The two best-selling cars in Australia last year were the Toyota Hilux and the Ford Ranger. More than 100,000 units were sold each, while competitors such as Isuzu D-Max and Mitsubishi Triton were also in the top 10.
Australian buyers clearly appreciate the basic idea of a ute: a flexible, open bed with everything that can carry all kinds of products.
Australians are not alone here. While the U.S. continues to have a love affair with their larger pickup trucks, the smaller, crossover-based UTS Hyundai has returned in the form of the Tucson-based Santa Cruz and the Ford Escape-produced Maverick.
In Latin America, they never left. Various models are still available that are below 4.5 meters in length and weigh about 650 kg, such as the Renault Duster Aroch, Fiat Strada, and Volkswagen Seveiro, with a new Chevrolet Montana. These popular models are all derived from small car or SUV platforms.
More: Car-based UTS: Small pickups are rich overseas
Decades ago, various carmakers tried to sell smaller versions of the UT concept in Australia, with varying degrees of success.
One of the earliest small utilities sold in Australia was the often-forgotten Lightburn Zeta utility, which gave buyers the versatility of a unit but a more subtle dimension to the urban rush.
The new, Adelaide-based lightburn car was a product of the company and sold for three years from 1963-66, the Zeta was a small, fiberglass-bodied UT marketed as the second car.
With a two-stroke, 0.3-liter two-cylinder engine with a maximum speed of only 60 km / h and an estimated payload of 230 kg, very few examples have been sold. Alas, the entire Zeta lineup, which also included a roadster and a wagon, was considered an inferior failure.
Most recently, various car manufacturers have tried their hand at small UT concepts and four more popular models on offer are Proton Jumbo, Subaru Brumbi, Suzuki Mighty Boy and Datsun 1200 UT.
Proton Jumbo (2003-2010)
In Australia, Proton is probably the most memorable for offering a range of budget hatchbacks and sedans, some of which were tuned by the Lotus badge in the bootloader. However, one of its most popular vehicles was the Jumbo UT.
The newest car on the list, the Jumbo, was based on the Vira / Persona, based on the older generation of the Mitsubishi Lancer.
The back was fitted with a live axle and leaf springs, while under the bonnet was a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder Mitsubishi-powered engine with a five-speed manual transmission that produced 64kW of power and 120Nm of torque.
It weighed only 1015 kg, but Zambak still offered 550 kg payload.
The Zambak was below 4.5 m in length and had a ground clearance of 170 mm, although it was only available with the front wheel drive. Two variants were offered, including a 14-inch alloy wheel, fog lights, power windows and mirrors, and a top-spec GLSi with a four-speaker sound system.
Priced from $ 16,990 drive-away, the small size, simplicity and low price of the Jumbo hit the sweet spot for some customers. These features were obviously strong enough for buyers to ignore the disastrous one-star ANCAP rating.
Although Proton said a new generation was coming, Zambak was dropped from the local lineup in 2010 without a replacement.
More: 25 Years of Failure: Car Parts That Have Not Succeeded in Australia, Part One (With protons)
Subaru Brambi (1978-1994)
For those who enjoy recreational outdoor activities, Subaru has a well-established image of being a brand, made possible by the inclusion of standard all-wheel-drive across the lineup (excluding BRZ).
Brumby was no exception. Known elsewhere as the BRAT and 284, it will be the only UT model sold at the Japanese mark in Australia.
It arrived here in 1978 and initially featured a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, which was replaced by a larger 1.8-liter carburetor Boxer Four by 1981. It produced 61kW of power and 132Nm of torque and was combined with a four-speed manual transmission.
The car’s four-wheel drive system can be activated on demand through a lever located in the transmission tunnel. The Brambi’s small size and four-wheeled drive made the car popular with farmers who admired its moderate rough-road capability with its nail-like rigidity and reliability.
Based on Leon (Impressor’s predecessor), Brumby offered only 400kg payload, but compensated for it at a lower price.
In the last year of the sale, 1994, it was priced at just $ 17,085 before the on-road cost in base camouflage reduced to more traditional camels like the Nissan Navara and Toyota Hilux.
Subaru previewed a potential Brombie successor named Suaren at the 1993 Tokyo Motor Show. Following in the footsteps of its predecessor, it would have been based on the Subaru’s new small car, the Impreza, if it had produced.
Unfortunately, Brumbi’s special status in the carmaker’s lineup, combined with a general stagnation in the Japanese economy, means that Suarez remains a dead, production-ready concept.
American clients found a spiritual successor to the Liberty-based Subaru Baja camel in the 2000s, although it was short-lived.
Suzuki Mighty Boy (1985-1988)
Japan is famous for its small Kei cars, which are often a creative outlet for manufacturers pushing as much practicality, usability and space as possible within very rigid dimensions and energy limitations.
The Mighty Boy was Suzuki’s attempt to create a UT that fits into this regulation, and it probably carries the honor of being one of the few Kay cars exported outside of Japan, which is also sold in Australia and Cyprus.
Featuring a total length of just 3.2 meters, the Mighty Boy was ridiculously short in nature, competing with the lightburn jet mentioned above for the title of the smallest car in this article.
Like other Kay cars of this era, the Mighty Boy uses a 0.5-liter (543cc) three-cylinder engine that produces only 19kW of power and 35Nm of torque, resulting in 0-100 km / h of a glacier 24. Seconds
The maximum payload was an amazing (for its size) 440 kg, and interestingly, the Mighty Boy was optionally available with a standard-fit four-speed manual as well as a dual-speed automatic.
The Mighty Boy was one of the cheapest new cars sold in Australia, starting at just $ 5795.
Datsun 1200 Ute
The Toyota Corona was also available in Australia with a UT body, the Datsun 1200 being a Japanese load-luger following a more powerful cult today.
Marked as a half-ton camel and marketed as a “powerful midget”, Little Holler – also known as Sunny Truck in Japan – is the predecessor of the 120Y, a ute version of the popular 1200.
As the name suggests, it uses a 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 52kW and 95Nm. The only transmission was a four-speed manual, and the 1200 Ute was only 3845 mm long overall while weighing below 750 kg.
It was sold in Australia for a long time from 1971 to 1985. It surpassed its sedan and wagon counterparts and was sold alongside their 120Y, Sunny and Pulsar replacements.
However, it was nothing compared to the South African term.
There, the popular Little Becky continued to be produced until 2008 and was finally completed by strict emissions and safety regulations. Although officially sold there as 1400, it was also mentioned in the conversation as “canidood”, Africans “will not die”.