11 Jan Choosing a ute in 2021
So, you’ve just found out that travel in 2021 is limited to….. Australia…. that is great news in our option, this is a great country with lots or great places to visit!
Now you want to know which ute is the best to extend the chassis on and how quickly can you get one?
Well we can definitely answer the first question and here is our recommendation about the second question: Not very quickly unfortunately. Bosch the largest manufacture of electronic components in the world closed their factories for 3 months and along with all the other supply issues Covid has caused this is knocking around all the car manufacturers. You’re best off speaking to your local dealer and you may just have to take a different trim model or one in your third favourite colour just so you can get your hands on a vehicle. Most dealers are running at 3 months wait, some have blown out to 6 months and one has just released a brand new 2021 model which is available for immediate collection, just talk to the dealer and make sure to ask about dates before getting too excited.
Having not really cleared that up, here is the answer to the best chassis to extend…. there isn’t one that is better than another, they’re just different and its what suits your situation.
Ok so that wasn’t too helpful either, lets try to narrow it down a bit.
Where are you going?
Choose a chassis that can handle the places you want to send it. There are a few different options on the market these days and they are all capable 4wds. The independent front end is found in all of them except Land Cruiser 79 series, which is the limiting factor off-road. They all have leaf spring rear ends except the Navara which has coils. You can carry more load on a leaf spring set-up but it’s usually rougher and not as capable off-road.
Another factor to think about is the electronics, the more electric gadgets the more chance of an issue, but also how sensitive these electronics are the more chance of an issue. A simple ute like the older PX1 Ranger which doesn’t have lane assist or parking features is a bit more robust then the new Amarok with DPF, full time 4wd and a complex emissions system.
Our recommendation for touring is the LC79.
What sized tray can you fit on the back?
Here it doesn’t matter what vehicle you choose, we can extend any of them (there are just a couple of older ones we can’t but they’re now worth less than an extension so it’s not worth doing anyway). Generally the larger the chassis the stronger it is so the longer we can extend it and thus the larger the tray. Have a look here to see which tray size suits you.
We always aim for a 12-1300mm overhang at the rear as this is the manufacturers spec. The new 2021 BT-50 can handle a longer overhang due to the larger chassis rails it has over the earlier models. That’s another good point, ask the manufacture what they do and don’t warrant, we know the numbers and will advise accordingly but you’d be surprised how short they recommend the trays to be.
Due to the size of the tray the manufacture allows, the new BT-50 nudges ahead here.
Choose the specs that suit you. When we extend the chassis we’ll make sure all the parking sensors and reverse camera’s are back in the correct position. We also know that the extensions don’t affect the ‘lane assist’ settings or the ‘self parking’ so you’re safe there.
At the moment the utes that are available are generally the ones with all the added options as they are more expensive and thus generally left on the shelf while all the cheaper, lower spec ones get bought up.
Our recommendation for gadgets is the VW Amarok, it comes with more standard options then most.
Obviously it’s up to you how much you want to spend on the ute and or the conversion. As with everything in life, the more you pay, the better the item is. Cars are the same; a VW costs more than a Mitsubishi, so and extension on a VW will cost a bit more. The reason behind this is usually the way they are made and the materials they are made from. A Triton has a bolted in central cross member whereas an Amarok has welded in ones. The steel used in the chassis of a Hilux is a higher grade than that found in a Ranger.
While we’re on cost, it doesn’t cost any more to extend a used 5 year old ute or a brand new one straight from the dealership.
Our recommendation for a budget wise choice is a 2nd hand Ford Ranger.
How we do the extension:
There are small changes depending on the way that manufacture build that particular base chassis but really we stick to the same ADR’s (Australian Design Rules) to keep the chassis compliant in every state and to keep the manufacturers warranty and insurance valid. We make all the nitty gritty choices and do all the hard-work so you don’t have to worry, you just need to drop off a vehicle and come back a week later and we’ll fill in the rest.
So which one is best to extend?
They’re all the same really. You can choose the Colorado that you have driven around for the past 3 years or the new BT-50 that has just been launched, they are all good in their own way and all the chassis are capable of being extended or modified, so it doesn’t matter what you choose. We know the material specs for all of them, we know the dimensions they should and shouldn’t have, we know their strengths and weaknesses but it is up to you which chassis you choose; if it was down to me, I’d just choose the one the wife is happy to drive around and park at the shops, that way I’ll be happy!