Looking to buy a new car? Our partner OnlineAuto knows which models have the quickest delivery times and offer a hassle-free, haggle-free buying process that helps you get the best deal possible. They'll even deliver your new car direct to you with a full tank of fuel! Learn more: BabyDrive.com.au/OnlineAuto

Share on

I have two VERY POPULAR dual-cab utes for families on the driveway this week; the 2022 Isuzu D-Max LS-U+ and Ford Ranger FX4 Max! Check out my Isuzu D-Max LS-U+ vs Ford Ranger FX4 Max verdict below, where I have compared the two to see which comes up as the most family-friendly dual cab ute!

Advert: CarHistory

They are both a step down from the top-spec models, making them a good pair for comparison. Let's see how they get on…

Round 1: Child Seats

Score: 2022 Isuzu D-Max LS-U+ 0 / 1  Ford Ranger FX4 Max

When comparing the Isuzu D-Max vs Ford Ranger for installing child seats, similarly both utes have a top tether anchorage and ISOFix in the two outer rear seats and nothing for the central seat so they can only hold two Infasecure child seats using top tethers. I installed the Infasecure Aspire More and Infasecure Achieve More into both utes. I was able to put an Infasecure Folding Booster seat in the central seat for both because they do not require a top tether anchorage. However, when it comes to installing child seats there is one main difference that divides them.

Isuzu D-Max LS-U+

Infasecure child seats in Isuzu D-Max LS-U+

The top tether anchorage in the D Max has woven loops behind the outer seat headrests that you have to pass your top tether strap through…

Top tether anchorages in Isuzu D-Max LS-U+

…and attach to a central metal anchor point.

Central top tether anchorage in Isuzu D-Max LS-U+

These can be quite difficult to use and especially to correctly tighten the top tether strap once you have attached it.

 

Ford Ranger FX4 Max

Child Seats in Ford Ranger FX4 Max

In the back of the Ford Ranger, the rear seatback hinges forward and there are two metal anchorages behind the rear seatback, one for each of the outer seats.

Top tether anchorages in Ford Ranger FX4 Max

When installing child seats, the metal anchorages is in the Ranger are so much easier to use and more practical for families.

The D-Max seatback also folds forward like this, so it is a mystery why Isuzu went for the woven loop method!

Round 2: Cabin Storage & Comfort

Score:  Isuzu D-Max LS-U+ 1 / 0  Ford Ranger FX4 Max

When comparing the Isuzu D-Max LS-U+ vs Ford Ranger FX4 Max for storage, it is a similar story in both these utes. Both utes have rear cup holders…

Ford Ranger FX4 Max

Ford Ranger rear cup holders

…map pockets and door bins.

Ford Ranger map pockets

In the front, both utes have central cup holders…

Ford Ranger front cup holders

…and door bins that are a practical size to hold refillable water bottles.

Ford Ranger front door bins

 

However, the D-Max has some winning features for storage and comfort which make it even better for its occupants.

Isuzu D-Max LS-U+

I found the D-Max has just a little more dash storage, with multiple glove boxes and a top dash storage box.

Isuzu D-Max LS-U+ dashboard storage

The D-Max also has excellent dashboard cupholders, one at either end, which give passengers really easy access to their drinks while driving.

Isuzu D-Max dashboard cup holder

When it comes to comfort, the D-Max LS-U+ model has heated front seats…

Isuzu D-Max LS-U+ heated seats

…and electric seat adjustment in the front, which is fantastic for the adults on board.

2022 Isuzu D-Max LS-U+ electrical seat adjustment

The D-Max also has rear air-con vents, which is fantastic for keeping the little passengers in the back at the right temperature. Whereas the Ranger does not have rear aircon vents.

2022 Isuzu D-Max rear aircon vents

 

Round 3: Tray Storage

Score:  Isuzu D-Max LS-U+ 1 / 0  Ford Ranger FX4 Max

The trays of both of utes are really well matched and equally practical for families in terms of size.

Ford Ranger tray with Bugaboo Donkey 5 pram

The tray of both the Ford Ranger and Isuzu D-Max will hold whatever combination of prams, shopping and family dogs you need quite comfortably. Or all your equipment for a family camping trip!

