Utes are being transformed into family cars for Australians with a sense of adventure.
Drive Car of the Year 2021 – Best Dual-Cab Ute
Here’s how the best contenders compared in our annual Drive Car of the Year test.
Australians are asking more of their utes every day. While many buyers still rely on them as workhorses, they are increasingly being used for work and play.
To that end, today’s double cab utes must have a broad range of abilities. No other vehicles have as much asked of them.
Modern utes need to have car-like levels of safety, comfort and technology, drive like an SUV, carry up to one tonne, tow a heavy load and be capable off-road.
Trying to achieve all these goals often leads to compromises.
Best-in-class utes make the least compromises while excelling in the most areas.
Following last year’s Ute Mega Test, we turned up to Drive Car of the Year with the Top Four finishers: the twin winners, the Isuzu D-Max and Mazda BT-50 (identical under the skin), and the Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux.
However, the judges decided there could be only one winner from this contest – given most buyers only get one choice.
And the Winner is…
D-Max has not just moved the game forward, it has created a whole new sport.
Once again, this test showed no-one makes the perfect ute – it’s a matter of which compromises you want to live with.
However, buyers are spoiled for choice with four really good contenders at the top of the ute market.
The Isuzu D-Max ticks the most boxes. It has an impressive list of advanced safety technology, a gutsy (yet under-stressed) engine, generous off-road ability, acceptable levels of comfort around town – and its tough-truck styling will likely appeal to ute buyers.
In last year’s Ute Mega Test we awarded the Isuzu D-Max and Mazda BT-50 as joint winners, so if you prefer the Mazda, go right ahead.
However, for the 2021 Drive Car of the Year, the judges had to select one vehicle because that’s the choice most buyers make. And when the votes came in, the Isuzu D-Max won by a nose – even though the Mazda BT-50 is identical in every respect except styling.
Read the full comparison at Drive.com.au
2021 Drive Car of the Year – Best Dual Cab Ute