That’s not Australia’s most powerful ute. This is.

When Volkswagen announced their latest stake in the 4WD ute power wars, we ran a headline saying the 190kW Amarok would be Australia’s most powerful 4X4 ute. Compared to the competition, it’s a fair thing to say, right?

After reading that story, Ateco Automotive got in touch with us and raised an undeniable point. There is a 4X4 ute available in Australia that has significantly more power and torque than Volkswagen’s soon-updated V6 Amarok. It’s called the RAM Truck. Now, you could argue that the RAM isn’t a 4X4 ute in the same way an Amarok, Ranger or X-Class is. But at the end of the day, it’s a 4X4 ute. So they’re right.

Pissy little 3.0 litre engines need not apply in this realm, where one thing reigns supreme: cubic inches. Litreage. AAnd the RAM truck has litreage aplenty. 6.7 of them, spread across six inline cylinders. This vast acreage of cast iron is the legendary Cummins IS6.7, big brother to the 6BT. This engine has been around since 2007, but Cummins have been building big kick-arse six-cylinder diesel since the 1930’s.


The Ram 2500 Code Black does pull off the 'look', but those bolt-on flares look a bit silly when the wheels don't come anywhere near them.
Want more grunt? go up a size, go full-size.

The RAM 2500 and 3500 has, courtesy of this mammoth motor, 276 kW and 1084 Nm available. I don’t know about you, but when you’re using four fingers to count torque, things are getting a bit serious. That torque comes in at a lowly 1,600rpm as well. Delicious. 

RAM is also proud to tell us they are an ‘official’ vehicle importer and converter, with a decent-sized dealer network up its sleeve. Unsealed 4X4 drove one a while back, read the review here.

If we continue down this train of thought of looking beyond the usual gang of (small) 4WD utes, there are some extra options out there on the horizon. Unsurprisingly, they are all of the large American variety. Nissan is bringing their own Titan to Australia, which uses a Cummins 5.0-litre ISV motor good for 235kW and 752Nm. Gah! Only 5 litres? A mere econobox!

Holden Special Vehicles is going to be bringing the Silverado to Australia, as well. This uses an equally legendary 6.6-litre Duramax V8, making 332kW 1234Nm.

HSV Silverado, squeezing into a carpark soon, near you.
HSV Silverado, squeezing into a carpark soon, near you.

There are also some speciality importers, who do the conversions and Australian compliance without the factory backing. Performax International have a Ford F-250 and Chevrolet Silverado, which also make brain-melting amounts of torque.

But in the meantime, the RAM undoubtedly is Australia’ most powerful 4X4 ute, even if it isn’t necessarily ‘mainstream’.

What do you think? Are these big rigs going to become the new ‘normal’ in Australia?


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  • I think for all round performance you can’t go passed the Chevvy Silverado 2500HD with the Duramax 6.6ltr turbo intercooled diesel. For a standard road truck and for towing performance it takes a lot of beating. One question I do have is that ” How can a light weight 1500 truck be legal towing 6 tonne and a heavy duty 2500 truck only have the capacity to tow 4.5tonne. If so and the 1500 truck weighs in over 4.5tonne than you cannot drive it on a car licence in NSW which has a limit of 4.5tonne GVM. Regards Vince

  • I doubt it will pick up. I cannot understand for the life of me how were paying double the price if not more then the US. Further the fuel prices are just through the roof. Yeah id love one of them otherwise.

  • These US trucks are great. Absolute lounge chairs with heaps of power. But try to park one in the city!

  • For all those who prefer a much larger engine that is generally available in this backwater, remember we are said to have just over a fortnights worth of oil reserves left.
    We are supposed to have ninety days worth on hand at all times.
    That said, I do love my old Jeep Wagoneer with it’s recently rebuilt 454.

