Mahindra Pik Up S11 AT 4x4
Automatic double cabs are big business in South Africa. Keen to join the action, Mahindra recently launched an automatic variant of the Pik Up
Price: R414 999 Engine: 2,2-litre, 4-cylinder, turbodiesel Transmission: 6-speed automatic Power: 103 kw @ 3 750 r/min Torque: 320 N.m @ 1 500-2 800 r/min 0-100 km/h: n/a Top speed: n/a Fuel consumption: 7,9 L/100 km* CO2: 173 g/km Rivals: Ford Ranger 2,2 TDCI 4x4 XLS AT; Toyota Hilux 2,4 GD-6 4x4 SRX AT + value for money; appealing engine transmission hesitancy M ahindra has introduced an automatic variant of its popular workhorse, the Pik Up. Badged as the S11, it shares the same rugged powertrain and basic styling with its six-speed manual sibling, the S10. Interestingly, South Africa is the first country in the world where the S11 is offered, a smart move when you consider most double-cab buyers prefer the two-pedal alternative.
Apart from the gearbox, there have been a few subtle styling and spec updates. Indicators integrated into the side mirrors replace those previously found on the fenders, while an updated grille, headlamp clusters and foglamps give the car a fresher appearance. Finally, a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen is now included, featuring satellite navigation,
Bluetooth compatibility and a reversing camera.
For those wanting their S11 with some added visual presence, Mahindra has launched the Karoo edition (pictured above). Featuring unique side decals, a custom lockable roller deck, as well as model-specific nudge bars and alloy wheels, the special edition also retains all the features of the standard S11 model.
Inside, the seating offers a commanding driving position. While the cloth-covered chairs are comfy, lower back pain can be expected on extended journeys due to a lack of lumbar support. The front seats do offer individual armrests, though. Outward visibility is impressive, with not much obscuring your vision of the road through the near-vertical windscreen.
Generously equipped, the Pik Up
S11 comes standard with electric windows, climate control and a raft of numerous nice to haves. Dual front airbags and ABS with EBD take care of things on the safety front.
The six-speed automatic works well with the flexible mhawk 2,2-litre turbodiesel. The four-cylinder powertrain produces 103 kw of power and a robust 320 N.m of torque. When mated to the sixspeed manual, the Pik Up makes respectable progress. It’s the same story with the self-shifting S11. While performance certainly isn’t sprightly, the automatic can hold its own on a country road and the highway. The smooth-shifting six-speed unit gets the slab-sided double cab up to 120 km/h with few signs of heavy breathing.
Sourced from Aisin, the transmission features a manual override in the form of sequential shifting. While progress is smooth and changes are quick, the Pik Up is sometimes hesitant to downshift. Even with the accelerator pedal fully depressed, the automatic won’t kick down until you take your foot off the pedal and apply it again quickly. I found the manual override handy in these instances, especially when travelling uphill.
The ride is nicely judged, offering a satisfactorily cushioned quality bothered by only the sharpest of ridges, potholes and bumps. Despite the slow steering and tall dimensions, the Pik Up never feels unwieldy or unstable. It rounds corners with ease, providing you’re sensible and adjust your speed accordingly.
The lethargic steering comes into its own once the Mahindra turns off the highway to tackle rougher terrain, such as Breedtsnek Pass negotiated during the launch. The Mahindra didn’t break a sweat over rocks and up inclines that would labour some SUVS. Thanks to an impressive approach angle of 34 degrees, it made light work of scaling massive rocks. More impressively, the automatic gearbox didn’t put a foot wrong and made the task of climbing the pass simple.
Once the S11 had reached the summit, downhill had to be negotiated with great care. Deep ridges and potholes meant slow and steady driving. Thanks to a new hill-descent control system mated to the 4x4 S11 which uses engine and vehicle braking, it was a breeze.
The Pik Up doesn’t have the aesthetic appeal of more expensive bakkies like the Ford Ranger or the Volkswagen Amarok, yet it counters this with unbeatable value for money and old-fashioned mechanical simplicity. It feels more at home scaling a mountain pass than it does on the road and, for many keen off-road enthusiasts, that’s no bad thing. 51
01 New infotainment system lends modernity to the dated cabin. 02 Short front overhangs enable the Mahindra to tackle steep declines with ease. 03 The six-speed auto allows the Pik Up to scale inclines without fuss. 04 Karoo model (left) has added visual appeal thanks to a range of accessories.