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Why you shouldn’t buy a new dual-cab ute just yet

By Cameron Kirby, 25 Feb 2020 Features

Exciting new dual-cab utes coming to Australia soon

Tempted to add a new dual-cab to the driveway? Here’s a bunch of reasons why you should wait

If you wanted to buy a new dual-cab ute, we wouldn’t blame you. The market is booming at the moment, and filled with plenty of strong options.

However, if you have the patience and ability to hold off for 12 months or more, you could be handsomely rewarded. There are a number of important new models coming to the segment in the near future, and they could be well worth the wait.

So let’s run through some of the best 4x4 dual-cab utes coming soon.


Ford Ranger

Yup, 10 years after the ‘T6’ Ranger was released, a new model is finally on the way.

The current Ford Ranger is incredibly popular with private buyers, for good reason, so there is plenty to be excited about with this new version.

Wheels expects the 2021 Ford Ranger will be revealed in North America later this year, before going on sale in Australia.

We already have a good idea of what the next-gen dual-cab will look like since we scooped a design mule early last year. Some tweaks may have been made in the time since, but it’s likely the 2021 Ranger’s design will remain largely unchanged since it was spied.

This could be the one to wait for if you are particularly patriotic, as, it is likely this new model will be the last Ranger designed and engineered fully in Australia. Underpinning the 2021 Ranger will be an evolution of the T6 platform that has helped make the current model so popular.

Outside of the bodywork, the biggest change for the 2021 Ford Ranger will be under the bonnet, with a pair of turbocharged V6 engines added to the line-up.

Wheels first revealed the engines were undergoing testing and evaluation in Australia last year, with a 242kW/542Nm 2.7-litre petrol twin-turbo unit, and 187kW/597Nm 3.0-litre single-turbo diesel option being worked on.

To say we are excited about this new model is an understatement, and those willing to wait for the new models arrival should be justly rewarded.


Volkswagen Amarok

Coming on the heels of the 2021 Ranger will be a replacement for the class-leading, but ageing, Volkswagen Amarok.

Developed in conjunction with Ford, the next-gen Amarok will share the same platform (and maybe even the same engines) as the new Blue Oval product.

Timing remains fluid at the moment, but we expect the next-gen Amarok should be revealed and go on sale in 2022.

Here at Wheels HQ, we are fans of the Amarok, rating it as the best dual-cab ute you can buy in our most recent 4x4 megatest. Add Australian engineering and know-how from Ford to the mix, and the second-generation model could be a winner.


Mazda BT-50

Previously based on the Ford Ranger, the next-gen BT-50 will be the result of a tie-up between Mazda and Isuzu. If there is one thing Isuzu knows, it is how to build a truck.

This is going to be a great benefit for Mazda, whose main business is engineering, building, and selling passenger cars and SUVs (to great success).

The next-gen Isuzu D-Max that the new BT-50 will share its platform with has been revealed overseas, and is due in the country at some point this year.

However, those that wait for the Mazda could benefit, with the Japanese brand continuing its push upmarket – this means it’s likely the next-gen BT-50 will get the Isuzu’s bulletproof mechanicals but offer a more luxurious cabin compared to its cousin. Sounds like a winner.

Expect this one to come later in 2021.


Hyundai Santa-Cruz

Hyundai’s dual-cab ute seems to have been in the works for an eon, but it is now finally nearing the end of its gestation period.

Due to go into production at Hyundai’s Montgomery, Alabama plant in 2021, the ute – likely named Santa Cruz – has already had its exterior design signed off.

The Santa Cruz will differ from other dual-cab utes as it will be built with a monocoque chassis, instead of a ladder-frame design.

Hyundai has remained tight-lipped about whether the new model will be sold in Australia, but with our booming market, building the business case shouldn’t be too hard.

However, if you are looking for a more rugged ute, Hyundai have another project in the works, with executives confirming last year a traditional ladder-frame light commercial vehicle is in development.

Costs are shared with sister company Kia, with some of the work likely to take place in Australia throughout the program.

This yet-unnamed model is expected to land in Australia in 2022-23.


RAM 1500

Australians just can’t seem to get enough of the Ram 1500. Sales for the locally-converted big Yank pick-ups increased nearly 300 percent in 2019.

Those sales figures become all the more impressive when you remember that it’s technically the ‘older’ DS generation model that has been on sale.

The all-new DT 1500s are expected to go on sale locally from the end of 2020, converted for right-hand drive in Clayton by the Walkinshaw Group for local distributor Ateco.

The new DT model will retain the same 5.7-litre petrol V8 engine, but could gain the mild-hybrid system that adds up to 12kW and 176Nm that is offered in North America. US Rams are also equipped with a new eight-speed automatic transmission.

Ram could also have a new 522kW flagship model in the works, and if it goes into production you can be assured Ateco will have its hand up to bring it Down Under.


Nissan Titan

While yet to get the official green light, Nissan has been vocal about its desire to have the large Titan pick-up imported and converted in Australia.

Nissan Australia MD Stephen Lester has gone on the record as stating “[I] believe a vehicle like Titan would make perfect sense for Australia. We’ve been hard at it with the global team to push for this, and we’ll stay hard at it, because I don’t see that changing anytime soon.”

It’s likely Nissan Australia would partner with Premcar Engineering, the company which beefed up the Navara for the N-Trek Warrior special edition.

Premcar are forging a reputation as one of the most savvy automotive engineering firms in the country, and well equipped for this type of project.

While Nissan Australia negotiates the finer terms of any deal with head office, start saving those pennies and you could potentially have a large V8-powered pick-up in your driveway by the end of 2021.


Ford F-150

This is the one option that could have you waiting the longest, with no guarantee of payoff.

However, with the F-150 being America’s most popular vehicle, and a huge demand locally, we thought it worthy of inclusion – particularly when there has been some positive news surface recently.

Ford Australia is rumoured to be evaluating a business case for selling locally-converted F-150 pick-ups locally, much like the Ram 1500 and Silverado 1500.

The success Walkinshaw Group has enjoyed with converting big Yank pick-ups for Australia should surely indicate to the Blue Oval that a business case is possible.

However, any plans would be purely preliminary at this point, and require an independent engineering firm to do the actual conversion.

Further down the line, Ford plans to move all its trucks and utes onto a global platform designed to accommodate left- and right-hand drive markets