  • With many caravans coming in at 3.5t most people towing caravans are either over weight or very close putting a lot of strain on their vehicles not to mention being illegal!! We upgraded from a Jeep to a GMC Sierra. The extra power for towing makes life much easier up hills and the fuel consumption is the same as the Jeep. I can see more of these vehicles being used across Australia

  • Hi fellas, I currently work in a dealership which does the 4×4 d/cabs, and also Ram trucks.
    Thanks to manufacturers developing the ‘ smaller’ big towing utes that apparently tow these big loads, and blindingly, most tradies and others believe that’s what they can do, instead of buying a small truck like they should have. We see many overloaded d/cabs, and even single cabs, and then also expected to tow a trailer full of gear or dirt as well. You only have to look at the Isuzu small truck ad that’s says that a business can out grow its trusty ute. Although most of them can do a reasonable job to match these claims there is no better use of common sense (if that’s still used these days) to say “maybe I do need something better”
    The Ram is a great truck and can do what they say, but as for the size of it in suburbia, well that’s another argument. I think a lot of it comes down to hip pocket and what the vehicle ‘can do’. Everybody wants everything for nothing. A 2t ute that can carry 800kg and tow 3 – 3.5t, with a 3.0 engine and auto, all day everyday, woohoo great !!! :/ Hmmmmmmm, Yeah???
    You get what you pay for, and lasts just as long.
    As for the Ram 1500, not far away. and good price. 🙂

  • I’d love a big “pickup” like the Ram (or Ford Raptor, or Toyota Tundra) but even if they could get the prices down by $50k, they will never be the norm while we have fuel prices > $1.30 / litre. I can barely justify driving my Landcruiser on a weekend jaunt in the bush, knowing it will sting me $100 – $200 in fuel.

  • Thats not a real 4×4 ute, the Unimog reins supreme. They have sometimes been used to shunt a 1000 Tonne train around.

  • Most of the comments point in one direction size does matter. Consider how over the years the common ute has grown-up, but it’s still to small and uncomfortable on really long trips. They ate at their absolute limit. Caravan weighing in at 3.5 ton verses ute at 2.2 ton who wins = rollovered ute every time you can’t beat mass.
    The first manufacturer to offer a factory built RHD 1500 will have an absolute winner o their hands.
    Those grey nomads should always considered mass of the tow vehicle firstly

  • I hope it is the ‘norm’ I’m after a new dual cab ute at the moment but not game to waist around 50 grand on a pissy little 2-3 litre diesel that was made in Thailand. After you load these Utes up with camping/work gear throw on a trailer with a bit of weight these small engines may have the power/torque on paper to do it but they are working their tits off just to stay mobile not to mention the strain on your clutch/gbox. You’ll be lucky to get 100,000kms out of your new ute without massive problems & money. I could never understand why the car manufacturers wouldn’t bring out Utes with a V8 Petrol/Diesel engine in Aus they would have no problems selling them here as long as the price was reasonable which i know seems a lot to ask for in this country.
    I have a good friend who lived in USA most of her life but now lives here in NSW she told me she can’t believe what we pay for new cars here, in the states you can buy a new F250 for $30,000 & fuel is $1.50 a gallon. Hard to get your head around, someone is making a killing out of us dumb Aussies

  • Il never go back to small Ute now i own a new F250! The room, power, towing is effortless not to mention the necks breaking as I drive past haha… I love it ! Ford needs to get on board and factory back these again or get left behind.

  • If you want to tow a van then these American options are by far the best. I’m a month in my 6 month trip of Australia and I keep seeing more and more of them. Towing a big van under 2000 rpm is awesome. However if you want to go off road as well and get into some spots that can be pretty tight, you can go past the usual suspects. Like what’s been said above, it will come down to what you do most.

  • Can someone please pass these replies on to the manufacturers so that we may finally get a factory rhd truck at a realistic price. Whoever is brave enough will reap the rewards. I will then happily part with my 7.3 litre F250. Bring it on.

  • I drive an Amarok with a smaller engine, not the v6. I do plenty of 4×4 trips and its performance is fantastic – whether in NT desert sand, corrugated roads, Vic alpine tracks and so on.
    I suppose one will need more power to tow huge caravans, several horses and big boats, but that is a different scenario from simply enjoying the great Australian outdoors with your 4×4, and go places where a normal car will not be able to take you.

  • Horses for courses, the big yanks appeal to certain buyers who cannot get what they need from a smaller dual cab – simple.
    Try and get one of those to the Cape or along the CSR with that beheamoth wheelbase and width – terrain they were never built for.

