BAKKIE SHOOTOUT – The suitors part 2

JAC T8 2,0 CTI 4WD Lux MT

Price: R462,400
Power: 102 kW @ 3,600 rpm
Torque: 320 Nm at 2000 rpm

What Gerhard says:

“A collection of parts of unknown origin, a bit old school and not too comfortable, but the engine is strong and it does everything others can do for less.”

Each competition must have its dark horse and in this year’s Shootout, that coat must go to the JAC T8. You’ve undoubtedly seen a few double cabins with those selected initials in red on a bold chrome grille crisscross our roads. It is likely that besides being of Chinese origin, little is known about the products of the JAC team (Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Company).

So in the form of a condensed story… JAC is a Chinese state-owned automaker that started out as a producer of heavy-duty vehicles in the 1960s, before entering the passenger market at the turn of the century. Although the origins of the T8’s foundations are difficult to discern, previous products such as the JAC Stallion relied heavily on Isuzu mechanics. The company’s eighth-generation international platform draws dimensional and historical parallels with that of the D-Max.

BAKKIE SHOOTOUT - The suitors part 2

However, there is no Isuzu flavor in the engine. The 2.0-liter D19 inline-four turbodiesel was co-developed with German powertrain design giant FEV – which counts Ford, VW and Toyota among the beneficiaries of its OEM services – and is linked to a Electrically operated ESOF from Borg-Warner. AWD system. On the road, performance exceeds what the numbers suggest and is also designed for ease of maintenance. According to JAC Motors in China, this unit complies with the European B10 Life standard, which means that only 10% of these units will require replacement or major overhauls over an operating life of 700,000 km! Brilliant.

There’s more to the T8 than just rugged tuners, however. The cabin, though carved out of materials one step below most more expensive competitors, houses a sleek, easy-to-use infotainment system. It features most of the climate and electrical aids you’d expect in a well-specified bakkie. On paper, that seems a bit outdated in this company, but testing should give this high-priced newcomer a pretty good picture of itself.

Mazda BT-50 3.0 TD Double Cab 4 × 4 Individual AT

BAKKIE SHOOTOUT - The suitors part 2

Price: R794 400
Power: 140 kW @ 3,600 rpm
Torque: 450 Nm @ 1,600 rpm

What Gerhard says:

“I might have expected more refinement for the price, but I still love it – especially its road performance – and would like to spend more time with it. “

Long supported by Ford Ranger mechanics, the new BT-50 breaks with tradition by adopting much of its foundation from the upcoming third-generation Isuzu D-Max, a model soon to roll off the Port Elizabeth assembly line.

It’s a move that could prove to be a mixed blessing for what may have been something of an undeserved marginal in the local double-cabin landscape. One of the major positives has to be the removal of the decidedly gangly styling of the previous model – the result of trying to smooth out the typically sleek Mazda design on a chunky Ford frame – in favor of a Kodo-inspired nose and sidewalls. functional quite more attractive. to those of the D-Max.

The wheelbase of the new Isuzu Dynamic Drive platform that the BT-50 is based on is around 100mm shorter than the outgoing model, resulting in a fairly compact rear cell. Thankfully, Mazda has injected some of the brand’s sportiness – evident in the molded steering wheel, clean instrument cockpit, and stitched roller panels on the dash – into the D-Max’s bolt-on architecture.

BAKKIE SHOOTOUT - The suitors part 2

As with previous D-Max / KB models, the main fundamentals are durability and stiffness, and this is reflected in more than a hint of D-Max-esque dynamism when driving the Mazda on pockmarked road surfaces. . However, it also positions the Mazda’s engine center point just behind the front axle in a ‘mid-mid’ arrangement that conspires with direct steering to make the new bakkie feel pleasantly nimble and car-like on the road. .

Power is supplied by an original Isuzu 4JJC-TCX turbodiesel paired with an Aisin six-speed torque converter box. While it is undoubtedly a proven unit, it is generally durable and does not lack oomph, proving to be the second most powerful in terms of performance behind the VW Amarok.

This top-of-the-line individual model is well equipped, but at R794,400 it’s also the second most expensive bakkie after the VW, placing it squarely against this shootout’s more accomplished rivals.

Mahindra Pik Up 2,2 CRDe 4 × 4 S11 Karoo AT

BAKKIE SHOOTOUT - The suitors part 2

Price: R451,999
Power: 103 kW @ 3,750 rpm
Torque: 320 Nm at 1,500 rpm

What Gerhard says:

“Improves with each model. It feels a bit like a bakkie cruiser but it is underpowered in this business and old school.

A seasoned campaigner who has been in production for almost 20 years, the Pik Up, with its square frame and sturdy mechanics, has carved a small niche for itself in SA’s double cab ecosystem. Not to mention the very acceptable sticker prices in a range that includes rudimentary draft horses and more generously appointed lifestyle spinoffs such as the Karoo model we have here.

The company’s 2.2-liter mHawk turbodiesel is a stable rather than stellar performer in most applications, so its pairing with a six-speed automatic means it’s certainly not the fastest of the feet here. While this is unlikely to bother an audience who will appreciate its practicality and, in the case of the S11, specs that include a touchscreen infotainment system with satellite navigation, rear view camera, air conditioning and power adjustment. for windows and mirrors, to name a few. Some may scoff at the concept of the “Karoo” label of this model. It must be said that Mahindra was quite intelligent; you would never have added anything sporty or performance to such a tough and rugged truck, so applaud the agrarian appeal of the Pik Up and the addition of a local angle.

BAKKIE SHOOTOUT - The suitors part 2

Derived from its top-of-the-line Pik Up, the Karoo set adds a mix of cosmetic and utility extras that include a rubber cargo box with roller shutter, model-specific anti-roll and thrust bars, and a few Karoo decals in place. up to date. However, some of these additions are more effective than others. The two-tone rims on the Karoo look neat, but full-lock maneuvers sometimes have tires scuffing the wheel arches.

At R451,999, the Pik Up is the most affordable double cab, even surpassing the JAC T8. Its combination of proven mechanisms and local aromas ensures that neither its owners nor the CAR test team will treat it with children’s gloves in this difficult comparison.

Summary of tests

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