NISSAN NAVARA D23
First cab off the rank is Nissan’s new ute replacing both the D22 and D40 model Navaras.
The ute is all-new and brings a fresh bi-turbo 2.3L 4-cylinder diesel engine and the option of a coil-spring rear suspension to the popular one-tonne ute market.
Single, king and double-cab body styles will be available from Nissan and there is hope for a wagon derivative some time down the track.
RANGE ROVER SPORT HYBRID and SVR
You would expect the first off-road capable hybrid vehicle to come from the leaders in off-road technology, and that’s just what Range Rover promises to deliver with its Range Rover Sport Hybrid which should be rolling in to the garage of the first Australian owners about now with more deliveries in March and April.
The Range Rover Hybrid powertrain features the well-known 3.0L SDV6 diesel engine with a 35kW electric motor integrated with the eight-speed ZF automatic transmission and unlike other hybrid SUVs, it promises to retain all of its off-road ability. Winner!
Range Rover will also deliver the scorching Sport SVR to a limited lucky few in the second quarter of the year with its 405kW and 680Nm supercharged V8 engine, while the Discovery Sport will be with us around May.
The year of the ute continues with the all new Mitsubishi Triton debuting a fresh body and a new 2.4L diesel engine.
The value for money Triton was the third best-selling ute in 2014 and its popularity should continue with the new model that remains the only car in this class to offer full-time 4x4 with a dual range transfer case.
The Triton should be finding its way in to Mitsubishi dealerships in the second quarter of the year.
It’s hard to imagine that the pint-sized Renegade could possibly live up to the Jeep name but there is a Trailhawk model in its range so we hold some hope for it.
The diminutive wagon shares its platform with the Fiat 500X and if nothing else it’s certainly cute.
FORD EVEREST and RANGER
There’s been plenty said about the all new Australian engineered Ford Everest wagon and it’s one of the most anticipated new releases of 2015. But we’ll have to wait until the third quarter of the year to drive it in its production form.
Shortly before then, the Ranger ute, on which the Everest is based, will get a refresh with a new front end and we’re hoping the new dashboard and centre stack that has been previewed in Everest find their way inside.
Ranger has been the ute taking it to the market-leading Toyota HiLux and the refresh will keep the momentum going.
Landing around mid-year will be a tougher looking Mazda BT-50. The ute that was co-developed with Ranger has been criticised by many for its smiley face and the update is expected to bring on a more masculine appearance along with interior revisions.
The new look is tipped to be more like that seen on the latest batch of Mazda passenger cars with more passenger car tech planned to be included in the workhorse.
TOYOTA HILUX AND LAND CRUISER
The ute many will be holding out for is the all new HiLux and this will stymie the sales of those utes launched sooner as buyers await to see just what all the players are offering. Not much is known of the new model, however mules have been spotted testing it around the globe including here in Australia. We’ll have to wait until the year’s end to drive the new HiLux and get all the specs.
The Land Cruiser 200 will be in for a refresh sometime this year as well. The 200 has been around for seven years now and already we’ve seen a mid-life update with a new petrol V8 engine introduced to the range.
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