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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A ute (/juːt/ YOOT), originally an abbreviation for "utility" or "coupé utility", is a term used in Australia and New Zealand to describe vehicles with a tonneau behind the passenger compartment, that can be driven with a regular driver's licence.

Traditionally, the term referred to vehicles built on passenger car chassis and with the cargo tray integrated with the passenger body (coupé utility vehicles). However, present-day usage of the term "ute" in Australia and New Zealand has expanded to include any vehicle with an open cargo area at the rear,[1][2][3][4][5] which would be called a pickup truck in other countries.


Historically, the term "ute" (short for 'utility vehicle') has been used to describe a 2-door vehicle based on a passenger car chassis, such as the Ford Ranchero, Holden Commodore, Australian Ford Falcon, Chevrolet El Camino and Subaru BRAT. Australian-produced utes were traditionally rear-wheel drive and with the cargo tray integrated with the passenger body (as opposed to a pickup truck, where the cargo tray is separated from the passenger body).

In the 21st century, the term has become more broadly used, for any vehicle with a cargo tray at the rear (which would be called a pickup truck in other countries).[6][7][8][9][10][11]


The first Australian ute: a 1934 Ford Australia Coupe Utility
Roadster Utility: a 1927 Chevrolet National

The concept of a two-door vehicle based on a passenger car chassis with a tray at the rear began in the United States in the 1920s with the roadster utility (also called "roadster pickup" or "light delivery") models.[12] These vehicles were soft-top convertibles, compared with the fixed steel roof used by most utes.

Ford Australia was the first company to produce an Australian Coupe ute, which was released in 1934.[13] This was the result of a 1932 letter from the unnamed wife of a farmer in Australia asking for "a vehicle to go to church in on a Sunday and which can carry our pigs to market on Mondays".[13] In response, Ford designer Lew Bandt designed a two-door body with a tray at the rear for the American Ford Model A chassis, and the model was named "coupe utility".[13] When the Australian version was displayed in the US, Henry Ford nicknamed it the "Kangaroo Chaser". A convertible version, known as the roadster utility was produced in limited numbers by Ford in the 1930s.[14][15]

In 1951, Holden released a "utility" model, which was based on the 48–215 sedan. With both Ford and Holden now producing utes, this started the long-standing tradition of Australian-designed 2 door vehicles with a tray at the back, based on a passenger-car sedan chassis.[16]

Cultural impact

2010 HSV Maloo R8

Australia has developed a culture around utes, particularly in rural areas with events known as ute musters. It is common, particularly in rural areas, to customise utes in the "B&S style" with bullbars, spotlights, oversized mudflaps, exhaust pipe flaps and UHF aerials.[17] Since 1998, the "Deni Ute Muster" has been held in the town of Deniliquin, which has become a major attraction for the area.[18][19]

High performance utes were also sold in Australia, including the FPV F6 and the HSV Maloo.[20] The 2017 HSV GTSR Maloo is powered by a 6.2 L (378 cu in) supercharged V8 engine producing 435 kW (583 hp).[21][22]

The Australian V8 Utes is a racing series based on lightly modified production Holden and Ford utes.

Australian models


1936 Ford Model 48 coupé utility, with a roadster top
2018 Ford Ranger dual cab ute

The ute variant of the Ford Falcon was produced from 1961 to 2016.[12] For the first 38 years of production, the design used a coupe ute style, but with the introduction of the 1999 AU Falcon, the Falcon ute switched to a cargo bed that is separate from the cabin, while still retaining the Falcon sedan front-end and cabin.[23] The cargo bed was separated so that both "utility" and "cab chassis" body styles could be produced together.

Utes produced by Ford in Australia:

In addition, the Ford Ranger (T6) was designed by Ford Australia, but built elsewhere. It was the second best selling new car in Australia in 2019[25] and 2020.[26]


1953-1957 FJ Holden Ute
1971-1974 HQ Holden Ute

From 1951 to 1968, the "utility" was sold as part of the 48–215 to HR model ranges.[27] From 1968 to 1984 the "utility" was included in the Holden Belmont/Kingswood range. In 1984, Holden discontinued the ute variant and it was not part of the VB to VL Commodore ranges. The model returned in 1990 based on the VN Commodore chassis and remained part of the model range until Australian production ended in 2017. In 2000, the Holden Commodore was the first Australian ute to feature independent rear suspension,[28] the Ford Falcon ute retained a live axle rear suspension design until production ended in 2016.[29]

In 2008, the VE Commodore Ute was proposed to be exported to North America as the Pontiac G8 ST. At least one prototype was built, but GM decided not to proceed with production due to the Global Financial Crisis.[30][31]

Utes produced by Holden or its parent company General Motors in Australia:

Holden also sells rebadged utes produced elsewhere. They include:


1970-1971 Chrysler Valiant VG Ute


British Leyland




Asian models


2013 Isuzu D-Max crew cab chassis

Isuzu sells the Isuzu D-Max in Australia. Previously, this vehicle was sold rebadged as the Holden Rodeo.


2015 Mazda BT-50

Mazda has sold the Mazda BT-50 in Australia since 2006.


2017 Mitsubishi Triton cab chassis

Mitsubishi has sold the Mitsubishi Triton in Australia since 1978. In 2019, it was the fifth best selling new car in Australia.[25]


Between 1971 and 2008 Nissan sold the Nissan Sunny Truck as a ute in Australia. Since 1985, Nissan has sold the Nissan Navara pickup style ute in Australia.


Between 2002 and 2010, the Proton Jumbuck was sold in Australia as a ute.


