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The best – and worst – tiny utes

By Tony O'Kane, 23 Jan 2019 Car Style

The best – and worst – tiny utes

Suzuki is pondering a fun-sized pick up based on the Jimny. Here are some of history’s most memorable compact pick-ups and utes – some great, some less so…

In case you hadn’t heard, Suzuki Australia is pushing hard for its Japanese masters to develop a ute-style derivative of the Jimny, a vehicle it reckons would sell up a storm Down Under.

It’s not something that would compete with the Toyota Hiluxes and Ford Rangers of the world, but a Jimny ute would certainly be a more versatile alternative to a side-by-side ATV. We’re hoping Suzuki builds it, but until then let’s take a look back at some other teeny-tiny utes from automotive history. Scroll through our gallery above to learn more.

Suzuki Jimny 1000/Stockman

If Suzuki wheels out a ute-backed version of the all-new model, it certainly won’t be for the first time. A couple of generations ago, the company made a 1.0-litre Jimny utility, which also came to Australia with a slightly stretched cabin, an alloy tray and a ‘Stockman’ suffix at the end of its name. You’ll still find them working hard on Aussie farms.

Read next: 2018 Ute Test: Results and verdict

Suzuki Mighty Boy

Suzuki is certainly no stranger to micro-utes, and the wonderfully-named Mighty Boy is one of its most loved compact cargo carriers. A cult classic nowadays, the Mighty Boy is one of the smallest examples of a car-like pickup to ever be put into production.

Subaru Sambar Open Deck

A rebadged version of the Daihatsu HiJet Deck Van, the Subaru Sambar Open Deck is quite likely the smallest dual-cab utility to ever go on sale. Essentially a Japanese kei-class (the smallest vehicle category) delivery van with half of its bum cleaved off, the Sambar Open Deck is useful for carrying two, maybe three bags of cement at a time.

Read next: How dual-cab utes have changed and what needs changing

Proton Jumbuck

Famous for earning a one-star ANCAP result back in 2009, we suspect Malaysia’s car-based utility would return a crash test score in the negatives if tested under present-day ANCAP rules. Even so, there are still more than a few circulating around Australia with passionate owners behind the wheel.

Volkswagen Saveiro

Not one to be outdone by Proton, Volkswagen also has a car-based ute with a one-star safety score of its own. Known as the Saveiro and sold only in the South American market, VW’s ute comes in single and extended-cab flavours, with a jacked-up ride height also available.

Lightburn Zeta Utility

Is a Mighty Boy not microscopic enough for you? The Lightburn Zeta ute might be more your thing – if you can find one. Built for just two years in South Australia and measuring just over three metres long, the Zeta ute boasted a mighty 12kW from its 324cc two-cylinder engine. Wait what?

Honda Vamos

We’re not sure if Honda’s Vamos really belongs here. In fact, we’re not even sure if the Vamos really qualifies as a car in the first place, given it looks like it’d be more at home trundling around a theme park than on an open highway. Still, open-air thrills mixed in with pragmatic design earn the Vamos our respect.

Subaru Brumby

This list certainly wouldn’t be complete without the Brumby. With a boxer engine and AWD driveline pinched from the Subaru Leone, the rather carlike Brumby earned itself a reputation for combining carlike handling with dependability and off-road nous, and remain a darling among country and city folk alike.

Toyota bB Open Deck

Toyota’s bB Open Deck borrows from the Sambar Open Deck/HiJet Deck Van playbook, but scales the concept up to something the size of a Corolla. Still pretty impractical as far as a dual cab ute goes, but hey, it’s got suicide doors and that’s kinda cool.

Daihatsu Midget II

Never has a name been more apt. Ridiculously narrow – so much so that the manual version only has enough room for a single occupant in its tiny cabin – the midget makes sense in the tight back-streets of Japanese megacities like Tokyo and Osaka. Makes zero sense everywhere else, however.