Global Pickup Shootout: Results

Global Pickup Shootout: Results

You’ll note by our scoring chart that we kept this Shootout as simple as possible, awarding 10, 9, 8 and 7 points for the finishing order in each of our four testing categories. In the end, three out of the four utes finished very close together.

If certain categories matter more to you, you can score your own winner by assigning more scoring weight to those categories. Likewise, if you think fuel economy, payload or towing capacity is most important, you can pull those numbers from our test and add another category for extra scoring.

Here’s how the four test units settled out for us.

Fourth Place: Toyota Hilux

Global Pickup Shootout: Results

Customers are still happy to sign up for Hiluxes in greater numbers than ever before, but it’s not the best ute out there. It finishes solidly in last place, mainly because of the quality of its rivals rather than any hugely obvious shortcomings.

The problem is simply that the Hilux is an old vehicle, and the world has moved on since its introduction in 2005. Back then it set the standard, but now it’s lagging in most areas. It carries less in the cargo bed, tows less, its engines have less power and torque, its transmissions have fewer gears, and it’s not comfortable on the road.

The upside is that the Hilux is known for its durability, its resale value is extremely good, and it seems to be a bulletproof performer off the beaten track.

Additionally, a recent price cut and equipment upgrade means the Hilux is more attractive than before, but not attractive enough in this company.

Third Place: Volkswagen Amarok

Global Pickup Shootout: Results

If Volkswagen put a bigger engine in the Amarok and offered an automatic transmission in the proper 4x4 version with low range, we’d be happy. Automatics are very popular in this type of ute in Australia, and they are, by far, the best choice for tough, low-speed off-road work.

We’d prefer a larger-displacement engine for the extra torque, and we’d like the Amarok to sound like it’s not working so hard. The Amarok has a smooth-revving engine, but it just lacks the torque-ier personality of its key rivals.

If you are happy to work the engine hard and don’t mind changing gears yourself (and often), you’ll be rewarded with the vast interior and wide cargo bed. Just don’t expect to tow quite as much as Ranger and Colorado owners.

Second Place: Holden Colorado

Global Pickup Shootout: Results

If you’re expecting a ute that handles more like a car, then it’s going to disappoint. Sure, it feels more traditionally trucklike compared with the Ranger and Amarok when it comes to cornering and is far more cumbersome in general driving, but it is a pickup, after all.

Some liked the no-nonsense interior, but we thought it was a little ordinary for an all-new truck, and it did look like a lower trim level. The engine is the loudest at idle, but the sound is not irritating and smoothens out as the truck gains speed.

Despite all that, it didn’t take us long to warm up to the Colorado. Its softer suspension means it floats a little more than the others, but it is also very comfortable in most conditions. The engine has plenty of torque to get around without much fuss, and the cabin feels spacious.

The Colorado’s 7,500-pound-plus tow rating is handy, and there is nothing missing from the list of standard equipment. If you don’t mind driving a pickup that feels like a pickup, the Colorado (the least expensive of our group) makes for a good value proposition.

First Place: Ford Ranger

Global Pickup Shootout: Results

It’s the most expensive ute here, but the Ranger is the best of the bunch. The Colorado and Amarok are both impressive, but the Ranger sets the new standard.

It isn’t perfect, though. The engine has some inconsistent injection noise, the manual gearbox is not extraordinary, the cargo bed is narrower than the Amarok’s, and the ride can be a little firm at lower speeds. But the Ranger is a clear winner in almost every other respect.

The engine has plenty of torque and never seems to be working too hard. The six-speed automatic is a good option, especially for stop-start city driving or remote and rugged off-road action.

Serene is the best way to describe the cabin. It is quiet and also rather well-isolated from all the bumps and ruts on the roads.

We understand that design is quite subjective, but we thought the Ranger was an attractive machine. It doesn’t have the hard-edged ruggedness of the F-Series pickups, but it still looks tough, especially when it’s next to its competitors.

Then there is the interior. Some of the buttons confused us, but the layout, design and quality of materials are far superior to the others. Also, the high-ish payload and tow ratings make the Ranger a practical machine.

What did we like most about the Ranger? One thing that stands out is how it handles flowing country roads: It stays surefooted, sits flat and responds quickly to inputs. To put it simply, it was fun to drive.

