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By Mark Jones

Road Test Editor

Automatic gearbox uplifts Mahindra Pik-Up’s appeal

Love or hate the styling, no other bakkie in South Africa looks like it.

I have been around the motor industry for quite a long time and I can honestly say I have never driven a Mahindra before last week, when the Indian manufacturer’s new Pik-Up S11 automatic bakkie was launched.

My ignorance when it comes to the brand and its products is right up there, but I was told that Mahindra was recognised as South Africa’s fastest-growing brand in 2019. According to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers (NAAMSA), Mahindra grew by 28.7% last year, while the overall market declined by 2.8% in the same period. So, it must be doing something right, and is going on a new and improved product offensive in 2020 to keep up their momentum.

South Africa is the first country in the world to offer the Pik-Up S11. I have said many times, South Africa is bakkie country, and if you take the time to look around, you will see quite a few Pik-Ups on the road. Granted, I have seen them mostly in the more rural areas and not as much running around the centre of Sandton. But I think this suits the personality of the Pik-Up almost perfectly. This is not an insult.

The Pik-Up has a strong indestructible utilitarian feel and look about it. Those who know these vehicles will notice the new S11 has a different grille and bumper, along with upgraded headlamps and colour-coded side mirrors. At the rear, you get a reverse camera and a “automatic” decal that lets the world know you are driving the new model. Love or hate the styling, no other bakkie in South Africa looks like it.

You know you are not going to get an Amarok Alcantara-spec interior; nor are you going to get all sorts of high-tech safety goodies, but you do get two airbags and traction control. The bakkie’s luxury spec comes in the form of automatic climate control, cruise control, electric windows, automatically locking doors, 12v power points front and rear and a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system that offers Bluetooth and satellite navigation.

There is a new S11 Karoo automatic that features a unique decal design on the side panels as well as nudge and styling bars. This model has a custom-designed and lockable roller-deck system for the load box as standard, a rubberised loadbay and off-road alloy wheels.

Across the range, the 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine delivers 103 kW at 3 750 rpm and 320 Nm between 1 500 and 2 800 rpm, and is married to a new six speed automatic transmission. The ride quality wasn’t bad and the pace acceptable for the power output. Off-road is where it shines.

It feels like a go-anywhere Defender, thanks to the proper Eaton mechanical differential lock which offers complete lock-up between the rear wheels when there is a loss of traction in challenging off-road conditions.

It has a standard ground clearance of 210 mm, an approach angle of 34 degrees, a departure angle of 15 degrees and a breakover angle of 18 degrees. And you can get a host of extras fitted, like approach-and-recovery bumpers and rock sliders, at any Mahindra dealership or their newly inaugurated special fitment centre in Gauteng.

The new S11 automatic and S11 automatic Karoo are available with a standard four-year/ 120 000 km technical warranty and free roadside assistance plan. It also has a comprehensive service plan for five years or 100 000 km.


Pik-Up 2.2 CRDe S11 AT – R384 999

Pik-Up 2.2 CRDe S11 Karoo AT – R399 999

Pik-Up 2.2 CRDe S11 4×4 AT – R414 999

Pik-Up 2.2 CRDe S11 Karoo 4×4 AT – R429 999

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