Which ute is the best?

How do you pick from the dozens of utes on sale?

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Here at Finder, we painstakingly compare ute reviews to determine the general opinion of motoring experts on a vehicle. This saves you time and helps you understand the pros and cons of buying a particular pick-up. But what if, after reading our comparisons, you're still unsure about which ute to buy?

We've compiled popular utes by key measurements, to help you pick the best model to suit your needs.

Best ute around town

If you live in a metro area or need to work in and around cities, the Mitsubishi Triton is probably the ute to look at. It has the tightest turning circle of all the utes we've compared below, at a mere 11.8m compared to the average of 12.7m. Plus it's skinny at only 1,815mm wide with the mirrors out, making it the perfect ute for tight city streets.

Conversely, the bulky RAM 1500 and LandCruiser 70 are bigger vehicles, with larger kerb to kerb turning circles, making them more of a handful in built-up areas.

Best ute for heavy towing

If you tow a lot, you need a vehicle with a high tow capacity rating. However, this number doesn't always factor in the weight you're carrying. We've calculated how heavy a trailer you can haul if you're fully loaded up. We've done this by subtracting the gross combination mass (GCM), which is the maximum allowable mass of your vehicle and trailer, from the ute's gross vehicle mass (GVM), which is the upper operating weight that a manufacturer has certified.

The clear winner here was the RAM 1500, which will comfortably lug a 3,787kg trailer, even with a fully loaded tray and passenger compartment. Plus, with its monster-truck size 5.7-litre V8, there are wads of torque to get your convoy rolling. The LandCruiser 70 is also another towing brute, with a 4.5-litre turbo diesel and the ability to pull 3.5 tonnes while carrying a full payload.

Most fuel-efficient ute

If fuel usage is your main concern, like when you need to travel long distances, then the Nissan Navara Dual cab ST 4x4 pick-up came out as the most frugal ute in our list, using just 6.3L/100km combined. The Ford Ranger 4x2 XL Single cab low-rider with the 2.2-litre TDCi diesel engine uses a pretty decent 6.5L/100km combined, according to Ford.

Best ute for carrying heavy loads

If you need to haul heavy loads, like pallets or blocks of cement, then the Holden Colorado 4x2 LS Single cab diesel can move around 1,487kg. A Ford Ranger 4x2 XL Single cab Hi-rider will handle 1,476kg without a fuss.

Best ute for carrying large loads

If you need to carry bulky, cumbersome loads, a single cab ute with a tray will be your best choice. The Isuzu D-Max, VW Amarok and Holden Colorado single cabs have huge trays that can accommodate cargo up to 2,550mm in length.

The widest tray on a double cab ute (measured between the wheelhouses) was the RAM 1500, followed by the Mazda BT-50 and Ford Ranger.

Best ute for families

If you're looking for an ideal ute to use as your family vehicle, all the models in our list have a 5-star ANCAP safety rating. However, the HiLux was given the topmost score more recently. The rest were last tested in 2016 (LandCruiser Cab chassis and Holden Colorado). In 2015, the Ford Ranger, Nissan Navara and Triton were tested. The Isuzu D-Max was last assessed in 2013 and ANCAP last crashed the Amarok in 2011.

A double cab body makes the most sense, as it gives a family-friendly five seats, with room in the tray for storing your luggage. Therefore, for parents, we'd recommend something like the 2019 Toyota HiLux. It comes with Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Support, Lane Keep Assist and Lane Departure Warning as standard. There are side head airbags in the rear, Fatigue detection and ISOFIX points too. Double cab HiLux utes scored a suitable 87% for child occupant safety.

Best ute for tradies

If you need a work truck, check our guide on the best utes for tradies.

Toyota HiLux ute

Toyota HiLux

Toyota HiLux
Payload best Not published
Payload lowest Not published
Single cab tray Not published
King cab pick-up dimensions* Not published
Dual cab pick-up dimensions best Not published
Actual towing capacity (gross combined mass - gross vehicle mass) 2,800kg
Most fuel-efficient model (combined) 7.2L/100km (4x2 Hi-Rider Workmate)
Turning circle Not listed
Tie-down points Not listed
Workhorse/fleet model? Yes
Tray included? Yes
Lowest priced model: 2.7-litre petrol 4x2 WorkMate Single cab chassis $27,929
Measurements: external (L, W, H) 5,415mm x 1,885mm x 1,815mm
Internal width (front) Not listed
Comments Toyota doesn't publish tray sizing information or payload figures for the HiLux. This ute is the most recent to be given a 5-star ANCAP rating.

