Ford Ranger vs Holden Colorado vs Mazda BT50: Which dual cab ute should I buy?

23 May 2017 Car Advice

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Ford Ranger vs Holden Colorado vs Mazda BT50: Which crew dual ute should I buy?

Which of these three popular dual cab utes is best for towing a caravan

Question: Laurie

Hi, I have narrowed my selection down to three dual cab 4WD utes – Mazda BT-50, Ford Ranger and Holden Colorado. I tow a 16-foot caravan and want the power for hills and all-round best vehicle. I believe that Mazda gives the best customer service. Are any of these three vehicles better than the other?. And with two having a 3.2L 470Nm motor and the Colorado 2.8L 500Nm motor does the size of the two bigger motors have an influence on the overall performance and power?

Budget: $60,000

Answer: Matt

You’ve narrowed the field down to some worthy contenders. However, the mechanically related Mazda and Ford options are my pick for towing for a couple of reasons.

Both the Mazda BT-50  and the Ford Ranger share the 3.2 litre 5-cylinder powerplant. And while it puts out a little less torque than the 2.8 litre Duramax in the Holden Colorado on paper I still feel that the bigger engine hauls a load easier and will serve you better over its lifetime.

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The shared platform of the Mazda and Ford has quite a long wheelbase which makes for a stable tow vehicle. That feeling of fighting with a twitchy tow rig can be exhausting over a long trip.

And speaking of stability, the Ford and Mazda have stiffer leaf springs underneath the rear. While this gives them a more jiggly ride when empty it also means that they feel more stable when heavy towing than the Colorado.

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The Ford has better power delivery as the Ranger now features a new fuel injection system and a low-inertia turbo. The BT-50 didn’t get that update. However the Mazda still hauls well, it’s just a little noisier under load than the Ranger and power takes slightly longer to come on tap. That said I’m not a huge fan of the Ford’s electric power steering and much prefer the Mazda’s traditional non-electric feel through the wheel.  

The Colorado is arguably better value at the moment with Holden going in pretty hard on pricing. And it’s a much better ute than it used to be. But in the long term I think the Ford/Mazda twins are the way to go.

The Ranger has a little more finesse (and is better looking) than the Mazda but you’ll get a better deal on the BT-50.