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New Utes: Latest news and model releases

Clearly the blend of practicality, a high-riding driver's seat and go-anywhere credibility appeals to a huge number of Australia

Australians have always loved the idea of the ute, an iconic vehicle with outback cred, and indeed one that was invented here by a Ford engineer, but that didn't mean we actually bought them.

Utes were for tradies and farm folk, and for a small number of enthusiasts who believed they were the quintessentially Aussie version of a hairy-chested sports coupe.

Meanwhile, the Americans were turning the ute into the pick-up truck, the Ford F150 became one of the biggest-selling vehicles in the world and then Toyota perfected the recipe with the HiLux, and we began a rush of ute/pick-up buying that has now exploded beyond belief.

Today, the three biggest-selling vehicles in Australia are all utes, with the HiLux on top followed by the very attractive Ford Ranger and the rugged and ready Mitsubishi Triton.

Clearly the blend of practicality, a high-riding driver's seat and go-anywhere credibility appeals to a huge number of Australians, so there's a lot of interest in new utes in 2019, and the utes of 2018 and what the best new ute around is.

Here, then is a wrap up of what's going on, and what's about to, in the world of utes.

New Mitsubishi ute

The front end is truly aggressive, and to some it may look overly ridge and a bit nose-heavy. The front end is truly aggressive, and to some it may look overly ridge and a bit nose-heavy.

Mitsubishi's hugely popular Triton ute is sure to snap up even more of the market when its as-yet unnamed competitor for the Ford Ranger Raptor comes to market.

Unveiled recently as a very aggressive looking pick-up concept at the Bangkok motor show (in the country where most mid-size utes are actually built), this severely facelifted Triton is rumoured to have been largely designed in Australia and has been described by Mitsubishi as a vehicle that represents what Triton is all about and one that is "ABSOLUTELY Beyond Tough".

So, quite tough, then.

The whole Triton range has also had an update, and while it's not a new model the company claims it has made almost 2500 changes to this big-selling ute. You can get one at your dealer today.

New Ssangyong ute

It's a lot more attractive, or at least less disturbing to look at, than the Muss of old. It's a lot more attractive, or at least less disturbing to look at, than the Muss of old.

The slightly less-well-known Korean brand, Sssangyong, has attempted to storm our shores before, with mixed results, but its back again after a couple of years in the darkness, and leading the way is the new Musso one-tonne ute.

The first thing you notice is that it's a lot more attractive, or at least less disturbing to look at, than the Muss of old. It's also making a case for reliability with its typically Korean seven-year warranty, and it will be among the cheapest new utes you can buy, with prices ranging from $39,990 to $52,990.

New Hyundai ute

Hyundai will finally join the fray in the near future with the company promising to put a production version of its Santa Cruz concept ute into production as soon as possible. Hyundai will finally join the fray in the near future with the company promising to put a production version of its Santa Cruz concept ute into production as soon as possible.

Speaking of Korean entrants in the ute market, Hyundai will finally join the fray in the near future with the company promising to put a production version of its Santa Cruz concept ute into production as soon as possible.

Hyundai Australia would be desperate to have a ute as part of its line-up, so the as yet unnamed, and un-seen, new ute can't get here soon enough for them. We're tipping a 2021 arrival.

The Hyundai dual-cab ute is likely to be just the size to take on the likes of the Ford Ranger and world-beating HiLux.

New Mercedes-Benz ute

Yes, it’s probably worth noting that there’s quite a bit of Nissan engineering under that three-pointed star badge. Yes, it’s probably worth noting that there’s quite a bit of Nissan engineering under that three-pointed star badge.

Yes, the idea of Mercedes-Benz making a ute is still sinking in, and yes, it's probably worth noting that there's quite a bit of Nissan engineering under that three-pointed star badge (it shares a platform with the Navara), but if you want a ute with Germanic credibility and a premium sheen, you now have two choices.

Volkswagen's Amarok seems the most obvious competitor for the Mercedes-Benz X-Class, and Benz has come out all guns blazing in terms of the power war, launching a V6, X350d version, with 190kW and 550Nm, to make it the most powerful new dual-cab ute on the market.

There are certainly those who would argue that it's also the best new ute money can buy - quite a bit of money, mind you, at $73,270 - but they might well be German-badge snobs.

What's not in question is that the X-Class is a classy looking and well kitted out one-tonne ute.

New Renault ute

The local arm of the company now believes the Alaskan will finally arrive on sale here in late 2019, or early 2020. The local arm of the company now believes the Alaskan will finally arrive on sale here in late 2019, or early 2020.

Speaking of European brands that would have snorted in disgust at the idea of building utes just a decade ago, Renault has now entered the fray with its own new dual-cab ute, the Alaskan.

It is hard to comprehend why a French company chose the name Alaskan, but it's easier to understand why it, like the X-Class, is built on the Nissan Navara platform, and shares much of its rugged goodness. Nissan and Renault are, after all, closely tied as sister companies.

While the Alaskan would obviously be a huge boost for Renault sales in Australia, our market has clearly not been a priority for head office in France, but the local arm of the company has been making its case, loudly and repeatedly, and now believes the Alaskan will finally arrive on sale here in late 2019, or early 2020.

Being built in Europe, unlike competitors made in Thailand, means the Alaskan will be more expensive, although pricing is not confirmed yet.

To help with that problem, Renault Australia is also keen to import another, cheaper pick-up truck, the Arch, which could come here for less than $30,000. The problem there being that it's not yet built in right-hand drive, so it won't get here until 2021 at the earliest.

New Ram ute

The new generation Ram 1500 (which will replace the version we’re currently being sold, the DS, which dates back all the way to 2009) The new generation Ram 1500 (which will replace the version we’re currently being sold, the DS, which dates back all the way to 2009)

If you have a striking desire to look, and feel, like an American, the Ram is for you. Just make sure you've got a very large garage, or a farm, to park it on, because it really is bigger than Texas.

If you're wondering why the word 'Dodge' is missing ahead of Ram, that's because Ram was made a stand-alone brand in 2009. If you're looking for a new Dodge ute, this is effectively it.

The Ram 1500 can also drink quite a lot, with the smallest variant initially available still boasting a petrol-powered 5.7-litre V8, but there is now a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine available, which makes a lot more sense.

The new generation Ram 1500 (which will replace the version we're currently being sold, the DS, which dates back all the way to 2009) will also be making its way to Australia, likely some time in 2020.

This new DT mega-pick-up truck/dual-cab ute will be called the DT and will be a more upmarket offering, with diesel and petrol engines and a higher level of technology and equipment.

As such, the cheaper and more basic DS will also continue to be sold alongside the DT.

From there you can step up to the even larger Ram 2500, of course, or even the Ram 3500.

By 2020, we should also have a new model, also called the Ram 1500 on sale in Australia.

New Jeep ute

The Gladiator is built on the Wrangler platform and will the company’s first ute in years. The Gladiator is built on the Wrangler platform and will the company’s first ute in years.

One brand badly in need of the kind of sales lift that new dual-cab ute should provide in Australia is the struggling Jeep, but things look sure to get better for them once the new Jeep Gladiator arrives, later this year.

As rough and tough as this serious off-roading brand's reputation would suggest, the Gladiator is built on the Wrangler platform and will the company's first ute in years, finally giving it a player in this hugely important segment.

It does look... awkward, and kind of long-tailed, and undeniably boxy, but if you want your ute to go seriously off-road, the Gladiator is the choice you're looking for. The optional Rubicon model of the Gladiator could be the best off-road ute on the market.

Pricing and specification have not been confirmed for Australia yet but in the US there is a choice of one petrol and one diesel-engined option.

In the US, of course, you can also take the doors off and remove the windscreen, for a unique open-air feeling, but in Australia you'll only be able to do that far from public roads, and preferably on your own property.

The Gladiator's neatest touch is a wireless speaker behind the rear seats which you can remove and use to bring the tunes to your camp site.

New LDV ute

On sale here since October 2017, the T60 4x4 LDV ute has been a quietly building sales success for the brand. On sale here since October 2017, the T60 4x4 LDV ute has been a quietly building sales success for the brand.

One of the newest players in the Aussie ute market is one of the bigger car makers in the world, Chinese giant LDV.

On sale here since October 2017, the T60 4x4 LDV ute has been a quietly building sales success for the brand, largely thanks to its sharp price, which starts at $28,990 for what is a big and bulky dual-cab ute.

A more rugged-looking, through probably no more off-road-capable version of the family friendly T60 ute is also on the way to Australia, possibly in the form of body-kit changes, like black bumpers and underbody protection, new wheels and trim and so forth.

Price, though, remains the LDV's selling point, with its top-grade Luxe model available from as little as $36,381, which is around half the price of the admittedly more handsome Ford Ranger Raptor.

New Mazda ute

While today’s BT-50 is a joint venture with Ford, the next one will be a co-development with Isuzu and will share its architecture with the rugged D-MAX ute. While today’s BT-50 is a joint venture with Ford, the next one will be a co-development with Isuzu and will share its architecture with the rugged D-MAX ute.

While there's absolutely nothing wrong with Mazda's BT-50 ute under the skin (indeed, it shares many of its underpinnings with the very popular Ford Ranger), it does have a bit of an image problem.

To be blatantly honest, it's long been considered a bit of a minger, and when it was first launched Mazda seemed to be trying to hide its horse-scaring face behind bull bars in all of its promotional photography.

It has since become far less unfortunate to look at, particularly after Mazda gave an Australian-designed facelift in 2018, which brought a squarer bumper and more attractiveness in general.

For now, ute buyers have to either put up with the looks, go and buy a Ranger or wait for the next BT-50 to arrive, which is around two years away.

Mazda Australia says the new design is locked in and that it's "very happy" with the way that one will look. Quite different to now, is our guess.

While today's BT-50 is a joint venture with Ford, the next one will be a co-development with Isuzu and will share its architecture with the rugged D-MAX ute.

We can expect to see the new ute in around 2021, and Mazda Australia managing director, Vinesh Bhindi, knows just how vital its success will be. For Toyota and Ford, utes are their biggest sellers in Australia, while for Mazda it's still very much the 3, so a successful BT-50 replacement could push Mazda even further up the sales charts.

"For Mazda Australia the BT-50 is critical," Bhindi says. "Our focus will be private buyers even for the ute."

New Toyota ute

In Japan, Toyota is rolling out three new badges for its models; GR Sport, GR and GRMN. In Japan, Toyota is rolling out three new badges for its models; GR Sport, GR and GRMN.

It's hard to believe that it's actually now more important, sales wise, than a new Corolla, but there is genuinely more excitement about the arrival of a sexy new Gazoo Racing version of the Toyota HiLux ute than just about anything in the company's vast range (aside from the Supra).

This sporty, muscled-up ute will replace the hole in the market left by the death of the TRD brand.

Toyota boss Sean Hanley recently confirmed that if the HiLux range, currently topped by the Rogue and Rugged X models, was to offer a high-performance version it would be badged as the Toyota HiLux GR.

"There's a whole mass of opportunity for GR in Australia and in the foreseeable future it will become clear to everyone what GR means for us," Hanley said.

Expect wild looks and graphics and plenty of market interest about this competitor for Ford's Ranger Raptor.

New Suzuki ute

Australia could see a “ute-back” version of the Jimny in the near future. Australia could see a “ute-back” version of the Jimny in the near future.

Literally off the back of the successful relaunch of the new Suzuki Jimny small SUV, it looks likely Australia could see a "ute-back" version in the near future.

"Australian consumers can't wait to get their hands on a ute version, so I'm pushing very hard with the factory to try and get that into Australia," the general manager of Suzuki Automotive Australia, Michael Pachota, has said.

There was a Jimny Pick-Up Style concept car shown in Tokyo earlier this year that would seem to give some clues to what a Suzuki ute might look like, but at this stage we're dealing more with rumours and the desire for one to exist.

Still, with the Jimny sold out months in advance in Australia, a ute would definitely be a huge boost for Suzuki in this country.

New Isuzu ute

The D-Max is set for replacement soon, with an all-new, third-generation D-Max likely to break cover later this year. The D-Max is set for replacement soon, with an all-new, third-generation D-Max likely to break cover later this year.

Isuzu recently celebrated 10 years of success in this country, which has come off the back of just two vehicles, its MU-X SUV and the far more highly visible D-Max ute.

Beloved of country folk and people who like their utes tough and reliable rather than soft and attractive, the D-Max is set for replacement soon, with an all-new, third-generation D-Max likely to break cover later this year before going on sale locally in 2020.

You can expect an upgrade to both safety features (AEB is surely a must) and on-board technology, and no doubt an entirely new look (remember that this car is being jointly developed with Mazda and will form the basis for its new BT-50).

Coil-spring rear suspension is also considered a possibility for the new vehicle.

New Nissan ute

Nissan is keen to launch a sporty, locally tweaked version of the Navara. Nissan is keen to launch a sporty, locally tweaked version of the Navara.

Nissan's Navara isn't just the basis for the Mercedes-Benz X-Class and the Renault Alaskan, it's a very important ute for Nissan Australia itself.

Like seemingly everyone else, Nissan is keen to launch a sporty, locally tweaked version of the Navara, to take on sales successes like the Ford Ranger Raptor, but while this car has been rumoured, there's no sign of it actually breaking cover any time soon.

Nissan is also keen to add a bigger ute to its range, in the sizeable shape of the Nissan Titan pick-up truck out of the US, and it is believed to be on the way, but no one seems able to confirm timing.

The Titan would take on mega-giants like the RAM range, and HSV's Silverado. Getting a right-hand-drive version of the Titan is something Nissan Australia admits is a challenge, but it's one the company is determined to master, because it's convinced it would be a sales winner here.

Nissan is also keen to add a bigger ute to its range, in the sizeable shape of the Nissan Titan pick-up truck out of the US. Nissan is also keen to add a bigger ute to its range, in the sizeable shape of the Nissan Titan pick-up truck out of the US.

Nissan Australia MD Stephen Lester has told CarsGuide he is pushing to launch the vehicle locally "ASAP".

"There are definitely plans to expand. Even within Navara we've seen the development of special versions support the growth of that car, and we'll see that continue for sure," Mr Lester said.

"But I also believe a vehicle like Titan would make perfect sense for Australia. We've been hard at it with the global team to push for this, and we'll stay hard at it, because I don't see that changing anytime soon.

"I'd hate to put a timeframe on it, but we will push hard to get it ASAP, and we will take it any day of the week, just as quickly as we can get it."

New Subaru ute

While the Subaru Brumby ute still has many fans, the Japanese company - officially at least - has no plans to bring it back. While the Subaru Brumby ute still has many fans, the Japanese company - officially at least - has no plans to bring it back.

Sorry to disappoint you, shoppers, but while the Subaru Brumby ute still has many fans, the Japanese company - officially at least - has no plans to bring it back.

It does seem incredible, as other brands pour into the ute market, that Subaru isn't working on a ute of its own, but company spokespeople claim there's not even one in the product pipeline.

The Brumby ute was possibly too small to succeed in the market today, but a new, larger Subaru ute would surely be a sales success, if the company would build one.

There is some speculation, however, that Ford might move to fill in the gap left by the Brumby, with some online speculation that the Blue Oval will develop a ute version of the Ford Focus, which some speculators are calling a "modern-day Subaru Brumby".

Here's hoping.

New Great Wall ute

There's no doubt that your Great Wall dealer will do you a hell of a deal if you want a Steed. There's no doubt that your Great Wall dealer will do you a hell of a deal if you want a Steed.

Those shopping for value in the ute market will no doubt come across the Great Wall Steed, but they should be aware that along with its cheap price tag comes a safety rating that has been as low as two stars.

A lack of safety has been a problem for some Chinese brands attempting to get a foothold in the Australian market, and Great Wall was involved in a massive recall after the discovery of asbestos in engine bays.

Still, did we mention cheap? As recently as last year, Great Wall was doing driveway pricing of $19,9990 on the Steed dual-cab ute, making it far and away the cheapest vehicle in the segment.

There's no doubt that your Great Wall dealer will do you a hell of a deal if you want a Steed, just keep in mind that crash-safety rating.

Which new ute are you most excited about? Tell us in the comments below.