Tak­ing Stock

4 x 4 Australia - - Driven -

OF­FI­CIAL list pric­ing, which doesn’t in­clude on-road costs, has the Ranger Wildtrak ($62,190) and the Amarok High­line V6 ($61,880 inc. leather) as the two more ex­pen­sive utes here. The Colorado Z71 ($57,190 list) brings up the rear be­hind the Hilux TRD ($61,540, but that’s a drive-away fig­ure).

What’s prob­a­bly more sig­nif­i­cant than the price dif­fer­ence is the way these four feel and per­form both on and off the road and what they rep­re­sent as an own­er­ship propo­si­tion.

Of the four, the Colorado and the Ranger are the most alike, while the Hilux is off on its own (smaller; less per­for­mance; more re­fine­ment), as is the Amarok with its V6 per­for­mance and full-time 4WD.

Price aside, it’s hard to make an ar­gu­ment for the Colorado given it can’t match the other three in more dif­fi­cult off-road con­di­tions, par­tic­u­larly on steep, gnarly trails. Step­ping away from that con­text, the Colorado is a fine gen­eral-du­ties dual-cab ute and, in terms of what it does on-road (tow­ing in­cluded), is very much a vi­able al­ter­na­tive to the mar­ketlead­ing Ranger.

The Hilux’s strength in this com­pany is its re­fine­ment, build qual­ity and prom­ise of re­li­a­bil­ity and dura­bil­ity. It’s also as good as it gets off-road in this com­pany, while its re­mote-area ser­vice sup­port is also sec­ond-tonone. Best real-world econ­omy, too, though the Colorado and the Amarok aren’t far be­hind. How­ever, it trails the field in per­for­mance and has the small­est cabin.

Con­versely, cabin size, es­pe­cially its classlead­ing cabin length, is a Ranger strong suit. As is its big, torquey en­gine, ex­cel­lent road man­ners, tow­ing and load haul­ing abil­ity, and class lead­ing off-road abil­ity. Feels tough, too. In fact, there’s very lit­tle to crit­i­cise about the Ranger ex­cept its higher fuel use.

As a ute to drive, the Amarok High­line V6 is the best thing here, thanks to its per­for­mance, han­dling and grip. As noted by Ed­i­tor Raudonikis on our test: “It feels like a rally car com­pared to the other three.” Given its re­fine­ment, it also feels like a “lux­ury car” in this com­pany. Throw in its ex­cel­lent 4x4 abil­ity, ease of op­er­a­tion, spa­cious cabin, big tray and 6000kg GCM, and you also have a very prac­ti­cal ute. No rear-cabin airbags, the po­si­tion of the en­gine air in­take, and no low range to cover dif­fi­cult off-road tow­ing are its main short­com­ings, while the rel­a­tively thin dealer spread in coun­try ar­eas may count against it as an own­er­ship propo­si­tion.

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