Best utes to buy with your $150k business tax write-off
How to best spend your $150k tax write-off on a ute
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With the announcement of the $150,000 tax write-off, you might be wondering which ute (or utes) would best suit your business. Here are some of the best utes according to motoring journalists, current owners and our team.
Remember, you have to make the purchase before the recently extended 31 December 2020 deadline!
Which utes qualify?
According to the Australian Tax Office, there are some conditions attached to the $150k asset write-off, when it comes to commercial vehicles.
The $150k asset write-off small print
In addition, if you purchase a car (a passenger vehicle, except a motor cycle or similar vehicle, designed to carry a load less than one tonne and fewer than nine passengers) for your business, the instant asset write-off is limited to the business portion of the car limit of $57,581 for the 2019–20 income tax year. For example, if you use your vehicle for 75% business use, the total you can claim under the instant asset write-off is 75% of $57,581, which equals $43,186.
To qualify for the full amount to be written off, the vehicle must:
- Be able to carry over one tonne
- Or, have a higher than nine-passengers capacity
You should absolutely talk with your accountant before making a purchase.
Best value ute
If you want to spend as a little as possible, then brands like Great Wall, Mitsubishi, Isuzu, LDV and Ssangyong will appeal.
Great Wall Steed
Great Wall Motors is a Chinese automotive manufacturer, who professes to be one of the country's most successful carmakers. The company was formed in 1984 and built its first independent vehicle in 1995. The Great Wall Steed, known as the Wingle in some global markets, is the lowest priced ute on the Australian car market today. Great Wall states the Steed is powered by a 2.0-litre turbo diesel, mated to a 6-speed manual and has four-wheel drive that runs through a BorgWarner transfer box.
Reviews for the low-cost, high-value ute aren't overwhelmingly positive. But nonetheless, car experts were more than surprised by its ride comfort, decent payload capacity, five-year warranty and the insanely low price.
If you prefer a more widely known brand, Mitsubishi is currently offering their 4x2 Triton ute from $24,990. The Triton is held as an example of a great ute around town, a good value vehicle, a stylish pick-up and as a model with excellent safety assists. Also, you get a 7-year/150,000km warranty with a Triton, in addition to 3 years of capped service pricing.
Isuzu's D-Max comes in from as little as $26,990. Car reviewers reckon it presents a good deal, with a grunty diesel engine, big payload and a long, six-year/150,000km warranty. Isuzu says that it's the lowest-priced diesel-powered ute on the market, with the largest capacity in its class.
Plus, included in the price, on top of the six-year warranty, you also get six-years of capped price servicing and seven years roadside assistance.
Ssangyong Musso/Musso XLV
One of the cheapest 4x4 utes on the Aussie market is the Ssangyong Musso and the extended load bed XLV model. The Musso's drive-away cost starts from $30,490. Its name is the Korean word for rhinoceros. The Musso was received fairly positively by car testers. One tester described the interior as comfortable and luxurious, with a heap of active safety gadgets, a smooth and grunty donk and a long (seven-year) warranty. Overall, it seems to present reasonable value.
If that weren't enough, it has the longest in-class tray:
The new Musso XLV takes it up a notch, laying claim to the title of 'Capacity King' with a class-leading 19% longer tray delivering a massive 26% more load capacity.
On one site where verified owners are able to post reviews, a number of motorists said they felt it was a very luxurious ute, calling it the Rolls Royce of the ute world and a severely underrated vehicle.
