The Best Utes in Australia Today
Australia is a ute nation. Aside from its diverse terrains of vast outback wilderness, deserts and coastal environments that are hard to course through with a city car, the country is also known for its mining, agriculture and service industries that need to transport supplies. All these factors contribute to the popularity of utility vehicles, locally called “utes”, as proven by the increasing sales dominance of the tonneau-backed automobiles in the country over the years.
Are you planning to buy or finance a ute for personal or business use? To help you decide which one works best for your needs and lifestyle, here's a comparison of the most sought-after utes in Australia today.
Toyota Hilux 2019
Price Range (Driveaway): $21,865 to $66,777
Pros: Well-engineered, huge, versatile, customisable, good resale value
Cons: Some variants have unsettled ride quality especially when the speed builds up, including a sense of “float” and noises from the wind and road that can enter the cabin; does not have much equipment found in other utes of its price range; workaday appearance
Last year’s top-selling car in Australia, Toyota HiLux has been classically associated with the tradies, builders and farmers because of its time-proven reliability, sturdiness and power. Its latest models are also impressively comfortable, spacious, and built with the latest technology.
The 2020 model, which is due to launch in the middle of the year, will feature a new safety suite plus the possibility of new colours and interior treatments. The Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility for the infotainment system, however, remains unattainable. Read the HiLux 2020 Car Review for more details.
Ford Ranger 2019
Price Range (Driveaway): $27,990 to $63,990
Pros: Cool rugged design, impressive chassis performance, improved refinement, infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility
Cons: No available manual transmission, No single-cab version, only one engine, low-spec variants have small payload at maximum towing capacity and lack optional upgrades, some pricier variants only have basic safety system and do not have rear seat ventilation
Although second to Toyota HiLux in terms of national sales records in 2019, the Ford Ranger is last year’s multi-awarded winner of various motoring recognitions. These awards include the 2020 International Pick-Up Award, 4x4 of the Year at the Australian Motoring Awards (specifically for the Ford Ranger Raptor trim), and Adventure Car of the Year by CarsGuide, a popular car sales website in Australia.
The latest Ford Ranger model features innovative driving technology, such as active noise control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility; and plenty of driver-assist features like 800mm water wading depth, e-locking rear differential, hill descent control, pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist, auto high beam and traffic sign recognition. It also comes with a new bi-turbo engine, which extracts maximum performance at both high and low RPM.
The 2019 Ranger XLT 4X4 3.2L auto is currently offered in Ford’s 2019 Plate Clearance at a driveaway price of $53,990.
Mitsubishi Triton 2019
Price Range: $22,490 to $52,490
Pros: Standard safety tech, sharp drive-away deals, rear diff lock on more models, tight turning circle
Cons: Towing capped at 3100kg, can struggle with a decent load, no digital speedometer display, limited high tech innovations on low-spec variants
This ute is Australia’s top-selling among private buyers last year mainly because of its active safety technology that appeals both to small business owners and fleet operators. Generating a market share of about 14 per cent last year, it has made Australia the second biggest market of Triton after Thailand. For a low price range of $22,490 to $51,990 exclusive of on-road costs, it’s understandably affordable.
Triton features a Super Select system, which allows the Triton to be operated in four-wheel drive on sealed roads. It also has an auto rain-sensing technology, lane departure warning, and blind-spot warning.
For the 2020 model year, the car will add a rear diff lock to the middle-of-the-range GLX+ and GLS, which used to be an exclusive feature in the GLS Premium. GLX+ will also be equipped with an air-recirculating roof pod, an air cooling feature that’s previously exclusive for the GLS and GLS Premium. These upgrades, however, have brought a price increase for all trims.
Holden Colorado 2019
Price Range: $28,926 to $63,100
Pros: Excellent diesel engine, optional dual-range four-wheel drive; good payload and towing capacity, excellent smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
Con: Ride is stiff when unladen, the steering wheel is adjustable for height but not reach, Flatter and less form-fitting front seats than rivals, lacks lockable rear differentials, one of the less able utes off-road
Another in-demand ute in Australia is the Holden Colorado, which is a proudly Australian-made car and one of the oldest utes on the market. Over the years, the car has undergone many updates to achieve on-road refinement and comfort, stronger powertrain, and modern infotainment systems.
The 2020 model has a 2.8L Duramax diesel engine that Delivers 500Nm* of torque and 147kW of power and a 3.5-tonne towing capacity. It also has a spacious cabin and high-tech features, including hands–free phone connectivity, infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, park assist, integrated sat-nav, key fob remote start, and window control.
Jeep Gladiator 2020
Price: Estimated at an average base price of $60,000
Pros: Impressive road-holding, off-roading and on-roading capability; advanced smartphone connectivity; V6 petrol matches perfectly with an eight-speed auto, spacious and comfortable cabin, plenty with advanced features
Con: No option for diesel engine, extra wheelbase creates hits and grinds off-road, turning circle gets a little large, not fuel-efficient
Based on the Wrangler design DNA, the 2020 Gladiator model that’s coming to Australia in the second quarter of the year will not have a turbo-diesel option. Nevertheless, Jeep fans in the country can take comfort in the fact that Australia will be the first market in the world to have Jeep Gladiator dual-cab 4x4 ute that’s fitted standard with autonomous emergency braking (AEB).
