Beaut time to buy a ute

It’s the time for tradies to trade up


THAI­LAND’S mil­i­tary coup has done lit­tle to dent the ute mar­ket.

Thai-built utes — the ma­jor­ity of those sold here — were ei­ther al­ready on the wa­ter or ar­rived in time for the big­gest month of the year for commercial ve­hi­cle sales.

Car mak­ers say their fac­to­ries in Thai­land are un­af­fected and the ports are clear, so dras­tic dis­count­ing is set to con­tinue into June as tradies and small businesses take ad­vice from their ac­coun­tants and up­date be­fore tax time.

Holden has ex­tended its $37,990 drive-away deal on the Colorado LX dual-cab 4WD diesel to June 30. It in­cludes a free up­grade to au­to­matic (nor­mally a $2200 op­tion) and three years of free sched­uled ser­vic­ing (worth $1180 as it waives the four $295 ser­vices due ev­ery 9 months or 15,000km).

The down­sides? Metal­lic paint is $550 (equal high­est among the mass-mar­ket brands with Toy­ota) and the Colorado doesn’t drive as well as the Ford Ranger or Volk­swa­gen Amarok.

Yet de­spite all the ex­tras, Holden’s drive-away price un­der­cuts the Colorado’s twin un­der the skin Isuzu D-Max by $2000. Both utes tow a claimed 3.5 tonnes, even though the Colorado has more power and torque than the Isuzu.

Both also come with six airbags and sta­bil­ity con­trol but the Colorado has fac­tory-fit­ted rear park­ing sen­sors as stan­dard — the equiv­a­lent D‒Max doesn’t.

Last month, Isuzu was of­fer­ing its em­ploy­ees up to $11,770 off its ve­hi­cles, so it is un­usual that it hasn’t sharp­ened its re­tail prices in light of the com­pe­ti­tion. At least the Isuzu’s metal­lic paint is cheap: $330. There’s also a $1000 cash-back of­fer.

Deals on Nis­san’s Navara have be­come clearer. The base model last year lim­boed to the low-$30,000 drive-away price bracket. For June 30 deals, Nis­san is of­fer­ing 1 per cent fi­nance. Cus­tom­ar­ily, low in­ter­est rate deals mean you have to pay full RRP for the ve­hi­cle and full dealer-de­liv­ery charges. These help pay for the su­per-sharp fi­nance rate. But the mid­dle-of-the-range Navara ST dual cab has 1 per cent fi­nance on the $37,990 drive-away price for the 2013‒build model.

Step up to the 2014-built ST and get sat­nav and rear cam­era for $39,990 drive-away.

On the downside ledger, the Navara has a rel­a­tively small 2.5‒litre turbo diesel, tow­ing ca­pac­ity is rated at 3000kg and metal­lic paint adds $495. Nis­san has capped-price ser­vic­ing but it’s among the dear­est in the busi­ness.

The sharpest deal is still on one of the old­est trucks: Mit­subishi’s Triton is $31,990 drive-away for the dual-cab GLX-Plus 4WD, with six airbags, sta­bil­ity con­trol and Blue­tooth stan­dard.

To sweeten the deal, there’s a fur­ther $2000 cash back — $29,990 drive-away is as­tound­ingly low.

The Triton has the long­est war­ranty in the ute class, five years/130,000km, and the peace of mind of capped‒price ser­vic­ing.

The Triton’s tow­ing ca­pac­ity is 3000kg, its cabin is not so roomy, it doesn’t drive as well as newer utes and metal­lic paint adds $495. Yet at the price, it’s hard to beat.

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