Ute entry prices by model compared
|Base model||Entry drive-away price||Eligible for the full $150k asset write-off?|
|Ford Ranger 4x2||$28,990*||Up to $57,581, unless it can carry over a 1,000kg payload|
|Ford Ranger 4x4||$46,706||Wildtrak X, Wildtrak X 3.2, FX4 2.0, FX4 3.2, XLT 2.0 and 3.2 appear to qualify|
|Great Wall Steed 4x2||$19,990**||All Great Walls appear to be able to at least carry 1,000kg|
|Great Wall Steed 4x4||$21,990**||All Great Walls appear to be able to at least carry 1,000kg|
|Holden Colorado 4x2||$31,690***||Holden states "All models except LTZ+ and Z71" have a one tonne payload|
|Holden Colorado 4x4||$39,690***||Holden states "All models except LTZ+ and Z71" have a one tonne payload|
|Isuzu D-Max 4x2||$21,990*||Yes, all D-Max models appear to have at least a 1,000kg payload|
|Isuzu D-Max 4x4||$21,990*||Yes, all D-Max models appear to have at least a 1,000kg payload|
|Mazda BT-50 4x2||$30,840||All of the Mazda range appears to have a 1,000kg+ payload|
|Mazda BT-50 4x4||$37,290||All of the Mazda range appears to have a 1,000kg+ payload|
|Mercedes-Benz X-Class 4x2||$51,555.85||Up to $57,581, unless it can carry over a 1,000kg payload|
|Mercedes-Benz X-Class 4x4||$56,652.85||The 250d Power, 250d Progressive, 350d Edition 1, 350d Power and 350d Progressive (as 4MATICS) should qualify|
|Mitsubishi Triton 4x2||$24,990||Up to $57,581, unless it can carry over a 1,000kg payload|
|Mitsubishi Triton 4x4||$23,240||Up to $57,581, unless it can carry over a 1,000kg payload|
|Nissan Navara 4x2||$28,690**||Up to $57,581, unless it can carry over a 1,000kg payload|
|Nissan Navara 4x4||$40,457||Up to $57,581, unless it can carry over a 1,000kg payload|
|Toyota HiLux 4x2||$28,319||Up to $57,581, unless it can carry over a 1,000kg payload|
|Toyota HiLux 4x4||$44,657||Up to $57,581, unless it can carry over a 1,000kg payload|
|Volkswagen Amarok 4x2||$38,490||Up to $57,581, unless it can carry over a 1,000kg payload|
|Volkswagen Amarok 4x4||$42,990||Up to $57,581, unless it can carry over a 1,000kg payload|
|LDV T60 4x4||$27,490||Yes|
|Mercedes G-Wagen CC 4x4||$277,766||Professional models|
|RAM 1500 Express 4x4||$89,950||Up to $57,581, unless it can carry over a 1,000kg payload|
|RAM 1500 Laramie 4x4||$109,950||Up to $57,581, unless it can carry over a 1,000kg payload|
|RAM 2500/3500 Laramie 4x4||$139,950/$144,350||Up to $57,581, unless it can carry over a 1,000kg payload|
|Ssangyong Musso/Musso XLV 4x4||$30,490/$32,990*||Yes|
|Toyota LandCruiser PU/CC 70 Series||$76,659||Most models, apart from the GXL five-seater, Workmate 4x4 and GXL variants.|
*ABN holder, limited-time offer**Free tray
*** You could probably get a deal on one of these due to Holden stopping production
Toughest off-road work ute
If you need to take your ute into a mine, into some extreme off-road terrain or just generally want a super tough ute, then the Land Cruiser 70 Series is probably the ute to go for.
It has a massive 4.5-litre turbo diesel, producing 151kW at 3,400rpm, while it makes a very healthy 430Nm of torque with a decently low rev range of 1,200-3,200rpm. Ground clearance sits around the 230-235mm mark. Basically, it's packing some real punch as it comes from the factory and with traction control and a selection terrain response system, it'll go wherever you point it. The LandCruiser 70 will easily tow 3,500kg.
Plus, buying a Toyota, you get access to their 203 nation-wide dealership network. The LandCruiser 70's drive-away cost starts from $70,812.
Ute with largest towing capacity
If you regularly tow large loads for your business, then few utes can touch the mind-boggling towing capacity of the Ram 1500 and 2500. The 1500 will happily tow up to 4.5 tonnes, while the 2500 can shift 6,942kg – nearly 7 tonnes! The 2500 has a jumbo 6.7-litre, 6-cylinder turbo diesel. The smaller 1500 will currently cost you from $79,950 on a special offer. The larger US-sourced 2500 truck starts from around $139,950.
HSV also sells another locally re-engineered US-import ute in the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and 2500. The 1500, with a 70mm tow ball, can haul up to 4,500kg. The beastly 2500 has a 6.6-litre turbo diesel V8, generates 332kW and a bonkers 1,234Nm. Consequently, it'll tow a 5.89 tonne trailer without sweating.
