Best dual-cab ute for families

Best dual-cab ute for families

We have a look at the best dual-cab utes for families.

Best dual-cab ute for families
Best dual-cab ute for families - 2015 Nissan Navara.

So, dad (or mum) wants a dual-cab ute for the family hey? Well, here’s how they stack up.

First off all, understand that to get that tray on the back, the off-road ability (4×4 models), versatility and the tough truck image, generally speaking compromises have to be made.

I don’t care which one you choose, dual-cab utes are primarily built to haul a load and your comfort just isn’t a priority. Most have heavy steering, choppy handling, a less than sumptuous ride and, more often than not, less comfort and convenience features in the cab than a comparable SUV.

In most cases, no, these compromises don’t also mean a smaller outlay.

Now, in saying all that, there is a push on to try and ‘soften up’ a few of the dual-cab utes available and this seems to be evident in what Toyota has done with the soon to be released new HiLux, you can check out those details here.

At the moment though, I reckon one of the most comfortable and best all-round packages available is the new Nissan Navara.

Best dual-cab ute for families
Best dual-cab ute for families - 2015 Nissan Navara.

Priced from between $26,490 and $54,490, the new Navara offers a choice of a petrol engine and two diesels. The best bits include the car like interior, seats, front and rear legroom, better than average ride and diesel engine fuel economy.

Take note though, to get features such as a reverse camera, sat-nav and heated seats you need to get the flagship model.

The Nissan Navara comes with the peace of mind of a five-star ANCAP safety rating.

Check out my recent Nissan Navara review here.

The Ford Ranger is also a model worth considering. Recently updated for 2016, the big Ford truck is one of the top selling utes in Australia.

Best dual-cab ute for families
Best dual-cab ute for families - 2015 Ford Ranger.

Dual-cab Ford Ranger prices start from $36,390 for a two-wheel drive model, manual transmission and 2.2 litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine.

The more ‘family’ or lifestyle focussed models start from around $45,000, though models with the more powerful five-cylinder diesel engine start from around $47,000.

I drove the Ford Ranger XLT last year, an offering priced from just over $54,000, and found it to be a pretty well-rounded offering.

More comfortable than I had anticipated, the Ranger is a sizeable vehicle and parking and manoeuvring it is something to keep in mind, especially with quite a sizable turning circle.

Best dual-cab ute for families
Best dual-cab ute for families - 2015 Ford Ranger.

I thought though that the steering was sharp, the engine was more than adequate and the ride was excellent. Conversely, the Ranger has disappointing rear legroom and a cabin that doesn’t match the hulking proportions of the vehicle.

I also thought, on last year’s model at least, that the build quality may not match up to some of the competition. Other good bits include a 3,500kg towing capacity and five-star safety.

Check out the Ford Ranger review here.

Finally, have a drive of the Isuzu D-MAX too.

Best dual-cab ute for families - 2015 Isuzu D-MAX.

Getting into the list of best dual-cab utes for families, the Isuzu features a really impressive 130kW/380Nm 3.0 litre turbo-diesel engine right across the range.

An Isuzu also won’t hurt the hip-pocket quite as much either. Prices start from $33,400 – again, two-wheel drive and manual transmission. A 4×4 D-MAX will set you back from $42,800 and then there’s the flagship – the X-Runner.

This D-MAX offering is priced from $53,000 and features creature comforts including leather seats, sat-nav and a reverse camera, as well as an electric driver’s seat, though seat heaters aren’t available.

Not as well-rounded on the road as the Navara or Ranger, the D-MAX is still a good all-round offering that offers reasonably good comfort, reasonably good ride and adequate cabin space. The diesel engine is also extremely frugal.

A five-year/130,000km Isuzu warranty is also a big bonus. Check out my most recent Isuzu D-MAX review here.

Best dual-cab ute for families
Best dual-cab ute for families - 2015 Isuzu D-MAX.

Others to consider include the Mitsubishi Triton (a big-seller but the styling is awful), Holden Colorado (more powerful engine than Isuzu D-MAX but not as good warranty) and the Volkswagen Amarok.

Joel Helmes


  1. Which dual cab do you think has the best rear-legroom for passengers with the drives seat all the way back? (I’m tall)

  2. Another consideration for families with small kids is the ability to accommodate child seats, not all utes have 3 anchor points in the rear.

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