Utes and Cab-Chassis

All the utes and cab-chassis in the Australian market are here: new ute reviews and a summary of previous models, for those buying used.


OTA tested five 2016-model extended-cab utes on and off road.

We compare the 2015 Isuzu Ute D-Max with four 2016 model year upgraded utes: Ford Ranger, Toyota HiLux, Mitsubishi Triton and Nissan Navara. OTA chose extended-cab versions to test.

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Big and powerful, the Ranger is causing Toyota much worry.

Jointly-developed Ford Ranger and Mazda BT-50 utes are hounding the traditional ute-market leader in Australia. The Ranger Mk II model was released in August 2015 and was updated in mid-2016 and in mid-2018. A high performance Raptor model was announced in early 2018.

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Chinese made, but with global-brand mechanicals

The Foton Tunland is a well-made, keenly-priced ute from China, with American-designed powertrain components, making it one of the best value for money utes in the market.

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The new-look model was released in September 2016

The 2013 Great Wall was better put together than the early efforts and our brief road test indicated reasonable performance for the money. The renamed post-2017 Steed model had greatly improved specifications.

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The Rodeo successor scores more power and space

It may seem odd that the post-2012 Colorado is down on engine displacement in comparison with its three-litre predecessor and post-2012 D-Max competitor, but the Duramax 2.5-litre and 2.8-litre engines are signs of the times. Significant upgrades were made in mid-2016 and HSV models in late-2017.

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The true Rodeo successor retains the proved three-litre engine.

Isuzu Ute’s D-MAX was given a performance boost in mid-2017, along with new six-speed transmissions and additional upgrades in mid-2018.

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Not pretty and way off a five-star safety rating the aged Land Rover has finally gone - January 2016

The Land Rover Defender cab/chassis and utes are no more. Production ceased on January 29, 2016 and the replacement model isn't scheduled to appear before 2018.

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Another Chinese ute attempt Down Under

Ateco has previously distributed Foton Chinese-made utes, but that agreement ended in mid-2017. Now, Ateco is distributing the LDV brand, hopefully with more longevity and market success.

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The 2016 Mahindra Genio upgrade - February 2016

The Mahindra Pik Up looked a bit too agricultural for some buyers: enter the Genio. This much more handsome ute came as a short cab and a crew cab. Power and torque are lower than the market average, but so are the prices.

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Well priced and ruggedly built, the Mahindra is worth considering.

‘Never judge a book by its cover’ our parents urged us as children and the old saw applies to the Mahindra Pik-Up. This work vehicle’s quirky exterior hides a roomy interior, a state of the art engine, a slick transmission and the first application in this market of Eaton’s mechanically locking differential (MLD).

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The styling isn't everyone's cup of tea, but the performance is there

Mazda’s ute market entries have ticked most of the boxes. The 2010 BT-50 had part of the required package for market share improvement, boasting the most potent four-cylinder diesel engine in the ute class and the post-2011 range had a class-leading five-cylinder.

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The Navara-based M-B ute is due for release in April 2018

The ‘Benz dual-cab ute is based on the Nissan Navara, using its chassis, most body parts, four cylinder diesel powertrain and driveline.

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The latest Triton has a great new engine.

Mitsubishi Motors’ restyled 2015 Triton made its international debut in Thailand on November 18, 2014 and was released in Australia in crew cab form initially in May 2015. Upgrades were made in late 2016.

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The Navara features coil rear springs on most models

The NP300 Navara was released in June 2015, with much needed improvements in power and torque. The Series II models were announced in November 2016 and upgraded again in March 2017. Upgraded rear springs and dampers were released in early 2018.

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This rugged workhorse soldiered on for years beside its up-market D40 relative.

The Navara D22 4WD single and dual cab model range was released in early 2002, with power from Nissan’s ZD30 diesel. This DOHC, four-cylinder displaced 2953cc and featured an M-Fire combustion system, Allan Whiting from Outback Travel Australia reports.

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Rugged but relativley sluggish, the Patrol needed an update that never came.

On paper, the Nissan Patrol ute had it over the opposition, because its live-axle, coil-sprung front end could be matched with a choice of leaf rear springs or coils In DX spec’ level. However, the execution wasn't brilliant and the Patrol finally bit the dust in 2016.

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With a new Australian distributor the Actyon should have kicked a few goals.

When the SsangYong Actyon Sports Dual Cab Ute range was released we found a few items that we thought needed rectification. SsangYong listened and the second-generation Actyon is a serious work-and-play ute-market contender.

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Bargain-priced range from India.

Tata is the world's fourth-largest commercial vehicle maker and the owner of Land Rover. This giant multinational company didn't get that way from making rubbish, but the Xenon will appeal to those wanting a basic ute, not a frills machine. Pricing is very, very good.

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Now displaced market leader the HiLux has planned upgrades for 2018.

HiLux, the traditional market leading 4WD ute model, has been under Ford Ranger pressure since 2015 and lost its 4WD market leadership in 2017. However, upgraded models may help in 2018.

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Partnerships made and broken in 2016 - January 2017

​Several global joint ventures fell over in 2016 and new ones were born. This was the state of play at the beginning of 2017.

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The segment's smallest diesel is pressurised by two series turbos to high outputs - February 2017

Although it has the smallest engine capacity in the crew-cab ute class the Amarok has ample grunt and is physically larger inside and in the cargo tray than HiLux and Navara crew-cab utes. A V6 option was released in October 2016, but it's a top-spec' only vehicle.

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