Trade vehicles such as dual cab utes are versatile rides that have the potential to function well as both a work vehicle and a family car. Reliable utes like the Mitsubishi Triton are just as at home hauling supplies to a worksite as they are hitting a 4WD track on a weekend away. However, just because a trade vehicle has the potential to be the family car doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for you. In this guide, we outline the pros and cons of using trade vehicles as your everyday car, so you can find the right fit for your family.
Storage and boot space
Using your trade vehicle as the family car does mean you will have plenty of storage space. If you’re driving a dual cab ute, you’ll have an entire tray to store gear for family holidays, or space to pile in large items after a shopping trip.
However, a trade vehicle might not always offer the kind of storage space you need for everyday use. Storing smaller items such as groceries in the tray, or in the back of a van, can be impractical as they can be time consuming to properly secure. If you are driving a ute, items stored in your back tray may not be stored securely, and can even be affected by rain or strong winds.
Many of these problems can be overcome by choosing the right ute and accessories – however you need to choose an option that works best for both your work and family life. For example, the Mitsubishi Triton can be fitted with either a soft tonneau cover, or hard tonneau cover. The soft cover is perfect for keeping gear out of sight and protecting it from the elements, but theft is still possible. Hard covers can be easily locked, but can be very inconvenient if you need to carry anything piled higher than your ute’s tray. Ultimately, you need to think ahead about how you will use your trade vehicle for both family and work, and find a solution that’s right for you.
Comfort and Seating
If you’re planning to use your trade vehicle as a family car, it needs to be a comfortable ride for the whole family. The base options of many dual cab utes and vans will focus more on getting the work done than interior comfort, so it can be a good idea to explore upgrades for the perfect family car. For example the Mitsubishi Triton GLS and GLX+ offer features such as automatic climate control, Smartphone link Display Audio, and rear differential locks that aren’t available on more basic versions.
If you are considering using a dual cab ute as your family car, it is worth noting you will have less interior passenger space in your cabin than dedicated family models. This will be fine in most cases, but might cause trouble if you have three teenage boys in the back.
A clear advantage of having a single vehicle is only paying registration and insurance costs once. This can add up over the course of several years to a significant saving. However, it is worth noting that most trade vehicles run on diesel fuel, which doesn’t always provide the best fuel economy for short suburban trips. This is because short trips will require your car to make a lot of cold starts, using additional fuel to bring the engine to the right temperature.
Whether you are driving a vehicle for work or as a family car, the safety of yourself and your family is paramount. Look for a vehicle with a 5 star ANCAP rating to make sure you’re protected on the road. Advanced safety features such as front and rear parking sensors, blind sport warning systems, and anti-lock braking systems are just as useful carrying heavy loads to a worksite as driving the family to the shops.