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SA’s most powerful bakkies

2017-09-28 15:21

South Africa’s love affair with the humble pick-up truck continues unabated. Month in, month out, either the Toyota Hilux or the Ford Ranger is by far and away the country’s best-selling vehicle (according to NAAMSA stats). Why do we love them so?

Well, what’s not to love - they’re big, tough, hardworking, can handle anything our South African roads throw at them (including unexpected potholes), and are capable off-road, thus forming an integral part in South Africans’ love of outdoor activities. Modern leisure bakkies are no longer the uncomfortable commercial trucks of years past, with some sporting SUV-quality interiors and specification levels. South Africans also drive long distances and like to tow stuff – so no matter the fancy interior, ‘power’ is still at the top of the must-have list.

So, in a double-cab, strictly kilowatt-only showdown, what are the most powerful bakkies in South Africa?

1. The Volkswagen Amarok V6 TDi produces 165kW in normal operation. However, it pumps out a prodigious 550Nm of torque, usually a more useful measure of shunt in a bakkie. Additionally, if various parameters are met, an overboost function hikes outputs to a monstrous 180 kW and 580 Nm for ten seconds or so, hurling this fast VW to 100km/h in just 8 seconds dead – making this the performance bakkie king in SA.

2. In ordinary operation, the Toyota Hilux 4.0 V6 petrol actually just pips the Amarok by 10kW (it produces a highly impressive 175kW and 376Nm of torque). However, the proof is in the pudding - the thirsty petrol Hilux requires 9.4 seconds to sprint to 100km/h. The Toyota 4.0 V6 is a legend of power and reliability, but if you take the smarts of the Amarok into consideration, it takes second place here.

3. The enormously popular Ford Ranger comes in top spec with a 3.2-litre, five-cylinder turbo-diesel motor good for 147kW and 470Nm of twist. Ford chooses not to quote a 0-100km/h sprint figure.

4. The all-new Nissan Navara comes with a 2.3-litre turbo-diesel motor good for a solid 140kW and 450Nm of torque. Nissan hasn’t quoted a 0-100km/h sprint figure either.

5. The shiny new Mitsubishi Triton doesn’t want to be left out of the power party, and its 2.4-litre diesel motor produces 133 kW and 430 Nm – not the kind of numbers to be sniffed at. In automatic guise, the Triton requires 11.8 seconds to sprint to 100km/h.   

6. Back in the running is the Amarok again, this time in two-litre TDi (turbo-diesel) mode. Good for 132kW and 420Nm, this more economical Amarok is still in the game – it requires 12 seconds to reach 100km/h.

7. The seldom-seen Fiat Fullback makes a ton of sense at the price, seeing as it’s really a rebadged Triton, and therefore offers similar performance figures of 131 kW and 400 Nm. Fiat doesn’t quote a 0-100km/h sprint time.

8. Coming in at number seven is the Toyota Hilux again, this time in 2.8GD-6 guise. The more powerful of the two diesel engines available in the Hilux produces 130kW and a healthy 450Nm, and will run to 100km/h in a respectable 10.8 seconds – a full second faster than the above mentioned Mitsubishi Triton.

9.  The great unknown quantity in all of this, is the Mercedes-Benz X-Class, of course. Not available in South Africa until April next year, and with some engine specifications yet to be announced, the Benz bakkie is confirmed to have a 2.3-litre diesel in two states of tune (120kW/403Nm, and 140kW/450Nm). An X350d has also been confirmed, coming equipped with Mercedes-Benz’s legendary three-litre V6 diesel. In cars such as the E-class, this motor pumps out no less than 195kW and a seismic 620Nm of torque.

Find your own powerful bakkie, new or pre-owned on AutoTrader. AutoTrader South Africa has been the leading media market space for the past 25 years for buying and selling vehicles. Whether you are looking to buy a brand new car or are in the market for a pre-loved model, AutoTrader has over 71 000 cars to choose from! Find your ideal car on AutoTrader.

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