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American invasion: Meet the five huge pick-ups coming for your Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger

There are five American pick-ups on the cards for Australia

It only seems a handful of years ago that the very idea of being handed the keys to America's automotive kingdom seemed an impossible dream, with all the weird and wonderful vehicles sold in the USA strictly left-hand drive, and so off limits for our market.

But haven't times changed? Now our streets are clogged with Mustangs and Camaros, and soon enough even the monstrous C8 Corvette will be tearing up our tarmac.

Probably the most noticeable American vehicles are on our roads at the jumbo trucks that have begun flooding in, not least of which because their sheer size makes them impossible to miss.

From the Ram 1500 to the Chevrolet Silverado, American-style pick-ups have found a home in Australia, where customers have welcomed them with open arms, and open wallets.

And that hasn't gone unnoticed, with other car companies now also planning to launch big trucks in Australia and claim a share of this growing pick-up segment.

In fact, there are five trucks that are either probably, or definitely, coming to Australia in the near future. And being the good people we are, we've gathered them all here for you, so you know exactly what to expect, and when to expect it.

Nissan Titan

The Titan is offered in the USA in two different sizes; the standard Titan and the bigger XD version. The Titan is offered in the USA in two different sizes; the standard Titan and the bigger XD version.

Make no mistake, it's a matter of when, not if, for the Nissan Titan to make its Australian debut.

Australian bosses have been pressuring their American counterparts to deliver a factory right-hand drive version, but say that - failing that - the brand will simply convert them from left- to right-hand drive right here in Australia.

There's form there, of course, with both the Ram and the Silverado both locally converted in Melbourne by American Special Vehicles and HSV respectively, and both to much praise for the quality of the workmanship.

"We're working as fast as possible," says Nissan Australia boss Stephen Lester. "If we can make Titan specifically happen, it will more than likely happen with conversion. And we'll have to go down that road of finding who can do that for us.

"We don't have any reservations around working with anyone at this point. It comes down to who can do the best job."

The Titan is offered in the USA in two different sizes; the standard Titan and the bigger XD version. We'd expect to receive the standard version, which measures 5.79m in length, 2.01m in width and up to 1.93m in height. It's offered in Single, King and Crew Cab configurations.

Expect a maximum towing capacity of about 4.2 tonnes, and a maximum payload capacity of about 900kg. Under the the bonnet is a thumping 5.6-litre V8 good for 290kW and 534Nm - the only engine now offered in the Titan range.

And it really is coming. Take this, from Mr Lester: "I'd hate to put a timeframe on it, but we will push hard to get it ASAP, and we will take it any day of the week, just as quickly as we can get it."

Toyota Tundra

We know now that the brand is working on a global truck platform that will likely underpin all of Toyota's workhorse products - including the Tundra. We know now that the brand is working on a global truck platform that will likely underpin all of Toyota's workhorse products - including the Tundra.

There's only ever been one barrier in bringing the Tundra to Australia, and that is that it is only available in left-hand drive.

But worry not, dear reader, for there is a new version coming. And its that vehicle that the brand's US bosses at last want to see go global - a globe that Australia is very much a part of.

We know now that the brand is working on a global truck platform that will likely underpin all of Toyota's workhorse products - including the Tundra, Tacoma, and potentially even the HiLux - a right-hand drive version suddenly appears very likely indeed.

"We're working on our next-generation Tundra, and I can't wait to show it to you," says Toyota's North American group vice-president and general manager, Jack Hollis.

"I would love to see that car go global. We have a great relationship with Australia - the company there does fantastic work."

The current Tundra measures a sizeable 5814mm in length, 1961mm in height and 2029mm in width in its TRD Pro guise. That's big - the 2019 Toyota HiLux Rugged X is a comparatively dainty 5350mm in length, 1815mm in height and 1885mm in width.

Shoppers can choose between two V8 engines; a 4.6-litre unit(231kW and 443Nm), or a bigger 5.7-litre engine (284kW and 543Nm). You can also expect a payload of around 750kgs and a 4.5-tonne towing capacity.

So what does Toyota in Australia have to say on the matter? That's good news, too. We understand the Tundra has been under study since 2018, with the company largely waiting for RHD availability.

"It's definitely something we haven't ruled out. And we know it's a growing segment, the full-size pick-up space in the Australian market," a Toyota Australia spokesperson told CarsGuide.

"We wouldn't rule out a Tundra coming to Australia in the future, but at the moment we have no solid plans. But if there's a global business case put together that Australia could be put into, then there's no reason we wouldn't seriously consider the Tundra for Australia."

