Top 10 Utes for Tradies

Date Posted: June 3, 2020

red hardhat on ground

So many options or too many options? Utes are becoming more and more common on the jobsite – vans still have their place but with utes growing in popularity among tradies, which workhorse is right for you? We’ve done the homework for you on your next ute. Here’s the top 10 utes for tradies.

Toyota HiLux SR

hilux on farm

No list of top utes for tradies can leave off the Hilux. Popular and with years of refinement, the simple and straight-forward interior is all business for tradies. Cooled centre console for drinks (beers) / lunch and steering mounted buttons, 7-inch touchscreen, six airbags and rear diff lock. The Hilux’s off-road capabilities are relatively impressive but towing a heavy trailer on unsealed roads, especially up hills, the 2.8-litre four cylinder can struggle. Poor a/c in the rear of the dual cab is an issue too for those who’ll use it as a workhorse Mon-Fri but carry kids around on weekends.
Thirst: 8.5L / 100km (city and country combined)
Towing: up to 3,500kg
Coins: $45-48K

2020 Ford Ranger FX4

ford ranger grille
Another worksite classic, this time from the famous American blue oval. It seems Ford is continuing to push the Ranger’s ‘jobsite weekday-adventure weekend’ reputation. The interior backs this up with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, sat-navigation and digital radio, controlled by an easy-to-use operating system. The 3.2-litre, five-cylinder turbo diesel makes 147kW. The long wheelbase means turning and maneuvering isn’t ultra-easy so those tight driveways or crowded construction sites aren’t where the Ranger shows off. Beware if you plan to use the Ranger for supermarket shopping on Saturdays.
Thirst: 8.4L / 100km (city and country combined)
Towing: up to 3,500kg
Coins: $55K

2020 Holden Colorado

The end of Holden didn’t see too many cuts to the Colorado’s design and features. However, it’s not as ‘updated’ from previous models as enthusiasts would have liked. A few exterior paint changes are all that really separates the 2020 from the 2019, depending on model variant. Not to worry though, as the tough-looking Colorado always impresses. The 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel makes healthy power and comes with a low-range transfer case for off-roading. Bear in mind, auto transmissions are generally more expensive but Holden wants $2200 more than the manual across the range, Holden also offers various ‘packs’ (for more money of course). These extras include various amenities and aesthetics (yes, there’s a ‘tradie pack’). Note that Holden’s claimed fuel efficiency is pretty optimistic.
Thirst: 8.6L / 100km (city and country combined)
Towing: up to 3,500kg
Coins: $43K (for the 4×4 crew cab)

2020 Mazda BT-50

Interestingly, the BT-50 and Ford Ranger share some components and designs – they are (‘were’ – depending on model) produced in the same factory in Thailand. The two vehicles share the same basic engine, slightly tweaked drivetrain and some models share the same chassis. They share lineage of when Ford was a major share holder in Mazda. The 5-star safety rating and Mazda’s extended 3-year warranty help sales and have shown the BT-50 to be an increasingly popular choice. It comes in 3.2 and 2.2-litre diesel versions – fuel stats below are for the 3.2-litre. The front grille is not so ‘tough’ looking – we’ll leave the styling opinions to potential buyers. Interior gadgetry is on par with competitors too, however, Mazda’s huge range of options and extras need to be looked at upon purchase.
Thirst: 10L / 100km (city and country combined)
Towing: up to 3,500kg
Coins: $46.5K

2020 VW Amarok (Canyon)

volkswagen steering wheel

Does the Amarok still seem ‘new’? It’s been 10 years since it was launched and it’s come a long way. The 2020 Aamrok holds up the reputation VW was going for – functionality. It’s well-designed in an ergonomic sense with everything being where you’d expect plus numerous 12v outlets are handy for on-the-run tradies. No rear A/C for passengers in the back, no blind-spot monitoring and no rear airbags – the Amarok is not your weekend family ute. However, as this list is for tradies, it doesn’t lose any points for being a solid and reliable choice with a no-fuss interior.
Thirst: 9L / 100km (city and country combined)
Towing: up to 3,500kg
Coins: $58K

