D-max vs BT-50.

Submitted: Saturday, Jan 30, 2016 at 23:08
ThreadID: 131506 Views:6752 Replies:15 FollowUps:35
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we are just about to change over our vehicle from our Prado to a twin-cab with more towing power. looks like its down the D-max vs the BT-50. any Mazda or Isuzu owners with current models want to share your joys and disappointments???? particularly with reliability and towing capability. We found the BT-50 more sluggish in the lower gears (automatic).
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Reply By: Member - Wildmax - Saturday, Jan 30, 2016 at 23:18

Saturday, Jan 30, 2016 at 23:18
I look forward to the debate this question will provoke! I'm a Hilux driver myself, but have done long off-road trips with two friends, one in a DMax and the other in a BT50, and both vehicles have performed faultlessly (can't say the same for the drivers, but that's another story).
Cheers
Wildmax
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Saturday, Jan 30, 2016 at 23:32

Saturday, Jan 30, 2016 at 23:32
I have just been through this exercise. Three musts for me a reliability, auto, and spacecab. In looking at various forums the BT50 (and Ranger) seem to have the odd problem with the auto transmission when towing. Very few problems reported with the D-Max. For what it is worth the D-Max is the only one of its class to be made by a truck company, all the rest are made by car companies. Driven all the 8 vehicles in this class and they are becoming very car like in the engine and transmission departments. If you like a motor that relies on torque and not revs then the D-Max is the go. I got my D-Max two days ago and liking it more each day. (I use to have a Toyota 100 series TD auto)
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Follow Up By: Kazza055 - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 10:02

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 10:02
Another vote for the D-Max.

I have 4 on my list - Ranger, Colorado, BT50 & D-Max. Whittled it down to the last 2 but the D-Max won out and absolutely no regrets.

One big tick for the D-Max was its well known reliability and reading the D-Max forums, there are very few problems with them.
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Follow Up By: Member - Carolyn & Peter L - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 12:12

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 12:12
Nothing like a good debate Idler Chris with people who have first hand experience! Glad you survived the driving of your mates!!!
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Follow Up By: Member - Carolyn & Peter L - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 12:16

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 12:16
Thanks Kazza. I think reliability is the most important thing, then drive comfort and performance so thanks for reinforcing our conclusions! Nothing worse than having a trip ruined by a vehicle that lets you down! Carolyn
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Reply By: Supersi - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 06:37

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 06:37
I've got a new BT 50, the updated MY16 model. Previously had a 2013 PX Ranger. Both were/auto. I've read forum comments about the auto transmission but haven't experienced problems personally however I do feel that the BT auto is more refined than the one in the Ranger so perhaps FoMo Co has taken on board previous issues.

V happy with the BT but changed the suspension before rego, experience with the Ranger left me unimpressed with the standard suspension. The Ranger was a PX Wildtrack, BT is an XT cab chassis Freestyle cab with a canopy.

I do a lot of towing of heavy trailers and found the power/torque good but yes, there can be a v small lag when you put your foot down from standstill. Perhaps a pedal kit is the answer if it bugs you.

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Follow Up By: Supersi - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 06:46

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 06:46
Here is a link to some info on my BT that I posted on another forum.

2015 BT 50

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Follow Up By: Member - Carolyn & Peter L - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 12:10

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 12:10
Thx for your feedback. We would change over the suspension on whatever we bought, like we did with the Prado (OME). Interesting you also find the lag in the lower gears. It's not until you drive something different that your realise it can be done better. Loved everything else about the BT but did yours only have a temporary spare? Something I wasn't aware of until I read one of the reviews. Bloody cheeky in a 4WD methinks! Thx for the advice re the pedal kit and the link to you info on your BT. Carolyn
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Follow Up By: Supersi - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 14:19

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 14:19
No temporary spare with my BT, came with standard 16" rim with the normal rubbish road tyre.

Simon
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Reply By: Terry O - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 07:56

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 07:56
Just saw this before I read your thread. I don't own a ute.
http://autoexpert.com.au/buying-a-car/best-4wd-ute-review
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Reply By: Member - MARIC - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 10:02

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 10:02
We looked at those mentioned and ended up with a lc79 cruiser V8, tows heaps and has low down rpm grunt
It is only when you see mosquito land on your testicles that you find another way to solve problems without violence

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Follow Up By: Member - Carolyn & Peter L - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 12:04

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 12:04
Thx for your feedback. Wanted to stick with 4-6 cylinder to get better fuel consumption but still with power. Carolyn
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Reply By: Top End Az - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 10:11

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 10:11
I went through this in 2012. Back then we wanted the BT50 but the missus and I couldn't get past the looks of them ( and decent bull bars weren't available back then for them). We went with the Dmax auto and it has been faultless and it's been all over Oz. Love it and would get another, although the new MY 16 BT50 appears to have been styled this time.

