The metamorphosis of the humble 4x4 dual cab ute from a bare-boned utilitarian workhorse to a work-and-play family fun machine has been remarkable.

One of the driving forces behind the booming popularity of dual cab utes in this dual-purpose role has been Ford's premium-grade Ranger Wildtrak, which on release in 2012 set a new value-for-money benchmark for luxury and features buyers could expect off the showroom floor.

Huge demand for the Wildtrak not only created long waiting lists but prompted several rivals to respond with dressed-up versions of their own top-shelf 4x4 dual cabs, including Toyota's TRD-equipped HiLux SR-5 and more recently Nissan with its limited edition N-SPORT Black Edition.