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ute

Utes are Great

What makes a good ute?

The word “ute” has its roots in Australian slang vocabulary and is a short word that describes a utility vehicle.  Utes can be single or double cabs; the single cab has just the two seats or a bench seat to cater for the driver and front passenger/s, though the bench seat is less common these days.  The added practicality of having an extra three seats in the rear of the double cab ute is often the reason why people prefer the double cab over the single cab.  The single cab with a large tray allows you to throw all your tools in the back, and a spacious double cab ensures the whole family can come along for the ride.

Practicality is probably the number one reason many people buy themselves a ute.  Being able to throw some rubbish, posts or firewood onto the deck is really easy when you have yourself a ute.  The tray out the back is capable of carrying way more than you ever could in your sedan, hatchback or wagon and you’re often in hot demand when your mates are shifting house.  You can often buy 2WD or 4WD models – as is the case with many of the utes you’ll find on sale.  Nissan Navara, Toyota Hilux, Great Wall, Mitsubishi Triton are just some of the utes you’ll find on sale that can provide you with 2WD or 4WD alternatives.

Utes are also built tougher than your usual sedans and wagons.  Designed and built to work hard reliably, the chassis has been built tough to withstand heavier loads and provide strong towing capabilities.  Obviously, the 4WD option will be offering a little more protection under the ute, mud plug tyres and a raised ride height – many 4WD utes can end up going some pretty way-out-there places.  It’s very common to see a 4×4 ute towing the boat to the lake or a trailer full of kayacks.  4WD traction means that getting the boat down to the water and away again in slippery conditions is a breeze.

Many people opt for the dual cab ute because it can double as a work and family vehicle.  Having the extra seats for the kids at school or on holidays is always going to be handy.  A couple of decades ago, the ute was pretty basic and they had interiors that you could clean out using a bucket and a broom.  Land Rover’s Defender still has this ability, and even some of the bog standard Japanes utes are rugged enough to be able to handle a slosh of water from the bucket and a broom to clean out the muddy interior.  Most modern utes, whilst relatively tough on the inside, are actually very comfortable to drive and offer many luxuries and plenty of electronic gadgets like leather seats, fancy audio systems, satellite navigation and Bluetooth communications.  Come cleaning time, these modern higher spec models need a little more care than just a slosh with a bucket of water and a broom!

I also see the ute as an asset in the safety arena.  The modern ute is well equipped with safety equipment – some makes are better than others – but most provide airbags, ESC and ABS.  Having a higher ride height – particularly in the 4×4 utes – is also advantageous.

The best utes are built tough while continuing to be comfortable to drive.  It’s hard to go past a new Nissan Navara, Toyota Hilux, Volkswagen Amarok or Ford Ranger, as these are some of the best in the business when it comes to ruggedness and comfort.

Having plenty of torque under the hood to tow some heavy metal is a big plus.  Holden’s Colorado, Ford’s Ranger and Nissan’s Navara are plenty powerful.

Choosing a new ute isn’t always an easy decision to make.  In many ways, it’s tougher than picking out your average, everyday car.  Not only do ute buyers want something big enough to carry their livestock, weekend gear or tools, they’re after a vehicle that’s reliable and functional enough to keep up with weighty lifestyle demands of work and play.  Farmers and tradies will place a lot of trust in their utes –they are after all a workhorse.

The new Ford Ranger, Holden Colorado, Isuzu D-Max, Mazda BT-50, Mitsubishi Triton, Nissan Navara, Toyota HiLux and Volkswagen Amarok are the main rivals vying for top spot.  Foton, Great Wall and Mahindra are also handy utes worth considering.  Ford’s Falcon ute and Holden’s Commodore ute are immensely comfortable and powerful low profile RWD utes with a car-like drive for the long haul.