October 1, 2023


Just Do Automotive

2023 Ute of the 12 months revealed: Ranger vs HiLux vs RAM vs Silverado vs Triton vs BT-50 vs D-Max vs Cannon vs Navara vs Musso vs Gladiator

6 min read

We’ve examined them on the drag strip and dyno, we’ve put them by their paces off-road, and we’ve examined them with a trailer attached. That is Australia’s most complete ute of the 12 months award and it’s now time to disclose our total winner, together with a recap of our full set of award winners.

All informed, testing took eight days break up throughout three places… with a whole bunch of kilometres between them.

As for what all of the gasoline, espresso, lollies, and lunches price? Don’t ask, our accounting staff remains to be recovering.

Earlier than we get to the winners, let’s rapidly go over the contestants.

From Ford, we have now the Ranger Wildtrak V6 and Ranger Raptor. The Ranger has been universally praised since hitting our shores in 2022, nevertheless it hasn’t confronted off with all of its rivals in a single place till now.

Talking of these rivals, nearly all of Australia’s best-selling dual-cab utes featured in our testing.

The Toyota HiLux is a perennial favorite, and the up to date Rogue is arguably the most effective tackle the system but. Conventional rivals from Mitsubishi within the type of the Triton GSR, and from Nissan within the locally-developed Navara Professional-4X Warrior have been additionally readily available to maintain it sincere.

Whereas we’re speaking robust sellers the (nearly) equivalent twins from Isuzu and Mazda, the D-Max LS-U+ and BT-50 SP, have confirmed in style since launching in 2021 and 2022 respectively.

Main a crowd of upstarts was the GWM Ute Cannon-X. It’s a powerful vendor because of its low beginning worth and lengthy checklist of normal equipment, nevertheless it wants to supply greater than worth alone to succeed alongside the SsangYong Musso XLV Final.

Lastly, the People. Smallest of our American trio (at the least, the trio that hung round all week) is the Jeep Gladiator. Underneath the pores and skin it shares loads with the Wrangler 4×4, so it’s anticipated to go nicely off-road.

Then there’s the star-spangled pickups. Within the Ram nook is the 1500 Laramie with its luxurious cabin and fashionable tech suite. From Chevrolet we have now the Silverado 1500 LTZ – an replace is imminent, however the mechanicals stay the identical for 2023.

The screaming Ram 1500 TRX made an look for simply lengthy sufficient to smoke all comers on the drag strip. Then once more, it’d need to given how a lot grunt its supercharged V8 engine makes.

We weren’t capable of get our palms on the most recent Toyota LandCruiser 70 Collection, the Bi-Turbo Ford Ranger, a non-Warrior Navara, the LDV T60 Max, or the brand new Volkswagen Amarok; however we’re hoping to carry out all of our testing once more as soon as these autos are prepared for us.

Now, it’s time to disclose the most effective ute in every class of testing – and the general winner.

And the winner is…

The Ford Ranger was the most effective all-rounder in our testing, and takes out the general prize. It’s the winner of the CarExpert Ute of the 12 months award.

The award applies to all variants of the Ranger, however the V6 diesel is the choose of the bunch as a jack of all trades. There’s nothing the Wildtrak V6 didn’t do nicely in our testing.

It’s faster than most of its rivals in a straight line, though the Wildtrak V6 can’t match V8 vans from the USA, and the torquey turbo-diesel engine combines with a sensible suspension tune to make it snug with a 2500kg caravan attached. Likewise, it carried out nicely in opposition to our high-tech trailer dyne.

Off-road, it wasn’t fazed by any of our assessments. Together with strong {hardware}, all of the onboard expertise makes really unlocking the automobile’s functionality easy for nervous off-roaders.

Additionally readily available to make life simpler for nervous off-roaders are the wonderful front-view digicam and a spread of preset off-road modes. Unsure how one can arrange your four-wheel drive system? Select your terrain utilizing the dial, and let the automobile work it out for you.

