REVIEW | Automatic gearbox makes Mahindra Pik Up an effortless drive
Among the workhorses sold by Mahindra SA is the Pik Up, which is available in double- or single-cab bakkie derivatives and a spin-off from the Scorpio SUV. It’s a good base to build a luxury lifestyle bakkie or a comfortable workhorse.
Manual versions of the Pik Up aren’t entirely crude and they won’t necessarily be an acquired taste for anybody but farmers.
It’s the double-cab version that’s fitted with a new six-speed automatic gearbox on test, and this should sweeten the recipe for leisure bakkie seekers. Double cab 4x2 Pik Ups are rated with loading up to 1,095kg, and our 4x4 test model can carry a lower 995kg.
Fire up that mHawk 2.2l four-cylinder turbodiesel engine with 103kW and 320Nm and you’ll know that you’re in a vehicle with commercial roots. It makes a rattly diesel noise on start-up, along with the mandatory agrarian belch of smoke.
Take-off from standstill isn’t lethargic, however, and the engine quietens down once warm, which is why it’s an effortless long-distance cruiser.
The Pik-Up also radiates sure-footedness and impressive damping on roads despite a numb steering feel, with the rear leaf-spring suspension becoming jittery only when driving on the choppiest of gravel roads. A cruise control function allows the entrepreneur the luxury to do mental sums of expected profits while driving on freeways.
Fuel consumption is good on extra-urban roads but turns for the worst in urban settings where it returned 11.1l/100km. The large turning circle is also unkind in city conditions or when threading it out of suburban parking bays.
The automatic cog swapping is smooth and keeps the engine in a good zone of revs. It’s only when you encounter steep inclines where the expected but slight tail-off in power occurs, but the gearbox makes quick and ideal gear selections while the ample torque helps avoid hunting for ratios to keep the forward charge.
Having a shift-on-the-fly 4x4 system also helps with driving on rural roads where you may encounter muddy or deep sand tracks. Ground clearance is 210mm, which is lower than most in the segment, but it’s suitable for real off-roading with its low range ratio and rear diff lock.
In 4x4 models the auto gearbox comes with a new hill descent control system.
The cabin is not a big climb and it’s quite cosy once settled in there. There’s neat seat trim, a comprehensive touchscreen digital infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity and relatively good safety systems, and head room is generous for four to five passengers.
Though tempting, it’s illogical to view this high-spec Mahindra Pik Up as a tool for doing business in mostly inhospitable terrain where its soft damping and easy drive will make for a much needed sanctuary away from the hard slog.
It is a well-priced, well-featured alternative to bakkies from Ford and Toyota and even the old-generation Nissan Hardbody.
There’s also a cheaper and manual transmission S6 Pik Up version priced at R348,499 that uses similar mechanicals for this outlook.
It’s all up to you. You can splash out R414,999 on this luxurious S11 specification to use as a full-on leisure bakkie.
Type: Four-cylinder diesel turbo
Type: Six-speed automatic
Type: Part-time 4x4
Top speed: N/A
Fuel consumption: 8.1l/100km (as claimed) 11.1l/100km (as tested)
Emissions: 221 g/kg
ABS, two airbags, auto on/off lights, rain sensor wipers, cruise control, air conditioning, climate control, remote central locking, rear parking camera, multifunction steering wheel, front fog lamps, navigation, USB/Aux ports, Bluetooth, on-board trip computer, cloth upholstery.
Cost of ownership
Warranty: Four years/120,000km
Maintenance plan: Five years/90,000km
Lease*: R8,910 per month
* at 10% interest over 60 months no deposit
Mahindra Pik-Up S11 4x4 Auto
WE LIKE: Auto box, comfort, workhorse ability
WE DISLIKE: Low ground clearance
VERDICT: One part worker bee, one part lifestyle bakkie
Motor News star rating
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Performance * * *
Economy * * * *
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Ford Ranger 2.2TDCi D/C 4x4 XL auto, 118kW/385Nm — R522,300
Toyota Hilux 2.4 GD-6 DC 4x4 SRX auto, 110kW/400Nm — R582,100
Nissan Hardbody 2.5TDI DC 4x4 manual, 98kW/304Nm — R489,400
JMC Vigus 2.4 TDCi DC 4x4 LX manual, 103kW/310Nm — R374,990