After being put through the wringer, this is how these seven popular utes shaped up.
RANKING these utes as to their load and tow abilities is complicated by the fact that not all claim the same carrying or pulling ability. From lightest to heaviest there’s more than 200kg difference in payload and a 400kg variation in maximum tow ratings.
The payload and tow tests were conducted separately, but there was a very strong correlation in the way each ute performed in the separate tests. If a particular ute did well carrying the 800kg pallet in its tub it generally did well in the tow test, too.
The constant in this test was the payload; the variable was the tow weight, as we wanted to see how these utes would honour their 3500kg claims, which you simply can’t put behind the Hilux in automatic form, or a Triton with either gearbox. If time and logistics had permitted we would have hooked up the 3500kg tow-rated utes to the lighter trailer just to get the extra perspective and comparison.
Taking into account both the tow and load tests, how the powertrain and the chassis of each ute performed in terms of ease and comfort, and the theoretical maximum of what each can carry and tow, the Ford Ranger is the pick of the litter. With that five-cylinder engine, long wheelbase, extra weight and class-leading GVM and GCM, it looks the goods on paper and ably delivers on that promise.
When it comes to towing and hauling, bigger is better.