Tradie Ute Upgrade Options - thoughts?

Currently working out of a 2008 Holden SS Ute and it's getting to the point where it's not very practical anymore. I'm getting older, boxes of tools lifting out of toolboxes and over tub guards is not ideal and with kids likely in the near future a dual cab will be needed.

Not fussed on interior. Happy with vinyl floors. Don't need flashy rims. I want to have the top of the line motor and driveline with 4x4 and a tray on the back.







A lot of dealers seem to be doing end of year plate clearances so I'm gonna do a sniff around tomorrow but I'm keen on opinions and what people have bought and for what bargains have been had.

Thanks for your help 🤙



    I'd seriously look at the Mercedes X class. It's a Navara underneath, but they can't sell them, so you can pick up low km demos for less than a Navara, and the added bonus is that they have leather seats and a nicer interior. In terms of what the best ute is, I think the Ranger has that crown. The current GLS Sport model seems like a bargain, its basically an XLT for $10k less.

  • +2 votes

    D max for work purposes and reliability. Ranger also very good, bt50 the same but uglier.

  • +2 votes

    TLDR; I had a navara and hilux, would recommend either loved them both. If you have the money go a hilux SR. If not, Navara SL or ST.

    I bought a Hilux SR… I could not justify the extra on the SR5. The SR has vinyl floors, but everyrhing else the SR5 has so it is great value over the SR5. There is a hilux lower than the SR with the 2.1L but I didnt look into that, much cheaper though but more work spec, i.e. no GPS, canvas seats etc.

    I used to own a navara and clocked 220,000km on it before purchasing the hilux. I used the navara for work and also regular offroading and remote trips and it was a fanatastic car, I was ready to buy another one I absolutely loved it and did nothing but fluid changes and brake pads. Always got me home safe.

    My circumstances at the time of upgrading allowed me more budget so I just thought Id consider other brands, test drove a few, then took a plunge on a hilux SR.

    Ive now clocked 80k (10+ off road trips) on the hilux and I can defiitely understand why toyota sells for a premium. as my navara developed rattles and squeeks, you could feel that the car was wearing down after 80k. My hilux is bullet proof and feels like it literally just drove off the showroom floor, no rattles, squeeks, breakdowns, clunks, nothing.

    Out of the rest on your list I would only consider the Isuzu. As I go offroad alot, the rest of the brands you have listed I have seen many breakdowns amongst friends and family for basic things like suspension bolts, CVs, wheel bearings etc. Isuzu is solid. Rangers are crap, great for the CBD and showing off with big tyres. Crap if you go remote and want to come home. I know I keep referencing offroad but I think offroad durability is a good measure on a vehicles quality.

    Also my only regret, is not getting a tray instead of Tub.


      Fantastic post

    • -1 vote

      I was under the impression that the Hilux D4-D engine is a hand grenade. Also, as far as utes go the Hilux is one ugly truck.


        No. Some of the 3.0s had injector seal issues, quite easily fixed. The new 2.8s have/had dpf issues, and 5th injector issues for the dpf.


        That may very well be the case, however they turnover 45,000+ hiluxes a year. If 500 have problems, thats not a big deal. I think it is mostly media muscle trying to flex their relevance on the automotive industry.

        For example; I had a D40 navara. They were known to have a weak timing chain that would snap and cause catastrophic engine failure at 100,000km and result in an out of warranty engine replacement that would cost 10k+. As a result nobody liked navaras and they had a bad rep.

        Later I learnt that this issue actually shows symptoms way in advance, like 20,000km before you can start hearing the sounds that mean you should upgrade the chain. So it wasnt an overnight wake up and go to work and blow your engine type thing. Also Nissan actually did make out of warranty repairs if you followed logbook servicing. Also, I did 220,000km with not a single problem. So what was being highlighted in media, was actually a half truth only.

  • +1 vote

    Hilux is on 2.9% for abn holders if that helps

    Hmm ok just realised Hilux isn't on the list… Why?


    I know the bare bones Hilux is very very basic and although I'm a tightarse, power windows would be a minimum.

    Think it will be out of the Colorado LS, Nav SL, izuzu or Hilux Sr and it will be down to whoever gives me the best deal.

    Holden had a friends and family discount that my mate got last year and got the Colorado LS $33k drive away so If they agree to that I'll take that info to Toyota and Nissan and tell them they'd have to work something out if they want my business.

    Any tips on good ways to get the price down?


      Don't even both negotiating a Hilux to a Colorado price, won't happen. For a start they'll wonder what car you actually want.

      Once you know what you want then cross-shop dealers of that brand. Telling someone another brand is cheaper will just get a reply of 'yeah, so?'.

      And FYI a $22k Hilux Workmate single cab has electric windows, so I dunno why that comment…it also has radar cruise control, emergency braking and speed sign assist, something the others don't offer in base levels


      Colorado are not in the hilux leage. The holden rodeo was effectively and isuzu dmax until isuzu decided to make their own. The colorado then flopped.

