Not so long ago, the cheapest ute meant a variety of compromises on comfort, safety and convenience. The commercial vehicle sector as much later to the party adopting airbags and ABS, for example and until the start of the decade, the notion of a bare bones ute approaching the same luxury as a passenger car was laughable.
Thanks to more stringent safety standards and a jaw-dropping level of competition, you’d be hard pressed to find a base model ute that isn’t stuffed with airbags, ESP and five star ANCAP ratings. It’s worth noting that the ute segment
Some of the cheapest utes from our last feature such as the JMC Vigus and Mahindra Genio have been discontinued, as the market determines what is acceptable at the entry level.
Whether you’re after the cheapest diesel ute, cheapest dual cab diesel, best 4×2 ute, best 4×2 pickup or best single cab, this list will serve you well. Remember to check manufacturer promotions before visiting the dealership and check if things like alloy tray are included in the list price. All prices are before on-road costs unless stated otherwise.
Starting from $18,990 before on-road costs, with a 5 year/150,000km and dual airbags, a 4×4 version is $2000 extra. Considering most of the established manufactures charge a significant premium for a diesel engine, this could be viewed as quite the bargain. 110KW and 310Nm are arguably quite decent outputs and a six-speed gearbox is a handy addition too. 1198kg is the payload figure, while braked towing capacity is up to 1700kg.
If a five star ANCAP rating and automatic transmission aren’t essential, this one is worth a look.
The perennial favourite and the best-performing 4×2 ute on the market, the HiLux has more refinement and equipment than ever. A 2.7-litre, 122kW and 245Nm is the standard engine, with a 2.4-litre, 110kW/343Nm turbo-diesel another $4000 extra, while a six-speed automatic gearbox is $2000 more.
The interior is no longer a spartan, basic affair, with a touch screen infotainment system coming standard with the car. A recent update saw the inclusion of autonomous emergency braking, a five star ANCAP rating across the board as well as a six-speed manual in place of the old five-speed.
It can tow up to two-and-a-half tonnes, and carry 1225kg worth of payload.
Routinely poking its razoresque face in our Top 10 best selling cars list , the Mitsubishi Triton recently received a comprehensive styling update, bringing it into line with Mitsubishi’s latest design language. The standard engine is the venerable 4G64 unit, which has tried-and-true reliability.
The 133kW and 430Nm turbo-diesel at $25,990 offers up healthier numbers than its Toyota equivalent. Maximum towing capacity is 1800kg, while the payload of this standard model is 1284kg.
The latest evolution of Nissan’s stalwart workhorse is currently going for $25,990 driveaway at time of writing. For that, you get a 2.3-litre turbo-diesel generating 120kW and 403Nm, tied to either a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic. It has a payload of 1356kg and can tow up to 3500kg braked.
Hey, if it was good enough for Mercedes-Benz to use as a starting point for the ill-fated X-Class, that surely counts for something?
LDV’s T60 was one of the first Chinese vehicles to score a five star ANCAP safety rating. It comes standard with a 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine, with 110kW and 360Nm, tied to a six-speed manual transmission. A five year/130,000km warranty and roadside assistance package gives the car a strong after care package. Payload is 1145kg, while braked towing capcaity is 3000kg.
This is the Australian-developed ute which routinely knocks the HiLux off its perch. The Ranger has become an aspirational vehicle for the segment. Going for the cheapest Ranger will get you a 118kW/385Nm turbo-diesel engine- the petrol engine was pensioned off a while ago.
Ranger was first in its class to come with standard AEB and pedestrian detection as well as a five star ANCAP rating. 2500kg braked towing capacity and a 1259kg are standard in this model.
Isuzu’s workhorse has been quietly sneaking up the sales charts and building a very solid reputation for reliability and ruggedness. Despite the fact that the D-Max and Colorado are now divorced, Isuzu takes customer feedback very seriously and implements annual changes accordingly. This is because they value the Australian market dearly.
The latest version of its 3.0-litre turbo-diesel engine is a gem, with variable geometry turbocharger, making 130kW and 430Nm. A 1249kg payload and 2500kg feature in this entry-level, single cab model.
Like the D-Max, the BT-50 is the byproduct of a now defunct partnership (with Ford), which is why the two will be paired together for the next-gen. Nevertheless, the Mazda remains solid value. It is one of the few utes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Payload is 1303kg for the single cab manual with a 2500kg towing capacity.
Holden’s entry-level Colorado features a 2.8-ltire turbo-diesel engine with 147kW and 440 Nm . If you go for the $31,690 six-speed automatic, you get a full 500Nm of torque. That’s just $63.38 per Newton Metre of torque! Plenty to handle the 1487kg payload and 3500kg towing capacity.
2019 Foton Tunland -$33,990 ABN (34,990 driveaway otherwise)
Freshly restyled for 2019, the Tunland made a name for itself in 2014 thanks to its Cummins engine, ZF six-speed automatic and Borg Warner transfer case. The freshened interior featuing a new colour screen infotainment system. It has a 950kg payload, is rated to 3000kg towing and is the cheapest ute with 4×4, dual cab and automatic included. To equal this spec with some of the others listed here, you have to spend around $10,000 more.
You can read about its future successor here.
*All prices are correct at time of publication