More and more families all over Australia are buying utes to transport their children and all the stuff that comes with it, or towing boats and camper trailers and caravans, perhaps using them for work in the week and having fun off-road at weekends. The possibilities do seem endless! It seems utes are the ultimate do-everything family car, but they ARE compromised, sometimes BADLY! Ute owners know how hard it can be to fit child seats in these trucks and some make it almost IMPOSSIBLE! So I've narrowed it down to my top three, based on BabyDrive testing:
This has to be my winner!! What a GREAT Ute! The Holden Colorado has the best legroom of all the Utes I have tested, with rear-facing child seats installed there is still good legroom for the front passengers. It has three top tether anchorages so I could install three child seats in the back with plenty of space. It is, of course, tricky getting those three seats installed like in most Utes because of the top tether anchorages being behind the seat back, but the extra cabin space means you have more room for maneuvering while installing the child-seats. The media system has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and the reversing camera has a great clear image.
The Mitsubishi Triton wins second place for its clever and easiest installation of child seats alone! The Triton only has two ISOFix and top tether anchorages in the two outer seats in the back. The central seat back has two zips so you can put your arm through to tighten the top tether strap on your child seats. Genius!!
The Triton is one of the best Utes I have tested for making the crossover into being a family friendly vehicle! It feels fantastic to drive, nice and smooth and like driving a car rather than a Ute. This feeling continues as the interior shrinks around you; the Triton feels more like a big SUV rather than a huge Ute to drive. It was smooth and quiet! It was great around town and felt easy to park. The reversing camera and screen were small and not the best image quality but I didn't find parking a problem. Storage throughout the cab is good, the central console box is a decent size and it has a phone tray in the top. The cab is very roomy and legroom was spacious even with rear-facing child seats installed in the back.
The VW Amarok is in 3rd place, having spent a second time reviewing the Amarok I can now say, I am more of a fan! Instaling child seats isn't easy, like in most Utes because of the positioning of the top tether anchorages and the rear cabin space is tight so it doesn't give you much room to maneuver. The interior is nice and it does drive well on and off road. The Amarok is the most powerful of all the Utes on the market too.