What dual-cab 4×4 ute should I buy?

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A workhorse during the week, a recreational family vehicle at the weekend… But which dual-cab 4×4 ute offers the best of both worlds?

Purchasing a dual-cab ute or pick-up is ultimately a decision founded in compromise. This especially so, if the vehicle has to double as a family car and a truck-like tool of trade.

Yet many Australian families have to make that sort of tough decision. The reality is for those who need goods-carrying or towing prowess, or real high-rider off-roading ability, as well as room for four or five of their nearest and dearest, the dual-cab one-tonne ute with dual-range four-wheel drive is the only option.

The dual-cab utility segment is one of Australia’s hottest. Offering significant choice in terms of makes and models, it’s home for our top-selling vehicle, the Toyota HiLux. For many car-makers it’s also the source of their most profitable sales.

But with variety and competition comes choice and tougher decisions — so which dual-cab 4×4 ute should you buy?

Continuing our series aimed at buyers in the market for specific types of vehicles, motoring.com.au has compiled a short list of stories to take the pain out of making the right choice when it comes to picking a dual-cab ute.

For an overview of the dual-cab four-wheel drive ute market our team of judges started out with the pick of the crop: Ford Ranger, Holden Colorado, Isuzu D-MAX, Mazda BT-50, Mitsubishi Triton, Toyota HiLux and Volkswagen Amarok.

They considered criteria as diverse as:

  • cabin comfort;
  • on-road manners;
  • off-road competence;
  • and towing ability;
  • to arrive at our verdict.

Of course, if you prefer to drill down through all the details, there’s more information available within the individual reviews:

  • Ford Ranger
  • Holden Colorado
  • Isuzu D-MAX
  • Mazda BT-50
  • Mitsubishi Triton
  • Toyota HiLux
  • Volkswagen Amarok

Since the comparison above we’ve also driven and tested Nissan’s upgraded Navara in a number of guises and the only ute to wear a prestige badge, the Mercedes-Benz X-Class.

The latter is tipped to be a genuine step-change in a segment that once only catered to tradies. With a high ANCAP safety rating, car-like interior and a spec level that will rival prestige car offerings, the diesel-only X-Class range will upset the applecart.

Meantime, if you’re in the market for a used rather than a new dual-cab 4×4 ute, this comparison from 2015 might be more to your liking. Or even further back, this comparison from 2014.

Filling the gaps for those who have already narrowed the field down to a couple of ‘local’ brands, there’s this comparison from 2016, featuring the Ford Ranger and Holden Colorado.

Alternatively, perhaps you’re not yet convinced a dual-cab is necessarily a better option than an SUV of similar specification. In that case, here’s a video comparing the Isuzu D-MAX ute and MU-X wagon.

And if you’re after a high-performance dual-cab 4×4 you can wait for the upcoming Holden Colorado SportsCat by HSV, the first Ford Ranger Raptor or Volkswagen’s 190kW Amarok.

Finally, if a 3500kg towing capacity just isn’t enough, how about this comparison from 2016, pitting the RAM 2500 against the Ford F-250?

(motoring.com.au, https://goo.gl/uxRsph)

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