• Sep 25th 2007 at 11:33AM
  • 17
Our friends at PickupTruck.com have posted a "first drive" report on the new Holden VE Ute, and from the sounds of things, we really, really want Bob Lutz's GMC Caballero idea to come to fruition. The wheelman for PickupTruck.com was Aussie scribe James Stanford of GoAuto, and in addition to giving us the particulars about the slick, car-based pickup, he also gives us a quick backgrounder on Australian utes in general. It's interesting. For example, while Utes cost less and seat fewer humans than the sedans they're based on, they actually have better resale values. Where many people use the El Camino as a punchline here in the US, in the land of Oz, that's simply not the case. The Ute is a desirable vehicle Down Under, and it can be infused with a healthy dollop of badassedness.

The VE Ute makes no bones about its light-duty nature, with the SS boasting a peak cargo capacity of just a smidge over 1,300 pounds (less still if you go for the killer-looking 19" wheels). This isn't a shortcoming, however, as three-fourths of Holden Utes sold are sport-oriented, anyway. In this department, the VE Ute brings the goods, pumping out 362 horses in V8-powered SS trim via a six speed transmission (manual or automatic). Rear tires can be incinerated at will if that's your flavor, but the suspension is tuned so that attacking the curvy stuff's as fun as testing the Ute's straight-line capabilities. We won't steal the PickupTruck.com's thunder, beyond that. For the nitty gritty, you need to check out the review for yourself. Then, cross your fingers and hope that this Aussie beast follows its sedan cousin over here sometime in the future.

[Source: PickupTruck.com]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      I concur The new Holden ute can't carry anything. Whats the use of a bed /tray if you can't put anything in it.

      Here's an idea. We can send the Holden ute state side and GMC can send us their pickup trucks so we can actually cart our stuff around.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is a Ridgeline for people who don't want a Ridgeline. Hell, I've been thinking about selling my Nova and getting an El Camino simply to lose that rear seat (not being able to take a full load of people places is more a boon than a hindrance for many people) and gain some more cargo space.
      • 7 Years Ago
      should be noted ford also makes a car-up in Australia "the Ford Falcon" I saw one in a Delphi testing lab a while back.
        • 7 Years Ago
        They have been making them for several decades.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It's not a truck because it's not a truck. It's no more a truck than the upcoming G8 is or the El Camino ever was.

      Marketing it as a truck (which Holden does not, they sell a truck called the Rodeo) creates a very unrealistic expectation for this car here.

      The Ute is not made to tow or haul HUGE loads. It is RWD muscle car that can fit whatever you put in the tray, can tow light loads like a boat. It also has none of the drawbacks of a truck like the big appetite for fuel, wafting ride or woeful driving dynamics.

      I need a practical vehicle with an open tray to haul things around with. I used to own a fullsize truck and will never own another one. I would much rather have a car that can do all the work I ever used the K1500 4x4 for while still being comfortable and enjoyable to show, drive, and take to the drag strip or the twisting mountain roads here.

      I recently drove a new Sierra Denali and a new Tundra and the dynamics compared to a car are atrocious. Both drive like American boats from the 1970s with more power. They are also hard to maneuver through city traffic and take more effort than I like to park. Call me crazy but none of those attributes add up to create what I would call a practical vehicle.

      If you still don't understand the Ute you can read Holden's site to see exactly what it's all about.


        • 7 Years Ago
        I drive a Ford equivalent XR6 Turbo Ute and it is extremely practical!
        I can fit two motorbikes and camping gear in the tray, there is room
        behind the seats in the cabin, and I can get 30.5MPG (9.3L/100km)
        on the old highway getting there. It has leather seats and the sound
        system is ok, 6 Speed ZF auto and climate control. It can tow
        ). It handles great, has a huge amount of torque,
        Can carry 500kg (1111 lbs) and tow 1600kg (3555 lbs)
        It is my personal executive express with a huge boot (trunk)
      • 7 Years Ago
      Blah, not a fan.
      • 7 Years Ago
      GMC Syclone please. Pontiac gets the car version, GMC gets the truck version.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think you're both right and wrong in a sense. The Ute down here is seen as either a light truck or sports-recreational car, depending on which model you opt for. It really is a bit of a chameleon. The SS is definitely on the far sporting side and can't haul much, but Holden will soon be releasing a one-tonner version with a separate aluminium bed with the suspension and load capacity to compete with light trucks like the Toyota Hilux or your Ford Ranger. Here's the previous model: http://img.drive.com.au/drive_images/Editorial/2006/01/23/23hol_leadimage.jpg

      If GM figures out how to market this thing to America it could be a real hit, as there's no real competition for this vehicle up there. No sense in pitching it against sportscar buyers, they won't think it's sexy or focussed enough. It needs to be seen as a a sports-pickup that can really walk the walk in terms of handling. It could also be pitched at the Mustang musclecar crowd; this ute can be pretty devestating on the dragstrip.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Actually the Sports Ute will carry 1400lbs, which is on par with a 4 X 4 F150. The Base Ute 1800lb. A US Pickup is not referred to as a Truck here either, but a large Ute.
      • 7 Years Ago
      What about a hybrid model? In a recent article, I saw people who didn't want GM wasting their money on a niche, but what about making a hybrid, or two mode hybrid? That should silence critics.
      • 7 Years Ago
      What about Chevy El Camino?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Lutz already stated, if it comes here, it will not be a Chevy. Thats why speculation is between GMC and Pontiac, it certainly is no Caddy or Buick, and since Pontiac already has the sedan form that it can keep the same front clip as, more than likely thats where i see it going. GMC would be nice, plus i would like to see what it would do with the front end, but in terms of recognition and such i wouldn't see why they would have it jump nameplates... G8 Ute...
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