The Pik of the bunch

The In­di­ans have a ute to be reck­oned with, writes GRAHAMSMITH

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

THE progress of Mahin­dra has been slow and steady, but the In­dian car­maker says it is here for the long term and its re­vised Pik-Up is proof of its com­mit­ment.

Key changes to its tough work­horse are aimed at lift­ing its safety rat­ing to three stars when it’s tested by ANCAP.

With dual front airbags and an­ti­skid brakes stan­dard across the Pik-Up range, Mahin­dra is con­fi­dent it will achieve three stars.

Some Pik-Up cus­tomers, notably farm­ers, may not ap­pre­ci­ate the airbags.

They pre­vent them from us­ing their ve­hi­cles to push and shove gates, equip­ment and stock around their farms.

But the ex­tra safety fea­tures are sure to ap­peal to city slick­ers.

Town dwellers are also likely to be at­tracted to the new grille, head­lights, fog lamps, bumper and bon­net scoop that give the Pik-Up a fresh face and make it more ap­peal­ing.

Add new er­gonom­i­cally de­signed seats for im­proved com­fort, a sporty gear knob and park brake lever, tilt-ad­justable steer­ing col­umn, new fab­ric trim, new CD sound sys­tem with MP3 com­pat- ibil­ity and steer­ing wheel con­trols, plus pow­ered mir­rors.

You get the im­pres­sion Mahin­dra is try­ing to reach buy­ers want­ing more from their utes than rugged reli­a­bil­ity.

The range con­sists of sin­gle and dual-cab utes and cab-chas­sis mod­els, with ei­ther two or four­wheel-drive. They are pow­ered by a 2.5-litre com­mon-rail turb diesel en­gine with 79kW at 3800 revs and 247Nm at 1800-2200 revs.

A five-speed man­ual gear­box is stan­dard. No auto is avail­able.

The four-wheel-drive trans­fer case has elec­tric se­lec­tion. The sus­pen­sion is a proven com­bi­na­tion of front tor­sion bars and rear leaf springs.

The steer­ing is power-as­sisted and the brakes are front discs and rear drums.

All mod­els have a pay­load of at least a tonne. The sin­gle-cab twowheel drive has the high­est at 1160kg. All tow up to 2½ tonnes.

Mahin­dra spokesman Pravin Shah says the com­pany is likely to release an SUV in com­ing months, and has plans for new SUV and Pik-Up mod­els for 2011.

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