You guys have been great with advice - but I have some specific questions that I am hoping I can get a steer on. I need to be able to haul a horse trailer and large draft-horse - this means 3000kg braked towing minimum. But since whatever I buy has to be my everyday car, it would need to be able to negotiate city driving (Canberra) be parked easily and not be too thirsty. I am not a big woman so I need something that won't kill me to steer and can get in and out of easily.
My ideal would be 3.5-tonne towing capacity with all the whiz-bang towing-assist kit, park-assist in normal non-towing urban conditions and proximity tech. Comfortable for those long trips and good info and audio tech. I don't need seats for kids/family so would be happy with a four-door ute. That said are there any out there that have a powered/hydraulic tailgate?
The front runners at the moment from what I can see are the Ford Rangers (but still confused about the variants and a bit WHOA on the size); Isuzu D-Max and M-UX (but have heard not great things about cabin noise and steering and tech); VW Amarok and Touareg but upfront and servicing costs are bit yikes. Maybe Toyota Fortuner but not sure.
Any advice would be very, very welcome!
None of the vehicles you’ve listed are exactly low-maintenance units. They all have complex all-wheel-drive drivelines (which will be appreciated when towing a heavy trailer across a wet showground) and they use the latest common-rail diesel technology which is fairly intolerant of poor servicing.
As for a power tailgate on a ute, I’m afraid you’re out of luck. But some of the wagon versions of these vehicles can be optioned with powered tailgates. The catch there is that these vehicles use coil sprung rear axles (as opposed to the leaf-sprung ute versions) so they’re not as adept at towing. The Toyota Fortuner, for instance can’t match the HiLux’s 3.5-tonne limit and makes do with 2800kg; not enough for your requirements. The Ford Everest (based on the Ranger) is a little better at 3000kg, but still trails the Ranger’s 3500kg towing capacity and is right on your self-imposed minimum.