OhOccupying 4 of the 10 best-selling vehicle slots for 2022, and ranking highly month-on-month, dual-cab utes are becoming increasingly popular family haulers as they are a trade-in. is a common tool.
But should they be? We’ve taken 11 of the latest contenders and tested how family-friendly they are – space, comfort, safety and how easy it is to fit a child seat.
Now, installing child seats in a double cab is a very tricky business. We had three types of seats available – a rear-facing capsule (for babies up to six/12 months), a convertible (0-4 years old), which can be used forward-facing or rear-facing. is, and a booster (four to about seven) – there were no ISOFIX anchors, instead using only seat belts and top tether straps to hold them in place.
On the test
Before we began our testing, we consulted the good folks at Baby Bunting about how these vehicles differ from passenger cars and SUVs – because they’re always tough.
The most obvious way is that they have a tub rather than a boot, which is great for carrying everything you have for a driving holiday – but if you only have normal everyday essentials, such as a pram or shopping bag. Because they don’t bond easily, the result is that they get tossed around, crushing both them and the paintwork.
More importantly, in terms of fitting child seats, the lack of access to the boot to adjust the top tether is a nightmare. Because it makes the whole process incredibly difficult, frustrating, time-consuming and – in some cases – almost impossible for the average person to get fit safely.
The positioning of the second-row seats in relation to the door frame, the narrow spaces that make it easy for the top tether strap to twist when it should be flat, and whether the second row is split or comes forward as one.
The only ute in the pack to have a rear row was the GWM Cannon-X, which splits 60:40 like many cars do, which is a huge plus because it means you don’t have to remove or adjust one child seat to fit another in or Can be taken out. Then depending on the ute, you’ll find two or three top tether anchor points – but their location won’t always be immediately obvious.
Some, as in the Toyota Hilux and Mazda BT-50., there are fabric ‘webbing’ loops at the top of each outboard seat, through which the tether must pass to reach the metal hook in the middle. Once you find those, the rest is pretty straightforward (by UT standards, of course; a car would still be pretty easy).
Nissan Navara There are three such loops for the top tether strap to pass through and no metal fixtures. While Nissan says this means three child seats can be installed, Baby Bunting disagrees and would not recommend installing more than two. The only vehicle in our pack with three metal fixtures was the SsangYong Musso.
Most vehicles tested have two metal-top tether anchorages hidden behind the second row, requiring the entire backrest to be brought forward to access them, which is a practical pain. It’s worth noting that only Musso did this using a lever – the rest had a bit of a cloth strap to peek through.
In fact, during testing we had to consult the user manual in three vehicles to make sure we got exactly the right place to attach the top tether.
Some also have built-in or non-adjustable headrests, so you couldn’t fit the top tether strap in or around it if you tried.
The good news, though, is that all of the Dual Cabs tested here are fitted with ISOFIX anchor points in the second-row seats. However, they, like cars, can be hard to find.
Baby Bunting recommends that you always seek professional advice when traveling with children. Making the right decisions about what is the most appropriate way to protect the most valuable cargo is critical.
To find out more about what types of child seats are available, Visit Baby Bunting here.
Our winner for family duties was the HiLux SR5. Because, quite simply, it was the easiest to get child seats into and they felt the safest. It also had the most space between two child seats for adults seated in the middle, plenty of room in the doors for drinks and toys, and optional easy-to-clean leather upholstery in our test car. was installed.
The only downsides were a slightly higher transmission tunnel that takes away some space in the footwell and that the fabric webbing loops can be subject to wear over time as they are not as strong as metal.
The split rear row offering was one of the reasons why GWM scored so highly in second. – as well as offering plenty of space in the doors, USB ports and pockets for rear passengers, as well as good legroom, while the LDV T60 was right behind it for similar reasons, minus the split seat.
Mazda and Isuzu’s BT-50 and D-Max twins They were capable all-rounders but rear legroom was a little over-the-top and door space was limited to just a drinks bottle.
The two Rangers sat in the middle because.While they excelled in many other areas and had some useful features such as good space in the door cards, there were some let-downs, such as a lack of rear legroom (including a high transmission tunnel that caused things to get in the way). some are narrower.middle), and limited door space – with the most vexing issue being how awkward it is to fit child seats due to the difficulty of reaching the top tether anchorages.
It was nearly impossible for an infant to fit a rear-facing seat securely. Also, the XLT doesn’t get pockets on the front seatbacks and its very basic cloth interior won’t be wipe-down friendly.
Likewise, the Triton pair had a high transmission tunnel with only satisfactory rear legroom., with the front seats needing to come forward enough to accommodate rear-facing child seats. The door cards also didn’t offer much space, and once again the top tether anchorages were difficult to reach.
While the GSR was the better of the two with soft leather seats compared to the basic and cheap-feeling fabric trim of the GLX+, both felt and felt quite uncomfortable sitting as an adult passenger in the middle of the second row. . When the child seats were installed on both sides, the scotch was being done.
The previous one was the Navara Pro-4X., mainly because the top tether anchorage system was not that user friendly. Room for tightening was poor, awkward adjustments meant the straps got all twisted and just being fabric loops increased the likelihood of wear over time. We couldn’t get a rear-facing seat safely at all.
It gets points for good door apertures, low transmission tunnels and space in the doors.
An honorable/disrespectful mention has to go to Musu.which was the only vehicle to feature three metal top-tether anchors, a lever-adjustable rear row, a sunroof, large doors that both open and fit a lot, and features such as heated rear seats, leather upholstery and Map pocket.
But, and this is a big but, the middle seat only comes with a lap belt, which in our minds feels unsafe and outdated.
The bottom line is that, if we were to buy any of these dual cabs, we’d opt for an ISOFIX-compatible seat because, if installed correctly, it would consistently give us fairly tight seatbelts. Gives peace of mind to be sure, or to be sure we’ll have it installed by a professional.
Baby Bunting’s friendly and experienced team offer an accredited installation service at all of their stores in Australia and New Zealand.
Find out more at babybunting.com.au/car-seat-installation