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New in 2015: Utes get a pick up

Pick me up: The next-generation Mitsubishi Triton will become a diesel-only model, keeping it competitive with many of its peers.

From the Navara to the Ranger and Trafic, it's a big year for light commercials

Outlook logo19 Jan 2015

By TIM NICHOLSON

LIGHT COMMERCIALSBY ALL accounts, 2015 is shaping up to be year of the ute, with replacements for a number of Australia's favourite set to lob in the next 12 months.

Arriving in the second quarter will be Nissan's drastically improved Navara bringing new softer exterior styling and a level of refinement not seen in the nameplate before says the company, which should help keep it at the top of the Japanese car-maker's local sales charts.

Lobbing about the same time will be Mitsubishi's new-generation Triton, carrying slightly more generic styling than the model it replaces, but promising huge improvements to ride comfort and cabin refinement.

The Triton will follow the trend of a number of its rivals by becoming a diesel-only affair, while a mooted diesel-electric hybrid is still yet to be confirmed.

Ford's Australian designed and developed Ranger comes in for a mid-life update in September, bringing with it fresh exterior styling that mimics that of the mechanically related Everest SUV.

Ford will no doubt be hoping for continued success from the Ranger that has been slowly chipping away at the Toyota HiLux's sales lead since it arrived in late 2011.

The mechanically similar Mazda BT-50 is also set to get a new face with a butcher look likely later in the year. Mazda Australia has said they will give the BT-50 a bigger push to fleet buyers this year as well.

While not much is known about the all-new Toyota HiLux, it could also sneak into showrooms as a 2015 latecomer.

Some of the country's top-selling delivery vans arrive as new-generation models this year, including Renault's increasingly popular Trafic, that will get an appealing new look and improvements to cabin refinement in the second quarter.

There is a chance that Holden will introduce a rebadged version of the Opel Vivaro van, which is a twin of the Trafic, but this is yet to be confirmed.

Volkswagen will introduce a yet-to-be-seen new-gen version of its Transporter in the final quarter, around the same time as the all-new Caddy light van. The German brand will also debut a streamlined Amarok line-up in January.

WHAT'S COMING:Ford Ranger facelift - September
Mazda BT-50 facelift - late 2015
Mitsubishi Triton - Q2
Nissan Navara – Q2
Toyota HiLux - late 2015
Renault Trafic – Q2
VW Amarok - January
VW Caddy - Q4
VW Transporter (T6) - Q4

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