2020 Mitsubishi Triton

Mitsubishi has upgraded gadgetry on the 2020 Triton, now coming with sensor key and push-button start. If you find yourself carrying armfuls of tools, the Triton might be your choice. Note that the 2.4-litre turbo diesel doesn’t have the tow capacity of its rivals. The Triton’s price is its best brag – much more affordable than others in this list. However, to achieve this, don’t expect plush interiors – a good thing if you plan to drive it with muddy boots or carry tools in the cabin.
Thirst: 8.6L / 100km (city and country combined)
Towing: up to 3,100kg
Coins: $35K

2020 Nissan Navara ST-X

navara in field

Nissan has gone more refined and comfortable with the ST-X. Expect to find a higher quality interior and drive style compared to competitors. The drive is described as more ‘car-like’, backed up by the 8.0-inchpinch and zoom touchscreen unit, like a smartphone, with TomTom sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This is aimed at the family-tradie and those buying their first ute having previously driven sedans. Throw another 1,500 bucks in for leather seats. The 2.3-litre twin-turbo diesel makes excellent power for the fuel range.
Thirst: 7L / 100km (city and country combined)
Towing: up to 3,500kg
Coins: $55K

2020 Isuzu D-Max

d-max driving through mud
If you put all tradie needs into some kind of ute-design machine, it’d probably spit out a D-Max. Good value and an interior that says ‘construction site’ – it’s all hard plastic, vinyl and rubber. If you find yourself driving with mud or dust on your clothes on a regular basis, the D-Max is a friend. Super easy to clean and no worrying about mud or grease on carpets. Apprentices will love it too – no messing up or damaging the rugged D-Max. One part they won’t like is poor smartphone connectivity and ‘cheap’ sounding stereo – you won’t make friends being the ‘music guy’ on a jobsite. The 3-litre turbo diesel is a solid choice as far as variants go – pretty good on fuel too.
Thirst: 7.9L / 100km (city and country combined)
Towing: up to 3,500kg
Coins: $42.2k

2020 Mercedes-Benz X-Class

holding mercedez-benz keys

Mercedes is trying to get into the ute craze – have they succeeded? You don’t really associate
steel-caps, high vis and power tools with Mercedes. The X-Class actually uses the same Nissan-Renault developed engine in the above mentioned Navara – perhaps showing Merc wasn’t keen on throwing a whole lot of money in developing their own ute. The interior is, of course, higher end, especially compared to say, the D-Max. Expected from this brand. On the plus side, you’ll look like the manager on the jobsite. On the downside, dirty work gear and heavy tools won’t let you drive with peace-of-mind. Note that the quoted fuel efficiency is extremely optimistic.
Thirst: 7.2L / 100km (city and country combined)
Towing: up to 3,500kg
Coins: $55K (note: $45.5K up to $87K – a huge range)

2020 LDV T60 (Luxe)

Chinese manufacturer LDV is really trying to gain a share in the Aussie ute market. In a nutshell, the T60 is cheap and comes with a solid warranty but lacks the years of refinement that other manufacturers have. This is evident in poor fuel efficiency for the 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine which makes 110kw. For comparison, the Ford Ranger is rated at 147kw and uses less fuel. On the road, the LDV is capable and a solid competitor to other utes for tradies, it proves itself off-road competent. The roomy, no-frills interior is a crew favourite too which won’t get damaged and dirty due to rubber and hard plastics.
Thirst: 9.6L / 100km (city and country combined)
Towing: up to 3,000kg
Coins: $32K

These are just the top 10 utes for tradies. Which ute from our list matches your work places and trade? Do you need a simple Mon-Fri workhorse or something for the weekend too?

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