Hooniverse Asks: Would you buy a Ute?

The vehicle above is a Ute. It was born in Australia. Our Aussie friends love them, but they never caught on as strongly here in the States. Yes, we have the El Camino and the Ranchero, but those are both long gone. Australian Ute production only ended two years ago. Holden closed up shop and Ford is shoving trucks and Mustangs down dealers throats. It’s a shame, because the Ute seems like a pretty sweet machine.

If they offered a Ute in the States, would you consider one?

The one above is a 2014 Holden VF SSV Redline. It’s based on the Commodore sedan. Under the hood sits a large V8 engine, and you can pair with with a six-speed manual gearbox. This version also gets Brembo brakes at all four corners. With nothing in the bed, you can see why burnouts and brake stands are the order of the day down under.

But all of that entertainment and utility potential wasn’t enough to save the Ute. Well, the car-based Ute. Pickup trucks are also called Utes there. But I only care about the type of modern Ute that we could never buy here. Maybe a trip to Left Hand Utes is in order someday soon?


  1. Not a chance.

    They compromise everything – including looks. Can’t tow what a full-size pickup can, can’t seat 4 (legally). And most important to me – I don’t like how they look.

    (I do want to add, however, that I really, really wish a new El Camino/Ranchero/Rampage/Scamp would hit the scene. Just for something different in the sea of silver/gray/charcoal crossovers)

    1. You can tow a car on an open trailer with most utes (I know aussie rules are slightly different, but 5-7K lbs isn’t too big of an ask), which is more than enough for most people. I think a ute would be a good alternative to a Ranger or Tacoma, but more faster. Nothing can really take the place of a full size for people that do real truck stuff all the time though.

      1. 5k is the max. Also the rear seats of the Crewman mentioned by Maymar would be classed as cruel and unusual punishment after 5 minutes, the backrest is way too upright.

        I’m voting yes, given that I own one. Not sure what other vehicle is capable of doing track days, autocross & drag racing, hauling >2k of rock, a refrigerator upright or a complete lounge suite, towing cars, offroading in the mountains and desert including being a camper, etc.

        Modern pickups might be able to match the 25mpg economy, but not sub 200″ length, 37′ turning circle (wall to wall), or true passenger car driving feel.

  2. No, but only for the same reason I don’t buy any 2-seater. I’m reluctant to even buy a 2+2 coupe. As cars go, I prefer sedans or wagons– they’re just far more versatile. And if I wanted a bed, I’d buy a truck.

  3. I could talk myself into it for sure if I had another vehicle in the fleet for family duty. Even a full sized crew cab truck is compromised as a people hauler, and Mrs. Neight hates large vehicles of any sort, so my daily is the weekend/road trip machine. Get that constraint out of the way and room for only two and a place to haul nasty stuff is net to the good, presuming it otherwise specs out like a muscle car.

      1. Looks like the Chevy has a 1620 lb payload https://www.automobilemag.com/news/dorkiest-worst-car-trucks-utes-all-time/ and a 1500 Ram can handle 2100 lbs in 3.6-Liter V6 24V VVT eTorque Upgrade I QUAD140.5″AUTO4X2Premium configuration, with most other combinations of Ram still more capable than 1620. https://www.ramtrucks.com/towing-guide.html?sid=1037056&KWNM=ram+1500+payload&KWID=43700041663799960&TR=1

        That’s probably not an apples-to-apples comparison, though, since there is no US-spec Tornado, and US weight ratings tend to be a bit on the “don’t try this at home” end of the spectrum, compared to the standards of other countries that aren’t so filled with personal injury attorneys.

  4. I briefly owned a 1979 Ranchero about 10 years ago. NO! Not a good car and a bad truck. The Ranchero had the footprint of a truck, but the bed couldn’t haul my lawnmower.

  5. No, it’s too much like a sedan for me. (Or a coupe, or saloon, or whatever you call those things on the highway are that aren’t iron blocked 8 cylinder body on frame haulers like I drive.)

    With only 2 doors, I don’t think US buyers will want it either. They seem to like 4-doors even when it’s wrong.

  6. As a kid, I had a die-cast VW Caddy (Golf 1/Rabbit base). I made a deployable camping rig for it from cardboard, with sleeping nook above the road “cab”. When you are only four feet tall, which I was, the base car was probably wide enough…

    I’d take one (or a BRAT) as a project car, but I would not buy a modern equivalent in my current or foreseeable life phases. Ask me again when I have become a frivolous retiree though.


          1. I see your point, but I’m not in total agreement. If you raise the vehicle, the handling characteristics change, ala the SUV vs touring debate, regardless of appearance. Certainly the characteristics of the original design matter, but if you raise a car 8“, it’s car like handling will be shifted towards the truck end of the spectrum.

          2. I understand what you are saying too, but they are only raised about 3″ compared to stock. I’m more familiar with the Falcon, and they widen the track to compensate. My ute is similar, and with the heavy spring rate it sits pretty flat when cornering, definitely more so than the standard sedan. When running it on the race track or autocross I did swap to larger diameter wheels & 50-profile tyres instead of the standard 75! As you can see I was generating enough g-force to un-hook one of the tonneau loops lol…


  7. If they were available here, all common sense would go out the window and there’s no chance I’d get anything else.

    It’s to the point I really want to import a Holden Ute in four or five years. It’ll be about time then for a bit of a vehicular treat and I want either a ridiculous tuner that would be totally inappropriate for a gentleman of a certain age such as myself (i.e. the current Civic Type R, or an EVO X), or a ute.

  8. I’d consider a ute as long it can tow 5-6000 lbs and can haul my 7′ long motorcycle with the tailgate down.

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