My grandfather once refused to buy a specific bakkie because the tail lights wrapped around the corners of the load bed, and these would have been knocked out within a week on his farm.
But the days of choosing a bakkie because you are a farmer or a builder are long gone unless you are a farmer or builder.
Thing is, most of us buy bakkies because they represent the lifestyle we want. Your top-range double cab 4×4 offerings today will give you more luxury and safety than a grand sedan ten or twenty years ago, as well as a load bed and major off-road capability.
Most of these bakkies are drive driven in town most of the time and their characteristics reflect this. They accelerate and brake well, are easy to park and comfortable to drive. They have all the aircon, airbags and sound you could want.
So Which One Do You Choose?
For the sake of brevity, let’s look at the Mitsubishi Triton, the Toyota Hilux and the Isuzu D-Max, among the top DC 4×4 models. Let’s be clear: in terms of on-paper spec, there is not much between them. The Triton is the lighter of the three and its shorter wheelbase gives it a nimbler ride, but that is about it.
The Hilux has been the top seller for generations, but recently its sales have slumped. This could be partly because of supply shortages. Apart from chips and other imported components being bedevilled by global logistics, its KZN plant has suffered civil unrest and repeated flooding.
Rather than wait for the stock, buyers would choose one of the other options on the market. This has become easier as the available options have become more competitive.
People now buy these bakkies using the mixture of logic and desire always used to buy passenger cars. Cost, power, speed, luxury features, safety and warranty. To that add beauty (eye of the beholder), style, standing out from the crowd – emotional or perceived values difficult to quantify.
Take the Triton. The top model Triton D/C 2.4L Xtreme 4X4 A/T starts at R748K. For that, you get the engine standard to the range, the MIVEC DOHC Intercooled Turbo Diesel with 133kW@3500rpm and 430 Nm@2500rpm with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The fuel consumption is an incredible 7.6L/100km – not bad for a full-sized 4X4.
In terms of safety and luxury features, the Triton is up there with the best of the competition with seven airbags and leather seats and the rest of it.
So it boils down to personal preference, the subjective factors that make us choose one over the other. Maybe it is the looks, the sporty grille and mean-looking headlights, or the curve where the cab meets the load bed. The handsome 18-inches or the wide range of optional extras.
Whatever it is, the Mitsubishi Triton is worth a look and a test drive when it is time to choose your next double cab.