Million rand bakkies are dime a dozen. Not Mahindra.

With most top-end bakkies challenging the million rand mark, some brands have already tipped the scale and gone into that once thought impossible bracket. Top of the range Nissan Navaras, Isuzu D-Max and the flagship Mazda BT-50 are already well into the R800K bracket. The range topping Toyota Hilux sells for beyond R900,000. The outgoing Ford Ranger Raptor SE is within a grand of a million bucks. The beefed up next turbo V6 version will cost considerably more.


Dime a dozen million buck bakkies

Like the top, regular Ranger, the four-pot Volkswagen Amarok is also in the mid-R800 bracket. And you’ll drop over a bar for a V6 Amarok. Add another two hundred grand for a R1.2-million-plus Jeep Gladiator bakkie. The most frightening thing about all of this, is that in this climate of hyperinflation, those prices are all up between R30,000 and R70K since the beginning of the year. And judging by overseas markets, the new Ranger will add between R10 and R25K to the price when it arrives soon. Do the math.

So, joining the dots, if you’re looking at getting yourself a top new Hilux Legend, Ranger Wildtrak or similar in a year or so, be ready to part with a cool million rands. That’s what you’ll pay if you want a top-end bakkie. But wait. What about Mahindra?

While some may not place as much stead in the Indian option, dig a little and it soon transpires that despite having the choice of three different special edition premium models, the all-new Mahindra Scorpio Pik Up Karoo Dusk, Dawn and Karoo offer incredible value. Best of all however, whichever variant you choose, you won’t be in for much more than six hundred grand. For a fully specced special edition Mahindra Pik Up Karoo.


A Fraction of a million for Best Bakkie Karoo

Now before you turn your nose up, we oblige you to read on. It’s no small coincidence that Auto picked the Scorpio Pik Up S11 4×4 Karoo auto as our Best Bakkie for 2022. It beat a field of premium rivals including most of the bakkies noted above. And it did so not just on value, but on pure honesty and raw ability as well. Now Mahindra has added this really top specced trio to its arsenal as part of a renewed product offensive. Along with its fresh new Twin Peak badged brand identity.

The PR bumf promises that Mahindra will ‘Unleash The Explorer In You’. If these three new flagship Pik Up models are anything to go by, the company is putting your money where its mouth is. That’s at a fraction of the money you’d expect to pay for an apex model.

Picking up on the original sell-out success Pik Up Karoo concept, these new Dusk, Dawn and Storm models offer several new features from an all-leather interior to custom paint colours. They’re designed to enhance the Pik Up’s already well qualified abilities and take on the most challenging terrain. “Our new Karoo Dawn, Dusk and Storm models will unleash the explorer in you to enjoy the ultimate adventure and family fun, “Mahindra South Africa CEO Rajesh Gupta promises.


Locally developed, assembled in SA

Developed specifically for local conditions and assembled in South Africa, Mahindra SA recently celebrated the ten-thousandth Pik Up rolling out of its Durban plant. This new trio is based on the already high upgraded standard Karoo detail specification that includes an exclusive nudge bar, load bin-mounted sports bar, new insignia and improved cabin carpets.

Most importantly, Karoo Dawn, Dusk and Storm get upgraded off-road performance suspension and off-road tyres on hardened 4×4 wheel rims, including the spare. Securely anchored steel off-road front and rear bumpers for better clearance, approach and departure angles. The bumper has standard off-road recovery and hitching lugs, while the front bumper gets special LED driving lights and the rear a non-slip diamond plate step.

All three new Karoo special models also step up to leather hide upholstery inside, while infotainment is bumped up from the standard 7” system to a larger Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Maps-rich 9” high density screen. Add rubberised load bins and purposeful looking rear over-fenders to differentiate each special edition model. Luxuries include the likes of climate control, power windows, cruise control and more.


Storm, Dawn & Dusk look a million bucks

Inspired by the dark of night, the black on black Karoo Dusk gets an enhanced sports bar atop a roller shutter topped rubberised load bin and a longer front bumper sports bar up front. The all-new sandy beige Dawn takes its cue from early Karoo mornings and is set apart by its heavy-duty roof rack and flush mounted tonneau cover. The powder blue-grey Storm is defined by those rare Karoo rainstorms.

Powered by Mahindra’s 103 kW and broadly torquey 320 Nm mHawk 2.2 turbodiesel turning a talented, made for SA Aisin six-speed automatic transmission, the Scorpio range benefits the Scorpio Pik Up’s hugely capable all-wheel drive system and differentials. All Karoo Dusk, Karoo Storm and Karoo Dawn models come with a 4-year or 120 000 km mechanical warranty, and 5-year or 90 000 km service plan.

Auto is yet to drive the new Mahindra Pik Up Karoo Dawn, Dusk or Storm, but we were party to a healthy insight from Hardy de Kock of Specialised Adventures. De Kock’s is running a Mahindra Expedition convoy of a Pik Up Karoo Dusk, a Dawn and a Storm through Southern Africa. The epic three-week journey through the most rugged and unforgiving terrain. From the bakkies’ spiritual Karoo homeland, the Kalahari and the Namib Desert South Africa, Namibia and Lesotho.


Karoo Special Editions put to the ultimate test

After 21 straight days at the wheel, the touring party has come to know its Karoo special editions very well. “Most importantly in an adventure like this, is to get in to camp every evening without feeling wrecked from a full day’s hard driving,” Hardy explains. “To be honest, we’ve seldom been so fresh after a full day in these Karoo models. “Not only are they have proven completely reliable and so forgiving to drive, but they’re hugely comfortable. “Especially on long, corrugated dirt roads.

“I was honestly also shocked by this bakkie’s off-road ability. “Not least of all how this automatic gearbox defies expectations to master desert dunes. “Or by how pliant the differentials are on even the most challenging of 4×4 tests. “And then it’s economical too – under 9 litres per hundred is unheard of in those challenging conditions. The Karoo has it all too. “I’m not a techie, but when I get in every day, the Pik Up just connects me to its infotainment. “And the rest is easy. “No fidgeting or trying to figure it out, it just works.

“When we undertook this Mahindra Expedition, we were just looking at doing a job,” Hardy concluded. “Now, three weeks later, we are converted. “I have cancelled my order for the bakkie we had planned to buy when we returned. “Now we are getting a Mahindra Pik Up Karoo. “Yes, it really is that good – we have fallen in love with our Mahindras!”


Million bakkie reasons need not include cost

So, getting back to the point. There may be a million reasons to buy a top end bakkie, including that amount, or more in rands. But not every bakkie maker demands that much for its metal. Mahindra not only charges a small fraction of a million rand for its flagship wares, but its bakkie pedigree is as good, if not better than anything out there.

All you need do is alter your perceptions a bit. Or maybe let your wallet do that for you. There’s a Mahindra dealer near you. I dare you!

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