* Toyota calls its king cab model an Extra-cab

Ford Ranger 2019

Ford Ranger

Ford Ranger
Payload best 1,476kg (4x2 XL Single cab Hi-rider)
Payload lowest 954kg (4x4 Wildtrak Double cab 2.0-litre)
Single cab tray 1,895mm x 1,860mm (3.52m2)
King cab pick-up dimensions 1,139mm x 1,847mm x 511mm (1075.01 cubic litres)
Dual cab pick-up dimensions best 1,139mm x 1,549mm x 511mm (901.5 cubic litres)
Actual towing capacity (gross combined mass - gross vehicle mass) 2,800kg
Most fuel-efficient model (combined) 6.5L/100km (4x2 XL Single cab low-rider with 2.2-litre diesel)
Turning circle 12.7m (the Single cab needs only 11.9m)
Tie-down points 4
Workhorse/fleet model? Yes
Tray included? No, costs $1,999
Lowest priced model: 2.2-litre Single cab XL chassis with tray $36,638
Measurements: external (L, W, H) 5,446mm x 2,163mm (mirrors out) x 1,821mm
Internal width (front) 1,440mm
Comments A very popular ute, not the cheapest model out there, but it's fuel-efficient and well reviewed.

*Ford calls its king cab models a Super cab

Mitsubishi Triton 2019

Mitsubishi Triton

Mitsubishi Triton
Payload best 1,284kg (4x2 GLX Single cab petrol)
Payload lowest 858kg (4x4 GLS Premium Double cab diesel)
Single cab tray 1,697mm x 2,544mm (4.3m2)
King cab pick-up dimensions 1,085mm x 1,850mm x 475mm (953.44 cubic litres)
Dual cab pick-up dimensions best 1,085mm x 1,520mm x 511mm (783.7 cubic litres)
Actual towing capacity (gross combined mass - gross vehicle mass) 2,985kg
Most fuel-efficient model (combined) 7.8L/100km (4x2 GLX Single cab diesel and GLX ADAS Double cab pick-up)
Turning circle 11.8m
Tie-down points 6
Workhorse/fleet model? Yes
Tray included? Yes
Lowest priced model: 2WD petrol manual GLX single cab chassis $24,990
Measurements: external (L, W, H) 5,305mm x 1,815mm (mirrors out) x 1,795mm
Internal width (front) 1,430mm
Comments The re-designed Triton is a great-looking ute, plus its compact size and manoeuvrability make it a great inner city ute.

*Mitsubishi calls its king cab a Club cab

Holden Colorado

Holden Colorado

Holden Colorado
Payload best 1,487kg (4x2 LS Single cab diesel)
Payload lowest 971kg (4x4 GLS Premium Double cab diesel)
Single cab tray 2,550mm length, width unknown
King cab pick-up dimensions 1,122mm x 1,795mm x 466mm (938.5 litres)
Dual cab pick-up dimensions best 1,122mm x 1,484mm x 466mm (775.9 litres)
Actual towing capacity (gross combined mass - gross vehicle mass) 2,850kg
Most fuel-efficient model (combined) 7.9L/100km (Most of the range)
Turning circle 12.7m
Tie-down points 4
Workhorse/fleet model? Yes
Tray included? Doesn't say
Lowest priced model: 2WD diesel LS single cab chassis $31,690*
Measurements: external (L, W, H) 5,361mm x 1,874mm (mirrors out) x 1,812mm
Internal width (front) 1,447mm
Comments A ute that has been tuned for Australian conditions.

*Manufacturer's recommended list price

Nissan Navara ute double-csab

Nissan Navara

Nissan Navara
Payload best 1,356kg (4x2 RX Single cab)
Payload lowest 931kg (4x4 ST-X Double cab diesel automatic)
Single cab tray -
King cab pick-up dimensions 1,130mm x 1,788mm x 474mm (957.6 litres)
Dual cab pick-up dimensions best 1,130mm x 1,503mm x 474mm (805 litres)
Actual towing capacity (gross combined mass - gross vehicle mass) 3,000kg
Most fuel-efficient model (combined) 6.3L/100km (Dual cab ST 4x4 pick-up)
Turning circle 11.8m
Tie-down points 4
Workhorse/fleet model? Yes
Tray included? Yes
Lowest priced model: 2WD RX Single cab chassis $32,864*
Measurements: external (L, W, H) 5,083mm x 2,085mm (mirrors out) x 1,855mm
Internal width (front) Not given
Comments A good all-rounder, the rear suspension set-up might not be as good for hauling loads, but it gives lots of travel off-road.