While U.S. customers should no doubt be pleased that GM has committed to sell the Colorado there, it’s a shame there aren’t similar plans for the Ranger to come over as well.

For a complete set of photos from our Global Pickup Shootout, visit the PUTC Facebook page. And a for a more detailed look at our test vehicles and how they compared to one another in chart form, download the spec chart here















































2012 Global Pickup Shootout

Overview | The Players | On-Road Performance | Off-Road Performance | Design, Inside & Out |
Overall Value  | Results


I would love to buy the Global Ranger. But, since I live in the US, I'm going to have to buy the Colorado instead. Thanks to Ford for saying, "no thanks," to my money.

I don't really have any preference since I've never driven any of these but - you give the Holden a '10' in value and off-road performance but put it second place behind the truck that drives more like a car? That is the dumbest thing ever. The whole point of rating trucks is primarily to figure out which one does more, better and for the least amount of dough. By your ratings system - and any man's system - the Holden wins the test. Not to mention if that Ranger is anything like it's American cousins it's total garbage and only a masochist or someone who didn't try anything else first would buy one.

"If certain categories matter more to you, you can score your own winner by assigning more scoring weight to those categories. Likewise, if you think fuel economy, payload or towing capacity is most important, you can pull those numbers from our test and add another category for extra scoring."

Seems pretty straightforward to me.

All four of these trucks should be made available here... now!

somebody is getting paid to make this stuff up? a ranger and colorado better than a hilux?

I just keep thinking how awesome that Ranger would look with a black exterior and minimum chrome accents. Through in the EcoBoost out of the F-150 and I'm sold!

gotta agree with hose... especially offroading.. since when did offroaders prefer knobs over lever...

it was biased against the hilux from the start.... I wasted my time reading

Josh - If you live in the US you can't give GM your money and buy the Colorado either.

Did you know GM stopped production on the Colorado? Maybe in 2014 for the 2015 you will be able to buy one. That is a long, long time from now and who knows what Ford will be doing.

Didn't you see the pictures of the 2015 F-100 spy shot? I guess you mised that! Ford could bring the global Ranger here but it would be completely oudated once the 2015 F-series arrives. Hence, they are going in a different direction for the US market where F-series is sold and a different direction in other markets where you cannot buy a F-series.

It's easy to understand.

Great. Thanks to the complaints of the good old fashion levers and manual hubs, Toyota is going to read these stupid complaints and add stupid buttons to control the driving for us. Thanks for spoiling this. You guys should just test Prii and Volts instead of the good old fashion trucks. Rename it to

Nice write up, regardless who wins!

I truly do not understand why car companies think that we as Americans will not like small pickups that the rest of the world uses. I'd be all over any one of these little diesel pickups in a second. I can't say that I've ever pined for a VW but I'd snatch on up in a second if they brought a TDI to market in the US. I'd buy any of the others for that matter as long as it offered a diesel engine w/good fuel mileage. ARE YOU LISTENING FORD, GM, VW, & TOYOTA? IF YOU BUILD IT I WILL BUY!!!

I would be happy to downsize into any of these trucks. The Hilux is by far a better truck historically than our Tacoma and the current Colorado looks like the VW in this article, its just that the VW was thought out better.

I am glad that GM is bringing the Colorado to the US, wish it would come with a diesel and a snorkel :)

Those diesel tow capacities and payload numbers are close to my full sized half ton I would be really happy to drive one of those and by not having to sacrifice tow power and hauling power but having less bulk it seems like a perfect fit.

@VVTi Because the trucks aren't as small as we think they are. 5ft by 5 ft beds are pretty similar to the crew cab short beds we have in the U.S. Ford went on record a bunch of times saying they didn't want to bring the Ranger here because it is too close in size to the F-150. I have never seen any of these four trucks in real life so I have no clue how big they are. Until I see them for myself, I kind of have to trust that if Ford is saying they are too close in size, then its probably not the small pick-up truck we are looking for.

"The Ranger engine is generally far quieter, but it has an annoying injector-related noise that is not linear. I checked with Ford NVH guys to work out what I was hearing, and I was told some people, especially older people, can’t hear it, so it might not be an issue for everyone"

Typical Ford.

good job Colorado! best off road good mpg best payload and towing and cheap now get to the US faster!

good job Colorado! best off road good mpg best payload and towing and cheap now get to the US faster!

