DUAL-CAB DILEMMA

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page - CARS@NEWS.COM.AU OR PO BOX 2808 GPO SYD­NEY, NSW, 2001 Joshua Dowl­ing

THE QUES­TION

FOR AD­VICE ON WHICH CAR YOU SHOULD BUY, WRITE TO just got a new nose — and Toy­ota has fit­ted a but­ton to purge the diesel par­tic­u­late fil­ter to pre­vent clog­ging. Sus­pen­sion was ini­tially a bit firm but this has since been ad­dressed, with sub­tle changes to im­prove com­fort. Ask the dealer for an SR5 with Miche­lin rub­ber, which is the pick in my opin­ion. The SR5 has rear air vents and is one of the few utes with height and reach ad­justable steer­ing. At about $8000 off full price, it’s a steal. No won­der it’s the top seller.

NIS­SAN NAVARA ST-X $59,000 DRIVE-AWAY

Depend­ing on where you click on Nis­san’s web­site, the flag­ship ST-X auto can also be had for $53,990 drive-away if you’re an ABN holder. Be sure to hag­gle, it was $52,490 drive-away re­tail last month and with a five-year war­ranty. It’s now back to three years. De­spite two re­cent up­grades, the coil rear sus­pen­sion doesn’t make up for other short­com­ings. It’s pow­er­ful, re­fined and has rear air vents but it’s in the bot­tom half of the seg­ment for driv­ing com­fort. A more ba­sic ST vari­ant — as a Black Edi­tion that adds $8000 of ex­tra gear — is not-so-cheap at $51,190 drive­away with auto but looks tough.

VW AMAROK HIGHLINE $58,990 DRIVE-AWAY

This is the best dual-cab ute to drive in the $50K-$60K price range. The TDV6, even if you’re not look­ing for power, feels al­most carIt like to drive and has the best brakes. How­ever, there are no plans to add rear airbags to the cur­rent generation Amarok, which rules it out of con­tention given your cri­te­ria. A com­pletely new model is at least three years away.

WILDCARD FORD RANGER WILDTRAK $66,000-PLUS D/A

The up­dated Wildtrak busts your bud­get but there are deals on run-out mod­els nearer $60,000. The up­dates are worth­while on the 2019 model-year so hag­gle hard on the lat­est Wil­drak or step down to the XLT and op­tion the new 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel with 10-speed auto. It’s re­fined and ef­fi­cient and won’t be work­ing too hard given you don’t plan to tow. An XLT with 2.0-litre is about $63,000 drive­away; if you can wait a few months for the hype to sub­side, aim for $60,000 neat. The Ranger drives well and five-year war­ranty adds peace of mind but we’ve had com­plaints about me­chan­i­cal faults on 2012 to 2017 mod­els.

VERDICT

The HiLux’s sharp price, rock-solid re­li­a­bil­ity, low run­ning costs and ex­cel­lent re­sale value make it a no-brainer. Be sure to get the up­dated model with the DPF but­ton.

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