After be­ing put through the wringer, this is how these seven pop­u­lar utes shaped up.

4 x 4 Australia - - Driven -

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.

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