The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Feature - Joshua Dowl­ing

TWO utes are the year-to-date best sell­ers, show­ing the dom­i­nance of four-door pick­ups over large sedans and wag­ons.

Last month, the Toy­ota HiLux SR5 and Ford Ranger XLT duked it out with al­most iden­ti­cal drive-away prices — $56,390 (HiLux) and $56,490 (Ford). The bat­tle for supremacy, along with these prices, con­tin­ues to the end of the month.

Ford is hit­ting Toy­ota hard and has closed the gap to out­right name­plate lead­er­ship. In fact, the Ranger out­sells the HiLux in the 4WD cat­e­gory — the HiLux’s 2WD dom­i­nance has kept it ahead but that mar­gin is nar­row­ing.

Toy­ota won’t show it pub­licly but it has hit the panic but­ton on HiLux, so be sure to talk a deal.

With prices this close, which one would we choose? Tough call. The Ranger has more grunt and is more com­fort­able to drive un­laden but the HiLux has bet­ter fuel econ­omy and re­li­a­bil­ity — and the SR5 is com­fort­able once you load 200kg or so.

Ev­ery other com­peti­tor in the ute class is hold­ing up a ban­ner that says, in ef­fect, “don’t for­get us”.

Holden has ripped up the price of the Colorado LTZ four- door 4WD un­til June 30. It’s now $49,990 drive-away, a mas­sive $7800 off — that’s a hot price.

The 2.8-litre diesel has plenty of grunt but the ve­hi­cle over­all is not as re­fined or as pleas­ant to drive as the Ford or the Toy­ota.

Mit­subishi has moved its discounts to the dearer Tri­ton vari­ants, so the base model isn’t as much of a bar­gain as it was pre­vi­ously. Get a top of the range Tri­ton Ex­ceed for $44,990 drive-away with auto, a $6000 sav­ing.

The Tri­ton GLS is also a good buy (as with the Ex­ceed, it comes with Su­per Se­lect, so you can use 4WD on sealed roads if needed) at $41,490 drive-away with auto — use the maker’s $2000 Eft­pos card and it drops to just $39,490 drive-away ($5000 off RRP).

Best to drive and roomi­est in the class, VW’s Amarok Core with eight-speed auto is $42,990 drive-away (about $4500 off). The 2.0-litre turbo diesel is no ball of fire but it gets the job done and is su­per eco­nom­i­cal.

It might sound like a bare bones model (it comes with a vinyl floor) but it has the mod­cons cov­ered, such as Apple Car Play, An­droid Auto, rearview cam­era and rear sen­sors.

Pick­ing up: Clock­wise from top; Toy­ota HiLux, Mit­subishi Tri­ton, and VW Amarok

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