It’s the gift, that for ‘car’ makers with a suitable model, just keeps on giving. I’m talking, of course about the ‘4x4 double-cab ute’ phenomenon, the one which has seen what was once a humble workhorse morph into a versatile work/life option for farmers, tradies and urban-based adventurers.
Driving the demand is a similar ‘sea-change’ in the way we work, and see ourselves ... and with it our wants and needs when it comes to a vehicle.
In no particular order we desire something safe, roomy, grunty, not too hard on the eyes or wallet, and which as well as performing the primary role of ‘work’ vehicle Monday to Friday can also double as a recreational tool come the weekend.
The top three selling models in March this year were double cab utes. That’s right, the top selling models period, not just top-selling utes or commercial vehicles.
And that was for the second month in a row. Ford’s Ranger continued to lead the way with 661 units sold for a five percent overall share of the market with Toyota’s new Gen 8 Hilux next on 601 units (also five percent) and Mitsubishi’s Triton third (462 units for a four percent share).
After three months of sales in 2016, Ford’s Ranger remains the top-selling commercial vehicle with 17 percent market share, followed by Toyota Hilux with 15 percent and Mitsubishi Triton with 12 percent.
Our 2016 multi-ute comparison test ‘sample’ was effectively chosen for us when Toyota launched its long-awaited Gen 8 Hilux, two months – give or take – after Ford unveiled a comprehensively upgraded Ranger.
To put these two into context we added an Isuzu D-Max LS-T, Mitsubishi Triton GLX, Volkswagen Amarok 4Motion and Nissan Navara ST-X.
So, did Ford’s Ranger XLT – our winner last year – take the top spot again? Or was it toppled by Toyota’s New Hilux SR5? Or VW’s previous standard-setter, the Amarok?
What of the all-coil suspension Nissan Navara ST-X? Or Mitsubishi’s price-leading Triton GLX? Isuzu’s D-Max has a well-regarded reputation for toughness. But did that work for it or against it in our shootout?
For the answers to these questions and more check out the June 2016 issue of your favourite New Zealand 4WD magazine.