WHAT A WASTE OF TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!

what the heck do you people test??????????? NOTHING!!!!!
there is not ONE SINGLE THING YOU TESTED other than your own subjective thoughts??? are you kidding?

I simply cannot believe you guys flew over there, drove these vehicles claimed you did a shootout and didnt test performance tests loaded unloaded and towing, rather you found a way to go over there give your subjective thoughts that are completely biased and type them out...........

Just curious everyone, does anyone have any idea why the hilux has the best resale value and is the "only" one you see in the outback?????? just sayin its probably because its the best one WHEN YOU ACTUALLY TEST THEM. i have really lost some respect from this shootout, wow you people should be ashamed :(

Hey oxi,

Ford Ranger came in first place and second off-road.

GM Colorado was second place and first place off-road.

Toyota came in fourth place and third place off-road.

Have you actually driven any of the competition or do you only go by what you know which is Toyota only?


Like I have always said, until you have driven some of the other truck brands and given them a chance, you really do not know shyt about the other brands or off-roading.

I am glad that GM is bringing the Colorado (S-10 or whatever they decide to call it here in the US.) I do not have a need nor will I purchase a full size truck. Even thought I like the looks of the F-150, I will not buy one because of the size. Since Ford thinks it knows what I want and says that I can either buy a F-150 or a Transit Van, I will tell Ford they will not get any of my money and I will buy the Colorado when it is available. Hopefully one day, all of these will be available for purchase in the US instead of us reading an article about which one is better. Kind of sad that 3 of the 4 trucks, I would buy today if available. Would not buy the Ranger..

I think something was lost in translation as I don’t see how the following statements match up when talking about the Colorado’s ride and handling. I don’t see how a soft/floatie suspension equates to a stiff trucklike ride.

1] From the ‘On-Road Performance’ section:
“Holden’s Colorado is a different beast [as compared to the Ranger]. It’s a lot softer, and the body roll is far more pronounced. Occupants feel more movement through the frame, and you can actually see the cargo bed move in the rearview mirror. The steering adds to the cumbersome feel; you have turn it a lot to move around tighter bends. The power assistance groans slightly on full tilt.

Even so, the Colorado is still endearing as it is more comfortable at lower speeds with its plush suspension. Its engine is one of the noisier units at idle and low speeds, but its deep note is not annoying.”

2] From the ‘Overall Value’ section:
“The only thing letting the Colorado down is its stiff trucklike ride and handling and the hard and plasticky interior.”

3] From the ‘Results’ section:
“Its softer suspension means it floats a little more than the others, but it is also very comfortable in most conditions.”

Still, I look forward to the production of the new Colorado in the USA and hope it opens up another round of competition from Ford, Toyota, Nissan and hopefully Jeep in the small to mid-size truck market.

@hemi lol They didn't fly over there. They had one of their reporters over there that lives there group up the trucks to give us a good idea what they got over there.

@ Rob,
All I care about is three things. The ability to put a 1-1.5k lb of "dirty" cargo in the back. The ability to hook up and tow a 5-6K trailer. And the ability to get 25-30 mpg going back and forth to work. I don't care if it's as small as my 86 nissan was or as big as my silverado is, if it will do all those things reliably and safely, I'm sold.

I wouldn't mind to have any one of the 4. Fantastic trucks.
Diesel suits them so well. I hope Chevy brings that engine here with the new Colorado. (Although, I've heard it won't be called Colorado here in the States)
I'm surprised no one has mentioned anything about squared off fenders on Amarok.
FYI, "Amarok" means "Wolf" in the Inuit language

Its good to see that the Colorado is a competent vehicle. I work in the city, but I have 30 acres in the country that I hunt on, and I keep animals there. I would have a big F-250 but I had a Silverado once and its a pig in some of these parking garages. The current Colorado doesn't cut it, but if it still has 7000lbs towing when it comes state side, I'll be trading in my Trailblazer on it. I miss the pickup bed enough for that.

I have commented before on this but the power ratings for these "new" motors is pretty abysmal. From an all-new 3.2L motor they should be turning no less than 75-80 hp per liter or 240 - 256 hp not 197hp. Torque is low too.

I know these are "tuned" for truck use versus say a regular car but there are way below the mark. I know the US typically gets the "top tune" of any motor so hopefully if GM brings in the 2.8 to the US it is running 225hp and 380-390 lbs of torque.

