High-end utes: what's new

The ute world has stepped comfort and performance up a notch over the past few years, and it seems that is not about to change with high-end releases including the Amarok V6 from Volkswagen as reviewed in the March 2017 edition of Farming Ahead and the impending Mercedes-Benz X-class ute.
High-end utes: what's new High-end utes: what's new High-end utes: what's new High-end utes: what's new High-end utes: what's new

The impending Mercedes-Benz X-class ute.

Ben White

While it could be argued that these luxury style utes don’t have much application on-farm, sales have been flourishing and the higher engine specifications have some farmers interested. 

MERCEDES-BENZ X-CLASS

The Mercedes X-class isn’t due here until 2018 but there is a lot of discussion about the specifications likely to be offered. The word from Mercedes is that there will be two engines offered, the first will be the carried-over engine from the Nissan Navara, a Nissan-Renault 2.3 litre bi-turbo.

The second will be a V6 diesel reportedly capable of delivering up to 195kW and 620Nm as the OM642 engine does in other Mercedes vehicles. Both will be mated to a 4-matic full-time four wheel drive system with rear and centre differential locks. Payload is apparently 1.1 tonnes with a braked towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes.

The interior is built using common parts from other Mercedes vehicles so the finish appears relatively luxurious. The X-Class will be built initially in Spain at the Nissan plant in Barcelona and later also in Argentina. While there is no word on pricing, we would expect it will be in line with the highest specification utes available, at least in the mid $70,000 range drive-away. Mercedes is reportedly already taking deposits.

TOYOTA TRD HILUX

Toyota has unveiled a TRD edition of their latest model Hilux in Thailand. While there are reportedly no plans for this version to come to Australia, the version on show in Bangkok mainly features bolt-on accessories including 18-inch alloy rims, wheel-arch flares, skid-plates, and a restyled grille. Mechanically, the only variation was a modified suspension setup with engine specifications left unchanged. If brought to market here, we would expect to see some engine modifications to keep up with the rest of the market segment.

FORD RANGER RAPTOR

Ford has trademarked the name the Ford “Ranger Raptor”, matching the performance “pick-up” vehicles the brand sells in North America. The power plant for the Raptor model may remain the 3.2 litre 5-cylinder or may also come from the F150 which delivers 272kW and 508Nm from a 2.7-litre twin-turbo petrol engine.

HSV MAY COME TO PLAY

Without the imminent demise of commodore utes to hot up for our city friends, HSV is reported to be looking at the Colorado as a base for something range-topping. Considering the Chevrolet headline equivalent (pictured) in the US which is fitted with a 227kW 3.6L V6 petrol engine and a 6-speed automatic transmission, we wonder whether the HSV version of the Colorado would adopt that powerplant or stick to the 2.8 litre turbo diesel we currently have?