Build or Buy: 'Ute Need a Pickup

As has been reported everywhere, Volkswagen is considering a pickup truck for the North American market. Decisions are up in the air, so it could be a while before we see one in dealerships. But if you want a VW badged vehicle with an open cargo bed now, there’s one fun option: a Smyth ‘Ute conversion kit. IN just a few weekends you can build one yourself, or if cutting up a perfectly good Jetta isn’t your thing, maybe pick one up someone else built.

Argument: Build
Article: 2004.5 Jetta GLI

We can hear it now: “WHAT!? You found a decent 2004.5 GLI and you want to cut it up!?” Yep, we sure do. Why? Why not? The price for this GLI is low, it’s in decent condition, and HOW COOL WOULD A GLI ‘UTE BE!?

Doing a little math, the asking price for this GLI plus the price for the kit (currently on sale for $3290), you could be all-in on this performance hauling machine for less than $7000. Smyth claims even novice builder can put this kit together since only three cuts have to be made to the body. You could be out hauling your stuff in a couple of weekends. And of course, you have the pride in saying “I built this.”

Take a look at the ad for this 2004.5 GLI in our forums, and check out the Smyth Jetta/Golf ‘Ute kit on their site.

Article: Buy
Argument: 2003 Smyth 24V VR6 6-Speed ‘Ute

Let’s get two things out of the way right up front: this ‘Ute is in Canada (please don’t ask us about importing cars), and the asking price is a lofty $15,000 Canadian. Using a handy online conversion tool, that’s about $11,500 in U.S. dollars.

But for that much coin, you get a complete ‘Ute. And this little Jetta pickup has serious, um, pick up; under the hood is a 24-valve VR6 and a 6-speed transmission. This little trucklet rides on 1552 Tarmac wheels and sits on H&R lowering springs.

While this started as a Jetta, it has a GTI front end swap, including genuine glass headlight housings.  And the whole Caddy (we can call this a Caddy, right?) is done up in OEM MKIV Tropic Orange paint.

For more information, take a look at the ad on

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