular
model and one of the best sellers in this
class, the Ranger has dominated this
category since its inclusion in 2013. The
ute has only lost its crown once when it
fell to the Toyota HiLux in 2015.
The Ranger was once again looking
promising for a win in 2018 even before
the Blue Oval offered a new five-year/
unlimited kilometre warranty for new
vehicles delivered from May 1. This was
announced just as our test week for all
the finalists kicked off, making the
Ranger almost untouchable.
The Ranger XLT and HiLux SR5 are the
two dearest utes on our scoresheets. But
the Ford’s depreciation, running and repair
costs and insurance premiums hover at the
class average. Standard equipment levels
are good, and only the Holden Colorado
LTZ offers more kit for slightly less money.
The XLT’s standard fit-out includes side
curtain airbags, rear-view camera, parking
sensors, rear diff-lock, rain-sensing
wipers, navigation, side steps, sports bar
and tyre pressure monitoring. Also fitted
is Ford’s latest SYNC 3 system with voice
recognition and an eight-inch touchscreen
with ‘pinch and swipe’ capability.
Towing ability and practical design are
important in a ute, and the Ranger isn’t
found wanting. The XLT comes with a
towbar and trailer sway control as
standard, and it’s rated to a best-in-class
3500kg maximum towing. A generously
proportioned tray with tub liner, six load-
restraint eyes, power outlet, and load
area illumination rated well with judges.
Like the HiLux, the Ranger has a 230-volt
inverter power outlet in the cabin.
Comfortable seating in all positions
and cabin space that’s equal best in class
also help the Ranger’s cause. Inside and
out, it rates highly for build and finish
quality, with a premium look that shows
how far utes have progressed from their
spartan workhorse predecessors.
With a gutsy 470Nm delivered between
1750 and 2500rpm, it easily shrugged off
the challenges of our off-road test loop,
including hauling a 500kg payload and
four burly judges up a steep and badly
rutted track. It’s just another reason why
the Ford Ranger XLT exemplifies the
versatility, driveability and relative civility
that the modern dual cab ute can deliver.
Best 4x4 Dual Cab Ute
Ford Ranger XLT 3.2
This unstoppable ute has once again stamped its
authority over a class that it has virtually made its own
The VW Amarok has finished at the
pointy end of this category in years
past and has once more provided a
worthy challenge to the Ford Ranger.
Its opening gambit looks solid, with
competitive value-for-money scores
and, in TDI420 Core specification, a
significant price advantage that flows
through to lower depreciation losses.
Ongoing costs such as running and
repair, insurance and fuel are also
marginally better. But it falls short of
the Ford’s better warranty and dealer
spread, along with a less generous
standard features list.
While the Amarok is capable off-
road, we found it more likely to have
clearance issues over moguls and
heavily rutted terrain.
Relegating the HiLux to third, our
judges found cabin space in the rear
not quite as generous as in the
Ranger, but they liked the recent
inclusion of rear console air vents
that are missing from the Ford.
Improving its ergonomic credentials
are B-pillar handles for passengers in
the rear, push-button start and
proximity entry, and steering tilt and
reach adjustment (tilt-only is the
norm on most in the class).
With a maximum towing capacity of
3200kg when equipped with an auto
transmission, the HiLux also falls shy
of the Ford’s 3500kg rating.
Toyota HiLux SR5
Engine: 2.8 -litre four-cylinder Transmission:
six-speed auto Power: 130kW Tor que:
450Nm Fuel economy: 8.5L/100km ANCAP:
HHHHH (2008 tested) Price: $61,194
(indicative drive away)
VW Amarok TDI420 Core
Engine: 2.0 -litre four-cylinder Transmission:
eight-speed auto Power: 132kW Torque:
420Nm Fuel economy: 8.3L/100km ANCAP:
Not rated Price: $51,690 (indicative drive away)
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