Mk2Golfer profile picture Mk2Golfer 5 years ago

Basic differences between a ute and a pickup truck, a #BlogPost by Mk2Golfer

In the world of cars we see a lot of cargo vehicles. Often without even questioning our knowledge in vehicle types, we immediately call it a pickup truck. No matter where it was made or what are it’s capabilities, it is a pickup to us. But is everything mid-sized with an open rear end really a pickup? I think not. Even though they might look similar, utes and pickup trucks are different. Very different. And today my mission is to show you the basic differences between utes and pickup trucks.
But before we get started I’d like to say a massive Thanks to Chadkake and Black Phillip for helping me write this article!
Let’s get rolling (coal) !

Difference #1: Country of mass popularity

Basic differences between a ute and a pickup truck, a #BlogPost by Mk2Golfer - Blog

So, I think that you all know this one:

Utes are massively used in Australia.
Pickup trucks are massively used in the US.

Back in 1932, a farmer’s wife from Australia wrote a letter to Henry Ford asking for a vehicle to go to church in on a Sunday and which can carry our pigs to market on Mondays. Lew Bandt, a Ford designer came up with a solution for that and called it coupé utility. It was based on their well-known Model A. Due to the popularity they gained in Australia, Henry Ford nicknamed them “Cangaroo Chasers”.

Pickup, on the other hand, was invented in a bit different way. In 1913, Galion Alsteel made hauling boxes and installed them onto the back of a Model T chassis. The rivalry of brands was alive even then, as Dodge made a ¾ ton pickup in 1924, with it’s whole body was made out of wood. A few years later, in 1931, Chevrolet introduced their first factory made pickup. The industry was really going strong.

Of course, this is a bit of a generalisation. Exceptions exist.

Difference #2: Base of the vehicle and interior space

Basic differences between a ute and a pickup truck, a #BlogPost by Mk2Golfer - Blog

Pickups are based on trucks and have more interior storage space.
Utes are based on cars and have less interior storage space.

This doesn’t need any complicated explainations.

Ute, a utility coupe, lays on the chassis of a car.
The front of the car, AKA passenger body and the rear of the car, AKA the cargo tray are in one piece. The reason for that can be found in ute’s elementary purpose, being a people and load carrier for the farmers. But since it was made by chopping off a car’s rear end of the roof and welding a panel to border the passenger compartment, quite a bit of space was lost in the process. You can’t really fit a lot behind the seats. That might be a problem when it starts raining, but I doubt that Australians have a lot of problems of this kind.

Pickups, on the other hand, are made out of 2 pieces: a cab and a cargo bed, laying on a strong chassis, derived from trucks. Among all the practicalities these have, the one important for now is interior space. You can store at least a mid-sized bag behind the seats, even in a single cab. Let alone the crazy double-cabs having a full-sized trunk on the inside. Because the two parts can be taken apart, cab size can be increased if needed. This can come in really handy when you have to carry a cow in the back and pick a girl up on your way home.

Difference #3: Size and Load Capacity, Therefore the Purpose.

Basic differences between a ute and a pickup truck, a #BlogPost by Mk2Golfer - Blog

Utes are generally smaller and have a smaller load capacity. They are “one-shape-fits-all”.
Pickups are generally bigger and have a bigger load capacity. There are multiple types of them.

Just like most of ute’s characteristics, this one is also tightly connected to it deriving from a car.
Overall dimensions (excluding the hight) remain the same as the ones of the car it was made of.
Chassis is strong enough for some small to mid-sized loads, yet not as strong as the one from the pickup. But it is usually enough for it’s purpose, carrying some loads that are too big for the car, and big enough for buying/renting a truck.
They also have an overall design that may vary a little, but most utes are made on the same principle: 2 seats and a small cargo bed in the back.

Unlike utes, pickup trucks are vehicles purposely made for carrying heavier loads. They are not always used in that way, but it is good to know that their chassis are capable of holding some heavier loads, those that you would usually hire a truck for. Pickups also come in multiple shapes and sizes: From the classic, smaller ones, all the way to the modern pickups which have a fifth wheel and can haul full-sized trailers. And then there’s single cabs, dual cabs, supercabs… Endless possibilities.

So, there you have it! Those were the basic differences between utes and pickup trucks. Of course, there are some more, such as drivetrain, engine and transmission differences. But those can vary from model to model.
Still, one way or another, now we all see how two vehicle types that seem similar have some significant deviations.

I hope that you enjoyed reading this little article and make sure to drop a comment on what do you preffer, utes or pickups!

Until the next time,
Golfer out.

Basic differences between a ute and a pickup truck, a #BlogPost by Mk2Golfer - Blog

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