The Dmax motor is used in their commercial trucks, and has a B10 rating which I think means 90% of their motors won't need a rebuild before 500,000km. Also has the auto gearbox from previous Landcruiser, so the drivetrain is pretty bulletproof.
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Follow Up By: Member - Carolyn & Peter L - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 12:02

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 12:02
Thx confirms what we had been told by the salesman (but you can't always believe them!!) . Carolyn
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Reply By: Kumunara (NT) - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 11:42

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 11:42
I went through this exercise a few years ago and it came down to three vehicles. The bt50 rangee and Amarok. For me the Amarok was the best. My son in law and daughter bought a bt50 and love it. I test drove a dmax and it was not the vehicle for me. Car advice recently did a ute comparison. Suggest you check that out.
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Follow Up By: Member - Carolyn & Peter L - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 12:01

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 12:01
We also test drove the D-Max before buying our Prado (2011) but it has had a complete rebuild since then and I was very surprised - went in to the test drive thinking well this will just confirm our choice of BT-50 and did a complete turn around!. The reviews are very conflicting, so many experts give a good review than in the end the scores don't back up what they say, have to wonder how much sponsorship goes into supposed "independent" reviews..... I find it more useful to talk to the users. Thx for your feedback. Carolyn
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Reply By: Member - Carolyn & Peter L - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 11:57

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 11:57
oops, posted in the wrong spot. : (
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Reply By: Sigmund - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 13:35

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 13:35
Have you considered the MU-X? Same donk as the D-Max; good towing power. Payload of 700kg v closer to 1000 but there are advantages: 25cm shorter, better ride and you avoid the hassle of a canopy.

Declaration: I own one and when I was talking about choice of vehicle on a forum a year ago and thinking about a ute the same challenge was put to me.
So it's done 40k km in a year in some pretty rough and challenging conditions, inc. towing c. 1.3-1.4 tonnes, and it's been reliable and capable.

Just a thought.
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Follow Up By: Member - Carolyn & Peter L - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 13:47

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 13:47
Well..... you had me there for a minute, but the towing capacity is only 3.0 and since this is the reason we are upgrading (moving from a camper trailer to a caravan) would rather not be too limited on what we can tow. Good point though, and our daughter will be interested in your feedback as she has an MU-X on her wishlist. Thx for your feedback.
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Reply By: J&A&KK - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 13:59

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 13:59
Hi Carolyn and Peter.

My son and I bought a mid 2013 BT50 dual cab auto and set it up with rear canopy and RTT. He tows a 2.5t 26' boat and has been to Coral bay a couple of times. It's also been to the bush and the beach on many occasions. We upgraded the suspension with OME kit. Improvement in handling was very noticeable. If you are towing anything I would strongly suggest a suspension upgrade.

It has now done 40,000kms without any problems apart from a couple of annoying dash squeaks and rattles. Engine always sounds like a tractor but vehicle is quiet inside at highway speeds.

We noticed when doing the electrical work for the rear canopy that the underside of the BT50 is very messy in the manner that cabling, fuel lines etc are run and attached. My son and I both have concerns what could get torn off or damaged in bush tracks with poor clearance. The cabling standard under the bonnet is also, in our view, in need of improvement. We spent a lot of time retrying and securing cables.

I also have a 2014 Prado (Son has taken over the BT50 now). When comparing the build quality of both vehicles the Tojo is very clearly in front by a long way.

Depending on where you intend to travel I would factor in the geographical extent of the vehicle service and spares outlets. It's a major reason why I bought the Prado.

Trust this is of use. All the best with your final decision whatever it may be.