    These yanks are purpose built to tow (with exhaust brakes) and carry massive weights, if that’s what you want the big yank is for you. I don’t believe they can be utilised though to their full towing capacity in Oz? Someone may know more on this. I’ve seen what they tow tow in the states and geeezuz!

    With these vehicles (as with any vehicle), each to their own and their requirements.

    I had a ball doing a lap of Oz in a 1984 shorty 40 (including the Canning Stock Route) running the Chev V8 6.5L intercooled TD – that much torque in something so light, lots of fun and what a trip:)

    I work in mining and one of the crews run the big F-350. With the gear they carry a cruiser just wasn’t big enough.

    3500kg behind a dual cab may be ok for an experienced driver, and there lies the problem. I’ve seen 4 roll overs with vans on the NW coastal highway. One a brand new Prado towing a 3.3 ton van – on a narrow section in wind, our laws are a joke. If my grandmother hitched a 3.3 ton van up to travel Oz in their dual cab Australia would be in danger – but she can legally do it.

    I’d take the Silverado though, and for no other reason than I love their size and power:) I’d never ever use it for its intended purpose!

  • Looked at importing a GMC back in the 90’s as there was nothing in Australia that compared and still doesn’t.
    The limiting factor being cost hopefully with great volume’s we will see better value, all we need is Toyota to come to the party with their Tundra

  • Hi, I agree with Alan. The F series eg F450 has over 1280nm of torque. The F series Shelby has over 550kw of power in petrol engines. Let’s face it research could have helped you not end up with mud on your face.

  • It’s quite interesting to see these big engines here. I regularly tow a measly 1.6T boat and when the temperature gets in the high 30’s and 40’s, air conditioner on and pulling up some steep hills between Cann River and Eden my 2.5L Navara STX doesn’t like it and goes into limp mode, and no I wasn’t pushing it with foot to the floor. it required a shutdown and restart. Had it back to Nissan under warranty and they changed the exhaust gas sensor but made no difference, they were unable to fix this issue. They then bring out a 2.3L bi-turbo – well my thinking is this is potentially more of a problem. I decided 3L minimum for towing 1.6T especially in extreme conditions as above. I ended up choosing a VW Touareg V8 with 250KW and 800nm now no problems. So I can see if someone wants to tow 3 odd Tonne in the conditions I mentioned above then I believe there is no substitute for a large amount of Torque on tap.

  • Just curious why you picked the RAM tho, when the F250’s 6.7 litre Powerstroke has gobs more torque than the Ram..

  • As an 18 year full-time nomad, there was just no viable option in the ute class to tow my large 5th wheel than a ‘Yank truck’. The only other option is the Iveco and they are just an underpowered ruff as guts toy truck with a little 3-litre diesel. My F250 is a quantum leap above the current range of little dual cab utes.

  • Obviously some biased comments from these responses. What about the price tag on these 4X4 “TRUCKS”. Not all the general “Joes” can afford these “TRUCKS”, so lets compare apples with apples and not with oranges and get your heads out of where they should not be!! If these UTES where within the same price group as the mainstream 4X4 utes then no problem, but obviously for the manufacturers of the TRUCK UTES, they cannot .

  • I agree it’s about time 4×4 builders started putting decent power plants in dual cabs, all the toys we want are getting bigger. How do they expect people to tow a decent six caravan or camp trailer with a 3ltr or size engine.

  • I too drive a full size American Ute, when I went looking after Nissan dropped the diesel Patrol, there was nothing, Nissan wouldn’t help me with a Titan, I looked at the dual cab Cruiser, yeah well a new John Deer is more comfortable and better appointed ( and has AC as standard), Next option the 200series Cruiser, by the time I optioned one up with what I wanted I was looking at similar money to a real ute. Luckily we have a local Performax dealer, went in to test drive a “effey” came home with a GMC Denalli, could not be happier with the choice of vehicle. More economical than the three litre Patrol that the wife now navigates and sooooo much more comfortable than a Cruiser, not to mention the kids love it especially the son who drives it around on L plates.
    So yes Please lets make them the NORM.

