Here’s helping you decide the top 3 Utes for your family
SUVs have become the vehicle of choice for many Australian families, but utes are also growing in popularity. No longer considered the choice of tradies alone, many utes are serving as part-time or even full-time family cars. Here are three top picks that bring something unique and useful for families considering a ute.
A traditional workhorse ute, the new Triton is now much more acceptable rolling around the suburbs thanks to sharp styling and lots of great kit inside. It’s also one of the best value utes on the market, frequently sold at very sharp driveaway prices and with up to seven years factory warranty.
Inside, we see a roomy rear bench that will fit a couple of kid seats fine. It will also be a good pew for older kids as they grow up. Importantly, there is the rear air ventilation, so if you take a lap around Australia, no one will be cooking inside.
Up front, the room between both seats is ample, with supportive cushioning underneath. The driver is presented with a clean dash and dials for controlling settings, and the infotainment system is up to 8.0-inches large and has the latest Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. This last bit of technology is particularly popular now, and kids will love being connected to multimedia on long trips.
At the business end, the 2.4-litre turbo diesel is economical and strong, producing 133kW and 430Nm through either an automatic or manual transmission. And this is one of the only utes to offer full-time all-wheel drive, while also being able to go into rear-wheel drive mode for frugal fuel consumption. That means you have the safety of all-wheel drive on wet roads, and the fuel economy of two-wheel drive. It’s also a strong performer when off-roading.
Like just about all utes on the market, there is a large array of canopies and accessories to put on the tray if you want to cover up cargo.
Volkswagen brings its passenger car design and knowledge to the ute market with the Amarok. It also offers one of the most powerful engines in the segment thanks to a grunty 3.0-litre turbo V6 diesel. In fact, that engine can be bought in an Amarok for around $50k brand new, so it’s a comparative bargain if you want a good motor.
Connected to the V6 is VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive, so the vehicle is always using all-four wheels for traction. This is a great feature on wet roads and gravel tracks. There’s also a rear diff lock for when the going gets tough.
On the softer side, the interior features a very nice cabin design. Many elements from VW’s passenger cars like the Golf and Passat feature here. The layout is simple and easy to use, and the infotainment screen looks crisp and glossy, featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with sat nav and multimedia options. The material choice is practical but also looks good, with leather on the top-end models particularly comfortable and premium. The large 18, 19 and 20-inch alloys are also a feature for utes that will be dropping off kids at school.
On the practical side, it’s a roomy cabin with a good back seat, and the tray fits a full-size standard Australian pallet – so it’s a great choice for both work and play.
Ram 1500/Chevrolet Silverado 1500
We can’t just focus on traditional dual-cab utes, because the newest American pickups are also available and bring some serious V8 grunt.
The Ram 1500 and Silverado 1500 are similar, though the Silverado is the newer generation with nicer technology and more contemporary design. The price for both is up around six-figures, mind, so they aren’t as affordable as the other two options on this list. But they bring a lot of real estate.
Both feature enormous interiors, with an acre of space that is good enough for kids or adults; the back seats have so much room to the front pews that kids will be able to walk straight through to the other side. There is also a big infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, multi-speaker sound system, leather upholstery and storage pockets and cases all over.
That’s without considering the rear tray, which is deep and practical. And towing is fantastic from either with both V8s pumping out over 300kW of power. The Silverado comes with plenty of accessories, too, such as exhausts and different alloys, while the RAM features special limited editions with black highlights to look tough. These utes certainly stand out on today’s roads.