Things I still don’t get about Australia – No. 4
The ute. Yes, I know it’s the vehicle that Australia has given to the world and that there’s a certain pride in that, but I don’t get the point of utes. Or I should say many utes. I understand working utes, no problems there. It makes perfect sense for builders, electricians, plumbers, chippies and other trades to have a ute, especially because they’re so customizable if you get a tray body one rather than what the rest of the world calls a pick up. Similarly I can see the sense of 4 wheel drive versions for vehicles that get used on farms or building sites a lot, and also as recreational 4×4 vehicles. I’m tempted to get a Hilux tray body and a roof tent kit for exactly that (beats a swag when you’ve got to nail the bugger down on hard ground before you can sleep in it).
No, all that is quite clear to me. What remains a mystery is the coupé style ute, which as far as I can see is a combination of sports car, saloon/sedan and the workhorse ute… but not actually as good as any of them. The ground clearance is too low to be much use on rougher sites let alone off road, and surely most tradies wouldn’t want to risk that nice paintwork by chucking tools and materials in the back, even with a liner. And because it’s a ute you’ve compromised the interior even if you get an extra cab or double cab version for
the extra a normal number of seats. It’s surely not going to be as aerodynamic as a proper sports coupé, so unless someone corrects me on that it seems compromised as a sports car. You do get a shitload of cargo capacity of course, but you get a shitload of room in a regular wagon too and often there’s a ute and wagon version of the same car. So why buy, say, a Falcon ute rather than the wagon? And above all else, why do the most popular colours seem to be those of fruit? Most coupé utilities seem to be the colour of apples, lemons, plums or cherries (oh, apart from the very occasional black one), and while it’s no more of a big deal than the tea bags the appeal is a mystery to me.