  • I agree with Graham. I’m really ticked off with all these new (supposedly) 4×4’s coming out with their tiny little ridiculous engines. The Ford ranger looks good as do some others,but come on 3.2lt turbo diesel! Are they kidding, it’s just a crime to have these petty good looking and comfortable 4×4’s coming out with such tiny engines. What are they thinking! Just drop a turbo v8 or similar into them and be done with it. They would sell heaps more. And the Australian regulations and restrictions on bigger engines should back the hell off!. I

  • I totally agree with Graham, but as a Landcruiser owner, I even consider it a bit under down when loaded and towing near the max.
    This leads me to my question, how are these current crop of 4×4 ‘S given a 3500 kg towing capacity , is it through there structural design, their engine power, braking ability, their handling.,
    I would be very grateful if someone could explain to me what actually qualifies a vehicle to tow a 3500 kg trailer other than the manufacturers sales brochure , surely there must be a regulatory require a vehicle must meet to qualify

  • I thought long and hard before I made my purchase of a Dodge Ram 2500 so as to tow my 3.5t off-road van safely and legally. The only other close contender was a Landcruiser 200 series Sahara. However, by the time you spend the extra on a GVM upgrade and other accessories the price is suddenly up there with a Dodge Ram. The other issue is the load carrying capacity of the 200, even with a GVM upgrade is borderline. The final decision was a no brainer and now I cannot believe the power and leverage I have for safer towing. I will mention though like all 4x4s with added accessories, even on a Dodge Ram 2500, you need to be mindful about what extras are fitted as it will diminish the load carrying capacity. If you want to carry more than a ton of extras, then I would recommend the Dodge Ram 3500, but then you’ll need a Light Truck license.

  • No doubt these “Utes” are awesome in every shape and form of what they are, however the price comparison between their origin and once they hit retail markets in australia are prohibitive to the general population. A Chevy Silverado in America, worktruck is $35k, with the big delicious powerful diesel… in australia this vehicle is likely to be $115k and it’s being imported in RHD already. I tow a caravan and love getting out and about. I would have one of these vehicles in a heartbeat, but where in a modest family budget will the money come from. low numbers will be imported and sold at premium prices that’s the end of it. I’m waiting for the next generation of automotive engineering… check out the all electric bollinger b1!

  • Well, I am lucky enough to own a 2016 RAM 2500 and yes, they pull like a train, they are comfortable, roomy and the are not full after you throw 4 adults and a couple of eskies in the back. You can fit 6 adults in if need be with leg room as good as business class. It tows our 8 metre gooseneck full of horses with ease, it will take almost a serious tonne in the back, with the tail gate down I can carry two full size pallets of gear. My 2013 Ranger XLT is great although I wish Australian motor companies would bring out a main 4×4 at least the size of the RAM 1500 and F150’s as they would be an instant hit. The current stable of 4x4s available out there are at their limits with all the gear/accessories people want to carry and tow around these days. Yes, the price for a RAM is high, why? With an exchange rate at $0.75, around $10k to ship, $30k to convert, $6k stamp duty then $12K GST no wounder they are so expensive. The price we pay for living on the other side of the planet lol.

  • Nice fake comment on the nissan coming in rhd from factory. Good research !! How about next time you do a little more than a 2 sec google. Your careless actions have great effects on others.

  • Long overdue, with the exception of Toyota Landcruiser there is no safe option to tow a reasonable sized boat, caravan, work trailer with family / friends in comfort. The first manufacturer to bring a full sized factory RHD dual cab to Australia at a reasonable price (On par with US like Ford has done with Mustang) will dominate the market. The current crop of dual cabs is fine for light duty purposes, however hopelessly out of its depth with towing and space. However if we continue to sell these vehicles at 130-140k they will not be popular due to their prohibitive price tags.

  • My boss had a silverado with the duramax v8, ridiculous amount of power and torque. drove it a few times and has serious knock you back in your seat power. He used it to tow his four and a half tonne boat from Melbourne to Portland to go tuna fishing,,,didn’t even notice the boat was on. So if you ask will these utes become the new “normal”? I hope so

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