New Zealander’s Passion for Utes

18 July, 2022

Legend has it that the first Ute was born out of necessity after increasing requests for a vehicle with more “utility” – something that offered the comfort of a passenger car but could still transport livestock to market. Accordingly, since their introduction in the late 1960s, Kiwis have embraced these iconic vehicles, which are now as just likely to be spotted in the suburbs as on the farm or worksite.

Because these tough-as-nails machines align so well with our lifestyles, our enduring love affair with the multi-functional Ute shows few signs of abating. In fact, in 2021, the two best-selling vehicles in New Zealand were Utes.


Due to their payload, size and reliability, these light-commercial workhorses are an essential mainstay of the agricultural industry and an irreplaceable partner for tradies. However, in recent years, automakers have infused new levels of safety, innovation and comfort into traditional Ute DNA, making them an increasingly popular choice for urbanites.

Known for their extreme toughness and strength, Utes now possess the more luxurious touches typically found on sedans and compact SUVs. They have also experienced enormous advances in performance and refinement, becoming more sophisticated without sacrificing their traditional durability, grunt and off-road ability.

Nic Tsimas, Dealer Principal at Ingham, believes the Ute’s appeal can be distilled into two simple ideas: lifestyle and practicality.


“Kiwi drivers appreciate the versatility of Utes,” Nic explains. “The styling, range of accessory choices and optional four-wheel drive capabilities mean they can be used as a family car and a work car. They’re easy to use as a work vehicle during the week, and then you can load them up with the family and all the gear you need for a weekend or trip away.”


The ideal combination of both substance and styling, our best-selling Utes are at the top of their game in the workplace and ideal for weekend adventures.

Already an icon of Kiwi culture, the increasing duality of these much-loved vehicles suggests New Zealander’s continuing appetite for Utes is set to keep automakers at the top of their game for years to come. And, of course, the improved safety features, ride quality, and luxurious interiors will only add to their ongoing appeal, including the possibility of EV models in the near future.


Isuzu D-Max

Delivering increased power and torque, the all-new D-Max is regarded as one of the toughest and most capable Utes in New Zealand. However, although the D-Max range continues to be celebrated for its workhorse durability, it is also among the safest vehicles on the road, loaded with active safety systems and the latest technology usually only seen in ultra-premium sedans. The D-Max merges off-road wizardry with on-road performance, offering greater refinement and comfort than ever before. As a result, it has become a particularly desirable option for mixed-use drivers, with a significant road presence, premium interiors and plenty of space for utility.


Mitsubishi Triton

Ideal for those looking to work hard and play hard, the Triton showcases exceptional four-wheel drive know-how, edgy new styling and a plethora of features and equipment. Strong on safety, these dynamic Utes have the feel of an SUV and lend themselves well to inner-city driving.
An excellent all-around performer, the Triton’s impressive power and torque results in remarkable fuel economy, delivering an outstanding blend of horsepower and efficiency. Balancing worksite performance with family-friendly weekend adventures, the Triton delivers a smooth and comfortable commute, while its unparalleled value makes it a very attractive driving proposition.


Nissan Navara

Long recognised for its rugged good looks, robust capacities and extraordinary versatility, the Navara has been blazing trails around the globe for years. The perfect partner for work or leisure, these incredibly hard-working Utes have a well-deserved reputation for reliability and innovation.
The Navara’s one-tonne payload (across the double-cab range) is ideal for moving heavy loads – from building materials to quad bikes. At the same time, its phenomenal off-road expertise is complemented by a 360-degree overhead camera view for traversing rough terrain. Add in superior ride comfort, intelligent driver assist and an array of safety features, and it’s no wonder this quiet achiever is one of New Zealand’s best-selling vehicles.


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