A BIG PRICE TO PAY

The widely un­known Mahin­dra Pik-up fronts up against the for­mi­da­ble Toy­ota LC79. Can the bud­get-priced In­dian work­horse keep up?

4 x 4 Australia - - Driven -

IT MIGHT seem like a long bow to draw, but the two 4x4s on these pages ac­tu­ally have quite a lot in com­mon. How­ever, there’s a huge dif­fer­ence in price – more than $40,000, in fact. The Mahin­dra you see here has a drive-away price of just $32,990 and comes with a three-year, 100,000km war­ranty. The best deal­er­sourced pric­ing for this LC79 Landcruiser, how­ever, is a whop­ping $74,290.

Nei­ther truck is per­fect, but the Toy­ota has the runs on the board in terms of rep­u­ta­tion, and dura­bil­ity. We’re not sug­gest­ing the Mahin­dra is any bet­ter than the Cruiser, but is it $40K bet­ter? SHORT ON GEARS THE move to the 4.5-litre 1VD-FTV bent eight has given the Cruiser a bucket-load of torque – 430Nm from 12003200rpm – and more po­ten­tial power at 151kw. But this is ham­strung by a very low-geared five-speed man­ual, which sees the Cruiser scream­ing its head off at high­way speeds. That said the Euro 5 up­date of Toy­ota’s work­horse, due about now, will see a taller fifth gear, plus more airbags and elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol and trac­tion con­trol. But those changes will also see even more added to the al­ready high sticker price.

The wider front axle to ac­com­mo­date the big diesel also left an un­changed rear axle track that doesn’t do much for the Cruiser’s han­dling when lug­ging a load. Per­haps the big­gest boon for the Cruiser is its ef­fort­less 3500kg tow­ing ca­pa­bil­ity. It re­mains the best orig­i­nal-equip­ment ve­hi­cle on the Aus mar­ket for tow­ing a big weight a big dis­tance.

The Mahin­dra sports a mod­est AVL 2.2-litre four-pot com­mon-rail turbo-diesel that pro­vides 88kw/280nm, as op­posed to the Toy­ota’s 151kw/430nm, but it will tow up to 2.5 tonnes and can haul a one-tonne pay­load on its back. Just don’t try to do both at the same time.

The Pik-up’s body, like the Landcruiser’s, sits on a lad­der­chas­sis frame and, in sin­gle cab form, han­dles the same size tray as the Toy­ota. The frames are near iden­ti­cal. How­ever, where the LC79 uses a coil­sprung live-axle front end, the Pik-up opts for tor­sion bars.

The Cruiser re­mains the best orig­i­nal-equip­ment ve­hi­cle on the Aus mar­ket for tow­ing a big weight a big dis­tance

Old-school Toy­otastyle twin sticks and free­wheel­ing hubs.

A 400kg pay­load didn’t make ei­ther truck work that hard. Af­ter­mar­ket shocks would do won­ders to the Pik-up’s ride.

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