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.
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.