In America they are called trucks, in Aussie Utes and in South Africa we call them bakkies. No matter what you call them, the bakkie is a firm favourite for a huge percentage of our population. Working bakkies on farms, building sites, mines, factories and small businesses, lifestyle bakkies to pull the boat or the trailer full of bikes, for weekend bundu bashing or simply to keep the neighbours jealous.
The thing is, it is impossible to define a ‘bakkie’. From the very basic single cab 4×2 to 4×4 twin cab, all turbo, all optional extras, high-riding snarling beasts that will make Mad Max blink, and everything in between, there is a bakkie for every need and the need for more bakkie variants seems insatiable.
So how do you compare bakkies? You decide on a double cab, because why not, and choose four popular brands and shoot for a price range between R500 and R600 000. We stuck to diesel power, manual gearbox and 4×2 drive.
The Toyota Hilux has to be in there because it is the best-selling bakkie and has been for a long time. The Ford Ranger has made a mighty splash since its launch here a decade or so ago. The Nissan Navarra has a long history of great performance, value and quality, while the Mitsubishi Triton gives you sporty performance and sleek good looks and has a solid fan base here. This list could easily have featured a VW, Mazda, Mahindra and Isuzu, but here we go.
Nissan Navara 2.3 SE Plus
The Navara is also around R550K and while it gives you a radio/CD player and cloth seats, it has all the mod cons including electric windows, aircon, multifunction steering wheel and diff lock.
Your safety is catered for by seven airbags, ABS and stability control among others. The motor gives you 120kW and 403 Nm and 3.500kg braked towing. Its warranty is for six years/150 000km and its service plan is six years/90 000km.
The Nissan Navara has been and still is a serious South African bakkie, as demonstrated when the PRO-4X won the Car Of The Year award in the 4×4 double cab category recently.
Toyota Hilux 2.4-litre Raider
The Raider comes in under R550K, but you can blow past that easily with optional extras. You get a diff lock, air con, cloth seats, parking sensors and rear view camera, electric windows, multifunction steering wheel, cruise control and a touch screen infotainment system.
It has ABS and stability control and seven airbags. The engine gives 110kW and 400Nm and you get a braked towing capacity of 2 750kg. It has a warranty of three years/100 000km and a 90 000 (9 services, no age limit) service plan.
Ford Ranger 2.2-litre High Rider XLS
The High Rider also comes in under R550k, and for that, you get dual-zone climate control, navigation, front and back parking sensors with rear camera, cruise control, leather inside, a rear diff lock and very nice features that include auto controls for the headlights and wipers.
ABS, stability control and six airbags are standard. The engine has 118kW and 385 Nm and a braked towing capacity of 3 500. You get a four-year/120 000 warranty and a six-year/90 000 service plan.
Mitsubishi Triton DI DC 2.4
The Triton floats around R50k above its competitors, but for that you get a whole lot of bakkie. Mitsubishi has recently introduced a lower-trim GL, but for the sake of features comparison, we will go with the DI DC.
It has a multifunction wheel with audio and cruise control, Bluetooth with voice control, touch screen radio/CD/MP3, dual-zone auto air-con, leather seats and an electrically adjustable driver’s seat.
It also comes with 7 airbags, active stability and traction control, ABS, EBD and BAS, hill start assist and a rear view camera. The motor gives you 133kW and 430 Nm and a braked towing capacity of 3 100kg.
So, Which One?
These four great bakkies are all within R50K of each other in price. One has a little bit more here, the other some extra there. Any one of the four will look good in any driveway. Just look around and pick the best value for money you can find.