The UTV is a workhorse on many rural properties, but the asking prices — $15,000 to $30,000 — cause some farmers to baulk. So imported Japanese micro-trucks or conversions of more mainstream vehicles are gaining ground.
But some farmers still prefer the capacity and creature comforts of traditional layout utes.
One such vehicle is the Suzuki Farm Worker. It first came to notice back in the mid-90s, but today takes its design leads from a vehicle with full ladder chassis, leaf springs at each corner and a basic cabin for weather protection.
Bringing it up-to-date, power is provided by a 4-cylinder, 1300cc petrol engine coupled to a 5-speed manual transmission, selectable 2- or 4-wheel drive, as well as a low range, 4WD transfer box to deliver extra traction where needed.
Tyre equipment is 15 inch Maxxis Trepador, which combine with the 4WD to get to most places on a property.
Three configurations make up the Farm Worker range. The base level Versatile offers a canvas roof over the cab and rear section and longitudinal bench seats; the Wellside has a hard cab roof and rear bulkhead; and the Flatdeck has the iconic Kiwi layout – enclosed
cab and a NZ-built galvanised steel and plywood deck – which lends itself to all the farm tasks with ease.
Suzuki is also keen to point out that, in contrast to many side-by-side vehicles developed from quads, this 1000kg kerb-weight truck is built to automotive standards; and though it treads lightly it has a 500kg load capacity on the deck and a further 500kg at the towbar.
In the cab, while by no means luxurious, seats are comfortable and offer adjustments to take all shapes and sizes. Seatbelts are fitted for safe operation, while optional CD or radio equipment will keep the occupant entertained and in touch with the world.
A 40L petrol tank highlights the frugality of the engine, manual window winders ensure a long service life and height-adjustable headlights deal with varying loads.
Completing the package is a range of options including front and rear bullbars or stock crates, both built locally by Smiths, and a rear window for increased visibility.
A conditional 24-month warranty applies.
While the Farm Worker isn't road registerable, it must offer a serious alternative to lighter duty side-by-sides. Prices start at about $15,000.