What do I look out for when choosing a ute?

For many, utility vehicles are a symbol of raw power and Australian masculinity.

You might be in the market for one, but unsure of which one to choose. If so, here are a few important things to consider.

First things first

The price should not exceed 20 per cent of your total net income.

Know your budget before going out with a truck loan and hunting for the manliest ute you can lay your eyes on. Assuming you're paying out of your own pocket, Edmunds.com recommends applying the same principles you might when buying a car; the price should not exceed 20 per cent of your total net income. While this obviously varies from situation to situation, use this as a starting guideline.

Next comes the choosing of the vehicle – this can be the most exciting yet daunting part of the process. After all, there is a strong selection of vehicles out in the market worthy of your car finance.

These can differ significantly in fuel consumption, power, size and comfort. It all comes down to what you're using the vehicle for.

Knowing your price range before you go truck hunting can make it a quicker process and have you out on the road sooner.Knowing your price range before you go truck hunting can make it a quicker process and have you out on the road sooner.

Cabs and beds

Utes have rows of seating called cabs, and generally come in three variants: single cab, extra cab or double cab. Keep in mind that the more cabs a vehicle has, the shorter the length of the bed size.

If you're after a purely workhorse vehicle and want all the space you can get for carrying heavy goods, stick to a single cab ute. On the other hand, if you want a more rounded day-to-day vehicle that can haul timber on a Monday and take the kids to their soccer game on a Saturday, a double or extra cab ute might be your vehicle of choice.

Most best-selling utes, like the Toyota HiLux, will offer all three varieties across a range of builds, ranging from the stripped back WorkMate to something more comprehensive like the SR series.

Picking a ute

When it comes to choosing a model, it's always good to start by looking at what's popular – there's no shame in jumping on the bandwagon if the band is heading in the right direction.

Citing VFACTS statistics, Performance Drive has revealed the top-selling utes in Australia for 2014. Here are the top five:

  1. Toyota HiLux
  2. Ford Ranger
  3. Mitsubishi Triton
  4. Holden Colorado
  5. Nissan Navara

Many of these have been staples for Australia ute drivers for years, boasting reliability and features that make them a go-to choice. Of course, do your homework and give these utes a good test drive before putting your new car finance towards one.

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