Ashok Leyland Dost bakkie launched in Mzansi with class-leading warranty

Indian workhorse is priced from R230,000 and can lug a heavy 1,250kg

08 December 2023 - 16:43
By Staff Writer
The India-built workhorse is aimed at small businesses, farmers and fleet operators.
Image: Supplied The India-built workhorse is aimed at small businesses, farmers and fleet operators.

Ashok Leyland of India has entered South Africa's commercial vehicle market with a budget-priced workhorse bakkie starting at just under R230,000.

With a load capacity of 1,250kg, the Dost 1.5 Turbo Diesel pickup is sold in three versions: a chassis cab, a fixed sides deck and a drop sides deck. They will appeal to small businesses, farmers and fleet operators and are sold with class-leading five-year/500,000km warranties. Rivals such as the Suzuki Super Carry, JAC X100 and Mahindra Bolero carry three-year/100,000km warranties.

The 75-year-old Ashok Leyland is one of the largest manufacturers of commercial vehicles in India and sells products in 50 countries. Headquartered in Chennai with nine manufacturing plants, Ashok Leyland boasts a product range from 2.5-tonne to 55-tonne GVM and from 13 seats to 70 seats in passenger capacity.

Distribution of the Ashok Leyland model range in seven Southern African countries is through ETG Logistics, a vertical of ETG. In South Africa 14 dealers have already been appointed. After the Dost pickup, the brand intends to expand its local range with the 4.5-tonne Partner light truck and the 1.86-tonne Phoenix pickup early in 2024. Heavier trucks and buses, including electric vehicles, will join the Ashok Leyland product offering later.

Ashok Leyland Africa business head Sachin Dasharath said: “We have ambitious growth plans for the African market. Our time tested products are well suited for the African terrain and offers superior value proposition to customers. ETG group’s extensive connect in these markets will complement our growth plans.”

The Dost is aimed at last mile transportation of goods loaded off bigger trucks, into congested city lanes and through tough terrain to remote parts of the country.

No frills, all work in this cut-priced bakkie.
Image: Supplied No frills, all work in this cut-priced bakkie.

The Ashok Leyland Dost is powered by a 1,478cc three-cylinder turbocharged diesel common rail engine with outputs of 44kW and 158Nm, paired with a five-speed manual transmission feeding the rear wheels.

It has claimed fuel consumption figures of 6.1l/100km (unladen) and 7.5l/100km (fully laden), providing a range of more 600km from the 40l fuel tank when unladen.

Ashok Leyland Southern Africa brand head Francois van Eeden said: “Considering the tough economic conditions in Southern Africa and escalating finance and operating cost for farmers, small businesses and fleet operators, the Ashok Leyland Dost with its class-leading fuel consumption, impressive load-carrying capacity, competitive pricing and generous warranty presents outstanding value for money.”

The Dost is equipped with power steering, but this is a workhorse, so don’t expect any creature comforts

Mounted on a sturdy ladder frame chassis with six cross members, the front suspension is rigid with leaf spring suspension and double-acting shock absorbers. The rear suspension comprises semi-elliptic leaf springs with double-acting shock absorbers.

A long wheelbase of 2,350mm ensures stability on uneven roads. Ground clearance is 177mm, approach angle 19°, ramp over angle 23.5° and departure angle 22° to help manage inner city speed humps and undulating rural terrain. The bakkie features sturdy latches and cargo tie-down hooks and rides on 14-inch commercial tyres on steel rims.

The Dost is equipped with power steering, but this is a workhorse, so don’t expect any creature comforts.

The two individual seats are covered in durable brown and beige PVC with parcel space between.

The bakkie has a digital instrument cluster, cellphone holder, 12V power socket, headlamp adjustment and a lockable cubbyhole.


  • Ashok Leyland Dost 1.5 TD Chassis Cab: R229,999;
  • Ashok Leyland Dost 1.5 TD Fixed Sides Deck: R249,999; and
  • Ashok Leyland Dost 1.5 TD Drop Sides Deck: R254,999.