Mahindra adds an auto to its adventure bakkie
Mahindra South Africa is kicking off the year in style as the first country globally to launch the all-new Mahindra Pik Up S11 automatic – mere months after final testing was completed on the vehicle at the Gerotek test track near Pretoria. Besides adding a new flagship to its range along with comfort and aesthetic tweaks, the six-speed automatic gearbox takes pride of place in the Pik Up – and the hearts of Mahindra management.
A look through the sales history for last year’s shows clearly automatics are steadily taking control of the leisure and lifestyle segment of the double cab market and this comes as no surprise considering the sophistication of modern auto gearboxes.
“South Africa is the first country in the world to officially launch the all-new Pik Up Automatic, which is only fitting since it was the test bed for this model. “Mahindra South Africa CEO Rajesh Gupta confirmed.
“There has been an overwhelming demand for an automatic transmission in our bakkie range and we believe we have the perfect answer with the S11 and S11 Karoo AT,”
With 320 Nm of torque on offer from the 2,2-litre mHawk turbodiesel engine, the transmission fitted to the newcomer makes its own debut and it features a sequential self-shifting option and is mated, in 4x4 models, to a new Hill Descent Control system that utilises engine and vehicle braking for slow descents on tough, off-road terrain and that can be controlled with the in-built cruise control system.
At first, the new automatic gearbox will only be available in the double cab Pik Up body style. It will be launched with a new, luxury S11 specification level that includes all the luxuries of the S10 and more.
“Our market research shows customers often prefer an automatic transmission in the double cab lifestyle segment of the bakkie market. We have therefore combined the new automatic transmission with a very high level of luxury equipment so that the customer’s every need is taken care of,” Gupta added.
All S11 models are fitted with same mHawk turbodiesel engine and this four-cylinder unit has common rail injection and turbo-charging to deliver 103 kW at 3 750 r/min and 320 Nm at a flat band between 1 500 r/min and 2 800 r/min.
All Pik Up Double Cab models feature a standard ground clearance of 210 mm, an approach angle of 34 degrees and a departure angle of 15 degrees, giving it a breakover angle of 18 degrees.
The Mahindra Pik Up double cab range is certified to tow a braked trailer of up to 2 500 kg, and all double cab models are fitted with Mahindra’s mechanical differential lock (MLD), which it developed in partnership with Eaton and which offers complete lock-up between the rear wheels when there is a loss of traction, such as in challenging off-road conditions.
On the Road
For the launch drive we selected a Karoo specification 4x2 version and the first 100 kilometres of the route was on rural tar roads so a good opportunity to get a feel for the new box – and it performs smoothly with almost imperceptible movements up, or down, through the gears.
Equally, the 2,2-litre diesel delivers both power and torque in a ‘genteel’ progression so it takes it time loping upwards to cruising speed.
For the off road route we drove over Breedt’s Nek in the Magaliesberg – a road suffering badly from washaways and with the surface down to rocks. Too much for a road car but drivable in a 4x2 bakkie with 210 mm of ground clearance.
Fitted with a mechanically operated locking rear diff, the system quickly detects slippage and automatically locks the diff to provide the necessary traction to clear the obstacle. There is no switch inside the cabin – it is all automatic.
On the descent, however, there is a button in the cab that turns on the hill control function with the speed set up or down via the cruise control buttons.
Both worked well enough to inspire confidence the Pik Up can be taken on lesser travelled roads and has the ability to make it through with little effort. The full 4x4 version will, undoubtedly, cement this opinion and we look forward to getting one on test.
The boxy design of the Pik Up is ‘rugged’ in the same vein as the Toyota Land Cruiser and it looks the part as an off-road challenger as opposed to pavement jewelry. Not an entirely bad things as the raised seating position then gives you a chilled chance to take in the passing scenery.
It looks different too, with a revised grille and bumper along with upgraded lights – the primary feature on the front being the grille that now has wider chromed vents and is flanked by new headlamps, with chrome inserts housed in and behind clear screens. New chromed fog lamp surrounds in the wide, lower air intake round off the front design changes.
It’s Quite a Looker
In addition to the new front design, the S11 Automatic Pik Up has colour-coded side mirrors with integrated indicators. At the rear of the new model, there are S11 and Automatic decals as well as the addition of a new reverse camera that has to date not been available on any Pik Up model.
Luxury fittings inside the vehicle now include a new 7-inch touchscreen infotainment centre including navigation and reverse camera.
All S11 models offer an automatic climate control system in place of the standard manual air-conditioning system, and all models have an adjustable multi-function steering wheel that controls the infotainment, phone and cruise-control systems.
As the most luxurious model in the range, the S11 carries over all the luxury and safety features of the manual S10 models. This includes two crash bags, 12V power points for the front and rear occupants, traction control, electrically operated windows with an automatic up/down mode on the front windows and automatically locking doors.
Mahindra first launched the Karoo Special Edition late in 2018 to celebrate the successful opening of its local assembly facility in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
Since its launch, the Karoo has proven to be extremely popular – in both S6 and S10 specification levels – and it prompted Mahindra to design a special S11 Karoo model with a refreshed design theme and even more equipment as standard. This model will offer all the luxury equipment of the S11 range and add additional styling features and specifications for a truly stand-out special edition model.
Viewed from outside, the all-new S11 Karoo automatic has a decal design on the side panels and nudge and styling bars. This model also has a custom-designed and lockable roller deck system for the load box as standard, while all S11 Karoo models will have a rubberised load bay.
At the same time, Mahindra has made subtle changes to other Karoo models. On the S6 Karoo, Mahindra has upgraded the decal package to align it more closely with the new design on the S11 Karoo. It has also created new designs for the roll bar, featuring a steel-stamped Karoo decal.
The S10 Karoo will also get updated decals and branding on the steel roll bar, along with a new tonneau cover and upgraded alloy, all included in the standard selling price.
The all-new S11 Automatic and S11 Automatic Karoo will be available with a standard 4-year / 120 000 km technical warranty and free Roadside Assistance plan. It also has a comprehensive service plan for 5 years or 100 000 km. The first lubrication service is at 10 000 km and every service thereafter will be done at intervals of 20 000 km. – Colin Windell
Mahindra Pik Up DC pricing
S6 4x2 R312K
S6 4x2 Karoo R322K
S6 4x4 R342K
S6 4x4 Karoo R352K
S10 4x2 R347K
S10 4x2 Karoo R352K
S10 4x4 R377K
S10 4x4 Karoo R382K
S11 AT 4x2 R384K
S11 4x2 Karoo AT R399K
S11 AT 4x4 R414K
S11 4x4 Karoo AT R429K