Why should I buy a Ute rather than a SUV? Do I need a Ute? What are the advantages and disadvantages of owning a Ute?
These are all good questions to be asking yourself when considering why you should buy a ute. Your vehicle needs to complement and help service your lifestyle and demands. We’re going to go through the top 5 advantages and the top 5 disadvantages of buying, and owning, a Ute.
Top 5 Advantages:
- Size: This is probably the biggest and most noticeable asset that these platforms have. The size of the tray means that you can lug a whole bunch of stuff around. Utes also ride high due to their size, this makes getting in and out of them super easy. It’s also great for loading the tray up with things you need.
- Visibility: Because you ride so high, this means that when driving you can easily see over the top of others. This helps you to maintain aware of incidents ahead, sharp braking or just makes it easier to cruise around. You’ll see other road users better, and they’ll see you too.
- Engine Power: Most of the Utes that you can buy are powered by diesel motors. These bog torquey diesel motors will get you up and moving with ease. The flow on effect is a big reason to buy a ute. This means that there’s plenty of overtaking power and towing capacity to boot. This means if you tow something like a caravan, boat or trailer, a Ute can do it comfortably and easily.
- Four Wheel Drive: A big factor with both Utes and SUV’s are the four-wheel drive systems. Combined with the weight and large tyres, this means that Ute’s can go anywhere and do anything. If you’re asking yourself why you should buy a ute and own something that needs towing – big factor. It helps with towing and less than optimal driving surfaces.
- Comfort: Old Ute’s were designed for farmers and tradies, cloth seats and manual transmissions. Now that every man, woman and dog are bowling around in them, they have become more refined. They have more features to cater to the masses. This means you can have all the benefits of a Ute as well as all the comforts of modern cars. Leather seats – heated and cooled, cruise control, climate control, reversing camera and 360 degree sensors, the whole lot. You name it, the manufacturers probably offer it, and given the current sales of highly equipped Utes, this will only get better.
Top 5 Disadvantages:
- Size: The space available is clearly an advantage, the issue is that it comes at a cost. Most car parks, garages and underground car parks are designed for mid-size to large cars. As most modern Ute’s are over 5 meters long and regularly knock on the 2 meter-wide door, this means mobility, parking and access all become factors. The ride height that made it so comfortable, makes some underground car parks off limits, the long tray means you can’t slip into car parks on the side of the road, and the four wheel drive makes the turning circle laughable.
- Fuel Economy: Ute’s have large engines with plenty of grunt, they’re super solid and, nowadays, kitted out with all the features you’d want. As a result, they are thirsty and heavy. While on the highway they crusie easily, sipping away at diesel, as soon as any inclines, turn, stop and go traffic or just ‘real world’ driving conditions come into play, they don’t live up to the advertised economy.
- Handling: The ride height and suspension set up have a direct effect on the way the Ute corners. If the tray is loaded up then it’s alright, plenty of weight over the rear tyres. However, when empty this can lead to the rear becoming very panic-y in wet conditions or when accelerating through a corner. The ride height means that when cornering quickly the Ute can feel like it ‘leans over’.
- The Tray: Great for throwing things in, even better for stealing things out of. In other cars the boot is locked with the rest of the car, Utes are open to the elements. Unless you want to fork out for a canopy which does effectively turn the whole tray into a large boot.
- Comfort: Yes the front can be great for comfort and you can get all the amenities, but your rear passengers aren’t so lucky. Although modern seating is really comfortable, rear passengers are often left with below average legroom and little by the way of comforts.
Our 3 Favourite Ute’s
- Ford Ranger: It does Ute things the best, and with the right options it’s as comfortable as most luxury SUVs. The new 4 cylinder, 10 speed is better to live with, but the 5 cylinder, 6 speed has a special place in our hearts.
- Toyota Hilux: These are pretty legendary. The modern ones have all the tech and creature comforts, they’ve got a grunty 2.0 litre diesel that does what you need it to.
- Volkswagen Amarok: It will tow just about anything, and VW know how to make a comfortable car. They are becoming more and more dated and don’t have the tech of other Utes on the market.
- Mitsubishi Triton: These are criminally underrated on the Ute market. They sit at a good price point, they can hang with the big boys, they can be set up to be comfortable and with nice wheels, they’re one of the better looking ones out there.
- Nissan Navara: The last 3 are pretty interchangeable. The Navara tows well, has great servicing value and creature comforts. it’s more modern than something like the VW but not as city livable as the others.
If you’re interested in buying a Ute, then have a look through TradeMe Motors. They can provide you with so many options you could scroll for hours.
Ute’s are great if they fit your lifestyle. Are you’re going to use them for what they’re designed for? The platform will fits those needs. If you like some aspects of Ute’s but not others, SUV’s offer a much larger range and package.
If your Ute needs a quality service to keep it running like it should, then head on over to My Auto Shop for what it needs.