The Mahin­dra Ge­nio is one of the more un­der­rated “other bakkies” in SA.

Bakkies now come with in­fo­tain­ment sys­tems and soft sus­pen­sion, but some still carry a load

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE - AL­WYN VILJOEN

THERE are only two types of bakkie drivers in South Africa — those in a Hilux, and those in “other bakkies”.

The Hilux re­mains not just SA’s best sell­ing bakkie, but best-sell­ing ve­hi­cle.,

In­creas­ingly, the other bakkie is a Ford Ranger, but South African bakkie buy­ers will soon have even more lux­ury dou­ble cabs to choose from, in­clud­ing a Re­nault and a Mercedes-Benz.

To find the bakkie that will best meet your busi­ness, fam­ily or trans­port needs, an­swer the ques­tions be­low.

Q What is more im­por­tant, the:

• re­sale value, • run­ning costs, • or the ini­tial out­lay?

Q How much does the badge mat­ter?

Lots, in this town, peo­ple judge you on your wheels, you know. Badges don’t mat­ter, but I do want to stand out from the crowd...


The Ford Ranger has been Car mag­a­zine’s “Best Buy” for seven con­sec­u­tive years. Granted, the fine fel­lows at Car have never washed cow poo from a bakkie, but they do un­der­stand good en­gi­neer­ing. The catch? Its very easy to abuse the clutch with 470 Nm. With 400 creamy New­tons on tap, the rel­a­tively new Fiat Full­back 2,5 DiD 4x4 LX sur­prises ev­ery­one with its brisk drive. The catch? It is a real bakkie with a bumpy ride, cour­tesy of some stiff sus­pen­sion at the back.


Not so long ago, SA had three more “half-ton­ners” on sale, the Fiat Strada, Ford Bantam and Chevro­let/Opel Ute. Now the Nis­san NP200 “ranges” supreme, with Toyota and VW not in­ter­ested in sell­ing these loss-lead­ers.

The catch? We pre­fer the van-ver­sion, the NV200, as the lower floor makes for eas­ier load­ing, but the bakkie is cheaper for tight bud­gets.


Isuzu only makes trucks and bakkies and as you’d ex­pect, its KB-range sells all this com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle ex­per­tise with ei­ther a proven 2,5-litre and 3,0-litre turbo diesel. The fact that the LX mod­els also in­clude all the lit­tle lux­u­ries con­sid­ered nor­mal in pas­sen­ger cars is a bonus.

The catch? They are not the cheap­est, but it’s a buyer’s mar­ket. De­mand a dis­count.


If the price you will get for the bakkie four years down the line mat­ters, fleet man­agers say the Hilux keeps its value best. The Kin­sey parts bas­ket sur­vey also puts the typ­i­cal cost of wear and tear parts for the Hilux at 13% of the new price, which is the low­est among dou­ble cabs.

The catch? Most sold also means most stolen.


Metro Cars wants less than R142 000 (be­fore a cur­rent R10 000 cash back spe­cial) for a new Changan Star 1.3, which is a very well-put to­gether lit­tle workhorse for in-town de­liv­er­ies.

The catch? Big­ger blokes don’t so much drive the Changan as wear it.


If run­ning costs are the main con­cern, look no fur­ther than GWM Steed. The sub-to­tal for brake pads, oil fil­ters and wipers, is the low­est on 2017 Kin­sey Parts Bas­ket The catch? Big things like cam belts and rear disk drums cost more than what Nis­san or Isuzu charges.


JMC makes a tried and tested 2,8-litre turbo diesel bakkie for small busi­nesses that com­petes head on with the cabover-en­gines from Kia and Huyn­dai. The catch? Fewer deal­ers than the Kore­ans have, also a shorter war­ranty.


Noth­ing says you are a suc­cess­ful farmer quite as sub­tly as the Toyota Land Cruiser does. Orig­i­nal Toyota parts are avail­able un­der ev­ery tree where a back­yard me­chanic op­er­ates, as sev­eral pan-African trav­ellers told Wheels.

The catch? A hard ride and old tech that comes with a se­ri­ous fuel thirst.


Due to launch next month in South Africa, the Mercedes-Benz Xclass will for the first time of­fer the styleaware bakkie fan in SA (they do ex­ist, ac­tu­ally) a pre­mium brand with a load bed. The catch: The Sprinter chas­sis cab and/or Un­i­mog al­ready does this job, and for less than the X-Class.


The Mazda BT-50 tells peo­ple who know this is ba­si­cally the Ford Ranger for less money. The catch? Mazda’s fu­ture fo­cus is on cars..

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