John
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Follow Up By: Member - Carolyn & Peter L - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 14:16

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 14:16
Thx John. Important concerns about the messy underside. We spent 3 months in the Kimberly last year and know what some really bad roads and corrugations and sharp rocks can do. We've also done our share of serious 4WD which of course the Prado almost dances over! Just a slight exaggeration but when in groups our vehicle would always be able to make the obstacles on the first go unlike some of the other vehicles we have been out with. Yes we have loved our Prado just need something with larger towing capacity and the budget won't stretch to the Landcruiser. Thx for your feedback. Carolyn
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 16:08

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 16:08
I do not know about other vehicles but if you do a GVM upgrade on a D-Max it cuts the towing capacity back to 3 tonnes.
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Follow Up By: Gramps - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 16:44

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 16:44
Idler Chris,
Are you sure about that? As far as I know, that is only if you load the D-Max up to the new GVM limit.

Does'nt the GCM remain the same?

Regards
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Follow Up By: Kazza055 - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 17:08

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 17:08
Not right Chris.

I had the GVM upgrade done on my pre purchase because when I did the weight calculations I found I was 20kg over by the time I was loaded up and ready to travel.

Mine is the ARB upgrade which adds 270kg to my allowable payload. This has no effect of your GCM which for the D-Max is 5950kg. I can still tow 3500kg if I wanted to but can not exceed the GCM. By loading up to the maximum payload, the weight I can tow will be reduced as you can not exceed the 5950kg GCM.

In my case my van weighs 2500kg and the car come in at about 3000kg loaded = 5500kg on the road.

One advantage of having the GVM upgrade done prior to rego is that the upgrade is registered on a national database. Doing it after means that it is only recognised in that state and if you move to another state, you will need to have the engineering re-done for that state. Mine was done before any other accessories were fitted so it is based on the stock vehicle and virtually just needs a rubber stamp from ARB who fit a new compliance plate under the bonnet.
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Follow Up By: Supersi - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 17:12

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 17:12
Re GVM upgrade and tow capacity;
Tow capacity remains as per manufactures rating.
GCM remains the same.
If you have loaded the tow vehicle to the new increased GVM you need to subtract the GVM increase amount (using a BT 50 as an example the increase is 130kg) off the tow capacity so as not to exceed the GCM. In the example a BT 50 loaded to the new GVM could tow a trailer of a maximum of 3370kg - not the advertised 3500kg.
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Follow Up By: Jackolux - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 18:32

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 18:32
If you load any vehicle to max GVM , you can't tow anything .
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Follow Up By: Gramps - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 18:36

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 18:36
Jackolux,

"If you load any vehicle to max GVM , you can't tow anything"

That is totally incorrect. I think you're confusing GVM with GCM.

Regards
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Follow Up By: Jackolux - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 18:40

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 18:40
Ok so you are at max GVM , how do you add any weight to the tow ball , that will put you over . GVM
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Follow Up By: Gramps - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 18:50

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 18:50
Hahaha, got me, I'm totally incorrect :) You're right if loaded up to GVM limit.

Regards
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Follow Up By: Supersi - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 19:09

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 19:09
Yes, the tow ball load is of course part of the GVM calculation- as is calculating the weight of passengers in the vehicle which some people over look. Plus all the other "stuff".
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Follow Up By: Jackolux - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 19:16

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 19:16
Yep some ppl , do get confused , especially when a young salesman told a mate of mine , Toyotas were the only vehicles that could be loaded to max GVM and still tow the max amount.
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 19:56

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 19:56
Sorry but my statement above may not be correct. I was told by ARB about the tow limit being 3000 kg but when I look at my paperwork nowhere does it say this. The D-Max GCM is 5950kg, GVM after upgrade is 3220. So if the vehicle is loaded to its GVM then the max tow is 5950-3220kg or 2730. If I wanted to tow a 3500kg van then the max weight of the loaded D-Max could not be more than 5950-3500 or 2450kg. You also have to meet maximum axle loadings, so if you cannot spread your weight you may not be able to get to either your GVM or GCM.
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Follow Up By: Supersi - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 20:16

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 20:16
Idler Chris, good point about mentioning axel loading too. In the link I posted above it takes you to a piece I wrote about the benefit of Smartbars and the weight saving. On my BT with the the Smartbar and a winch I only have 160kg spare.

