Utes are big business in Australia. One look at the sales data says everybody wants one. But of all the options in the market right now, which ones are the most popular with the tradespeople who rely on them?
To find out, a trade services guide called ServiceSeeking.com.au surveyed more than 800 businesses and private customers to see what the top 10 new and used commercial utes are, as voted by tradies. While first and second come as no great surprise, the rest of the field doesn’t necessarily mesh with the top 10 utes by sales over the last twelve months. Here’s how the tradies stacked them up.
1. Toyota Hilux
The Toyota Hilux is a predictable tradie favourite, with 39 percent giving the thumbs up to what has been Australia’s best-selling ute for the past 17 years, and was Australia’s biggest selling vehicle overall for 2017. Hilux holds its own off-road and tows very well, and Toyota’s remote-area service is second-to-none.
2. Ford Ranger
As it did on the leaderboard for total vehicles sales in 2017, the Ford Ranger came in at second place with 12 percent of tradies voting it as their favourite ute. Top-end Rangers have nicely trimmed double cab interiors and can comfortably take a family touring. All 4WD Rangers have lockable rear differentials and go well off road.
3. Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series
The venerable Toyota LandCruiser Ute ranked down the list of total vehicle sales for 2017, but it punched its way to third most popular in the survey having garnered a 10 percent approval rating. The 70 Series is built as tough as they come. Toyota recently improved the driveability, comfort and safety of its decades old ute, which turned out to be enough for the dual-cab version to win 4x4 Australia’s 2017 4x4 of the Year award.
4. Volkswagen Amarok
The internationally popular Volkswagen Amarok is yet to crack big-time sales in the Australian market in the same way Hilux and Ranger have managed, yet its popularity is steadily growing with 7.5 percent of tradies voting it as their favourite, if not most desired, commercial ute. The comfortable and sophisticated Amarok handles and steers better than most SUVs with the V6 versions providing unmatched highway performance.
5. Mitsubishi Triton
The Mitsubishi Triton earned 7.0 percent of the popular vote on the strength of its cheaper price and lighter, city-friendly dimensions that make it suitable for the tradie tackling smaller jobs. It has more car-like levels of refinement, and feels easier to manage in town. It’s also relatively light on fuel and strong on safety.
6. Nissan Navara
Nissan’s smooth-riding Navara came in at sixth-spot with 6.0 percent of the vote. The most striking feature of the Navara ute is how well the better equipped versions combine high power output with low fuel use. The Navara also offers a very comfortable cabin, and, like the Triton, is smaller, and easier to park, than most other utes.
7. Holden Colorado
The much improved Holden Colorado claimed 4.0 percent of votes. It’s a well-equipped tool with an excellent diesel engine and the option of dual-range four-wheel drive. Inside, all Colorados have excellent smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
8. Holden Commodore Ute
Perhaps the most surprising result in the survey was the Commodore Ute’s eighth place – relatively far down the list – with just 4.0 percent of the vote. The Commodore Ute is comfortable with great roadholding and the option of a big V8 engine. All models have a reversing camera and the more expensive end of the range brings sports versions – but stocks are dwindling now that production is over.
9. Ford Falcon ute
The Ford Falcon ute also scored 4.0 percent of the vote despite sales drying up last year after production ceased in 2016. Like the Commodore ute, it’s a more car-like alternative to big pick-ups and had excellent engine options available, when it was on sale. Falcon utes will continue to be popular second-hand buys for some time yet.
10. Isuzu D-Max
The Isuzu D-Max is popular with private buyers but unfairly lacking the tradie street cred of its rivals, despite being a down-to-earth ute that carries and tows well. The D-Max’s newly revised diesel engine and six-speed gearboxes deliver good fuel economy.
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