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Toyota’s Ute Buyers Guide

Toyota’s Ute Buyers Guide

With all the makes and models of utes for sale in NZ, it can quickly become confusing when deciding which ute to buy. This ute buyers guide is a handy reference which explains the different features of utes so you can decide which is best for you.

Already an icon, the Hilux never stops evolving

The mighty Hilux has also come a long way in those 40 years too. Featuring a tougher looking exterior and a beefed up 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine, it’s one gutsy specimen.  Whether you dabble in a trade and want the versatility of a Hilux Cab Chassis model, or you just want to take your boat for a drive in the handsomely good-looking Hilux SR5 Cruiser, there’s a Hilux model to get the job done.


4x2 Utes

If you’re planning on driving your ute mostly on tarmac a 4x2 should fit your needs. A 4x2 is cheaper and lighter than a 4x4 and less truck-like in handling. Don’t be fooled though, a 4x2 is still an excellent workhorse. Check out the Hilux 2WD Single Cab which has an impressive 2500kg maximum tow capacity (braked).

4x4 Utes

For pure off-road stamina, you can’t beat a 4x4. These utes are dual-purpose work/play vehicles and offer a strong engine for pulling. Check out the Hilux 4WD Double Cab which has a 3500kg braked towing capacity and the engine power to tackle tough off-road terrain. It also provides enough room for four or five people and will get you where you need to go comfortably and safely.”

Single Cab

A single cab gives you a longer tray and larger loading area than a double cab. If you regularly need more space for tools and equipment then this ute is your best bet. It has two doors and seats two people, the driver and passenger.

Extra Cab

The extra cab is a balance between cabin space and load length. It still has just two doors but gives you the option to carry more than one passenger. The space can usually fit small kids, a dog or luggage.

Double Cab

The double cab is more passenger-orientated, with less of a focus on load length. It has four doors and can seat up to five passengers, two in front (including the driver), and three in the back. If carrying passengers is a high priority, then go with a double cab.

Flat deck

Flat deck utes typically have the following configurations: two doors/two seats like the Landcruiser 70 Single Cab or four doors/five seats like the Landcruiser 70 Double Cab. They can be 2WD or 4WD, and have manual or automatic transmission. A flat deck tray sits at the back made from steel and timber or HD alloy, often with removable sides for ease of loading.

Flat deck utes are a Kiwi staple for farmers or tradies since they have excellent load bearing and towing abilities. Toyota is well known for building tough, durable, dependable flat deck utes.


Wellside utes are probably the most popular utes for sale in NZ because they look less like a farm truck and more like an SUV. Wellside utes differ from flat deck utes as they have factory-installed moulded trays with fixed sides that can’t be removed. Access to the tray is only through the tailgate. They can have a single, extra or double cab; can be 2WD or 4WD, and have manual or automatic transmission.

A wellside ute is a practical and no nonsense addition to your household, often serving double duty as a work/play vehicle.

New vs Used

If you’re tossing up between buying a new or used ute the biggest consideration is budget. A new ute will cost you more than a used ute but there are some advantages.

A new ute will need very few repairs, and you will have the latest technology and better fuel efficiency. A used ute, depending on how well its been looked after, may be cheaper but it may need some repairs. You should always get a mechanic to inspect a used ute before you buy, as you may not have a warranty like you will with a new ute.