Best Bakkie 2022 Finalist: Mahindra 2.2CRDe double cab 4×4 S11 Karoo
There’s good reason we’re Mahindra bakkie fans. This Karoo-packed Pik Up S11 automatic reminds us why. It’s tough and durable DNA is well proven in this market. Never mind the Karoo S11 Pik Up was exclusively developed with South Africa in mind in response to overwhelming local demand for automatic bakkies.
Plucky turbodiesel, self-shifting ‘box
Powered by Mahindra’s plucky 103 kW 320 Nm 2.2 litre common rail turbodiesel, this Karoo version turns a sequential self-shifting six-speed auto and the Indian maker’s well-developed four-wheel drive. Unmatched in this company where it really counts, S11 has a 1095 kg payload and can tow a 2500 kg braked trailer. Not quite the three and a half tons of some of its Jap rivals, but that’s more than enough. It will tow your boat, both your horses in the box. Or your tin-top race car on its trailer.
The least powerful of the Best Bakkies on parade here, performance is actually quite surprising. Again, what’s a couple of seconds among friends. These are bakkies, no? Look, S11 Auto is slightly laggy from a standing start, but old Karoo accelerates, overtakes and cruises well, as our test data attests. It’s economical, too. Mahindra claims 7.9 l/100 km in the combined cycle — among the better here. Another strength we expect from a bakkie.
Another pleasant and unexpected positive was the Mahindra’s decent ride and a quiet cabin on the road. The seats are also comfortable and the command arm rests are a welcome boon none of its rivals can muster. There’s automatic climate control over and above 12V power points front and rear, auto locking doors and auto up and down power windows. We did miss the slide-open rear glass from many S11 rivals.
All the bells and whistles too FOR KAROO
Karoo packs full colour 7” touchscreen infotainment with Bluetooth, a multitude of entertainment and vehicle information screens and full turn-by-turn navigation. Most of it run via the adjustable multifunction steering wheel. There’s a reverse camera too, and the audio system exceeded expectation. The cabin is however a bit dated, despite all that added tech. But yet again, we ask… what is a bakkie?
Like that cabin, Pik Up will never be the best looking bakkie out there. But its S11 trim is eye-catching none the less. Especially in this Karoo get-up. It packs a stylish grille and bumper too, neat headlights, colour-coded wing mirrors with indicator repeaters. Karoo spec adds the shiny wheels, stickers bull, running and roll bars and even a bak roller shutter.
Safety spec includes dual airbags, traction control, ABS anti-skid and electronic braking distribution. That said, it certainly did not flatter in our braking tests, leading us to wonder if the ABS was even working on the test unit. There are a few other inherent deficiencies — like that famous old horrendous turning circle. And while they are pretty, those headlights are dim and the brights do not spread wide enough.
KAROO Is a bakkie and it knows it
All in all however, we all know that the Mahindra is not pretending to be anything else. It’s a bakkie and it knows it. And that’s something none of its rivals here can ever claim. It’s the essence of a bakkie. All of which makes us wonder if this Mahindra Pik Up S11 Karoo may very well be a Best Bakkie dark horse…
BEST BAKKIE ’22 FINALIST: Mahindra Pik Up 2.2CRDe double cab 4x4 S11 Karoo Engine: 103kW 320Nm 2.2-litre turbodiesel I4 Drive: 6-speed automatic 4x4 Payload: 1,093 kg Braked Trailer: 2,500 kg TESTED: 0-100km/h: 12.25 sec 400m: 18.3 sec @ 119km/h 80-120km/h: 10.46 sec CLAIMED: Fuel: 7.9 l/100km CO2: 220 g/km Warranty/Service: 4y 120K/5y 100K km LIST PRICE: R452K