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Used dual cab utes review: 2008-2010

HiLux still rules the roost but the others are gaining, adding features and sharpening prices to get a bigger chunk.

Towing the tools during the week and the toys at the weekend has never been easier or more comfortable. Where once the tradie ute was a two-door three-on-a-bench cabin with a column-shift gearbox and an AM radio that made an alarm clock/radio sound good, 21st century machines are far closer to passenger cars.

The venerable Toyota HiLux has come under fire from all sides, copping blows from Japanese, German and even locally developed Thai-built Ford products in recent years. Yet the Toyota workhorse finished 2012 as the second biggest-selling vehicle on the local market, as well as the most popular ute and best-selling four-wheel-drive within a segment that's grown substantially.

By the end of 2003, there were 50,670 4WD pick-up/cab-chassis vehicles sold in a market that totalled 909,811 sales. Fast-forward five years and the 4WD ute segment totalled 83,308 with 12 models from nine brands on sale in a total market of 1.01 million.

Last year, in a total market of 1.11 million, it speared well past the six-figure mark, recording 124,536 sales for 14 models from 11 brands. The reason: versatility. The more recently released dual-cabs now warrant some design focus to make the rear seat useful for more than short trips to the shop at smoko.

Right-angled seat cushions have made way for more comfortable benches, lap-sash seat belts and child anchors. Road manners are far less rudimentary. The features lists have improved -- FM radio, seat adjustment and aircon are no longer considered namby-pamby -- as has the level of safety gear, with airbags, anti-lock brakes and even stability control fitted in recent times.

The fleet market was largely responsible for putting the HiLux into the top 10 vehicles list but plenty of user-chooser customers need a more versatile machine. The result of expanded choice in the segment and increased competition has led to a wide range of makes and models, each with plenty of kit.

HiLux still rules the roost but the others are gaining, adding features and sharpening prices to get a bigger chunk.

2008 Toyota Hilux SR5 4WD
Engine: 3.0-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Thirst: 9.5L/100km


The HiLux has been the dominant force in dual-cab utes, with the brand's reputation for reliability no small factor in its popularity. The SR5 has dual front airbags, aircon, cruise control, 15-inch alloys, nudge bar and anti-lock brakes, but tilt-only steering

2008 Nissan Navara ST-X 4WD D40
Engine: 2.5-litre 4-cylinder
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Thirst: 9.8L/100km


Navara has been a sales gem for Nissan and this example has been optioned up to include roof racks and a canopy. It sits on 16-inch alloy wheels and packs more power and torque than the HiLux, as well as a few extra features to give it a look-in for the sales race, such as a rotary switch for the 4WD system.

2010 Mitsubishi Triton GLX-R 4WD
Engine: 2.5-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Thirst: 9.9L/100km


Extra kit was also Triton's ticket in, given the HiLux's dominance. It has front and side airbags, a fifth ratio for the auto (HiLux still has four), stability control, 17-inch alloys and neat touches such as the roll-down rear window. The look isn't to all tastes but the bullbar takes care of some of that.


Year Price From Price To
2010 $5,100 $16,720

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GL-R 2.5L, Diesel, 5 SP MAN $8,900 – 13,420 2010 Mitsubishi Triton 2010 GL-R Pricing and Specs
Stuart Martin
Contributing Journalist