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The American perspective on the ‘Ute’.


The vehicle popular in Australia and New Zealand—known as the ‘Ute’- traditionally has a passenger chassis with a cargo tray connected to the rest of the vehicle’s body. Meanwhile, the American pickup has a cargo bed separate from the vehicle’s body. Generally, the Australian/New Zealand ute is more comfortable in comparison to the American pickup as ute manufacturers historically were more inclined to focus on the comfortability factor required by consumers for daily driving. The most popular vehicle in Australia currently is, in fact, a ute (Toyota HiLux), so there is understandably still a huge calling for manufacturers to embody the same safety and comfortability measures in these vehicles as passenger cars.


The USA is known for loving things notoriously big!

The USA is one of the most geographically mobile countries in the world, and it has an extreme fascination with extra-large muscle pickups. An obvious difference between the Australian ute and the American pickup is the vehicle’s sheer size. America is undoubtedly renowned for embracing everything on a larger scale: homes, streets, shopping precincts, and meals. It’s no surprise that this trend extends to their vehicle preference.

There is a general consensus amongst Americans that the larger the car, the safer it is, so there isn’t a major market for the more compact Australian ute there. U.S. legislation supports big cars, and their petrol prices are typically lower than in other countries. Also, many Americans have grown up utilising these extra-large pickups, so they are just perceived as normal by American standards, and therefore, downsizing wouldn’t be seen as necessary.

Australian ute with tray and toolbox

Our utes are considered mid-sized in the USA.

Popular Australian and New Zealand ute models are robust and tough vehicles. They put an emphasis on safety and are highly valued by many consumers. In our market, you’ll struggle to find vehicles larger and more powerful than the Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux and Nissan Navara, just to name a few. Despite these vehicles being highly popular and phenomenally powerful for their size, American pickups are almost always built bigger.

Our most popular utes are considered mid-sized in America compared to some of their highest-selling pickups, such as the GMC Sierra 1500, Chevrolet Silverado 1500 or the Ford F-Series Super Duty. These vehicles are more inclined to encompass a more spacious interior and a sometimes more enhanced capability than those regularly found on Australian and New Zealand roads.

lifeguard ute or American pickup

Practicality needs vary from nation to nation.

American pickups are beastly vehicles with larger turning circles and longer chassis, which naturally equate to bigger internal cabins and heavier vehicles. Whereas, the smaller popular Australian/New Zealand utes are perceived by Americans to be lighter and better at manoeuvring in tight city environments than their oversized pickups— but slightly less powerful due to the sheer size and specs when compared to some of the American favourites. American consumers tend to remain very loyal to their preferred pickup brand, and many of these major corporations work hard to make these large pickups the safest and most fuel-efficient as possible.

A huge reason why Americans love their extremely large vehicles in comparison to the popular mid-size Australian ute is because of the proven safety measures. The physics of the heaviest car coming out of an accident less affected than its lighter counterpart has been trialled and tested. Due to this desire to be the biggest and safest on the road, newer American pickups embody technologies like crumple zones, airbags and automatic braking, which have modernised and enhanced their capabilities.

practical storage with a ute canopy on your ute

How do I get more storage for my Aussie ute?

If you want to add size and practicality to your Australian ute, MRT has a range of standard and custom-made ute canopies that are robust and high-quality. Adding an MRT ute canopy to your vehicle can give yourself the extra storage space that a traditional American pickup has as standard.


Our friendly and experienced team of professionals are ready and waiting to answer any further questions you have in regard to MRT products and services. Call us on 1300 650 090 today. We encourage all to visit one of our Brisbane, Sydney or Perth showrooms and check out our latest products and team updates on Facebook and Instagram.



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Visit MRT's showrooms in Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sydney, or Perth. See the latest products and keep up with team updates on Facebook and Instagram. The knowledgeable and friendly team is on standby to address any questions through email, instant chat, or phone call.