It is an agreed-upon fact that Utes and SUVs are two of the most versatile cars. They are convenient, comfortable, and most importantly, have ample space for cargo. Their utility extends to residential and commercial use alike – not to mention how cool they look.
While SUVs are considered Utes’ elder brothers, that is not to say that one is better than the other. From the drive and feel of the road to capacity, cost, and the overall drive experience differ for both cars, especially when going for a camping trip.
In this article, we will look at Utes and SUVs to consider which is better for camping trips.
Best Cars for Camping – Utes vs. SUVs
Both utes and SUVs have one major advantage over sedans or hatchbacks; more room for storage. However, they are also considered to be more expensive. In Australia, the most popular use includes the Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux, and Mitsubishi Triton, while the most popular SUVs are the Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Equinox, and the Toyota RAV4.
Here is a detailed comparison of the differences to consider when choosing the best ute or SUV for camping.
If you look at any ute – especially the 2020 and beyond models – you’ll find that they have a very prominent tow/haul hook in front and at their backs. The primary role of utes is to haul or tow heavy loads – much heavier than what SUVs are designed for – or give ample open-air storage space at the back.
SUVs, on the other hand, are designed with people in mind. They don’t have as much cargo space for when you are moving from city to city, but it is still more than enough for when you are going for a vacation.
Think of utes as workhorses that can seat five people comfortably (up to seven or more if you are brave enough) while allowing the cargo to be easily stored behind. This cargo can even include livestock. The cargo area is open by default, but you can get add-ons that cover it if you want to seat more people.
However, the add-on can be quite expensive, and it may be better to go for an SUV instead if that is your concern. SUVs have one major limitation; the cargo must fit inside. A typical SUV such as the Ford Ranger can seat up to eight people comfortably (twelve or more, if comfort isn’t an issue).
Both utes and SUVs have high ground clearance, which is great for off-roading on the Simpson Desert, but not so much if you are stuck in traffic. While the latest models come with an air suspension to help you increase or decrease the height of your SUV or ute, you can only go so low before it becomes too much.
As far as cargo utility is concerned, utes are much more accessible. All you need to do is throw your cargo into the back. Even heavy machinery with a footprint larger than the ute’s cabin can fit onto the cargo bed behind – something that SUVs can’t offer. You may need to tie your cargo down in utes, though. In SUVs, you can place your cargo down and close it up.
SUVs are much smoother than utes since their focus is primarily on the driver and passengers’ comfort, above all else. Whether off-roading or on the road, SUVs are smoother, softer, and quiet compared to the stiff and louder drive of utes – no matter how powerful it is.
The closed cabin of the SUV is much safer and comfortable than utes – especially for your cargo – when travelling through different biomes – especially rain.
As mentioned above, a ute is a workhorse, to say the least. The horsepower plus its weight distribution – everything comes together to make it able to haul very heavy loads and tow commercial trucks (there are limitations here, though), let alone cars. For example, the Ford Ranger has a towing capacity of up 3500 kg!
SUVs can haul and tow heavier loads compared to utes, but you will need to be careful about the build of your tow to make sure it doesn’t damage your SUV. You will need to buy an SUV-compatible tow, which is usually more expensive. An SUV of the same power will cost much more than a ute of the same capacity – and so will its equipment.
Normally, SUVs can tow up to 1100 kg, but larger models such as the Ford Expedition can tow up to 4,200 kg, but be ready to spend a fortune on its most powerful trim!
Generally, both ute and SUV are more expensive than sedans and hatchbacks – and for obvious reasons. However, all four types have their own pros and cons. When going on a camping trip, for example, if you have a lot of equipment but five or fewer people, you can go with a ute. However, if you are looking for the best car for a camping trip and have more than five people to cater to, you should consider an SUV.