VFACTS: 4×4 utes dominating model sales

Most popular utes are available with either two- or four-wheel drive, but how much more popular are the 4×4 variants?

The popularity of double-cab utes continues to rise, with the more expensive four-wheel drive variants of dominating sales.

In the past decade, sales of 4×4 utes have climbed a staggering 57 per cent in a light commercial-vehicle market that has grown 30 per cent.

Year Light commercial vehicle sales Year-on-year change 4×4 ute sales Percentage of 4×4 ute
2012 198,302 N/A 124,536 62.8%
2013 204,566 up 3.2 per cent 138,084 67.5%
2014 197,956 down 3.2 per cent 133,566 67.5%
2015 199,070 up 0.6 per cent 134,003 67.3%
2016 217,750 up 9.4 per cent 146,820 67.4%
2017 236,609 up 8.7 per cent 165,797 70.1%
2018 237,972 up 0.6 per cent 173,617 73.0%
2019 225,635 down 5.2 per cent 168,869 74.8%
2020 205,597 down 8.9 per cent 152,752 74.3%
2021 253,254 up 23.2 per cent 189,614 74.9%
2022 year-to-date 215,388 N/A 162,927 75.6%
2022 full-year est. 258,466 up 2.1 per cent 195,512 75.6%

The sales-leading off-roaders now make up more than three-quarters of all ute sales. This is despite a significant premium charged for the four-wheel-drive variants over their rear-drive counterparts.

For example, a Nissan Navara ST-X 4×4 automatic costs $7000, or 14 per cent more than an equivalent 4×2 version ($57,695 vs $50,695), and a Mitsubishi Triton GLX 4×4 automatic costs $4250 or 11 per cent more than its rear-drive option ($44,690 vs $40,440).

The popularity of 4×4 pickups also extends over their ute-based wagon siblings, which sell in near-identical numbers to the rear-drive utes, albeit across four rather than six model lines.

A detailed split of the six most popular rear- and four-wheel-drive utes, and wagons, are shown below.

In terms of how each brand performs, Toyota is the clear winner for 2022 year-to-date, with the HiLux 4×4 outselling the entire showroom line-ups from all other new-car brands in Australia except Ford, where the Everest SUV combines with the Ranger ute.

Toyota again leads the rear-wheel-drive market, with Isuzu in second place. Where Isuzu leads the wagon sales race, ahead of Ford and Mitsubishi.

The Toyota Fortuner is in last place here, with many buyers wanting off-road SUV capability with a Toyota badge choosing the larger LandCruiser Prado, which with 19,087 sales year-to-date, almost outsells the Fortuner, Ford Everest and Isuzu MU-X combined.

James Ward

James has been part of the digital publishing landscape in Australia since 2002 and has worked within the automotive industry since 2007. He joined CarAdvice in 2013, left in 2017 to work with BMW and then returned at the end of 2019 to spearhead the content direction of Drive.

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