Chevrolet Silverado 1500

The biggest versions stretch 6128mm in length, 2063mm in width and 1990mm in height, and there's a near-one-tonne payload and a 5.5-tonne towing capacity. The biggest versions stretch 6128mm in length, 2063mm in width and 1990mm in height, and there's a near-one-tonne payload and a 5.5-tonne towing capacity.

Imagine the conversations over at the HSV factory, where they're hard at work converting the Chevrolet Silverado 2500 and 3500HD, but which have proven comparatively slow sellers here in Australia.

In the same facility - albeit technically under a different company - American Special Vehicles is converting the Ram 1500, and it's selling like giant American hotcakes. The brand has shifted more than 1400 trucks in Australia this year, with  more than 1200 of those sales for the 1500, while the 2500 and 3500 have managed around 150 sales.

Clearly, the 1500 is the size that sells in Australia. But HSV doesn't have one to work on. Well, not yet...

We expect the sales figures will have prompted HSV to look at the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 for Australia, giving the brand a true rival to the dominant Ram 1500. Earlier reports have even suggested HSV visited Detroit to explore right-hand-drive conversions on the 1500 in 2018.

Just updated for 2019, the Chevrolet Silverado (or 1500) arrives with a complicated web of six engine and transmission combinations, but we'd expect HSV was most interested in the 5.7-litre V8 and eight-speed auto (265kW, 519Nm), or the 6.2-litre V8 and 10-speed automatic (313kW and 623Nm).

The specs are impressive, too: the biggest versions stretch 6128mm in length, 2063mm in width and 1990mm in height, and there's a near-one-tonne payload and a 5.5-tonne towing capacity.

Ford F-150

The stunning success of the Mustang in Australia has proven that cars soaked in Americana can find a big audience in Australia. The stunning success of the Mustang in Australia has proven that cars soaked in Americana can find a big audience in Australia.

It's always seemed weird that Ford builds the best-selling vehicle on the planet, the F-Series truck, and yet hasn't sold it in Australia in more than a decade.

The problem, as always, was the availability of RHD, but the stunning success of the Mustang in Australia has proven that cars soaked in Americana can find a big audience in Australia.

And so, the good news; all the global talk points to the next-generation F-150 being offered in both left- and right-hand drive, with the brand hoping to cement global icons, rather than cars that are simply popular in the USA.

Take this, from Ford's group vice president, and president, International Markets Group, Peter Fleet: "When you look at the success of Mustang, what did we do there, we took one of our iconic North American brands and globalised it. There is a lesson there. Those kind of things work.

"I am a big advocate of trying to make more of these iconic brands within the company. If I have any opportunity to bring those vehicles to Australia, I'd be at the front of the queue.

"It's all about scale, and RHD, that's the tricky bit. It's about can you have enough scale to warrant the engineering cost and then which plant do you put it into production."

For its part, Ford in Australia says it is currently studying the full-size truck market.

"I think if customers go that way, we'd absolutely bring one in. We've had full-size pickups here before, when they were available in right-hand drive," says Ford Australia's marketing manager, Danni Winter. "There is no right-hand drive full-size pickup available, but if there was, we'd look at it and see if there was demand here."

Rivian R1T

The R1T is powered by a quad-motor system that delivers 147kW to each wheel, and a scarcely believable 14,000Nm in total torque. The R1T is powered by a quad-motor system that delivers 147kW to each wheel, and a scarcely believable 14,000Nm in total torque.

Automotive newcomer Rivian has been attracting a lot of attention Stateside, first because it scored some US$700m in investment from corporate giants like Amazon, and then because Ford, too, saw something it liked in the company, taking a US$500m stake in the hope of sharing its EV 'skateboard' technology.

A company to take seriously, then, and one that is definitely, absolutely, planning an Australian launch of its futuristic R1T pick-up truck.

"Yes we will have an Australian launch. And I can't wait to come back to Australia and show this to all of those beautiful people," says the brand's chief engineer, Brian Gase.

So what are we getting? Think Porsche pace, combined with tough-truck practicality.

The R1T is powered by a quad-motor system that delivers 147kW to each wheel, and a scarcely believable 14,000Nm in total torque, and Rivian says it will clip 160km/h in just 7.0 seconds.

The brand is also promising 14-inches of dynamic ground clearance, a 4.5-tonne towing capacity and a 650km range.

Too good to be true? We'll find out when it arrives, which at this point is expected to be 2021.