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What 4x4 dual cab ute should I buy?

I am in the market for a new 4x4 dual cab ute and have heard good and not so good things about the 3.2-litre Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-Max and Toyota HiLux. All seem to be priced similarly too, at least the quotes I have got. I will be using it predominantly as an off-road tourer and would like to prioritize reliability and driving pleasure. I guess the question is, given these three options which should I choose?

All three have their long suits, Adam. The Toyota is regarded as the safe buy in terms of reliability and retained value. The D-Max is highly regarded for its ruggedness and tough engine. And the Ranger is the relative sophisticate of the bunch with more on-road performance and a bit more refinement thrown in.

For on-road work, I’d probably take the Ranger over the others, but off-road, there’s very little in it. As far as off-road touring goes, all three will do the job and it will come down to personal preference. With that in mind, you need to put aside a weekend and visit all three showrooms and organise a decent test drive. There will be things you love and loathe about each, but again, it’s down to the individual.

You need to remember, though, that all these modern utes with their common-rail turbo-diesel engines require some pretty specific maintenance. In that sense, the greater saturation of Toyota dealers out in the sticks might sway you (although Ford has plenty of regional dealers, too).