To make things easy, we’ve created this handy buyers guide for choosing the best ute to suit.
Big, grunty and practical - the ute is as much a part of Kiwi culture as 8 wire. A favourite of hardworking tradies and farmers, utes are trusty packhorses for tools, livestock and weekend sporting gear. That’s why finding the right ute with the workload capability and lifestyle comforts is so important.
The NZ ute has evolved from workhorse to family vehicle and everything in between. With multiple cab sizes, variances in power, load and tow capacity, it’s a good idea to first assess what you’ll be mostly using your ute for before you head out for a test drive.
Power and Fuel
How much grunt do you need? This will depend on the weight load you will be carrying or towing. If you’re regularly on rough terrain, towing machinery, a boat or transporting stock, you’ll want something between 400 and 500 Nm of torque and at least 150 hp. Diesel engines are a good option if you do a lot of kilometres as they offer great fuel efficiency and have heavy-duty torque.
Utes offer a sense of adventure and freedom that most other vehicles don’t compare with. While they hold a firm place in the heart of many kiwi blokes, their evolution in style, comfort and cabin infotainment has made them more versatile than ever for adventure-seekers and active families.
When you’re looking to buy a ute, doing your research and speaking with the experts at the dealership will ensure you get the perfect vehicle for your work and lifestyle needs.
For tradies, farmers and workers who need to transport goods, choosing the right deck is your most important consideration. The big question is how long do you need your deck to be and do you need removable sides?
Wellside - These are the most common type of ute you’ll see on NZ roads with most extended or dual cab utes being a wellside. These have factory installed sides that are not removable and a rear tray that opens at the end.
Flat Deck - These have only two doors, two seats and a long, hard wearing deck with removable sides. These are most popular with farmers and tradies who have to frequently load and unload.
There are a few options to consider depending on what you intend to use your ute for and how much passenger space you need.
Cab and chassis - If you’re looking for a bare basics ute, the ‘cab and chassis’ is just that - a single front cab and chassis with no deck on the back. These fit-for-purpose utes are designed to hold custom flat decks, lockboxes or campers on top.
Single cab - These seat up to three passengers and are a practical option if you don’t need to transport many people and are often more affordable.
Extended cabs are a longer single cab, with two wider doors and access into a narrow row of seating or rear storage that seats four. Most come with a fold-down seat and a child seat anchor making it do-able for short rides and a small family, but not for comfortably seating adults for any duration.
Dual, Double or King cab have a shorter deck but more cabin space. With standard seats and ample legroom to seat five, it’s the best bet for transporting families, work supplies or small teams.