Lucked out yesterday and saw a Kona Ute in the flesh (in the aluminum?) at my LBS. They'd just built one up. I thought I'd share my initial opinion.
I like the bike. I almost bought it then and there. The cargo bags on the back look much better in real-life than on Kona's website. They're sized perfectly to hold paper grocery sacks. I actually like the hook system that the bags use to attach to the frame. (I could wish for a plastic hook at the bottom though, rather than metal, to avoid the risk of scratching the paint).
There's little doubt in my mind that if I buy the bike, that I'd also buy two more bags. Kona should spec that bike with four bags rather than two. I'd pay an extra $50 or so for that.
The 700c tires are thicker and beefier than I had expected. I would probably run them as-is. There also appears to be clearance in the frame to mount full-on, 29er mountain-bike tires (which I might want because of some of the roads I traverse).
IMHO, Kona made the right choice in tire size. I do not want a 26-inch tire (e.g.: Surly's Big Dummy).
I'm also happy with the aluminum frame. I do not anticipate hauling anything so heavy that I'd really need or want steel.
Handlebars are just plain weird. I didn't feel I had good leverage with them. I'd swap 'em out for a more traditional bar. I've a spare, Easton low-rise bar that'd probably do the trick nicely. Frankly, I don't know what Kona was thinking when they spec'd the bar that they did. It looks like a choice they made for pure looks.
Front wheel felt a bit "light". Swapping in a new handlebar would probably solve that problem.
Overall, Kona's done a nice job here. I can see myself riding a Ute.