The Pik of the bunch
The Indians have a ute to be reckoned with, writes GRAHAMSMITH
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.