How to Buy a Ute: Tips for First-Time Buyers
Are you planning to buy a rugged ute as your first car? The end of the year is a good time for car-buying, given the countless number of dealerships that are slashing off the prices of their vehicles to hit year-end sales target and make room for the latest car models.
Before making your way to the dealership, however, there are several considerations you should be aware of. Knowing these beforehand can help you save more on the car’s price, as well as keep you from the many hassles that first-time car buyers often experience.
1. Know your ute’s purpose
Different utes are made for different purposes. Having a solid idea of what your utility vehicle is intended for before actually driving it can save you a lot of time at the dealership. Instead of scouring around for different models and getting sidetracked by different sales pitches, you already know what you want and you’re less likely to end up buying a different vehicle type.
Establish your transportation needs
A mini convertible or fiat Cabriolet may be the car of the moment, but is it going to work for you as a day-in/day-out piece of transportation? Conversely, you may think you need a minivan or pickup for all of your stuff, but on those occasions when you’re moving to a new apartment or, uh, moving home, you can rent a pickup. Given the cost of fuel, insurance and — in many cities — monthly parking, don’t buy what you don’t need. And perhaps consider renting what you
Identify and prioritize your wants
This runs a bit counter to the previous tip. The first-time purchase doesn’t need to be your be-all/end-all acquisition, but you should still pay attention to your want list, as this isn’t a process you need to repeat every 18 months. Better to stretch a bit for those things in a car that satisfies you, than to be hit over the head — and pocketbook — with buyer’s remorse before you’ve emptied the first tank of gas. If getting what you want costs $40/month more, spend it — and skip a couple of Happy Hours.
A ute can be a workhorse like the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger, a family car like the Holden Colorado and Isuzu D-Max or a toy for the weekend like the Mazda BT-50 and Mitsubishi Triton. If you know what you are using your ute for, you just need to check and test-drive them before deciding to buy.
2. Do your research
Once you have an ideal ute in mind, start learning more about its price range and features. This knowledge will keep you from being lured into buying a utility vehicle at a heavily discounted price but without the features you need.
When trying to learn more about a car’s features, you can:
- Get opinions from friends, family members and relatives
- Ask car experts
- Read and watch online car reviews
- Check out the official reports
- Do a test drive
Ute enthusiasts also suggest that you should only buy a ute with:
- Back Seats - Aside from commanding a higher resale value, utes with back seats can also help you secure items in a lockable area
- Backup Camera - This additional camera gives you more outside visibility to everything in the vicinity. The bigger the screen and the higher the pixel resolution of the camera, the better.
- Huge Mirrors - Trailering mirrors with an extended mirror assembly to the side provide better visibility. Some utes also have larger mirrors to improve sightlines when towing. These mirrors are great features for a full-size pickup even if the car doesn’t do a lot of towing because they allow for improved visibility. They can also be folded in when passing through narrow roads.
- Off-Road Accessories - A few off-road accessories, like underbody protection and tow hooks, come in handy when you’re driving on some trails, especially with a 4-wheel-drive model.
- Power Outlets - USB outlets are ideal for charging your phone or tablet while 110-volt outlets can provide power to your laptop and television.
- Side Steps - These are extremely helpful when climbing into your truck, especially in 4-wheel-drive utes that typically have a slightly higher ground clearance than rear-drive models.
- Towing Equipment - Hitch, trailer-brake controller, heavy-duty suspension and other towing equipment are easier to get from the factory than to add them later. Getting these equipment retrofitted into the ute is highly difficult and expensive.
3. Estimate how much you can afford
The prices of utes can vary depending on the make and model of car, as well as the year it was built. It is also affected by what region the car is collected in and whether it has any re-saleable parts and current market rates. Thus, it is best to have a clear estimate of your budget and how much you’re willing to spend on a ute even before choosing your ideal models.
If you’re buying your first ute through a car loan, calculate how much you can afford for the down payment, monthly repayments and other fees that come with vehicle financing. Having a budget plan will help you save time looking for the best deal because you will only look around for ute models within the price range you can afford.
4. Locate a convenient dealer
The closer you are to a local car dealership, the more convenient it is. Check for dealerships in your area. Ask for friends, drive or walk around or use the internet. You can easily find these neighbouring establishments online by typing “car dealerships near me” on Google search bar with your phone GPS on. Then read for customer reviews if you can find any.
If several car dealerships are conveniently located near you, compare their showroom environments. Many vehicle sourcing experts advise buyers to stay away from those that have plenty of staff standing at the front entrance. This generally means that they use very aggressive sales techniques and are more concerned about hitting their sales quotas than actually helping a first-time ute buyers like you. Worst, some would even trick you into buying an average ute at a very hefty price if they sense that you know nothing about cars.
5. Bring a company when car shopping
If you don’t know much about utes, it is best to take a ute enthusiast with you to the car dealership. This person can help translate car jargon for you and can provide feedback on the car’s features, driving conditions, towing capacity and price. He or she can also keep you from being ripped off by an experienced salesperson and can help negotiate for a better deal on your behalf.
Practical advice aside, it is best to buy a ute that you love. There is nothing more exciting than driving a car that you adore. While purpose is important, life is too short to drive a boring car or worry about not making the best choice. If owning the ute of your dreams is everything to you and you can afford the repayment, go for it. Do not hesitate to buy it by cash or apply for a car loan. Life is too short to drive a boring car, buy one that drives your passion.
Positive Lending Solutions provides car financing solutions for personal and business use. We operate across Australia and have offices in major cities. To inquire about car loans or apply for one, call us on 1300 722 210 or fill out our Loan Pre-Approval form.