Bottom line is we need to weigh our vehicles, know the available capacity on both axels and hopefully be able to do some maths.
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Follow Up By: Jackolux - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 21:18

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 21:18
Idler Chris , you do realise if you load your Dmax to max GVM , you can not place any load on the tow ball , you can not tow anything , well not legally anyway ,
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Follow Up By: Member - Carolyn & Peter L - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 21:28

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 21:28
Maybe you guys could start a new thread for people who are interested in the GVM vs GCM & towing capacity debate? Just sayin....... ; )
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Monday, Feb 01, 2016 at 14:16

Monday, Feb 01, 2016 at 14:16
When you load a vehicle, its total weight naturally includes the weight on the towball. As long as this is under or equal to your GVM then you can tow anything up to the GCM minus the actual weight of the tow vehicle. The one proviso is you must also meet the axle weight limits.
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Reply By: Ron N - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 19:59

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 19:59
There's one factor that always interests me when it comes to any particular make and model of vehicle - the number of the current model for sale, secondhand, with low to moderate kms.

When owners are unhappy with a vehicle, you find a lot of them for sale secondhand, fairly new and with low to moderate kms. You'll find a lot of fairly new Amaroks for sale, secondhand.

On the other hand, I'm currently looking for a good conditon, current model D-Max, with low to moderate kms. There are only small numbers available - in yards, or in auctions. To me, that speaks volumes.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 20:06

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 20:06
I think Isuzu are following the same formula that got the Hi-lux to the top of the heap, not flashy but solid and reliable.
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Follow Up By: Top End Az - Monday, Feb 01, 2016 at 22:12

Monday, Feb 01, 2016 at 22:12
And I also look at what makes and models that are around that are older vehicles that are still on the road these days as a bit of a guide to what is built well historically.
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Follow Up By: D-MaxerWA - Monday, Feb 01, 2016 at 22:21

Monday, Feb 01, 2016 at 22:21
Hi Ron

I am going to be selling my not yet 2 year old LSU dual cab D-Max soon. Coming up to 60k on the clock. Isuzu chrome bull bar, tow pack, long range tank, chrome sports bar, soft tonneau cover, tray liner, 80 channel UHF and rubber mats.

I am selling this vehicle to purchase another LSU D-Max equipped the same except with a canopy.

I am supposed to be retired, but that didn't happen, so this new vehicle will be payed off when I do, hopefully in 2 1/2 years.

Haven't got a trade in price yet, probably in the next week or so, but if you are interested, contact me direct. Colour is Nautalis blue.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Monday, Feb 01, 2016 at 22:56

Monday, Feb 01, 2016 at 22:56
Thanks for the offer, D-Maxer - but I'm looking for a single cab traytop ute.

Cheers, Ron.
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Reply By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 20:24

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 20:24
If you are looking at a tray back, another thing to take into consideration is the position of the towball. On my D-Max it is near the end of the chassis and with a standard 1900 mm tray the ball is a fair way under the tray resulting in tight clearance between the corners of the tray and the van stone shield when on a tight turning lock. If I had realized this I would have opted for a shorter tray.
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Follow Up By: Kazza055 - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 21:13

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 21:13
Izusu have a set distance from the axle to the ball for a reason - if you take the ball out too far it applies more leverage. Same as having a shank that is too long.
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Follow Up By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 21:37

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 21:37
Thanks for adding that Kazza055. When I was getting mine the dealer suggested I opt for a 2200mm tray. When I pointed out the towball position he unbelievably and seriously said that an extended shank towball could be used as the GVM upgrade would compensate for it. ???
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Reply By: Grant L - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 21:25

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 21:25
Carolyn & Peter L

This info may be of some assistance.
We have a 2010 Holden Colorado 3.0 Ltr 4 door 5 speed manual ( in other words the Isuzu D max in Holden clothing) which has now done 217,000 Klms travelling around Aus pulling a caravan with an ATM of 2556kg. The vehicle has a 3" exhaust and a K & N air filter other wise was stock standard we usually carry approx 600kg( which includes a Waeco 50tr fridge) in the tub before tow ball weight is added, a recent trip over a weigh bridge resulted in a GCM of 5250kg.
Also we have traveled across the Simpson Desert the Gibb river and Kalumburu roads.This vehicle has not been babied I treat it like a truck don't rev it through the gears but make it pull and pull it does.
During the past 5 years I have serviced the vehicle every ten thousand ks myself, had gear box transfer case diffs brake and clutch fluids drained and replaced yearly. The battery died after three and a half years (whilst in Darwin NT) and at 170,000 I had new injectors fitted in Townsville QLD, a new starter motor was fitted last august (due to water ingestion whilst in NT during the wet, fording rivers) rear springs and new shocks all round were fitted in December. I have just booked it in for a new clutch as the present one has very limited life left and we are still on the move (Consequent of larger sized tyres which overstressed the clutch with such heavy loading and when reversing a large caravan into tight places).
This is my third association with an Isuzu ute all of which have been worked hard, none of them have used or burnt oil or even had a wheel alignment they seem to revel in hard work but are maybe a bit agricultural in comparison to the opposition in terms of creature comforts.

