Car choice comes down to what you need and what you can afford. Low interest loans make new car buying affordable, and can be exactly what you need to present the right image to prospective customers. Customers looking for a tradesperson who’ll offer practical solutions may see your vehicle as an expression of how you’ll be able to solve their needs. For subcontract work, a reliable second-hand ute might be all you need. Freshen up the interior with absorbent new floor mats that won’t show wear and tear too quickly and install a new car air freshener, and you’ll be good to go.
However, if you’re planning to custom-wrap your vehicle with your company’s logo, you’re better off investing in a new set of wheels. It’s also important to consider who will be driving the car and for what purpose. Big, easy-to-load utes are good for hauling tools and materials around on a daily basis, but if most of your driving is unladen, look for qualities that simulate a car-driving experience more than a truck’s.
In truth, there’s no perfect tradie vehicle, you have to pick the best one for your needs. These are some of the best ones on the market today.
It’s hard to go past the award-winning Volkswagen Amarok when looking for a tradie vehicle. This ute has a great engine which performs well consistently and is efficient to run.
The Amarok delivers a quiet but firm ride, even with comfort suspension, which will likely serve you well for many years to come. It has plenty of space in the cabin and has car-like driving manners, so the twin cab is perfect for tradies who use their work car for everyday driving as well. With the biggest tray in its class, the Amarok, aside from the lack of curtain airbags, is pretty much all you could want from a ute.
The Ford Ranger is another great choice for tradies. Rugged styling on the outside and a comfortable, fully outfitted interior means you can turn up to every job looking the part and feeling great. Excellent steering and easy handling allow for a smooth, comfortable ride. The Ranger has a lot of raw power but is also economical.
If the Ford Ranger doesn’t do it for you, have a look at the Mazda BT50. This powerful 3.2 litre diesel edges out the Ranger on fuel economy and pricing, so it’s well worth a look. You may also prefer its cleaner interior. This smooth-shifting auto drives and handles like a car. It has a nice deep tray for all your tools and equipment, and side impact protection to look after you and your passengers. Some tradies find the BT50 to be overly firm and the engine noisy. There’s also some turbo lag at low revs.
The Nissan Navara has a powerful twin-turbo engine which pairs well with a seven speed automatic transmission. The Navara’s interior, suspension, and styling is more car-like than the traditional ute.
Despite its powerful engine, the Navara is quieter than most other vehicles in its class. However, the Navara’s steering can require a bit of work, and the brakes aren’t as responsive as they could be. As far as comfort goes, the Navara is fine with one or two passengers, but if you’re taking a work crew around, the rear seat space and comfort isn’t the best on the market.
Toyota have a reputation for reliability, so the resale value alone makes their Hilux worthy of consideration. The Hilux is also a winner when it comes to spaciousness and infotainment systems. In other ways, the Hilux doesn’t really compare to the Ranger and the Amarok. The interior styling, engine, transmission, cabin noise, and driving dynamics are all a generation behind.
The Toyota Hiace is the go-to vehicle for many companies and sole traders. Toyota’s options of petrol or turbodiesel, and seated or extra tall, make the Hiace one of the most popular tradie vehicles on Australian roads. This flexibility means that, whatever job you need to do, there’s probably a Hiace to suit the task. Like the Hilux, the Hiace was designed to have low maintenance costs, so though it isn’t the sexiest vehicle on the road, it is one of the most practical.