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The crazy ute concepts we wish were real

By Trent Giunco, 20 Apr 2020 News

What if the Australian ute went global?

If you could dream up your ultimate ute, what would it look like?

With the end of production for Ford and Holden now firmly in history, so too is our beloved ute.

Okay, you can buy myriad variations of dual-cab utes, and the Yank invasion full of converted pick-ups is gathering a heady steam, but none of them really tick the car-based formula we’re used to.

But what if there was a way to create your dream ute from an existing model? The team at Budget Direct Car Insurance have put together some computer-generated images so at least you don’t have to wonder what they might look like.

CHEVROLET

For those who crave anything from the SS Ute to the HSV Maloo and W1 utes, then a V8-powered, Camaro-based ute has to be a winner. After all, with its more sophisticated rear end (compared to the leaf-sprung Falcon), the Commodore ute was already branded somewhat of a two-door sports coupe.

Now, of course, we’re going to want the big-boy supercharged V8 found in the ZL1 for our Camaro-based super ute. With 477kW/881Nm and the choice of a six-speed manual or 10-speed auto, it’d sure be a valid replacement for your home-grown icons. However, even the atmo 2SS’s 339kW/617Nm would more than suffice. Obviously you could do the same with Ford’s Mustang if the Blue Oval is more your cup of tea.

FERRARI

It’s not the first company you think of when dreaming up a ute, is it? Think it’s sacrilege? The company is already planning to release an SUV, the Purosangue. The famed Italian marque’s ‘entry-level’ Portofino offers the most ideal base given its front-engine, rear-drive layout. And what an engine the 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 is, packing 441kW/760Nm. Should have no issues drifting, then…

Read next: Holden’s concept cars could be saved

Plus, with its rapid-fire seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, you can feel like four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel with the column-mounted shift paddles. The hardtop folding roof would, sadly, have to go, but a big glass sunroof could be fitted so buyers didn’t miss out on fun in the sun. A Ferrari heart, luxurious cabin and a handy tray to boot – what’s not to like?

AUDI

A quattro all-wheel-drive ute with a 331kW/600Nm twin-turbo V6 sounds very tempting – especially when the RS4 donor car can reach 100km/h in just 4.1 seconds. And it can be optioned with tricky rear diff to get the back end more mobile, if not outright drifts. It sounds mean, too, with deep overrun histrionics matched an enticing growl to redline.

You’d also be getting a thoroughly luxurious cabin, something the Aussie offering never quite got to, with an Alcantara-wrapped Audi Sport steering wheel and the delights of Virtual Cockpit. Plus, due to the RS4 Avant’s (wagon) bodystyle, there’d be a decent-sized tray in the back to cope with all your load-hauling needs. If the RS4 is slated as all the car you could ever need, a ute version wouldn’t be far off that, either.

HONDA

As one of the greatest front-wheel-drive hot hatches of all time, the Honda Civic Type R forms an interesting basis for a performance-orientated ute. At 4557mm long, it’s not exactly a small vehicle, so thoughts of a Proton Jumbuck with more grunt should be discarded; especially with the Type R’s 228kW/400Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo under the bonnet.

Read next: Holden’s lost heroes: are these the cars that could have saved the General?

It’s safe to say that the Civic gains a bad wrap for its exterior design, so without the oversized rear wing, the silhouette changes markedly. With less downforce it wouldn’t be as much of a corner carver as the hatch but it’d retain the superb bucket seats as well as the sweet-shifting six-speed manual and logic-defying mechanical LSD. It’d be the track-day ute where you can bring all your spares in the one car.

DODGE

Much like the Camaro, the Challenger Hellcat ute’s existence would primarily be to service the market left dry by the axing of our metal. Just whack the Charger face on for more aesthetic appeal and keep the supercharged Hemi V8 with 535kW and 889Nm. Sounds like a lot of fun.

Retaining the widebody look and long tray is essential to getting the mean proportions right, while the bonnet scoops and big wheels add even more visual menace. Combine that with a supercharger whine and an angry V8 soundtrack … it’s a winner.

ROLLS-ROYCE

If you’re entering into fantasy land, you might as well go the whole hog. And that’s a Rolls-Royce Wraith ute. Hey, if the staid British marque can venture off-road into the world of SUVs with the Cullinan, why can’t it make a seriously cool ute with the already two-door Wraith? Plus, have you ever seen suicide doors on a ute before (that wasn’t a show car)?

Read next: Australia’s first supercar is still ahead of its time

It’s perfect to grab all your lockdown essentials like that expensive coffee machine, Hermes luggage or pony for the kids. Oh, and the diamond-encrusted roof would definitely have to remain on the options list. The 6.6-litre twin-turbo V12 would also have to stay, sending all its 465kW/870Nm (Black Badge) grunt to the rear wheels alone. Posh bogans eat your heart out.

TESLA

With the flexible electric floorplan, all Teslas should be ripe for some crazy conversions. So forget the polarising Cybertruck (which is also a fairly unrealistic concept) and imagine what it’d be like if Tesla created a sleek ute based on the upcoming Roadster v2.0. Its tray space might be limited, but it sure would be fast.

The original Roadster put Tesla on the map, but few remember it today. However, with a 0-100km/h time of reportedly 2.0 seconds or less, v2.0 is going to cause shockwaves. And as a ute it’d be very cool – you’d just have to make sure you tie down the contents of the tub very, very securely.

RENAULT

Judging by the French maker’s long tradition of making fun, engaging and fast hot hatches, a ute based on the current Megane Trophy-R would be an interesting proposition – roll cage and all. It already has its rear seats stripped out and the steering of the back axle deleted, so now all it needs is two doors lopped off and you’ve got a cool ute alternative.

It’s front-wheel drive only and comes with a six-speed manual gearbox and track-focused rubber. In other words, it’s the hay hauler that can shuffle around a track at a great rate of knots. A stumbling block for most would be price, given that the 221kW/400Nm 1.8-litre four-cylinder turbo hot hatch already comes in at $74,990. Ouch.

Of course, none of these utes are actually being built, but sometimes it’s fun to imagine what could be if budgets and volume sales didn’t matter. What’s your dream ute build?