It units a brand new benchmark for dual-cab utes, and its rivals have some critical catching as much as do.

Class winners

Efficiency ute

  • General winner: Ram 1500
  • Finest four-cylinder: Isuzu D-Max/Mazda BT-50
  • Finest worth: Toyota HiLux

Together with the round-robin drag race featured in our video, we put the utes by a sequence of efficiency assessments on the high-speed bowl on the VinFast (nee Holden) proving floor in Lang Lang.

They included 0-100km/h, 80-120km/h and 1/4 mile efficiency runs, 100-0km/h brake assessments, and acceleration assessments with our dyne trailer attached.

We additionally put the utes on a dyno to see which might come closest to matching their claimed outputs.

MORE: Learn all about our large ute drag race
MORE: Take a look at how the utes stacked up on the dyno
MORE: All of the efficiency figures from our testing

Finest ute towing

  • General winner: Ram 1500 Laramie
  • Finest four-cylinder: Isuzu D-Max/Mazda BT-50
  • Finest worth: Ford Ranger Wildtrak V6

Apart from the Ranger Raptor, all of the utes we utilized in our towing take a look at have a claimed braked towing capability of over 3000kg. There’s an enormous distinction in how they carry out with a trailer on the again, although.

First take a look at was a trailer dynamometer with a variable load retarder that allowed us to impart as much as 10kN of resistive load to the tow car.

It allowed us to simulate a protracted, steep climb for the tow car, which in the end places immense load on the engine.

This 1600kg trailer dynamometer is wirelessly linked as much as a pc that lets the operator regulate the diploma of resistance drive as measured in kN – in our assessments we set it to 3kN, which simulates a reasonably steep ascent, however one which needs to be inside every ute’s talents.

We examined gasoline financial system with out the trailer on the again, after which once more with the 3kN trailer hooked as much as see how heavy hauling will hit your hip pocket.

We additionally hitched every ute to a 2500kg trailer and tackled a highway loop consultant of regional Australia, together with a 15 per cent climb, a descent to check engine braking, and a few uneven bitumen to check the trip high quality.

Finest ute off-road

  • General winner: Jeep Gladiator Rubicon
  • Finest four-cylinder: Nissan Navara Professional-4X Warrior
  • Finest worth: Ford Ranger Raptor

Our off-road take a look at was geared toward discovering out which ute goes to finest deal with to type of average off-roading most homeowners will take into account doing.

That’s as a result of we needed to check their four-wheel drive programs and traction management expertise, somewhat than discovering out how far you may go earlier than getting bogged.

Our first take a look at was driving every automobile onto a strip of bitumen on a ten per cent grade, with a set of metallic rollers underneath the right-hand wheels to simulate a variably slippery floor. By eradicating traction from one aspect of the automobile, we will verify the effectiveness of every automobile’s traction management.

We examined the autos in rear-wheel drive (2H) to determine a management, after which the related four-wheel drive (4H/4A, relying on automobile) setting.

Our second take a look at centred round offset sand moguls. Every ute was stopped with its entrance left and proper rear tyre within the air, and the opposite two firmly on the bottom.

With the automobiles located as such, we opened the doorways to check for any chassis flex, after which tried to easily drive out of the moguls to see how successfully their four-wheel drive and traction management programs apportion torque to the wheels with traction.

Lastly, gravel mountain. This incline was, at 45 per cent, difficult to stroll up, not to mention drive.

On the way in which up, we maintained fixed throttle till the autos began struggling, at which level we compelled the engines to dig deeper.

We began on the backside in every car’s low-range (4-Low) gearing with rear diff locks engaged the place doable. This differential lock permits each wheels on the axle to show on the identical velocity, maximising floor buy.

We then rotated and went down the identical hill, to check the hill-descent management effectiveness, the low-range gearing, and the digicam views the place related.

MORE: Learn all about our off-road take a look at right here

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