Trucks, or to use the correct nomenclature, 'pickups,' are quickly replacing Utes in local showrooms, despite the fact that Australians have been driving Utes since we invented the bloody things in the 1930s. And if you believe the various social media channels that drive so much of today's discourse, it has gotten up the noses of a swarm of patriotic and jingoistic Australian car buyers like flies in a desert.
One common reaction to the prospect that the ute will soon be extinct is "A truck it is not. It's a ute, goddammit! Australians are not Americans." That sums it up perfectly!
Ford made its final Falcon ute at the end of last month, and Holden is planning to end production of its long-running workhorse, the Commodore, in the near future. To take their place will be a line of twin-cab pickup trucks assembled in Thailand, mirroring the design of the Ranger and Colorado from Ford and Holden, respectively. Of course, we'll call them "trucks," as you probably guessed. True, they certainly are.
The Australians loved the vehicle
The first models went into production in 1934, with swift sales of thousands across rural America. The Ford coupe-utility quickly became known as a "ute" (pronounced "oot"), and the rest, as they say, is history.
A few years later, Holden introduced a "utility" version of the 48-215 sedan. Soon after, that vehicle was also being referred to as a "ute," and the public, Ford, and Holden, got to enjoy a great ute marketing battle that lasted for years and even spawned a few country songs.
Utes were first seen on the roads of Australia and New Zealand's rural communities, but they soon became commonplace in the cities as well.
The Holden Special Vehicles Maloo and the Ford Performance Vehicles F6 were both the pinnacle of a line of V8-powered utes, but the competition between the two Australian automakers was so fierce that it extended to the high-performance models.
Neither the Ford Falcon nor the Holden Commodore, two of the most recognisable utes in Australia, are being produced at the present time (the last Ford Falcon ute, a white XR6 Turbo, left the assembly line in June 2016, and the last Holden Commodore ute, an orange SS, in October of the same year).
Unfortunately, production of the original Australian-built vehicles that popularised the term "ute" has ceased.
An integrated cargo tray in the rear of the passenger body characterises the classic design of utes, which are "typically two-wheel drive," as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary. It's a close match for what we need. Utes in Australia are usually rebadged versions of locally manufactured four-door sedans. This ranges from Ford Falcons to General four-door sedans badged as Holdens such as the FJ Holden, Kingswood, and Commodore.
The Aussie-built ute, however, is no longer visible on our roads or in the newest housing developments of any major city. Popular pick-up trucks in Australia include the Toyota Hilux, Mazda BT-50, Mitsubishi Triton, Isuzu D-Max, Nissan Navara, Ford Rangers, Chevrolet Colorados, and others. No longer are Falcons and Commodores relied upon as reliable work vehicles. Construction workers in Australia are increasingly foregoing the traditional ute in favour of more modern trucks.
However, the term remains in use, though it now describes vehicles with a truck chassis that weigh one tonne and are known as pickups elsewhere.
Utes, or Australian pickup trucks, are gaining popularity in the United States thanks in large part to a Colorado company that is drastically underselling them as "modern-day El Caminos."
Most of you are probably aware that Utes are a popular mode of transportation in Australia. They resemble a cross between a sedan and a pickup truck and are often referred to as the "mullet of automobiles."
Even though the El Camino was the last vehicle of its body style in the United States, its popularity in Australia continued to soar, making would-be utility car drivers in the United States very envious.
At this juncture, Randy Reese's part is critical. He has been operating a company out of Denver called "Left Hand Utes" for the past two years, during which time he has imported Holden ute bodies from Australia as "parts only" vehicles and then outfitted them with just enough American car parts to get them titled and registered in the United States.
The word "pickup" is primarily used in the United States. Historians agree that it all started in the early 20th century, when an Ohio firm called the Galion Allsteel Body Company began installing their own bodies on slightly modified Ford Model T chassis.
It wasn't until a few years later that Ford began producing its own take on the Model T, which it marketed as the "Ford Model runabout with pickup body."
And just as it did in Australia, this caused a massive increase in demand for pickup trucks among the general public, with millions of people buying the vehicles for purely aesthetic reasons.
It began instantaneously and hasn't stopped since.
It's no surprise that pickup trucks dominated the 2017 U.S. auto sales charts; the Ford F-Series sold an astounding 896,764 vehicles alone. The Ram came in at number three with sales of 500,723, the Chevrolet Silverado at number two with sales of 585,564, and the Toyota Tundra in first with sales of a measly 58,523.
Generally speaking, I consider utes to be "Light Duty" vehicles. To begin with, their payload is smaller. My ute can carry up to 700 kilogrammes. It's the v6 manual version, so that's why. The sports suspension on the V8 model makes it even lower to the ground. Utes are commonly seen transporting tools, motorcycles, and furniture during moves because these items are too large to fit in a regular car. Although I have transported some firewood and dirt in mine, it has not been nearly as much as you could transport in a single cab pickup truck.
