Farmers, tradies and families – there's a ute to suit all categories of buyers.
The ute is celebrating its 80th birthday in 2012, but today’s offerings are very different from the original, oft quoted as created in Australia by Ford. However, while the ute has evolved, its prime role as a workhorse has changed little.
Circa 2012, there are almost a dozen brands present in the ute market and scores of models. There is, quite literally, a ute for all budgets and work needs.
Body styles available include traditional two-door, two or three-passenger versions, as well as the four-door 'crew cabs', which seat up to five occupants.
Both integrated and cab-chassis body styles are available across most brands.
Carrying and towing capacities range enormously. Australia’s smallest ute, the Proton Jumbuck, claims a 500kg payload, while the Mazda BT-50 can carry just over 1500kgs and tow up to 3350kgs.
Though dominated by Japanese brands, even the Europeans are getting into the ute game. Volkswagen's Amarok has already won fans Down Under.
Engine/transmission/fuel type combinations are just as varied. Petrol utes can boast four, six and even-eight-cylinder engines with outputs from 64 to over 300kW. Diesels are available in both four and six-cylinder configurations.
Both manual and auto transmissions can be ordered with most models and two and four-wheel-drive models are represented across most brands.
High performance, low-volume sports ute’s from FPV and HSV have retained their popularity.
And just as drivetrain combinations vary enormously, so do prices: from $14,990 for a Proton Jumbuck to over $70,000 for an HSV Maloo R8.
Safety improvements have resulted in an increasing number of utes now achieving 5-star ANCAP rating, the highest possible.
So if you live on the land, or are in construction, mining, trades or logistics, or simply need a vehicle that can carry you and your cargo, tow a boat, a caravan or trailer with ease, the variety of utes available, has never been greater.
Beaut utes – 2011 top five 4x2 sellers
Beaut utes – 2011 top five 4x4 sellers