I like simple, robust cars, it turns out. Sure, a posh European will always entice, but there are some stellar vehicles at the lower end of the price brackets and often, these yield interesting experiences.
The Mahindra S10 Pik Up was such a bakkie, a capable 4x4 double cab with loads of character and rugged charm. I know it is wrong to compare it with an old Land Rover Defender, but I'll continue to do so. There's something about its vertically oriented greenhouse and simple controls that hark back to my time at the wheel of the Landy – and that endears me very much.
This then is the S11, essentially the same car but with an automatic gearbox. The one I'm in isn't even the 4x4 model, merely a 4x2, but brother, did we scale a mountain in it all the same. We pointed the white bonnet of our Karoo special edition Pik Up along the Breedts Nek Pass, traversing with no fuss the torn-up and rutted gravel and clay 'road'. I imagine the 4x4 will do so with even less hassle, and even then, look. I don't even think its prowess on the dirt was ever questioned nor required for what is essentially a great value prospect in the lifestyle-oriented double cab segment.
This is a nice car, and a bargain at R399,999! See, for further context you need to consider the price list. Depending on whether you're looking for a lifestyle cab or a workhorse, the Pik Up double-cab can be had as cheaply as R312,499 (manual 4x2) or as dearly as R429,999 (auto 4x4, Karoo edition).
What I mean to say is
South Africa is the flagship market for Mahindra's passenger cars and SUVs – as a result, they take our market very seriously. Did I mention this was the S11’s world premiere? That's a market where 72% of double-cabs costs more than R450,000. The entire Pik Up range including the S11 sits neatly underneath that figure which is convenient.
Not as budget-orientated inside as might expect
The S11 auto too makes sense in a segment where 51% consists of self-shifter and the remaining 49% are row your own. They share one engine, a 2.2-litre turbodiesel good for 103kw and 320Nm. It's an agricultural beast but the cabin is a well-refined box so you're hardly sat in a tractor. In fact, here you'll enjoy luxury appointments such as a reverse camera, updated infotainment system and a hardy selection of surfaces. It's a big double cab this, yet the cabin feels compact - I blame that boxy profile.
Back to capability and you can thank its 34-degree approach and 15-degree departure angles, as well as a ground clearance of 210mm. Opt for the Karoo kit and you get that new nudge bar and sporty roll bar, plus a slew of Karoo badges littered throughout. There's also new two-tone alloy wheels here but if I'm honest I prefer the solid black items on last year's Karoo edition.
Okay, I’m wrapping this up
None of the aforementioned tinsel matters when you’re at the helm, where you'll experience mildly tallboy-like handling, linear and gracious power delivery, and comfortable living space. I genuinely and wholeheartedly approve of the driving experience, which if I may once again compare it to something above its pay grade, reminds me of a Toyota Land Cruiser double-cab. I know. I know it’s silly. I know I have a whiff of Kool-Aid about me, but I really am sold on the Pik Up in all its incarnations and if you’re not a badge snob, then you should be too.
|Mahindra Pik Up S6 4x2||R312,499.00|
|Mahindra Pik Up S6 4x2 Karoo||R322,499.00|
|Mahindra Pik Up S6 4x4||R342,499.00|
|Mahindra Pik Up S6 4x4 Karoo ||R352,499.00|
|Mahindra Pik Up S10 4x2||R347,499.00|
|Mahindra Pik Up S10 4x2 Karoo||R352,499.00|
|Mahindra Pik Up S10 4x4||R377,499.00|
|Mahindra Pik Up S10 4x4 Karoo||R382,499.00|
|Mahindra Pik Up S11 AT 4x2||R384,999.00|
|Mahindra Pik Up S11 4x2 Karoo AT||R399,999.00|
|Mahindra Pik Up S11 AT 4x4||R414,999.00|
|Mahindra Pik Up S11 4x4 Karoo AT ||R429,999.00|
Pricing includes Mahindra's standard 4-year/120 000km warranty with free Roadside Assistance plan plus a comprehensive service plan for five-years or 100 000km.
More about Mahindra
Mahindra is the fastest growing manufacturer in South Africa with a 28.7% growth in 2019 alone. The company is placing its emphasis on aftersales now, pushing their value and service levels to the highest it's been in a further attempt to entice the local market. Their local assembly plant has already rolled out 3500 cars, mind you the S11 is an import – no bad thing.
Their passenger SUV range includes the TUV300, XUV300, XUV100, XUV500, Scorpio and Thar. The Pik Up remains our favourite with close competition from the new kid on their block, the XUV300 which now has an entry-level diesel W4 model with steel wheels for a ridiculously low R234,999, excluding service plan.