With better suspension tuning (by my personal needs not necessarily yours) I'd be down for the new Colorado.

As I have posted elsewhere.
The Hilux is dated, but the fact they could not get a diesel is strange, when 93 % of all pickups on Australian roads are diesel.. It is

The Nissan Navara and Mitsubishi Triton are 2 and 3 in sales but were not tested. To give you a better benchmark of what is on offer here.

The Ford Ranger is outsold by the Mazda BT 50(tuned differently).

I have yet to see the new Colorado.

I like how the colorado lost 1st place because it did not ride or handle like a car - WTF people - IT IS A TRUCK FOR GOD'S SAKE. Sounds like Mike Levine wrote this article to brag about a ford!!!!

They have had similar "shootouts" in Australia with 8 not for 4 Pickups. Either the Ranger or Amarok won it.
The Hilux is by far even though it is very dated the best selling Pickup in Australia. Followed by Nissan Navara and a long way back the Mitsubishi Triton.

The Mazda BT 50 outsells the Ranger here.

" have commented before on this but the power ratings for these "new" motors is pretty abysmal. From an all-new 3.2L motor they should be turning no less than 75-80 hp per liter or 240 - 256 hp not 197hp. Torque is low too. "

You would be paying a LOT More for the tuned engine. It is not the power, but he overall performance of the vehicle. Highly tuned diesels are in SUV's that mainly run on paved roads.

I read an article that today the last Colorado rolled off the assembly line at Lafayette, La today and it was white. This article said the average inventory for Colorado is 58 days and for Canyon about 80 days. They said that this should last GM a while.

As for all these trucks they all appear to be good trucks and I would have liked to see the Mazda and Mitsubishi in this test as well. It is a shame that GM is making midsize truck buyers wait till 2014 or 2015 so as not to interfere with the new Silverado launch. This could give Nissan Frontier a real jump in sales and give Tacoma an even larger share of the market. From what I read of these reviews they better not mess with this Colorado too much or it will not be worth having. They need to keep the bean counters at bay and not mess with the Colorado. If the Colorado is like the Holden it would be a competitive truck and I myself would consider it.

@Big Al from Oz--You are right about your trucks we don't know what we in NA are missing. I would love to have the opportunity to drive all of these trucks along with the Mazda and Mitsubishi. I am sure that none of these trucks would disappoint. I think I would like them all. Oh well God Bless America and the Chicken Tax. Protectionism at its best.

Hey oxi,

Two more thing.s..

"Automatics are very popular in this type of ute in Australia, and they are, by far, the best choice for tough, low-speed off-road work."

Automatics are the best for off-roading these mid size trucks in the hard stuff. See I told you so.

The Toyota is "lagging in most areas. It carries less in the cargo bed, tows less, its engines have less power and torque, its transmissions have fewer gears, and it’s not comfortable on the road."

less cargo
less towing
less hp
less torque
less gears
less quality
no comfort

These trucks are not small! They are all bigger then the current Toyota Tacoma. Now I would rather have one of these then a full size but you need to get the crew cabs back to the first gen frontier size better max 200 inches long. Bring the prices down around 3000 dollars and a diesel engine for good mileage and you will see 200k sales again! either ford or chevy!!!

Really?? An engines performance, especially in a commercial vehicle is more when and how you get your power and how tractable it is. These diesels (except VW) are biased more towards commercial applications. In a year or two by the advances we are obtaining from diesels they will be delivering much more power and torque.

@Robert Ryan
The Toyota diesel is no contest for these newer diesels. They had to use the V6 petrol to increase its competitiveness and not have a direct comparison between engines.

Toyota would have bucket loads of diesels as they are by far the biggest seller for them.

Toyota are scared. They might turn out like Chevs in the US. Look at Chrysler, they are still trying to rectify the bad name they recieved for putting out rubbish for so long. Their brand name is only as good as the product in the end.

Hmmm... Hemi lols tears taste so good.

Why all the ppl complaining don't buy a taco - if enough were sold others would follow.


GM is also saying no thanks to your money as the next gen Coloraod won't be around til 2014/2015.

This is the next gen 2015 "Ranger"/F-100 right here...

@Hemilol - the Hilux hasn't changed much since 2005. It lost. You usually have some valid comments to make. Why sound like a cheer leader?
Funny to hear that Toyota has to resort to deep discounts to sell trucks. That is opposite to what they do with NA trucks.
@Big Al - interesting comment about Toyota and their diesel. It looks like they are trying to hide the fact that their truck is an old dog than needs a mercy bullet placed behind the right ear.

