Best ute for towing: Ford Ranger Wildtrak V6
Also consider this ute: Chevrolet Silverado ZR2
The still-fresh Ford Ranger is a class act and comes to the fore in V6 guise, which is priced from $71,190 plus on-road costs. As with most utes, it can tow up to 3500kg, while still having enough in reserve for the family and all their gear.
The Ford Ranger also has some towing smarts, such as the ability to save towing configurations for different trailers and tailoring things like the length of the load so the blind spot warning system is calibrated accordingly. It also has a light check function for the trailer, rather than enlisting a friend to help out.
Plus, the core of the Ford Ranger is solid. It’s the most comfortable and composed of the off-road dual-cabs on the road, and is supremely capable off-road.
It’s also the only ute with remote connectivity, allowing you to lock and unlock the doors and monitor tyre pressures via a smartphone app.
Of course, there are bigger utes from America that can tow a lot more, although they’re expensive, in part because each undergoes an extensive local conversion from left to right hand drive.
Of the towing contenders, the Chevrolet Silverado is one of the most convincing, able to tow up to 4500kg. In ZR2 guise, that drops to 4200kg, although it brings better capability in rough conditions. Keep an eye on the payload, though, which drops to just 68kg with the full 4.2 tonnes out back.
Best dual cab ute for families: Ford Ranger XLT 2.0
Also consider this ute: Mazda BT-50 GT
The new Ford Ranger made a huge step in tech and safety, something that flows through to the entry-level versions.
While the Ford Ranger XLT sits closer to the middle of the range at $61,990, it does without the fancy fruit to focus on value. There’s dual-zone ventilation, alloy wheels and the smarter-looking nose with C-shaped daytime running lights. The Ford Ranger XLT also gets a towbar and plastic bedliner.
Plus, there’s still a bulging suite of safety gear to look after the tribe as well as nice-to-haves, such as a digital instrument cluster and a 10.1-inch central infotainment screen. An array of accessories builds on the core package to create a vehicle tailored for camping, biking or exploring.
Another worthy contender is the Mazda BT-50, which at $62,510, GT trim picks up heated front seats, leather and a comprehensive safety suite.
The Mazda BT-50 has tough genes beneath the skin. Its mechanical package is shared with the Isuzu D-Max, right down to a gruff but effective 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel.