Gone are the days where where a towbar signified a blanket ability to tow anything this side of a tractor.

The word 'Ute' usually underlined this offshoot of the great Aussie can-do attitude. Like most things these days, we've learned to be more careful, and if we're not we can get in big trouble.

Figures like the current benchmark 3.5 tonne or 3500kg capacity are still based on structural details like the load ratings of the tow hitch, chassis, axles and tyres. They therefore disregard accelerative or dynamic performance and how well a car keeps up with traffic or how safely it handles when towing - which I’m sure you’ll agree are pretty important details.

The Pajero Sport's turbo-diesel engine may make decent output numbers, but that doesn’t mean the relatively little 2.4-litre can still manage decent performance and economy (or reliability) when pulling a decent load.

It's actually rated at 3100kg braked, but a recent opportunity to tow a 650kg car trailer over 563km and then an extra 1100ish kg of RA28 Celica over 503km in one long day trip provided a tale of two loads over decent distances.

See what we mean about doubling the length of the rig? See what we mean about doubling the length of the rig?