  • +2 votes

    Why no VW in your list? 40k drive away vic(no i'm not a salesman I did want a navara due to the coil spung rear [you will need to upgrade if your carrying decent loads] and transfer case)
    Sure there's no low range, which is a hindrance. But if you've never driven a proper 4x4 you wouldn't be able to tell. They do handle okish for a dual cab at highspeed (dampers could be more responsive). Basic mod cons apple android auto can connect 2 phones at the same time via bluetooth (but no carplay or auto at the same time or 2 phones while 1 plugged in via usb and using play/auto). 650/700+ city to 800/850+ km distance off 85lt (4 banger) without a light right foot. Turbo lag is noticeable on take off but you just lighten up your foot for the first 20mts then plant it and it's not as bad. It comfortable on long distance. Cant comment on the V6 (never driven it).
    Happy to answer any Qs.


    I'm getting older

    This made you sound like >60 or older.

    and with kids likely in the near future

    Then you go on saying this. what am I missing?

  • +1 vote

    So I've done my shopping. I've decided on the Navara SL. Cheapest I've got them down to is 34k but I think there's more room to move. Where would be the best place to find how much a dealer has sold them for?

    Ticket price is like 50k but we all know that's a joke. Any advice would be appreciated.


      Would be hard to compare prices if you're looking at cab chassis models - alloy or steel tray, heavy duty or standard, etc etc. It's not often someone buys a ute like this bog standard


    Can anyone comment regarding the current model Tritons? sorry to hijack.


      Sort from being the ugliest of the current bunch by a country mile?

      • +1 vote

        I actually really like the current MR Triton look.

        I have a 2018 MQ Triton…. the same engine as the 2019 facelift but the latter has a 6 gear auto instead of 5. A mate of mine worked at a Mitsi dealership and liked the 2018 better as he thought the 2019 was too indecisive with gear selections. Apparently the current model has a slightly better ride than the 2015-2018 generation but I ended up choosing the mid spec GLS MQ for $36k drive away in July this year and have enjoyed driving it for a few months now.

        The Triton (mid spec and above) also have an extra AWD drive mode (for wet sealed roads or when extra traction is needed while keeping the diff unlocked) in addition to the high and low range (with locked centre diff). The top spec (previously called Exceed but now called GLS Premium) has a rear diff lock.

        The lower towing capacity of 3.1 tonne (compared to 3.5 of others) is only really an issue if you need to tow something of that size and even then, the remaining payload buffer for the others when towing 3.5 tonnes is very limited.

        The Triton is great value and was awarded 3rd after the Ranger and Hilux in the recent Car Advice comparison - 👍🏻


    I can only comment on 1.5 of the options here but you've had a lot of input on the others, so I'll share anyway.

    My 0.5 input: my parents have a Fortuner which is a Hilux with a wagon body instead of a tray. It's very solid. It's pretty great. Has had a few recalls though.

    My real input: Dmax. Buy one. Buy a demo or 1-2 year old higher spec one. They are just bulletproof. My understanding is that the engine they run is an extremely agricultural truck engine. What this means is that it is not very refined but it is just bulletproof. I drove a work vehicle one for a while, that had about 150k kms on it, all hard driving with a heavy load. It felt brand new. In a high spec I think it would just be the perfect car. Additionally, I thought it was pretty quick when it wanted to be too. Nice manual transmission. I genuinely enjoyed driving it. Note: can be a bit jumpy unloaded, rear leaf springs.


    OP - if you’re think D-Max, keep in mind there is a new model being released soon.


      Which is going to be platform shared with Mazda isn’t it? They’ve got out of the deal with Holden.


        Isuzu haven't been with Holden for a long time. I think 08 or 09 were the last isuzu based Colorado's.


          The current d-max Colorado still share the same platform Holden just opted for a GM engine a while back, rather than the Isuzu one but continued with the same body chassis that was developed by Isuzu. They announced a parting of ways in 2016 when they started developing he next generation models.


    Pretty disappointed from Nissan dealership today. 2018 brand new Navara SL ticketed sale price was 34,888 with 3 month reg and no tow pack.
    Seeing as it's 40 days from being a two year old car, my offer of 32 was dismissed and even after edging out to 33 unwillingly the dealer just wouldn't move.

    Spoke to a different dealer still in Melbourne and they'd just sold there last one the day before, he asked what I'd offered and he had sold his for less. He said if the finance falls through on his purchaser then I'm in.

    Car dealers are on par with parking inspectors and real estate agents.

    • +1 vote

      he asked what I'd offered and he had sold his for less.

      He's fkn with you

      The fact they rejected your offer is upsetting you? Don't you understand how negotiation works? If you offer too low, they have the right to decline your offer without you getting butthurt

  • -2 votes

    OP I dont know what your budget is, but have you looked at the American brands like Ram etc?


    OP should buy the new Tesla Cybertruck

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