Ute vs SUV: Which Car Should You Buy?

Ute vs SUV: Which Car Should You Buy?

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Utes and SUVs are two of the most versatile cars. They provide great convenience and comfort for drivers and passengers. They also help transport people and cargo easily, making them a trusty companion for both personal and business trips. Thus, choosing between the two vehicle types can be difficult, especially when you can only afford to buy one.

Generally, both ute and SUV are also more expensive than other cars so if you need one, it is best to prepare yourself. If you plan to take out a car loan, it is best to get pre-approved first to know how much you can afford to borrow and go into the process with a set budget.

To help you make the right decision, we’ve created the following comparison guide:


A ute is built mainly to haul and tow loads while an SUV is designed to transport people.

Designed with a tonneau behind the passenger compartment, a ute is ideally a workhorse that can comfortably seat five people in the passenger cabin while allowing for easy transport of goods and even livestock in the open cargo area. An SUV can, of course, carry goods as long as it fits inside the car. However, the open back of a ute is especially designed to transport large, heavy or ungainly items, as well as livestock and other stuff with unpleasant smell without the stench finding its way into the cabin.

Meanwhile, an SUV is ideal for transporting passengers because it typically has plenty of room for people and light cargo. Ideal for families and groups, it can seat up to eight passengers comfortably depending on the cabin room, available seating, and extra cargo space. Generally, an SUV has a larger storage space, boot volume, and legroom than sedans and other types of passenger vehicles. Its rear seats can also be folded down to increase the total volume.


Ute and SUV usually have a high ground clearance, making them difficult to get in and out of. However, the latest models of both vehicles now have an air suspension, which can be lowered or raised with just the push of a button.

When it comes to loading cargo, the open back of a ute allows for easy access. One can just easily throw stuff in there, which helps the task done in less time. This is especially favourable for those who need to load a large number of goods into the truck bed, like vegetables and sacks of flour or other crops. Its open bed also allows cargoes to be transported without needing a large piece of heavy machinery.


When it comes to driving experience, most utes also perform better off-road but they have a stiff ride and are loud on the highway compared to SUVs that are designed for on-road driving.

Modern utes and SUVs are laden with high-tech infotainment features that provide a pleasant driving or riding experience, from power-adjustable seats to cooling and heating system to high-tech audio visual system.

However, the close cabin of an SUV means that one can safely and comfortably travel through the open road anytime of the day, even when it’s too sunny or it’s raining hard. Sure, your passengers can safely sit inside the cabin of your ute and you can cover your tonneau to protect the cargoes, but the number of people that you can accommodate inside the passenger cabin and the types of cargo that you can keep from the rain are limited.

Towing Needs

A ute, being a workhorse vehicle, is designed not just for hauling loads but also for towing equipment. Nowadays, dual-cab 4x4 utes are among the most popular tow vehicles with most models boasting 3500kg of braked towing capacity.

While an SUV can haul and tow heavier loads than a lighter crossover vehicle, they are not mainly engineered for that purpose. Most SUVs can tow more than 2,500 pounds while larger models can tow 8,000 pounds or more.

Keep in mind, however, that an SUV that shares the same power of a ute is significantly more expensive than the latter. If you need to tow a trailer on a regular basis, it’s ideal to go for a ute with maximal towing capacity.

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Among the latest models of vehicles, SUVs ranked the highest in safety ratings according to various studies. Some studies claim that an SUV driver or passenger is at least 50 percent more likely to survive a car crash without suffering serious injuries compared to a sedan driver.

Compared to a ute, an SUV also fares better. The ute’s general design of forward-biased weight makes it more prone to spins, rollovers, and other types of single-vehicle accidents than an SUV. Most SUVs are also equipped with better safety technology than utes to appeal to families.

The high ground clearance of both ute and SUV gives them a higher center of gravity, which increases the tendency to roll over in a swerve. Nevertheless, the latest models of utes and SUVs have plenty of safety features that keep road accidents at bay.

Fuel Efficiency

The size of the car affects its fuel efficiency. Typically, the smaller SUV offers better fuel efficiency than a ute. In both large models, the more fuel-efficient is the one with a Diesel engine. This is because it can deliver higher torque for low speed towing, which makes transporting heavy loads easier than petrol-powered cars.


There are inexpensive models of both ute and SUV. Generally, however, an SUV that shares the same engine with a ute can be purchased for significantly less than the ute. For instance, the Toyota Fortuner has the same engine and running gear as the HiLux plus seven-seats, ample boot space, and a much nicer interior but it is much cheaper than the ute.

Buy According to Your Lifestyle Needs

Both ute and SUV are versatile, but the most ideal car is the one that best suits your lifestyle needs. If you need a car that offers versatile cargo space, great hauling and towing capacity, reliable off-road performance, and impressive overall work capability, go for a truck.

On the other hand, if your main desire is to provide comfort for your family, a modern SUV is ideal. Aside from great safety and infotainment features, it also has better-balanced weight and often better-balanced handling. Transporting cargo won’t be an issue as long as it fits well inside the car.

Generally, both ute and SUV are also more expensive than other cars so if you need one, it is best to prepare yourself. If you plan to take out a car loan, it is best to get pre-approved first to know how much you can afford to borrow and go into the process with a set budget.

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