NZ's five most popular utes, and why they're taking over the charts
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New Zealand’s five most popular new vehicles this year are all utes, lead by the Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux and fast-rising Mitsubishi Triton.
The Triton has pushed the Holden Colorado into fourth, with the Nissan Navara taking fifth place on the sales charts during the first five months of this year.
Thousands of utes are sold new each year, and the competition has become even more intense as more manufacturers have entered the market.
The new Ford Ranger Wildtrak. Photo / Matthew Hansen
For years the Toyota Hilux was New Zealand’s most popular ute, but in the last two years the title has been taken by the Ford Ranger. The big mover so far this year has been the Mitsubishi Triton which, during the past few months, has looked as though it could even challenge the Hilux for second place.
The stakes are so high and no one is giving ground, and for many manufacturers next week’s Fieldays at Mystery Creek near Hamilton will become the nation’s Ute Central.
It is no accident that many manufacturers, including Ford, have released upgrades or special edition utes to their ranges on the eve of Fieldays.
During May, 4022 Ford Rangers were registered, maintaining its number one position.
In second place was the Toyota Hilux, with 2788 units, followed in third by the Mitsubishi Triton with 2518 units.
Ford is adding autonomous emergency braking across all of the Ranger models, which includes pedestrian detection, lane keeping aid, traffic sign recognition and automatic high beam, on all models from the entry-level Ranger XL cab chassis through to the Ranger Raptor.
Toyota Hilux SR5. Photo / Matthew Hansen
The Toyota Hilux dominated our ute market for almost three decades, but so far this year the Ranger has increased its lead in the sales race.
Toyota New Zealand says it will have its full range of SUVs and utes on its site, along with other models such as the powerful Land Cruiser 200, and the new RAV4 range, which last month was the country’s best-selling SUV.
There are suggestions the RAV4 has been so successful that this year’s allocation has been sold, and prospective buyers may have to wait until next year to get their hands on one.
But the big mover in the ute market has been the Mitsubishi Triton which, with the combination of a run-out programme on the old model and the launch of the new model at the beginning of this year, took second place in ute sales in January and March.
The Mitsubishi Triton 'SuperUte'. Photo / supplied
During the five months to the end of May, 2518 Tritons were registered, just 270 behind Hilux.
Mitsubishi New Zealand was confident the revised Triton model would hold greater appeal than its predecessor because of its more robust, contemporary design.
Though the Porirua-based company has been making big inroads into the fleet market, it also appears to be succeeding in selling the higher-end Triton utes to individual ute buyers, broadening its buyer base.
The models have increased ground clearance compared with the outgoing model, greater rigidity and improved off-road performance. Off-road Mode controls engine power, transmission and braking to regulate the amount of wheel slip and thereby maximise all-terrain performance.
Triton’s Super Select II 4WD system, available in top-of-the-range 4WD models, is equipped with a new Off-road Mode featuring gravel, mud/snow, sand and rock settings. Triton 4WD models start at $31,590 +GST +orc, while the Triton 4WD GLX-R double cab manual model sells from $39,990 plus orc.
Nissan Navara. Photo / supplied
At Fieldays Mitsubishi will also offer two “last-chance” bargains — Mitsubishi’s compact ASX 2WD XLS SUV will be on sale for $26,990 plus orc, and the highly specced Pajero Sport VRX SUV. at $49,990 plus orc.
Mitsubishi will also have a replica Triton Super ute that features in the Australian SuperUte series, on its display at Fieldays.
Holden may have lost its third place in the ute market to the Triton, but is fighting back with a special edition of the Colorado going on show for the first time at Fieldays.
With partner Retro Vehicle Enhancement, it will feature a super-truck version of the Colorado, the ROX.
The concept vehicle demonstrates how customers can enhance their ute’s looks, and features massive 35in Blackbear mud terrain tyres, with custom-made monster flares to house the huge wheels.
A Holden Colorado LTZ pictured with the newly revealed Colorado Rox concept. Photo / supplied
A 6in suspension and body lift raise the Colorado ROX, while “Rock Sliders” with removable drop steps make getting in and out almost as easy entering and leaving a standard Colorado.
The Colorado ROX has a carbon fibre high-rise bonnet, complemented with a hand-crafted bespoke front steel bumper, replicated at the back of the vehicle.
Further enhancements to the exterior include a rear deck cargo system and 500mm tray.
Other models in the 10 best-selling list are all SUVs — the RAV4, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX5 and Mitsubishi Outlander.
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