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These are the most powerful utes you can buy

By Trent Giunco, 14 Jan 2020 News

These are the most powerful utes you can buy

Itching to get a V8 Ford Ranger Raptor but can’t wait? You’re not left totally high and dry

If you really want a ute with actual muscle and not just a sticker pack, there are still options for you within the current market. That’s, of course, if you can’t wait for the V8-powered Raptor. We expect the Mustang GT-powered Raptor will be endowed with roughly the same 339kW and 556Nm the Coyote engine produces in the ’Stang.

Attaining that grunt level, or a kilowatt count to rival the good old days of Holden and Ford V8-powered utes, means you’re going to have to look stateside. Both RAM and HSV (via Chevrolet) currently offer big-capacity bent eights, but they also come with sizeable bodies and heft to dull performance.

Read next: Performance-hungry utes with V8 conversions

RAM 1500

To get your naturally aspirated V8 fix, RAM offers a 5.6-litre unit in its 1500 model which produces 291kW and 556Nm. It’s tied to an eight-speed automatic and shifts the more than 2.5 tonne ‘truck’ with surprising pace.

The larger 2500 is fitted with the venerable Cummins 6.7-litre inline-six turbo diesel, which is an absolute torque monster at 1084Nm, while power is rated at a healthy 276kW. It uses a six-speed auto to handle the mammoth torque levels.

RAM sales have been going gangbusters in Australia. Given that the vehicles are converted to right-hand drive Down Under, selling an average of 239 RAMs a month is an impressive effort. The American-sourced offering sold 2860 units in 2019 – a 296.7 percent increase year-on-year compared with 2018.

Chevrolet Silverado

However, if you want V8 firepower and the ability to dwarf just about everything on the road, the Chevrolet Silverado has you covered with the 2500 and 3500 ranges. The Silverado line-up utilises a 6.6-litre turbo-diesel V8 with 332kW. Yet, it’s the 1234Nm of torque that means you’ll be able to tow a nation behind the more than 3.5-tonne American. Like the RAM, Silverados are imported from the US and converted in Melbourne (this time by HSV).

The main issue is that power and torque comes at a cost. To gain entry in the V8 club you’ll be facing a sticker price of almost $80,000 with the bulk of the options sitting around the $100,000 mark. Drop a few cylinders and more options become available.

Read next: American-sourced trucks are booming down under

Volkwagen Amarok

If you choose a more ‘conventional’ route, then Volkswagen’s Amarok Ultimate 580 is your dual cab of choice. As the name suggests, the 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel offers 580Nm of torque – a figure that was bumped up by 30Nm when Mercedes-Benz released its 190kW/550Nm X-Class. The VeeDub produces the same 190kW, but offers up an eight-speed automatic against the Merc’s seven-speed unit.

Other than the 4.5-litre turbo-diesel V8 (151kW/430Nm) found in the Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series, you’re pretty much stuck with a five- (Ranger and BT-50) or a four-cylinder turbo diesel of varying capacities.

Would you buy one of these options, or are you hanging out for a V8-powered Ranger Raptor?

Here’s the top five most powerful ‘utes’ you can buy:

  1.        Chevrolet Silverado – 332kW/1234Nm
  2.        RAM 1500 – 291kW/556Nm
  3.        RAM 2500 – 276kW/1084Nm
  4.        Volkswagen Amarok Ultimate 580 – 190kW/580Nm
  5.        Mercedes-Benz X350d Power – 190kW/550Nm


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