UTE-OUT SHOOTOUT

New Zealand LCV - - CONTENTS - Story: Dean Evans

Plenty of ac­tion in the top-line ute sec­tor as we do a pa­per com­paro of the top four.

Mercedes-benz X-class X350d

Syn­op­sis: Mercedes’ X-class sets high stan­dards in ute com­fort and cabin cos­set­ting. Way more than just a spruced-up Navara, it still uses the Nis­san’s 140kw/450nm four-cylin­der 2.3-litre. Cus­tomers were keen, but many are wait­ing for Mercedes’ own turbo 3.0-litre V6 ver­sion and seven-speed, that will im­prove num­bers con­sid­er­ably. The 350d matches the Amarok on power and though the Merc’s 550Nm torque and 0-100km/h of 7.5 sec­onds ri­valled the now-old Amarok’s (and ev­ery other ute’s) 0-100km/h time of 7.9 sec­onds, it was still a pa­per ba­tle as it’s not due un­til De­cem­ber. Chest puff­ing and brag­ging rights aside, the X350d Power slots in $1500 cheaper than the top-spec VW: con­so­la­tion rasp­berry blown. Power: 190kw/550nm Cost: $81,205(Prog)-$88,325(power) Per­for­mance: Al­most four-secs faster to 100 than the four-cylin­der model On sale: De­cem­ber 2018 LCV ver­dict: Should be worth the wait

Volk­swa­gen Amarok V6

Syn­op­sis: Lauded as the most pow­er­ful ute in class, the Amarok is unique in of­fer­ing a tur­bod­iesel 3.0-litre V6 - at least un­til the Mercedes-benz ar­rives. Re­launched in Septem­ber with 190kw, its sig­na­ture ‘over­boost’ func­tion ups the ante to 200kw, when­ever it’s above 50km/h in 4th-5th gears. Its in­crease from 550 to 580Nm also keeps it above the pack. It’s fun to watch the stoush be­tween VW and Merc, be­cause while Mercedes was brag­ging about its V6 sport­ing Amarok-eclips­ing num­bers, VW snuffed that out even be­fore the Merc’s ar­rival, with 580Nm and a 0-100km/h time of 7.3 sec­onds, of­fer­ing a cheeky edge over the Ger­man ri­val. Power: 190kw/580nm (200kw) on over­boost Cost: $89,990 (Ad­ven­tra) Per­for­mance: Still NZ’S bold­est, fastest ute On sale: Now LCV ver­dict: Beast in class, still

With both the V8 Ford Fal­con and Holden Com­modore utes now part of au­to­mo­tive his­tory, it’s time for the dou­ble cab utes to shine. We look at the fac­tory fast four, five and V6s that have just launched or are due by the end of 2018. They may drive a lit­tle dif­fer­ent, but on pa­per at least, each of­fers their own unique grab on their brand and mar­ket. Which one would you choose?

Holden Colorado Xtreme

Syn­op­sis: The 2018 pro­duc­tion ver­sion of the show con­cept shown in 2016, the Xtreme caters to the typ­i­cal ute buyer who spends an av­er­age $3000 on ac­ces­sories. The kit­ted-out Xtreme doesn’t get any ex­tra power from the 2.8-litre Du­ra­max turbo diesel, but is a stand-out with a hero Or­ange Crush, winch bar, 18-inch black al­loys with all-ter­rain tyres, black ex­tended sports bar and tubu­lar side steps, rear step, soft ton­neau cover, tow bar, and matte black de­cals in­clud­ing the Colorado on the tail­gate, and black roof tray. And all fully le­gal and cer­ti­fied. Power: Just the std auto 147kw/500nm Cost: $79,990, a $13k pre­mium over Z71 Per­for­mance: Added off-road abil­i­ties On sale: Q4 2018 LCV ver­dict: A dif­fer­ent step up and away from Z71

Ford Ranger Rap­tor

Syn­op­sis: The off-road, more ex­treme ver­sion of the Ford Ranger. In lieu of the grunty 3.2-litre five-cylin­der turbo diesel in the reg­u­lar Ranger, Ford fits a twin-turbo 2.0-litre diesel. Don’t let the small ca­pac­ity put you off to­tally, as its power and torque eclipse the reg­u­lar Ranger, and a 10-speed gear­box will en­sure it’s al­ways on the boil. Wider, longer and taller, Ranger Rap­tor of­fers Fox Rac­ing Shox for ul­ti­mate ride and han­dling in the rough stuff, and all with a tough name on top, in a mar­ket where image counts. Power: 157kw/500nm, up 10kw/30nm Cost: $84,990, a $15,350 pre­mium over Wild­trak Per­for­mance: Faster, made for off-road On sale: Oct 2018 LCV ver­dict: A 2.0-litre?! Time will tell if that’s good or bad

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