The Silverado 1500 costs from $113,990 plus ORCs. Interestingly, there are a few Silverado 3500s for sale that can tow up to 9,000kg with the proper tow hitch.
If you're looking for a high-performance ute that will serve as both a work truck and a weekend getaway vehicle, there are a few to choose from.
Note, when you're using it for both business and leisure, you'll only be able to claim against the percentage of business use. Plus these utes don't necessarily qualify as commercial vehicles due to a sub-1,000kg payload!
One of the best known is the Ford Ranger Raptor. Ford engineers basically tortured the ute in gruelling environments to develop this thing to be tough as nails. Just looking through its Terrain Management System gives you an idea of its intentions. For example, it has a Baja Mode – a setting that dials in the ute for high-speed desert drives. It's damped by suspension from the world-renowned motorsport company, Fox Racing, and it is in a select club of factory utes that come with large 33-inch all-terrain tyres by BFGoodrich. According to this Ford video, the engine testing included pinning the throttle for 18 days solid.
The Ranger Raptor is more of a rallycross-inspired speed machine, while other ute builders have geared their most extreme 4x4s to slower, more hard-core off-roading. The Range Raptor starts from $76,290 (manufacturer's recommended list price).
Toyota builds the Rugged X, a top of the line HiLux, which gets underbody bash plates, rock rails, 17-inch Rugged alloys, an LED light bar, tow hooks and off-road bumpers. Toyota prices the Rugged X's drive-away cost from $68,031.
Volkswagen sells the Amarok V6 Ultimate 580, which has a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 under the bonnet. It has 190kW around 3,250rpm and a peak of 580Nm kicks in from 1,400rpm. It also has an 8-speed automatic transmission, 20-inch alloys, an underbody design element, sat-nav, a protective load bed coating and 14-way adjustable front passenger seats with heating elements.
Nearest to $150k ute
Want to write off up to $150,000 with just one purchase? You'd probably want to look to the Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD LTZ. There are a few for sale online, which are listed as "Enquire for price", but in 2018, HSV said it had a recommended retail pricing of $147,990.
It's essentially the largest ute you can buy, described by some journalists as a full-size truck. It's remanufactured by HSV in Clayton, Victoria. The specs are off the charts:
- Power: 332kW
- Torque: 1,234Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed automatic from Allison
- Four disc brakes
- Heavy-duty locking rear diff
- Payload capacity: 2.2-tonnes
- Towing: 9 tonnes
- Luxury features like 10-way power-adjustable seats, dual-zone climate control, heated steering wheel, 8-inch touch screen, BOSE audio system and Apple CarPlay plus Android Auto
- Safety assists like StabiliTrak, proactive roll avoidance, traction control with trailer sway control and hill start assist. Also, the Silverado has front and rear parking assist, a rear-view camera, forward collision alert, lane departure warning and other features
The answer to that question depends on how you plan to use it. If you have a farm and want something that can haul as many bales of hay or as much livestock as possible, then look at a single cab with a tray – some can carry up to 1,300kg of stuff.
If you're a tradie and want to customise the back of your ute to carry materials and your tools, then a basic single cab or king cab might be the best to opt for.
According to our comparison of dozens of ute reviews, the Ford Ranger is the most highly rated ute, followed by the Volkswagen Amarok and the Mitsubishi Triton.
Getting the most for your money
If you want to save your money, here's how you do it.
Buy the lowest spec ute you can live with. There can be a difference of over $15,000 or more between the entry model and the top of line ute from the same range.
Go for a RWD. 4x2 models will save you thousands of dollars. You may not really need four-wheel drive if you never venture off of paved roads. Plus, a RWD should be more fuel-efficient due to the weight saving and fewer moving parts.
Do you need a high-rider? Hi-riding models, with more ground clearance, may look tough and let you travel comfortably off-road, but lo-riders are cheaper and work perfectly well on roads.
Do you really need a diesel? Most of the low price utes come fitted with petrol engines and five-speed manual gearboxes, opting for one of those, you'll save thousands.
Skip the options. Choose a free paint colour (usually a solid white or red) and resist adding optional extras.
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