on that promise The Ranger looks the goods on paper and ably delivers
Separating the next two – the Holden Colorado and the Mazda BT-50 – is difficult. The Colorado has plenty of punch even if it needs more revs than the Ranger or Mazda, and it has the smartest gearbox. For its part the Mazda BT-50 has the same core strengths as the Ranger, just less polish. It’s really a tie.
Close behind our top three is the Toyota Hilux, primarily held back by the conservative tow rating of the automatic (compared to the manual) and the lowest payload on test. Outside of these theoreticals, however, the Hilux is a top performer and fully delivers on its promise, even though it does promise a little less.
In equal fifth position are the Isuzu D-max and the Mitsubishi Triton. The D-max has a worthy chassis but the engine struggles both with 3500kg in train and at maximum payload. The Triton is the opposite – the engine is willing but the chassis is compromised. Theoretically the Triton could tow its 3100kg maximum and carry an 800kg payload at the same time, although we don’t know if we would ever want to give it a try.
By comparison, all of the other utes have little payload allowance left once you have a max-weight trailer hooked up behind.
Sadly, the Nissan Navara is the tailender. While it does offer plenty of engine punch, the chassis falls well short either of towing 3500kg or of carrying its rated maximum payload with any sort of authority.