These utes aren’t cheap. In fact, all four of these 4x4 crew cabs cost around $50,000 (Australian dollars) with a manual gearbox.
You can buy crew-cab 4x4 utes from China for about half the money, but those are likely to have questionable quality issues and are unproven. (Some were recently found to contain banned asbestos gaskets.) The four utes we tested cost a decent sum, but customers do get a lot for their money.
These are the premium models with higher-output engines and a reasonable amount of standard gear. Some might want to mount a case for each of these utes offering the best value for the money, but of course, we won’t.
The $50,990 Toyota Hilux will likely carry a better resale value, but when you look at engine performance, gearboxes, the limited carrying capacity (it tows 2,200 pounds less than the Holden Colorado), it finishes at the back of the class when it comes to overall value.
Also, fuel consumption with our test Hilux came out to 17.4 mpg, but we should note it was a gas model. The diesel we tested in the past (in different conditions) recorded a respectable 24.5 mpg (the official number is 28.6 mpg), and it is the more sensible option.
The $52,990 Volkswagen Amarok could be worth the extra money if you need to carry and load wider stuff in the bed, since its cargo bed is the only one in this class that can carry two pallets.
Since the Amarok has the smallest engine of the bunch, it is also the best fuel saver. The official fuel consumption is a remarkable 29 mpg, and although we didn’t quite match that figure, we did record a solid 25.5 mpg, and we didn’t hold back.
That’s great, but it doesn’t make up for the Amarok’s underperforming engine. Its competitors offer 50 more pounds-feet of torque for similar money, and, as we found it, that hurt it.
Holden’s Colorado costs $49,990, and it shapes up to be a great value for the money if you need to tow heavy items or do a lot of work. For someone with a caravan or a boat tipping the scales close to 7,700 pounds, it is the only option, though the Ranger’s towing capacity does get close with 7,300 pounds.
It has a strong engine, modern six-speed gearboxes, good interior space and all the equipment you expect. The Colorado used a bit more fuel than the Amarok, but its 23 mpg average on our test is not bad. The official government number is 25.8 mpg.
The only thing letting the Colorado down is its stiff trucklike ride and handling and the hard and plasticky interior.
The Ford Ranger is the most expensive ute here at $53,990, which is $4,000 more than the Holden. So is it worth it? That’s going to be decided by the household budget and exactly what kind of fun you like to have, but we’d guess there would be some who could definitely argue that it is.
The official fuel consumption for the Ranger is 25.5 mpg, and our Ford managed 21.8 mpg, which certainly is not best in class, but not horrible, either.
That said, you could still feel pretty good about yourself having bought the Colorado and pocketing the extra $4,000. For that kind of money, we don’t have any problem “suffering” through the less-expensive-looking interior.
2012 Global Pickup Shootout