As the rest of the country is South Africa, the bar is constantly being raised in this popular segment.
Buckeyes can still be classified by their official name – light commercial vehicles – but they’ve evolved from being sneaky cargo carriers. These days the best double cabs compete with the most comfortable passenger cars with the only difference being the boot.
But as bookies’ specification sheets grew, so did their prices. If you told buyers a decade ago that R1 million would be the benchmark for bookies in the first quarter of the century, few would have believed you.
That ceiling has already been breached by the discontinued Mercedes-Benz X-Class and 190 kW VW Amarok, with the Ford Ranger Raptor just three figures short of that.
Expect to pay anything between three quarters of a million and R920 000 for the top offer in the stable of remaining suspects. Stickers that are out of reach for the majority of shoppers.
The Mahindra pickup offers value for money.
But there are more affordable alternatives for those looking to pass the badge like the Mahindra pickup. Not to be confused with its work-oriented Bolero siblings, the pickup lineup now ranges from workhorse single cabs to attractive lifestyle-oriented double cabs.
In fact, the pickup has become so popular that it was South Africa’s fifth best-selling bakkie in the last nine months, behind the Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-Max and Nissan NP200.
The Citizen Motoring Recently had the Mahindra Pik Up S11 Double Cab 4×4 Karoo on test and found it to be a bargain at R509 999 which is great value for money.
Mahindra introduced the Karoo designation to its range in 2018 to commemorate the start of local production of the Baki at its assembly plant in Durban.
At a R31 000 premium over the S11 on which it is based, the Karoo gets a nudge bar, roll bar, shutter rollers, 16-inch black alloy wheels and Karoo decals.
Take a closer look at the Mahindra Pickup
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♬ Original Sound – The Citizen
Old, but not cool
There’s no hiding the fact that the design is old – 16 years to be exact – and very utilitarian with little indication of any aerodynamic research. But the rest with Caro Touch has a unique appeal that’s hard to explain.
The combination of headlights, black grille with chrome detailing, air intake on the bonnet and nudge bar give the Mahindra Pickup Crowe an “uncompromised focus” to quote my poetic colleague Charles Bosch. Old school cool if you will.
Chunky 245/75 R16 rubber ware ensures you don’t have to stress about paintwork on shiny edges when working on gravel, while deep loads with outboard hooks can handle any job. Looks ready for. It has a rated payload of 995 kg and a braking capacity of 2500 kg.
Also read: Times are tough – here are South Africa’s cheapest bakkies under double cab guise
The theme continues very much inside, where the dated cabin design has aged like a Liz Taylor. It’s remarkably comfortable, though lacking the springs found on more expensive top-end backies, and still as battle-ready as the thick rubber mats suggest.
The high seating position with the large upright windscreen provides excellent visibility and almost creates the impression that you are driving a truck.
This truck-like sensation is compounded by a strange vibration or “aftershock” as we call it throughout the cabin whenever you turn off the ignition.
Creature comforts are limited, but include a very handy foldable front center armrest, seven-inch infotainment system with Bluetooth and smartphone connectivity, USB port, reverse camera, steering wheel-mounted controls, rain sensors. Includes wipers and automatic headlights.
The S11 Karoo is powered by Mahindra’s tried and trusted mHawk 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
While it produces 103 kW of power and 320 Nm of torque, which may dwarf the numbers of other Beckies on paper, we were pleasantly surprised by its performance.
The Mahindra pickup managed to complete the 0 to 100 kmph sprint in a very creditable 14.76 seconds, which means it’s definitely not the slowest double cab. And that’s why road test editor Mark Jones tests the Bukies, because performance always matters if they’re bought for recreational purposes.
It cruises smoothly over the national speed limit with the autobox well-behaved, our average recorded fuel consumption of 8.5 liters per 100km for its week-long stay a very commendable one.
Handling reminds me a bit of a Mazda 323 without power steering. It requires a bit of muscle to maneuver in tight spaces, compounded by a larger than usual turning circle.
A vehicle built on a dated platform like the Mahindra pickup will always struggle to keep up with its rivals’ advanced features on the safety front. It offers ABS with EBD, electronic stability control, front airbags and ISOFIX child seat attachment.
The Pik Up S11 Karoo is an honest bakkie that doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. And in all his humility, it’s really hard not to like him.
Demanding jobs are tough enough to qualify as a fun bookie while being comfortable and attractive. And the best part is that it offers the best value for money. It’s actually easy to see why the Mahindra pick-up is sitting on Mzansi’s top bakkie table.
Mahindra Pickup Data Sheet