The D-Max LS-U+ model I tested was fitted with a remote opening tray cover which I love! At just the touch of a button, it slides open or closed, which was a lifesaver with children because you don't have to spend time manually covering the tray over so that your pram or shopping doesn't get wet. That said, it's a bit of a pricey option at $3800…

Isuzu D-Max LS-U+ electronic tray cover

 

Round 4: Driving

Score:  Isuzu D-Max LS-U+ 1 / 1  Ford Ranger FX4 Max

When it comes to everyday driving, the Ranger is a little overconfident around town and on normal roads, whereas the D-Max is much more at home and comfortable.

Ford Ranger FX4 Max and Isuzu D-Max LS-U+

Now when you get off-road, the D-Max again remains very capable and comfortable.

Isuzu D-Max LS-U+

However, the Ranger felt at home and that extra confidence around town makes much more sense on the soft stuff! That's because the FX4 Max comes from the factory with some serious off-road suspension and tyre upgrades (although not as extreme as the Raptor model).

Ford Ranger FX4 Max

 

Verdict

Score:  Isuzu D-Max LS-U+ 3 / 2  Ford Ranger FX4 Max

In conclusion, the runner up of this comparison is the Ford Ranger FX4 Max, which scores 2/4.

Ford Ranger FX4 Max

The Ford Ranger FX4 Max is much more expensive at $66,200 before on-road costs, whereas a top-spec Isuzu D-Max is around $62,000, although with around $3800 extra for the Isuzu's electronic tray cover the prices start to become a lot more similar. I found the Ranger much too confident on everyday roads and that is how most of us would be using it.

For the off-road times, I really appreciated that confidence and the Ranger's ability.  The top tether anchorages are better in the Ford Ranger, being much easier for parents to use and fitting two Infasecure child seats nicely. Legroom is good in both utes and both media systems have Apple CarPlay. The tray storage is ample in the Ford Ranger and will fit dogs, prams and shopping easily for families.

The winner, the Isuzu D-Max LS-U+ scores 3/4.

Isuzu D-Max LS-U+

The Isuzu D-Max LS-U+ just pips the Ranger to top spot! With more thorough cabin storage and dashboard cupholders!

Isuzu D-Max LS-U+ dashboard cup holders

As well as the electronic tray cover which we find makes life much easier for families being able to easily cover their pram etc in the tray. Yes it's a $3800 extra but that extra practicality and the other advantages of the D-Max for about the same overall cost as the Ranger counted for a lot in this testing!

Isuzu D-Max LS-U+ electronic tray cover

You can fit two child seats in the back using the top tether anchorages however they are much harder to install in the D-Max than in the Ford Ranger.

Isuzu D-Max LS-U+ child seats

I find the D-Max LS-U+ a much more enjoyable vehicle for everyday life driving around town, commuting, school runs and things like that but just WISH Isuzu would re-think that top tether anchorage situation! Otherwise, its crash-avoidance and general safety technology is top-notch and it has a five-star ANCAP rating against the latest criteria whereas the Ranger's ANCAP test was back in 2015.

One thing is for certain: I'm REALLY looking forward to comparing them again when the new Ford Ranger comes out later this year. I have a feeling the D-Max is going to have its work cut out!

Read and watch my in-depth full reviews here:

Share on

Looking to buy a new car? Our partner OnlineAuto knows which models have the quickest delivery times and offer a hassle-free, haggle-free buying process that helps you get the best deal possible. They'll even deliver your new car direct to you with a full tank of fuel! Learn more: BabyDrive.com.au/OnlineAuto

2 Comments

  1. My partner is almost the same height as you, she is 160cm. just wondering how hard it is to get a baby in and out of these 2 ute’s?
    Do you need to stand up on the side step or is it pretty easy?

    Thank you

    • Hi Jimmy,
      I think your partner will find it fine, I actually like putting my Bub in and out of utes as I don’t have to bend down into them like you do in cars. I do sometimes have to pop up onto the side step to do up the harness.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.