Isuzu D-Max

Isuzu D-Max

Isuzu D-Max
Payload best 1,349kg (4x2 SX Single cab)
Payload lowest 1,014kg (Range of models)
Single cab tray 2,550mm x 1,778mm (4.53m2)
King cab pick-up dimensions 1,105mm x 1,825mm x 465mm (937.7 litres)
Dual cab pick-up dimensions best 1,105mm x 1,552mm x 465mm (797.4 litres)
Actual towing capacity (gross combined mass - gross vehicle mass) 2,900kg
Most fuel-efficient model (combined) 7.2L/100km (4x2 Single cab chassis low-ride)
Turning circle 12.6m (entry model is 12.0m)
Tie-down points 4
Workhorse/fleet model? Yes
Tray included? Yes
Lowest priced model: 2WD RX Single cab chassis $26,990*
Measurements: external (L, W, H) 5,295mm x 1,860mm (No mirrors) x 1,855mm
Internal width (front) 1,460mm
Comments Good value, a long six-year warranty and breakdown package, plus seven years capped price servicing.

*Isuzu calls its king cab models a Space cab and dual cabs are labelled Crew cabs

Toyota LandCruiser 70 4x4

Toyota LandCruiser 70

Toyota LandCruiser 70
Payload best Not listed
Payload lowest Not listed
Single cab tray 1,755mm x 2,400mm (4.21m2)
King cab pick-up dimensions -
Dual cab pick-up dimensions best 1,755mm x 1,800mm
Actual towing capacity (gross combined mass - gross vehicle mass) 3,500kg
Most fuel-efficient model (combined) 10.7L/100km
Turning circle 14.4m
Tie-down points -
Workhorse/fleet model? Yes
Tray included? Yes
Lowest priced model: WorkMate Single cab chassis $69,525
Measurements: external (L, W) 5,230mm x 1,870mm x 1,970mm
Internal width (front) Not published
Comments An old-school, properly tough ute. Boasts a giant V8 diesel engine and 5-star ANCAP rating.

Mazda BT-50 ute

Mazda BT-50

Mazda BT-50
Payload best 1,389kg (4x2 XT Single cab Hi-rider – with tray)
Payload lowest 1,026kg (4x4 Dual cab Utility Boss)
Single cab tray Not published
King cab pick-up dimensions 1,139mm x 1,847mm x 513mm (1,079.2 litres)
Dual cab pick-up dimensions best 1,139mm x 1,485mm x 513mm (867.6 litres)
Actual towing capacity (gross combined mass - gross vehicle mass) 2,800kg
Most fuel-efficient model (combined) 8L/100km (4x2 Single cab chassis XT manual)
Turning circle 12.4m (entry model is 11.8m)
Tie-down points 4
Workhorse/fleet model? Yes
Tray included? Yes
Lowest priced model: 2WD RX Single cab chassis $30,490*
Measurements: external (L, W, H) 5,373mm x 1,850mm x 1,821mm
Internal width (front) Not published
Comments Shares mechanicals and architecture with the Ford Ranger, but isn't as expensive.

*Mazda names its king cab models as Freestyle cabs

VW Amarok V6 ute

VW Amarok

Volkswagen Amarok
Payload best 1,349kg (4x2 SX Single cab)
Payload lowest 1,014kg (Range of models)
Single cab tray 2,550mm x 1,778mm (4.53m2)
King cab pick-up dimensions 1,105mm x 1,825mm x 465mm (937.7 litres)
Dual cab pick-up dimensions best 1,105mm x 1,552mm x 465mm (797.4 litres)
Actual towing capacity (gross combined mass - gross vehicle mass) 2,900kg
Most fuel-efficient model (combined) 7.2L/100km (4x2 Single cab chassis low-ride)
Turning circle 12.6m (entry model is 12.0m)
Tie-down points 4
Workhorse/fleet model? Yes
Tray included? Yes
Lowest priced model: 2WD RX Single cab chassis $26,990*
Measurements: external (L, W, H) 5,295mm x 1,860mm (No mirrors) x 1,878mm
Internal width (front) 1,460mm
Comments Motoring journalists went nuts for the Amarok's V6 diesel option.

RAM 1500 Laramie ute

RAM 1500

RAM 1500
Payload best 845kg (1500 Express)
Payload lowest 800kg (1500 Laramie)
Single cab tray N/A
King cab pick-up dimensions N/A
Dual cab pick-up dimensions best 1,939 x 1,295mm x 511(1,283.1 litres)
Actual towing capacity (gross combined mass - gross vehicle mass): 3,787kg (RAM 1500 Express and Laramie)
Most fuel-efficient model (combined) 9.9L/100km (RAM 1500 Express V8 Petrol)
Turning circle 13.9m (12.1 on 1500 Laramie)
Tie-down points 4
Workhorse/fleet model? Yes
Tray included? Yes
Lowest priced model: 2WD RX Single cab chassis $79,950*
Measurements: external (L, W, H) 5,817mm x 2,017mm x 1,924mm
Internal width (front) 1,676mm
Comments A real big fella, that can tow some serious weight. Has a sizeable dual-cab tray.

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