Holiday haulers: 10 of New Zealand's best tow vehicles for summer
Search Driven for vehicles for sale
Summer, as the humid weather and Christmas decorations littering your local shopping centre would dictate, is just around the corner.
That means road trips, which for many New Zealanders also means towing the boat, the jet ski, or the caravan. So, with over 40,000 vehicles advertised currently, we thought it fitting to run through ten of our favourite towing beasts — in no particular order — that are currently listed on Driven.
At $35k, the LDV T60 proves that buyers don't need a budget of $60k to get a solid, capable new ute. With a 2.8-litre 110kW/360Nm turbo diesel four-cylinder, while it struggles to compete with the big players on paper, it does prove its mettle when tested in the flesh via commendable strength and remarkable fuel economy figures of under 10l/100km while towing 2200kg.
New models are dotted all over New Zealand. This new Otago example (the Elite spec — which we prefer with its more predictable suspension set-up compared to the flagship Luxury spec) is priced at $34,490 plus on-roads. Click here to check it out.
Though Nissan runs both a single- and twin-turbo four-cylinder in the Navara, they’re both rated to the same 3500kg tow capacity. Our favoured engine is the twin-turbo 2.3-litre that pumps out 140kW/450Nm and an unladen fuel claim of 7.2l/100km. It uses a lots of turbo boost, so when the towing weight is up so is the fuel use, but the Navara’s recent rear spring upgrade has made it an even better tow vehicle.
That spring upgrade is worth mentioning, given that the Navara is one of the few utes in class to utilise a coil-based rear suspension set-up. This initially had an adverse impact on its road manners when hauling big loads. However those recent updates have helped it immensely.
For those wanting a recent Navara that features these spring updates but is priced cheaply could observe this 2018 model listed in Auckand. It's a two-wheel drive RX with 63,500kms. A lot for the young age, but that means a relatively accessible price of $31,995. Click here to check it out.
It isn't necessarily one of the most common utes on Kiwi roads, but the Isuzu D-Max has a cult following in some local circles as well as in South East Asia — where it's one of the best selling utes around.
A face-lift in 2017 served up another 50Nm to bring the D-Max’s total to 430Nm. Rugged and truck-like in a good way, the D-Max certainly let you know it’s a diesel, with a rather rattly but still effective 130kW 3.0-litre four-cylinder.
Among the numerous 2017 and newer Isuzu D-Max models listed on Driven is this high-spec 4WD LST, featuring the aforementioned 3.0-litre, cruise control, alternative wheels, a nudge bar, and more. Click here to check it out.
With a high 3500kg tow rating thanks to its solid rear axle, the SsangYong surprised and impressed us last year with its all-new Rexton; as both a wholly remarkable seven-seat SUV and a highly capable tow car. And this year, they brought out its double-cab ute stablemate; the Rhino.
Like its Rexton cousin, Rhinos shod with the 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine are rated to tow 3500kg. That smaller capacity also means a ute that's more refined in daily use than plenty of rivals. This pictured model is the enormous Rhino XL, which features the longest tray in class at 1600mm. It's brand new, and priced at $45,990. Click here to check it out.
The default and obvious choice for so many Kiwis for so many decades, the Hilux’s towing capabilities are renowed. And despite an engine downsize from 3.0- to 2.8-litres in 2015, the 130kW/450Nm is still mighty, especially when combined with its kerb weight that’s around 10 percent lighter than a Ranger. Just one note that different Hilux models max out at different towing weights, down to 2500kg.
The 2018 Hilux SR5 above is listed in Auckland with just 3850km on the clock for $44,590. Not bad for a distinctive colour near new high-spec model. Click here to check it out or, alternatively, if you want something that makes a statement and would be perfect for a holiday off-roading adventure check out this incredible 2018 'extra cab' model (complete with fishing rod 'rocket launchers' mounted to its AFN bull bar, light bar, Feldon Shelter crows nest camping set-up, and more.
And, while we're at it, those wanting a throwback to the turn of the new millennium could do worse than this incredibly sharp 2000 Hilux SR5. It's priced at $16,990, but is incredibly immaculate (check out the cleanliness of the engine bay!).
That it shares mechanicals with the Ford Ranger is a good thing, and with 147kW and 470Nm from its 3.2-litre five-cylinder (that’s still economical at 10.0l/100km) the Mazda is just as capable and just as impressively competent. And for those with any brand deference — shout out to 'Mad Mike' Whiddett — the Mazda is a logical and worthy tow choice.
For a mainstream competitor, prices are excellent too. This 2019 company demonstrator with 9600km on the clock and a handy canopy is priced at just $34,500. Click here to check it out.
With 500Nm from its 2.8-litre turbo diesel four-cylinder, the Colorado already has an upper hand on paper and offsets the capacity disadvantage against its Ranger rival’s 3.2-litre by running more turbo boost. It’s clearly effective, and when the turbo is whistling, the Colorado is an outstandingly effective ‘drag’ car in both definitions: it’s fastest of the four/five-cylinder utes and tows like a champion.
Options are plentiful for potential Colorado buyers. Near-new models like this well optioned LTZ can be had for well under $50,000, while 2017 face-lift models like the silver Auckland-based LTZ pictured above are available for just over $30,000. This particular example has just 37,500km on the clock. Click here to check it out.
Almost the go-to, default tow vehicle, the Ranger’s relaxed and popular 3.2-litre five-cylinder is mighty impressive, and it rarely feels overworked or overloaded, even when nearing its 3500kg capacity.
But hot on its heels is the Ranger's 2.0-litre bi-turbo from the Ranger Raptor. Despite its smaller capacity it too can tow 3500kg, while simultaneously providing improved fuel economy and a more subdued demeanour around town.
It's an engine that's starting to become available across more models in the line-up, with the 7-seater Everest, upcoming FX4, and Wildtrak all getting it in 2018 and 2019. This silver 2018 2.0-litre Wildtrak, listed in Auckland, sports a mere 4500km on its odometer and is priced well under sticker at $58,990. Click here to check it out.
Of course the V6 helps, and even in 550Nm guise it’s a mighty tow car. But now that the 580Nm 3.0-litre V6 is available in the recently refreshed Volkswagen Amarok there’s a choice for even more. Just consider models fitted with the optional suspension pack reduce towing capacity to 3000kg.
There's a flurry of new or near-new V6-powered Amaroks currently listed on site. Examples span from fully loaded Adventura V6s with leather, 20in wheels, and price-tags approaching six figures — to examples like this delivery kilometers 2019 model priced at a discounted $59,990. Click here to check it out.
A V8 always helps topple any towing challenge, and in the Land Cruiser 70 Series' 4.5-litre 32- valve quad-cam turbo diesel V8 with 151kW/430Nm is a total beast. Towing up to 3500kg, fuel use (unladen in 10.7l/100km) is quite reasonable, despite the only gearbox offering being a five-speed manual.
They're a reasonably tough thing to find, and with that Toyota reputation for reliability and dependability resale prices remain high. This gives weight to the idea of buying one new; like this bed-less 2019 model listed in Auckland for $75,990. Click here to check it out.