hope this helps

Grant
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Reply By: Grant L - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 21:44

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 21:44
Carolyn & Peter L

Sorry I forgot to add "Fuel consumption" when the ute is empty I get 8.8Ltr/100klm regularly and a best of 8.4ltr/100klm.
Loaded with van on is a different matter but still very good I think, at around 15tr/100lm with a best of14.2ltr/100lm
With a head wind or even a quartering head wind fuel consumption can climb to 16ltr/100klm and across the Barkley Tableland with a head wind and suspect injectors 17ltr/100klm.
Without the van on I use cruise control regularly at speed limit according to my GPS (the speedo is out 5klm/hr) with the van in tow I sit on 90 to 95klm/hr and higher at times using 5th gear above 1600rpm .

Grant
AnswerID: 595739

Reply By: Steve in Kakadu - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 23:50

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 23:50
The D/Max and the Colorado are made in 2 sheds side by side in Malaysia, same parts different badge.

A trusted friend of mine who is a expert mechanic and Ford fanatic said he would not touch a BT 50 or a ford Ranger.

In that range you can not and should not go past the Hilux.

I have a 2011 Colorado and it has 67,000 kms on it, it is a Pearl Black LXR with $18,000 worth of ARB kit on it. I have owned it from new and at the minute I can't get $20,000 for it.

Take all that for what you will, but just my 2 bobs worth.

I am about to order a brand new 200 series cut into a twin cab with all the extra's, if you want the best this is how it can be done, however it is between $110,000 to $125,000

If you order it new from the dealer or the conversion mob you don't pay luxury tax , there is however a substantial wait though.
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Follow Up By: Jackolux - Monday, Feb 01, 2016 at 00:42

Monday, Feb 01, 2016 at 00:42
" The D/Max and the Colorado are made in 2 sheds side by side in Malaysia, same parts different badge. "

Completely different motor , transmission and body .
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Monday, Feb 01, 2016 at 02:05

Monday, Feb 01, 2016 at 02:05
The D-Max and the Colorado share only the basic body structure and the chassis.

They have numerous different front and rear panels, different interiors, different seats, and completely different drivetrain.

The Colorado is a General Motors design product. It was developed by a global GM team based in Brazil, but with input from Holden engineers and designers.

The Colorado 2.8L engine is supplied by VM Motori in Italy. It's basically the same engine as used in the Jeep Wrangler.

The D-Max was designed by Isuzu Motors Japan. The Isuzu engine is supplied by Isuzu Motors Japan.
The 3.0L Isuzu engine is actually one of the smaller Isuzu truck engines.

Colorado uses a 6 speed manual and a 6 speed auto transmission - the D-Max uses a 5 speed manual and a 5 speed auto tranny.

Transfer case low range gearing is higher in D-Max - 2.482 compared to 2.62 in Colorado.

The rear axle and brakes appear to be identical between Colorado and D-Max..

Rear axle load rating in the Colorado is 1850kg, D-Max is 1870kg.

Front axle load rating for Colorado is 1450 kg across the entire range.

D-Max front axle load rating varies from 1250kg on Low-ride to 1350kg on hi-ride.

They are two quite distinctly different vehicles, despite sharing the same "platform".

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Reply By: Trevor&Verna - Monday, Feb 01, 2016 at 11:02

Monday, Feb 01, 2016 at 11:02
Good discussion everyone.
I especially like the members giving their hopefully unbiased accounts of their extra high mileage vehicles (250K +) because this is what many of us will be doing.

I have a Hilux myself; currently at 140K.
I bought it because it was (probably) the most comfortable of the utes and has good cup holders (that's the wife talking); and I agreed given Toyotas supposedly 'unbreakable' reputation. I did have a D-Max in mind.
Very disappointed when I had to replace injectors at 100K. That was $3000 plus labour. Plus a starter motor.
Mate of mine had a Prado and had to replace his injectors also. Then his motor blew up while on tour a year later.
Toyota have now changed the motor. Be interesting to hear how that goes in the higher mileage vehicles.

I'll replace the Hilux one day - thats why I enjoy these discussions.
Trevor&Verna, Kal WA

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