1989 Subaru Brumby

Subaru produced the Subaru Brumby, a small AWD model derived from the second generation Leone. It was sold between 1978 and 1993 and known as the BRAT, Shifter, MV, and Targa in countries other than Australia. It is relatively well known due to its long production life and use in popular culture. It was built in Japan, but never sold there.


From 1983 to 1988, Suzuki built a ute version of their Alto kei car called the Mighty Boy. It was sold in Japan, Australia, and Cyprus.


1962-1967 Toyota Crown utility
1962 Toyota Corona pickup
1996 Toyota Hilux

Between 1960 and 1970, Toyota sold a ute variant of the second- and third-generation Corona with an integral bed. It was sold alongside its eventual replacement, the Toyota Hilux, for a couple of years before it was discontinued. Toyota also sold a locally produced CKD ute based on the second- and third-generation Crown (also known as S40 and S50), assembled by Australian Motor Industries.

Toyota currently sells a ute variant of the Toyota Land Cruiser (J70). In 2011, the Toyota Hilux was Australia's highest selling ute.[34]

European models

2017-2020 Mercedes X-Class
2011 Volkswagen Amarok


Between 2017 and 2020, the Mercedes-Benz X-Class was sold in Australia. It used the chassis of the Nissan Navara.


Volkswagen has sold the Volkswagen Amarok, a pickup style ute since 2010.

From 1979 to 2004, Volkswagen sold the Caddy, a pickup based upon the Volkswagen Golf platform.

See also


  1. ^ "Governments Should Purchase 4-Star Utes". Australian Automobile Association. 2008-03-27. Archived from the original on 2016-03-10. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  2. ^ "Ute buyers guide". New Zealand Automobile Association. 2016-05-30. Archived from the original on 2018-11-14. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  3. ^ "Why does ISIS have so many Toyota Hilux utes?". 1 News. 2015-10-07. Archived from the original on 2018-11-13. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  4. ^ Woods, Emily (2017-05-12). "Bumbling thieves smash brick wall, steal safe". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  5. ^ Hendery, Simon (2017-03-31). "Stolen WorkSafe ute causes mayhem across Hastings as it flees police". Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  6. ^ "Utes and SUV's Australia's most popular cars". Network Ten. 2017-08-10. Archived from the original on 2017-08-10. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  7. ^ O'Carroll, Damien (2015-12-22). "Driven ranks the utes available in New Zealand". Driven NZ. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  8. ^ Stanford, James (2012-07-10). "Dodge Ram: big US ute set for Australia". CarAdvice. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  9. ^ "Used Subaru Brumby review: 1984-1994". CarsGuide. 2009-01-29. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  10. ^ Lewis, Ryan (2017-10-04). "Top 5 best-selling utes of September 2017". WhichCar. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  11. ^ "Top 5 Utes 4wd". CarAdvice. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  12. ^ a b "Automotive History – The Aussie Ute". Curbside Classic. 2016-07-31. Retrieved 2018-11-05.
  13. ^ a b c Warner, Gary (1999-08-08). "Who built the first utility – where – when..." Archived from the original on 2010-04-12. Retrieved 2010-04-01.
  14. ^ "History of the Roadster Ute". Roadster Ute. Archived from the original on 2012-10-09. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
  15. ^ "A History of the American Pickup Truck". Archived from the original on 2008-11-20.
  16. ^ Short, Mark (2007-08-22). "History of the Holden ute". Archived from the original on 2019-03-01. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  17. ^ Courtney, Pip (2001-10-13). "Deniliquin taps into 'Ute fever'". Landline. ABC. Archived from the original on 2002-06-18. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  18. ^ "Deni Ute Muster". Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  19. ^ Foster, Ally (2018-09-28). "A look inside Australia's wildest festival in outback NSW". Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  20. ^ "Holden HSV Maloo R8 is World Fastest Ute". Worldcarfans. 2007-07-21. Archived from the original on 2007-10-14. Retrieved 2009-04-25.
  21. ^ "2017 HSV GTSR MALOO (base) Pricing and Specs". Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  22. ^ "HSV GTSR Maloo (2017)". Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  23. ^ Hawley, Jonathan (2010-05-28). "The Creation of an Aussie Icon". Archived from the original on 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2010-06-29.
  24. ^ Traugott, Jay (2012-05-12). "Unique of the Week: 1974 Ford Falcon XB Ute". CarBuzz. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  25. ^ a b "Top 100 new cars sold in Australia in 2019". Carsguide. Retrieved 5 September 2020.
  26. ^ "VFACTS: Australia's new vehicle sales at their lowest since 2003". CarExpert. 2021-01-06. Retrieved 2021-01-18.
  27. ^ "Holden Ute Classics". Classic Holden Cars. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
  28. ^ "Buying Used: Holden V6 Ute VU-VZ (2000-2006)". CarSales. 2012-03-20. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
  29. ^ Blackburn, Richard (2008-05-09). "Ford says new FG Falcon ute has power, payload edge". Archived from the original on 2013-10-24.
  30. ^ Gall, Jared (2009-01-06). "2010 Pontiac G8 ST Pickup Killed". Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  31. ^ LaReau, Jamie (2009-01-05). "Pontiac G8 ST sport truck killed by GM". Autoweek. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  32. ^ "Valiant VG Technical Specifications". Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  33. ^ "The new Hillman de luxe Utility". Power Farming in Australia and New Zealand: 100. August 1956.
  34. ^ Colquhoun, Steve (2011-10-14). "Best Ute". Archived from the original on 2011-12-23.


External links

This page was last edited on 19 April 2024, at 00:45
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