All bakkies are not cre­ated equal!

He’s about to buy a new dou­ble cab bakkie. The big ques­tion is, which one? asks Mic van Zyl.

Go! Camp & Drive - - Vics Memos -

The United States Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence con­tains the phrase: “All men are cre­ated equal”. In that con­text it cer­tainly rings true. The same can, how­ever, not be said about our beloved dou­ble cab bakkies. A glimpse at new ve­hi­cle sales will con­firm that the dou­ble cab bakkie is im­mensely pop­u­lar – and for good rea­son. Ver­sa­til­ity is close to the top of the list. I too have now come to terms with the fact that for my next com­pany ve­hi­cle, due in Oc­to­ber, I’m go­ing to forego a wagon in favour of a dou­ble cab. Which one? That’s the big ques­tion. The first re­quire­ment would be diesel auto. Se­condly it needs to ride more like a wagon than a bakkie. Thirdly, a high level of stan­dard lux­u­ries would be nice for a change. Un­til very re­cently my first choice was a Land Cruiser 70 se­ries V8 Diesel – wagon or dou­ble cab – to be de­cided upon. This has, how­ever, changed due to a cou­ple of rea­sons, most notably the cost of the ve­hi­cle and the re­lated perks, tax im­pli­ca­tions, as well as the fact that, as de­sir­able as the Cruiser is, it has a very Spar­tan stan­dard equip­ment of­fer­ing. With only elec­tric win­dows, power steer­ing, air con, a sin­gle cup holder, and man­ual gear­box on of­fer, I’m con­vinced that liv­ing with this beast on a day-to-day ba­sis will be more chal­leng­ing than I’m up to. I have been very for­tu­nate to have re­cently driven the top of­fer­ings from all of the ma­jor dou­ble cab brands in suc­ces­sion dur­ing a trip through the Moremi area in Botswana. A cou­ple of weeks later we took our own fleet of var­i­ous new dou­ble cabs down to KZN, and then up and down the Sani Pass. Bad gravel roads, heavy sand tracks, water cross­ing, rocky moun­tain pass, mud – all of the stuff we wish we could do every day. Not many peo­ple get the op­por­tu­nity to drive so many dif­fer­ent ve­hi­cles back to back and com­pare ap­ples with ap­ples in the mo­ment. It is this that has led me to re­alise that, while there are in­her­ently no bad ve­hi­cles in this group, some bakkies are def­i­nitely “more equal” than oth­ers. This is cer­tainly the hot topic at the mo­ment in many ve­hi­cle pub­li­ca­tions with many bakkie “shoot-outs” ap­pear­ing across sev­eral of the lead­ing mag­a­zines. One must bear in mind, how­ever, that while th­ese ar­ti­cles are very in­for­ma­tive, the one area that they can­not cover is long-term own­er­ship, which in­cludes main­te­nance and re­li­a­bil­ity is­sues that may arise over time with ex­tended use, as well as re­sale value, which may also be a con­sid­er­a­tion for some. What I do find some­what frus­trat­ing is the very dif­fer­ent lev­els of stan­dard equip­ment found in the top mod­els from the dif­fer­ent brands. I can never un­der­stand why some brands can of­fer cer­tain items as stan­dard and other brands don’t. Some of th­ese items are nice to have but some are ac­tu­ally a real re­quire­ment from a safety point of view. I’ll elab­o­rate on this in next month’s is­sue. Per­haps I will have made my mind up by then. De­ci­sions, de­ci­sions!

What I find frus­trat­ing are the dif­fer­ent lev­els of stan­dard equip­ment across the range­top­ping dou­ble-cab of­fer­ings from the lead­ing brands in this seg­ment. Mic van Zyl is the di­rec­tor of Iron­man 4x4 Africa, the sole im­porter and dis­trib­u­tor of the full range of Iron­man 4x4 prod­ucts.

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