There are those who still like manual hubs and manual t-cases. I find that I haven't heard of any major problems with any of the current NA trucks with solenoid activated T-cases and automatic hubs. Guys like the simplicity but I have had manual hubs freeze up in -35C weather and refuse to engage. I find the dial activated T-case is a bit sluggish to engage in -35C weather but still engages.
I like the snout of the Amarok the best. The Hilux nose looks like it was borrowed from my wife's minivan. I am not sure about the looks of the bumper on the Ranger.
The Holden Colorado has the coolest badge of the bunch.

@gaschdog - I found that odd as well. Perhaps a typo?

Oh what a crappy feeling!

Toyota Australia is helping develop the new Hilux. The Australian branch has said they want a vehicle with considerably better towing ability.

Toyota make a good reliable product, but there are vehicles better out there that are cheaper.

The next Hilux will have to beat these newer utes, if they don't build a better ute their sales will fall.

Interesting article, thanks.
Just add, here in France, we have the same global pickups. All are small if you compare with an US 1/2tons, except the amarock which have a very good looking.
I thinks it should be a very good thing if they were sold in US, for the simply reason that it would oblige the US manufacturers has to improve the payload , towing rate and the mileage (in gas or diesel) of their pickup.

Could you imagine that the ranger has the same payload that my F250 6.4 !!!

As I drove this year each of these global trucks, the comfort of the top level (Lariat, LTZ, Laramie) is far better in an US truck than in these things even in their top level !! You must know they are narrow, tight. And for the rear passengers is not a pleasure to cross 500 km, even for children !!!

But they have two great advantages : their payload and mileage !

My dream :a bigactsnSOS US 1/2 tons pickup (whatever the brand) crew cab top level with 3000 pounds payload, a curb weight under 2500 lbs, and an engine which give me 24 mpg !!!
I dream , I know !!!

2015 Colorado vs 2015 Ranger/F100 side by side comparison:

This is supposed to be an all new Chevy truck? And all we get is this?

- plain surfaces
- looks like lower trim package
- not at the standard you expect at the upper end
- a little ordinary for an all-new truck
- noisiest

Same old GM. Same old Chevy. I had higher hopes for the next Gen Silverado interiors that are supposed to "blow away the competition." Now I know not to waste my time getting my hopes up. Maybe the American trucks will be better. Maybe they won't. But this is what happens when you reward a company with $50billion dollar bailout, instead of fixing the problems, they just keep doing what they have always done. Should have just let them go through bankruptcy court and then they might have been forced to make some real changes to their truck lines.

Guess it's not just in the US where people climb over each other to buy the least competitive vehicles on the market. Toyota has a way of blinding customers

That is the next generation F150, NOT Ranger.

@Dave, same thing. Those are pictures of US spec Colorado vs next generation F150.

Ford made it very clear they are not bringing the Ranger to US.

As cool as these trucks are, for $50k, would you rather drive home one of these or a Raptor?

Raptor Vs. "Ute"

They have about the same towing ability
The "utes" win on payload hands down
Raptor destroys them off-road
Raptor runs circles around them on the street
Raptor loses badly on FE
Raptor interior wins hands-down


Raptor Vs. F-150 limited Ecoboost

Ecoboost dominates in Towing
About even on payload
About even on fuel economy
F-150 dominates on the street
F-150 limited interior miles ahead of "utes"
Off-road circuit belongs to "utes"

Same comparisons are valid using a Powerwagon or Laramie limited Ram. Are these global trucks really a value? How can they ever hope to compete in the US?

Diesel Power,

It's too small to be a F-150. It is a Ranger/F-100 replacement.

Ford said they were not bringing the T6 global Ranger to the US. They said nothing about what is shown here (which is NOT the next F-150)....

At $4000 (Aus) more expensive than the second-place Colorado, I think I could accept a slightly harsher ride to save some money.

At least the Ranger doesn't put on "Big Truck" airs with a grossly oversized grill like it's F-series brothers.

You know, even with the decent gas mileage ratings these four (three?) offer, methinks here in the US we'll be seeing a return to a much more compact model like we had back in the late-'70s/early '80s.

Wouldn't bother me a bit.

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