The ute's large cargo area is an advantage. It's surprisingly spacious for a car the size of a regular Commodore.
When we were tidying up the shed, this was a helpful tool. My ute was chosen over my dad's pickup because its tub was more spacious than the tray. Because of its length and increased height, you could put more in it before having to secure it with straps.
A further benefit of a Ute is that operating one is similar to operating a car. The ute is not obscenely large, and it is powered by a respectable engine (a 3.8-liter V6, in my case; 5.7-liter V8s were also available). As an added bonus, their gearing is quite good. This means that you can ease up to the speed limit without having to use all five gears. Helps simplify things a little bit. If I had to choose between driving a car or a ute in rush-hour traffic, I'd always opt for the ute.
In my mind, "Medium Duty" refers to pickup trucks like the Holden Colorado, Toyota Hilux, and Ford Ranger. The standard single cab configurations have a payload of 1 tonne and a flat tray. It also means you can put a new kind of content on them. The vast majority of the time, these are seen being used as work vehicles. They come equipped with toolboxes or are stocked with everything needed to complete the task. Most of them also have four-wheel drive, so you can pack them up and take them camping. I used my Rodeo to accomplish this.
I like to use the term "Heavy Duty" to describe vehicles like the Nissan Patrols and Toyota Land Cruisers because they are so much sturdier.
Difference #1: Country of mass popularity
I'm going to assume that you're all familiar with the following:
In Australia, utes are ubiquitous.
In the United States, pickup trucks are ubiquitous.
In a letter to Henry Ford dated 1932, an Australian farmer's wife pleaded, "Give us a car big enough to take our pigs to market on Mondays and take us to church on Sundays." Ford designer Lew Bandt devised a solution he called "coupé utility" to this problem. They based it off of their original, successful Model A. Henry Ford dubbed them "Cangaroo Chasers" because of their success Down Under.
However, pickup developed in a slightly different fashion. Galion Allsteel began producing Model T hauling boxes in 1913, which could be attached to the vehicle's rear axle. Dodge produced a 3/4 tonne pickup in 1924 with an all-wooden body, proving that brand rivalry had not died out even then. Soon after, in 1931, Chevrolet debuted its first production pickup. Business was booming.
We must admit that this is a sizable oversimplification. There are always outliers.
Difference #2: Base of the vehicle and interior space
Pickups are modelled after trucks and thus have larger cabins.
Utes are automobile derivatives, so they have smaller trunks.
There's really no need to overcomplicate this.
The chassis for a ute, or utility coupe, is a car.
The vehicle's passenger compartment and cargo area are joined into a single unit. It's because the original function of the ute was to transport both people and goods for farmers. However, a significant amount of storage space was sacrificed in its creation because it was created by cutting off the back of a car's roof and welding a panel to border the passenger compartment. Not much can be stored in the back of the seats. If it starts raining, that could be an issue, but I seriously doubt that this is a common problem for Australians.
Conversely, pickups consist of two distinct parts—the cab and the cargo bed—mounted on a sturdy chassis that was originally developed for trucks. Among all of these useful features, interior room is the most pressing right now. Even in the smallest cab, there is enough space behind the seats to stow a medium-sized bag. Never mind the insane double-cabs that hide a huge trunk behind the rear seats. If the need arises, the cab size can be increased by simply taking the two pieces apart. When you need to pick up a girl on the way home and transport a cow in the back, this is a great tool to have.
Difference #3: Size and Load Capacity. Therefore, Purpose
Generally speaking, utes can only carry a fraction of what larger trucks can. You can fit anyone in them because they are universally sized.
Standard pickups are larger and can carry more cargo. Quite a few distinct varieties exist.
In the same way that most other ute features are derived from automobiles, so is this one.
Aside from the height, its overall dimensions are identical to those of the original car.
The chassis is sturdy enough to carry light to moderate loads, but it can't hold a candle to the pickup's frame. But it serves its purpose well enough, transporting items that are too big for a car but not quite so big that a truck needs to be rented or purchased.
Utes can have a few different layouts, but they all adhere to the same basic structure: two passenger seats up front and a small cargo bed in the back.
Pickup trucks, as opposed to utes, are designed to haul more weight. Although their chassis isn't designed for it, they can be used to haul heavier items, the kind for which one would typically rent a truck. Pickups can range from the traditional, smaller models to the contemporary, fifth-wheel-equipped models that can tow enormous trailers. Additionally, there are single cabs, double cabs, and super cabs... It's possible to imagine a world with no limits.
And there you have it! The distinctions between utes and pickup trucks are thus summed up. There are, of course, other distinctions, such as those involving the drivetrain, engine, and transmission. However, variations in models may exist.
Even so, in any case, we can all see how previously misunderstood differences exist between two seemingly similar vehicle types.
Ultimately, your needs and the vehicle's intended purpose should guide your decision. Get a ute if you need something as easy to drive as a car but with more cargo space. A pickup is the way to go if you need something more sturdy.
