Down the tow path

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - WHICH CAR? -

THE QUES­TION

I’d like to buy a new twin-cab turbo diesel 4WD ute with a tray­back, not a tub, and am happy to con­sider cur­rent or run-out mod­els. I want to tow a dual-axle car­a­van around Aus­tralia and also use it for oc­ca­sional light com­mer­cial use. I have a fairly open price range but I’m keen to know the best time of the month or year to pur­chase. Paul Gee

Fuel econ­omy, re­li­a­bil­ity and ac­cess to ser­vice cen­tres and parts will be im­por­tant for the big trip. June is the best month to buy as tradies trade up to new mod­els and there are al­ways sharp deals that month. You’ll need to buy the ute as is and then re­place the tub with a drop­side tray at ex­tra cost. Deal­ers are well versed in this process.

Toy­ota HiLux SR from $46,990 drive-away Toy­ota has the best dealer sup­port in re­mote ar­eas and the ve­hi­cles have the best rep­u­ta­tion for re­li­a­bil­ity. The HiLux is among the most fuel ef­fi­cient in the ute class and ser­vice costs for the first 60,000km/three years are the cheap­est in the busi­ness. Gen­uine Toy­ota drop­side trays are de­signed to match the stiff­ness of the chas­sis and the gen­uine tow bars are also de­signed to man­u­fac­turer stan­dards. Down­sides: the auto only tows 3200kg (the man­ual can tow 3500kg), and HiLuxes are not cheap. But the SR from $46,990 drive-away is a sound choice if you don’t need the fancy $55,000 SR5.

Mit­subishi Tri­ton from $36,990 drive-away The Tri­ton won’t win a beauty pageant but it has a good rep­u­ta­tion for re­li­a­bil­ity, ser­vic­ing costs are fair, there are deal­er­ships in most big re­gional cen­tres, and the five-year un­lim­ited kilo­me­tre war­ranty will help. It’s also very eco­nom­i­cal. Down­side: tow­ing ca­pac­ity is 3100kg. M Mazda BT-50 XT from $41,990 drive-away The twin un­der the skin to Ford Ranger but at a cheaper price. Strong tow­ing (3500kg) and sta­ble on the road. Ser­vice cen­tres could be lim­ited but you can al­ways take it to a Ford dealer if you’re stuck. Down­sides: the 3.2 five- cylin­der diesell ihis thirsty com­pared with oth­ers, and a bit noisy.

WILD­CARD

Holden Colorado run-out model The Colorado is not the nicest to drive and nor is it the most re­fined or most re­li­able. But Holden is rip­ping up th the Colorado price ahead of a sig­nif­i­cant up­date due in Au­gust. This month it’s of­fer­ing free ser­vic­ing for three years on top of sharp driveaway deals. A vast dealer net­work and low ser­vice costs once the free main­te­nance ends are other pluses.

VER­DICT

I’d go with the HiLux but hag­gle hard on price. Be pa­tient and shop around a few deal­ers. Stick to gen­uine Toy­ota ac­ces­sories wher­ever pos­si­ble. It will help when com­par­ing prices — and help get things fixed with­out ar­gu­ment should any prob­lems oc­cur down the track.

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