Toyota Hilux Utes lined up in the forest

Ute Terminology Explained: What’s the difference between a flatdeck ute, wellside ute, or single cab?

Let us break it all down.

Us Kiwis love a ute. The classic workhorse that also loves a good runabout on the weekend, there’s no surprise it’s one of the most popular vehicles in New Zealand. Whether you’re an urban farmer, no-nonsense hunter, or weekend warrior, there’s a perfect ute for you.

What makes utes so great is that they’re designed to work with your needs front of mind. Going to be lugging tools to the worksite? A flat deck would work perfectly. Heading to the bach for the weekend? Look no further than a double cab.

Keep reading as we break down all the different types of utes, and explain the benefits of each.

4×2 Utes

Planning on driving on tarmac roads? The 4×2 ute is perfect for you. It’s cheaper, lighter, and less truck-like in handling than your 4×4 utes, yet they still make an excellent workhorse. As ute technology continues to advance, you’ll often find many come with an impressive towing capacity. Finally, as they’re lighter, many have a greater payload capacity and fuel economy than their 4×4 counterparts.

Volkswagen Amarok V6 in the forest

4×4 Utes

Looking for pure off-road stamina? Meet the 4×4 ute. With a stronger engine for towing and enough power to tackle tough terrain, it’s a great option for those that want to head off the beaten track. You’ll often find these 4×4 vehicles offer enough room for four or five passengers (including the driver) comfortably. They offer exceptional control and manoeuvrability in difficult terrain compared to a 4×2 ute, as all the wheels in the vehicle are powered.

Toyota Single Cab ute on the farm

Single Cab Ute

If you need more space to haul tools and equipment, then a single cab ute is for you. Featuring a longer tray and a larger loading space, it has two doors and seats for the driver and passenger. Single cab utes often compromise comfort for utility, allowing you to lug large loads in the back. They’re often fitted with a flat alloy deck or lock-boxes.

Extra Cab Ute

Also often referred to as the super-cab, space-cab, or king cab, they’re the perfect balance between cabin space and load length. The halfway point between single-cab and dual-cab utes, it’s essentially a one-and-a-half cab. The extra cab ute has the same two doors as the single cab but gives you the option to carry two passengers. This space is often utilised for a dog or extra luggage. This is the perfect ute for those that may need to occasionally carry an extra passenger or need that extra internal storage space without cutting into their payload space.

Toyota Hilux Cruiser double-cab ute on the beach

Double Cab Ute

If you’re after a ute that provides premium passenger comfort, then the double cab (often referred to as the dual-cab) is perfect. With four doors they can seat up to five passengers, including the driver. Because of the extra passenger row, the rear cargo area is shorter than other ute categories. Whilst you compromise on payload storage, as the roof is longer they are well suited to roof racks and roof-top storage. Dual-cab utes come in a variety of drivetrain options, including both 4×2 and 4×4, with great towing options too.

Toyota flat deck ute on the farm

Flat Deck Ute

Flatdeck utes often have two different configurations. (Two doors and two seats, or four doors and five seats). They can be 2×2 or 4×4. A flat deck tray sits at the back made from steel, timer, or alloy, and often has removable sides for ease of loading. These utes are favoured by farmers and tradies alike thanks to their excellent load-bearing and towing capabilities. Due to the open nature of the flat deck ute, a lockable canopy is often a great addition to the flat deck ute if you’re regularly carrying expensive equipment.

4x4 Toyota hilux wellside ute at the river fishing

Wellside Ute

Wellside utes are common in New Zealand as they lean more towards an SUV in terms of appearance. Wellside utes are different from flat deck utes as they have factory-installed moulded trays with fixed sides that can’t be removed. They make excellent work/play vehicles. Available in a variety of drivetrain options, they often have a high towing capacity and make an excellent all-rounder. Popular additions include fiberglass canopies and various tray covers.

Compare all utes

We’ve created a guide so you can easily compare utes on the NZ market. Comparing utes across our brand range has never been easier. Here you can compare ute performance such as towing capacity, economy, torque, and more.

Make an enquiry

We understand, more than most, that you may not be ready to speak to a salesperson just yet, but our team have insights into current ute stock availability – including what’s here at the dealership, what’s available in the country, and what’s due to arrive on the next boat – that we’re more than happy to share with you. You can make an enquiry here.

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