Australia’s best utes of 2023

Ford Ranger 2023 utes

Toby Hagon

Posted June 30, 2023

In the market for a new ute? From towing and tradie to adventuring and most affordable, here are the best 4x4 and dual cab utes in Australia to put on your shopping list.

Utes are big business in Australia, particlularly 4x4 utes and dual cabs. The market has evolved enormously over the past decade, to the point where there is now a vast array of alternatives from legacy ute brands like Toyota and Ford to new brands in the Australian market, to cover everything from basic work machines to caravan towing and high performance heroes.

Here are the best utes of 2023 in Australia. 

Best utes in Australia to buy 2023


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.


2022 Ford Ranger

The Ford Ranger has proved its credentials both on and off road. Image: Supplied.

Best tradie work ute: Toyota Hilux WorkMate

Also consider this ute: Isuzu D-Max 1.9

There’s nothing particularly exciting about it, but the Toyota Hilux WorkMate undercuts most rivals by thousands of dollars. As a single-cab, it kicks off at $25,375, or you can double-cab with four-wheel drive and auto transmission for $48,175.

The Toyota Hilux WorkMate strips back many of the basics – floors are vinyl and it has steel wheels – and the two-wheel drive guise gets a simple 2.7-litre four-cylinder engine.

The 2.4-litre four-cylinder diesel has more load-lugging grunt, and is a better pairing if you’re looking to travel beyond the suburbs.

Those looking for an honest work ute should also check out the Isuzu D-Max 1.9, which kicks off at $32,200. The diminutive engine has shorter gearing for respectable around-town work. Make sure you load the tray up, though, because the rugged suspension is very firm.

If you’re happy changing gears yourself, then there are sharp deals on the entry-level manual, but it’s a hefty $8500 jump to the auto.

Best 4x4 ute for off-road and adventuring: Volkswagen Amarok PanAmericana

Also consider this ute: Nissan Navara Pro-4X Warrior

The latest Volkswagen Amarok shares plenty with the Ford Ranger, which gives it instant credibility on the driving front. Unique finishes and materials in the cabin with a fresh exterior design ensure it’s closer to the Volkswagen family aesthetically, something backed up by seats that better hug those up front. To drive, though, there’s no hiding the Ford Ranger similarities.

The broad model lineup caters to most tastes, and it’s the $75,990 Volkswagen Amarok PanAmericana you’re best grabbing for those big adventures.

As well as some black highlights and unique styling front and rear, the Volkswagen Amarok PanAmericana has an additional focus on rough roads. The most useful is all-terrain tyres that better resist punctures and are more suited to gravel, rocks, sand and mud.

Also look at the $67,515 Nissan Navara Pro-4X Warrior. The locally modified version of the ageing Nissan Navara includes raised suspension, additional underbody protection and some seriously chunky Cooper tyres. It’s a terrific package for those who want to venture beyond the blacktop.


VW Amarok

The Volkswagen Amarok is handy for getting off-road. Image: Supplied.

Best value-for money and affordable ute: Great Wall Cannon Ute

Also consider this ute: Ssangyong Musso

Utes have been getting more expensive as inflation bites and more features are fitted as standard.

But there are still some solid value-driven choices at the more affordable end of the market.

Chief among value-for-money utes is the Great Wall Cannon, priced from $42,490 drive-away as a 4x4. It’s well presented and comes with alloy wheels, smart key entry and tyre pressure sensors. You only have to spend another few grand to pick up leather, heated seats and a 360-degree camera. The Great Wall Cannon’s cabin is spacious, too.

Less endearing is suspension that does without the control and maturity of rivals, as well as a diesel engine that takes a second or two to get going and lacks muscle.

Still, with a reassuring seven-year warranty, it’s a lot of car for the money.

Another at the bargain end is the Ssangyong Musso. With the auto priced from $38,790 drive-away, you get a customisable digital instrument cluster, heated steering wheel, and a well presented body. There’s also auto emergency braking, although the lane departure system is frustratingly sensitive. Plus, the middle rear seat gets an inferior lap-only seatbelt.

The Ssangyong Musso’s seven-year warranty also allows for commercial purposes (most don’t).

Best performance ute: Ford Ranger Raptor

Also consider this ute: Volkswagen Amarok 2.3

The $86,790 Ford Ranger Raptor is the pinnacle of the Ford Ranger lineup. And while it comes with compromises - it can’t tow or carry as much as other Ford Rangers – it’s brimming with talent elsewhere.

It starts with sophisticated suspension that places the wheels wider and the body higher, improving its off-road nous and giving it a tougher stance.

The electronically controlled suspension does a brilliant job of smothering big bumps and controlling the body. It means rough roads and gravel tracks can be tackled at speeds that would have regular utes bounding around.

To top off the performance equation is a 3.5-litre twin turbo V6 that has a lovely snarl. Sure, it can drink plenty of premium unleaded petrol if you’re enjoying its full 292kW of power, but it can also be relatively economical when driven gently.

For a ute dark horse, check out the Volkswagen Amarok Aventura 2.3, priced from $79,990. Whereas the default engine choice for utes is diesel, the Aventura TSI452 gets a four-cylinder turbo petrol. It’s an engine with pedigree, too, also helping entry-level Ford Mustangs live up to their performance promise. While the engine doesn’t have the effortless pull of diesel, it has a free-revving nature and slick 10-speed automatic.


Note: All prices exclude on-road costs.



The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions, please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. Product(s) issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.