This latest upheaval, it would appear, is less about the loss of an Australian icon than it is about the loss of the uniquely Australian word "ute" in favour of yet another Americanism.
In any case, we shouldn't stress ourselves out so much. Since the beginning of time, Americanisms have permeated every aspect of our lives (or at least since the end of the Second World War). Our lexical and cultural landscape that revolves around cars hasn't escaped either.
As a nation, we have enthusiastically embraced the term "muscle cars" to describe powerful, high-performance, V8-powered, gas-guzzling sedans and coupes. Even though we don't purchase as many as we once did, the term "station waggon" continues to hold a certain allure, while "estates" are increasingly distasteful to us. It's a tachometer, not a rev counter, that we use to keep tabs on the speed at which our engines are turning, and four-door automobiles are sedans, not saloons.
In addition, when SUVs finally supplanted the incumbent 'four-wheel-drive' as the prefered terminology for one of Australia's largest new car segments, no one batted an eye or mumbled "hmmm" and declared it was just another nail in our cultural coffin.
At the end of the day, it doesn't matter. Although automakers' advertising departments may insist that their newest products are "trucks," tradies will still refer to their work vehicles as "utes" while you keep paying taxes and the world keeps spinning.
In light of this, the question arises of whether we should continue to refer to these vehicles as utes - or opt for the more international pickup - given that the traditional Australian ute is no longer in production and the big trend in this part of the world now is towards truck-style one-tonne models sourced primarily from Thailand and China.
Vehicle showrooms around the world have seen a shift from displaying Utes to displaying trucks, or more accurately, pickups. Last month, Ford produced its last Falcon ute, and now Holden plans to stop making its long-running workhorse, the Commodore. Pickup trucks from Australia known as Utes are becoming increasingly popular in the States. They are the "mullet of automobiles" because they look like a combination of a sedan and a pickup truck. They are being grossly undersold by a Colorado firm that refers to them as "modern-day El Caminos."
In 2017, pickup trucks were the best-selling vehicles in the United States. Surprisingly, Ford F-Series vehicles accounted for 896,764 total sales. With sales of 585,564, the Chevrolet Silverado placed in second place, behind the Toyota Tundra's 58,523. Utes are the most common type of vehicle in Australia, while pickup trucks predominate in the United States. A car serves as the basis for a ute, also known as a utility coupe.
Due to their achievements Down Under, Henry Ford dubbed them "Cangaroo Chasers." In 1924, Dodge manufactured a pickup with a body weight of 3/4 tonnes. The cab and the cargo bed are two separate components of the ute. If you separate the cab, you can make it bigger. Behind the seats of even the smallest taxi, you can fit a medium suitcase.
Utes aren't as heavy-duty as pickup trucks when it comes to towing. Differences in the drivetrain, engine, and transmission are just a few examples. In the end, you should base your decision on your requirements and the function of the vehicle. The American public has taken to the term "muscle cars" with great enthusiasm, using it to describe large, high-performance, V8-powered cars that consume a lot of gas. If you want to know how fast your engine is going, look at the tachometer, not the rev counter.
- That sums it up perfectly!Ford made its final Falcon ute at the end of last month, and Holden is planning to end production of its long-running workhorse, the Commodore, in the near future.
- To take their place will be a line of twin-cab pickup trucks assembled in Thailand, mirroring the design of the Ranger and Colorado from Ford and Holden, respectively.
- Utes in Australia are usually rebadged versions of locally manufactured four-door sedans.
- Utes, or Australian pickup trucks, are gaining popularity in the United States thanks in large part to a Colorado company that is drastically underselling them as "modern-day El Caminos.
- "Most of you are probably aware that Utes are a popular mode of transportation in Australia.
- They resemble a cross between a sedan and a pickup truck and are often referred to as the "mullet of automobiles.
- It's no surprise that pickup trucks dominated the 2017 U.S. auto sales charts; the Ford F-Series sold an astounding 896,764 vehicles alone.
- The vehicle's passenger compartment and cargo area are joined into a single unit.
- The distinctions between utes and pickup trucks are thus summed up.
- Ultimately, your needs and the vehicle's intended purpose should guide your decision.
- Get a ute if you need something as easy to drive as a car but with more cargo space.
- As a nation, we have enthusiastically embraced the term "muscle cars" to describe powerful, high-performance, V8-powered, gas-guzzling sedans and coupes.
- In addition, when SUVs finally supplanted the incumbent 'four-wheel-drive' as the prefered terminology for one of Australia's largest new car segments, no one batted an eye or mumbled "hmmm" and declared it was just another nail in our cultural coffin.
- In light of this, the question arises of whether we should continue to refer to these vehicles as utes - or opt for the more international pickup - given that the traditional Australian ute is no longer in production and the big trend in this part of the world now is towards truck-style one-tonne models sourced primarily from Thailand and China.