Upgraded headlamps and other subtle changes make this stand out as the range-topping Pik Up version. Picture: SUPPLIED
Upgraded headlamps and other subtle changes make this stand out as the range-topping Pik Up version. Picture: SUPPLIED

Indian brand Mahindra has introduced new high-end automatic models to its local range of Pik Up bakkies.

Rajesh Gupta, CEO of Mahindra SA, says the vehicle answers strong customer demand for a two-pedalled derivative in the range, and the modern new six-speed torque converter transmission features a sequential self-shifting option.

In 4x4 models the gearbox comes with a new hill descent control (HDC) that automatically keeps a set speed down steep, slippery turf without the driver having to use the brakes. To suit the terrain, the HDC speed can be adjusted using the cruise control buttons on the steering wheel.

The auto ’box is paired with the existing mHawk 2.2l turbo diesel engine with outputs of 103kW and 320Nm and a claimed fuel consumption of 7.9l/100km.

Initially the only model to get the auto is the Pik Up double cab in luxury S11 specification level, which features cosmetic upgrades, including a new grille and bumper, upgraded headlamps and other subtle changes to stand out as the range-topping version.

The S11 is also the first Pik Up model to get a reversing camera, adding to a fully loaded spec sheet across the range that also includes a new touch screen infotainment system with navigation.

The S11 models — available in a choice of 4x2 or 4x4 guises — in addition lay on climate control, a multifunction steering wheel, cruise control, traction control and dual front airbags.

For an extra R15,000 the S11 is available in a Karoo special edition dressed up with macho nudge and styling bars, a rubberised load bay, special off-road design alloy wheels, and a lockable roller deck system.

The plastics are hard but the seats are cloth-covered, and the spec sheet is otherwise quite full. Picture: SUPPLIED
The plastics are hard but the seats are cloth-covered, and the spec sheet is otherwise quite full. Picture: SUPPLIED

I drove the new Pik Up S11 4x2 auto at the media launch in the Gauteng’s Magaliesburg area last week and the new gearbox proved to be a smooth-shifter that should take a lot of the chore out of commuting.

The four-cylinder diesel isn’t the most refined unit but chuffs along with good gusto thanks to that 320Nm figure, which is on call at just 1,500rpm.

The boxy Pik Up is a rugged-looking thing that seems to yearn for rough trails, and the 4x2 had no problem cruising up the steep and rocky Breedt’s Nek pass, which formed part of the route. The bumpy climb was taken in its stride with the aid of a generous 210mm ground clearance and a mechanical diff lock that engaged automatically whenever one of the rear wheels started losing grip. The 4x4 version extends the Pik Up’s adventuring capabilities even further.

Heavy-duty suspension gives the 4x2 double cab models a 1,095kg load capacity and 995kg for the 4x4 versions, and they’re both able to tow 2,500kg braked trailers.

The squared-off styling gives the Pik Up a rough-and-tough workhorse vibe that will make it look natural carting a load of sheep over muddy farm tracks, but it earns its stripes as a family leisure vehicle too.

Mahindras have gained sophistication over their very utilitarian origins and the Pik Up, while perhaps still a little rough around the edges compared with “establishment” bakkies of the Hilux and Ranger ilk, is a lot of double cab bakkie for the price.

The spec levels are good and the cabin is roomy. The interior styling’s fairly modern with neat finishes, even though it’s all hard plastic and not the classier-feeling soft-touch type.

At a starting price of R384,999 the new Pik Up S11 presents a significant saving over entry-level diesel double cabs, including the Hilux (R437,700) and Ranger (R428,200).

Double cab pricing:

Mahindra Pik Up S6 4x2 — R312,499

Mahindra Pik Up S6 4x2 Karoo — R322,499

Mahindra Pik Up S6 4x4 — R342,499

Mahindra Pik Up S6 4x4 Karoo — R352,499

Mahindra Pik Up S10 4x2 — R347,499

Mahindra Pik Up S10 4x2 Karoo — R352,499

Mahindra Pik Up S10 4x4 — R377,499

Mahindra Pik Up S10 4x4 Karoo — R382,499

Mahindra Pik Up S11 AT 4x2 — R384,999

Mahindra Pik Up S11 4x2 Karoo AT — R399,999

Mahindra Pik Up S11 AT 4x4  — R414,999

Mahindra Pik Up S11 4x4 Karoo AT — R429,999

Includes four-year/120,000km warranty and roadside assistance plan, and five-year/100,000km service plan.