The shape of uTes To come

The shape of utes to come
In the market for a new ute? It can be a difficult buying decision with so many makes and models to choose from.
Kondinin Group engineer Josh Giumelli looks at what new models are planned for 2015 and beyond.
he ute market in Australia is
a competitive one, thanks to
several players all offering very
reasonable vehicles. While the
Toyota Hilux has led the sector for 30
years, the current model Ford Ranger and
Mazda BT50 have raised the bar in terms
of driveability and value for money. While
there are no immediate plans to renew
these two stablemates, it is understood a
face-lifted Ranger is in the works for 2015.
Similarly, there are no new model Isuzu
D-Max, Volkswagon Amarok or Holden
Colorados planned for the near future.
In recent years there have been several
new entrants in the budget sector of the
market from India and China, but it is fair
to say they are yet to establish a foothold
in the agriculture sector. Price-conscious
farmers looking to save a few dollars on the
purchase price of a ute will often turn to the
new-secondhand market rather than a brand
new budget ute for similar money.
There is scant information on the next generation of Toyota’s immensely popular
Hilux, but most agree the all-new model will hit our shores late 2015 or early 2016.
Rumour has it we would had seen an all-new Hilux much earlier, but the plans were
shelved with the release of the Volkswagon Amarok and Ford Ranger/Mazda BT50 a few
years ago. Toyota engineers were sent back to the drawing board to come up with something
more competitive.
Regardless of whether this is myth or fact, it is amazing the Hilux has remained
Australia’s best selling ute while still being based on a 10-year-old platform. However sales
have slipped thanks to the stiff competition from its close rivals which offer impressive
standard features, more power and improved driveability.
But to whet the appetite of Hilux enthusiasts the new model, albeit in camouflage colours,
has been spotted undergoing testing in various parts of the world, including Australia.
The new model appears to share styling influences from the Toyota Kluger, with a more
aggressive appearance. But as to engine options, it is all just speculation at this point, but a
larger power unit matched to an improved transmission must surely be on the cards.
Mitsubishi Triton
Due in the first half of next year, the new
Triton replaces the fourth generation Triton
which has been on sale in Australia since
2006, and it could raise a few eyebrows,
according to those in the know.
Following the general trend of other
manufacturers, the new Triton will try
to strike a balance between comfort and
practicality, being more car-like in its
driving and handling, while trying to
maintain its practicality as a workhorse.
The Triton sells well as a dual cab ute, no
doubt helped by its competitive price, but it
Farming Ahead October 2014 No. 273
is expected any new models will see a price
increase in order to help offset increased
costs of offering a five-star ANCAP rating
across the entire range. Under the bonnet,
expect the same engine, a 2.5 litre turbo
diesel, with a few tweaks.
A diesel-electric hybrid is possibly in the
works, with Mitsubishi unveiling its GRHEV concept vehicle at the 2013 Geneva
motor show. If the diesel hybrid is released,
it will come later after the launch of the new
model, and probably won’t share the GRHEV’s radical styling.
One of the few images available of the new
Triton on the factory floor in Thailand. While
it reveals very little of the look of the new
Triton, expect to see slightly edgier styling
than other major ute manufacturers.