Ram 1500 2019
Price Range: $85,690 to $135,000
Pros: Great towing performance and towing stability, Integrated EBC, sporty and stylish exterior, comfy and spacious interior with adjustable seats and climate control system, modern infotainment system, plenty of storage
Cons: Limited towing and payload capacity, awkward parking brake, transmission juddering
Imported and converted to right-hand drive, the American ute boasts a 4500kg towing capacity and loaded with towing-specific gear, such as integrated electric brake controller, towbar and towbar wiring with a seven-pin flat outlet, driver-selectable tow/haul mode for the automatic transmission, and trailer sway control.
The upper-spec trim Laramie has 20-inch chrome-look alloy wheels, locking tailgate, heated and ventilated leather seats, keyless entry and start, partial digital instrument cluster and 8.4-inch centre touch-screen with embedded navigation and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay phone mirroring. There are also front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera. However, the car doesn’t have a 360-degree camera and active cruise control, which are offered by other ute brands of the same price range.
Mazda BT-50 2019
Price Range: $25,000 to $56,990
Pros: Plenty of driveline punch, not lacking in crucial towing or payload measures, solid and robust feel from behind the wheel, getting easier to find a sharp deal
Cons: Rear seats lack comfort, Unappealing exterior appearance, Dearth of essential safety tech, fiddly infotainment system, plain-wrapped cabin appearance, showing its age as competitors advance
Several car reviewers have claimed that this Japanese ute is a copycat of Ford Ranger as evident in its engine, transmission, basic chassis structure and suspension hardpoints. Despite the similarity, however, the car is inferior to the Ranger when it comes to safety and electronics systems, steering and driveline come inferior to the Ranger because of lesser updates. Nevertheless, its engine outputs are considerably impressive, which are rated at 147kW of power at 3000rpm and 470Nm of torque from 1750 to 2500rpm.
The top-spec BT-50 GT features leather trim, electrically adjusted driver’s seat, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, satellite navigation, rain-sensing wipers, 17-inch alloy wheels, and a sports bar in the tub. Other features that are standard in rival utes, however, are missing, like the push-button start, heated seats, adaptive cruise and LED headlights.
Nissan Titan 2020
Price: Currently not available but the 2018 Platinum Crew Cab model commands an average price of $145,000
Price Pros: Monster engine, towing prowess, well-equipped interior, impressive off-road ability and on-road comfort
Cons: Can be too big for most Australian cities, skittish ride on corrugations off-road
The on-and-off news about the arrival of the American truck in Australia has disappointed many, but hope among its fans rekindled when reports circulated about Nissan Australia teaming up with the local automotive development company Premcar to convert the monster truck to right-hand drive.
Living up to its name, the massive full-size ute has a large dimension: the standard Titan (5.79m in length, 2.01m in width and up to 1.93m in height) and the XD (6.16m in length, 2.04m in width and 1.98m in height). Both run on a V8 engine with options for 5.6-litre petrol or 5.0-litre diesel fuel; come in single, king and crew cab configurations; and 4x2 or 4x4 drivetrain. The ute is also powerful, boasting a maximum 5.5-tonne towing capacity and a maximum 1.3-tonne payload capacity. These numbers, however, will vary depending on the chosen configuration.
Isuzu D-Max 2019
Price Range: $28,600 to $46,700
Pros: Trusty engine, affordable base price, standard safety and infotainment tech
Cons: Noisy, underpowered engine, not as sure-footed as most other utes
One of the most affordable utes in the country, Isuzu D-Max is a mainstay in the trade, agricultural and delivery sectors. This light commercial ute is built to work. It has a generous tray size, high payload capacity and towing ability, and competent off-roading ability.
The Thai-built car is available in single, space and crew cabs, cab-chassis, and utility body styles. It has two and four-wheel drive power trains, regular and high-ride suspension set-ups, and the aforementioned five model grades.
SsangYong Musso 2019
Price Range (Driveaway): $20,070 to $43,990
Pros: Comfortable and refined ride, safety system is good for the price, long warranty
Cons: Low ground clearance for off-roading, skinny tub and payload capacity
This Korean ute carries the brand’s flag in Australia after a long indefinite hiatus. Based on the carmaker’s new Rexton mid-size SUV, the Musso is pretty well-equipped and has decent powertrain specs and modern styling.
While its name means “rhinoceros” in Korean, it’s not much of a tough beast compared to the other utes in the market. The 2.2-litre engine across four cylinders makes 133kW at 4000rpm and 400Nm at 1400-2800rpm, which is not as powerful as the other utes in its price range. Nevertheless, it offers a segment-leading warranty of 7 years.
Have you decided on your choice of ute yet? You better make up your mind fast because most of last-year car clearance sales usually last only until the first quarter of 2020. No money? No problem! Buy your ute with a loan. Call us on 1300 722 210 or complete the Loan Pre-Approval form.