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