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Vehicles to survive #DayZero in the Western Cape

2018-02-08 08:06

Lance Branquinho

Image: Motorpress

Cape Town - The good people of Cape Town, true to their global image of being undisturbed by things beyond their immediate control, aren’t sufficiently panicked at the prospect of becoming the first developed city to run out of water in peacetime. This resolve is admirable, but some personal planning won’t go amiss. 

If you are living in the greater Cape Town metropolis, you must be wondering how you are going to collect and transport water, or harvest it from afar, when Day Zero arrives. No matter how disciplined your trail running and CrossFit training regime is, you’ll certainly not be carrying water yourself. 

Logic dictates that a bakkie will be the most sensible vehicle to act as your personal water tender, but not necessarily the bakkies you’d imagine. We’ve compiled a list of bakkies, trucks (and one van) which could be the best vehicles to have in your garage when Day Zero happens. 

Toyota Hilux 2.4

Most would assume that we’d nominate the apocalypse-proof Land-Cruiser 76 bakkie, but Toyota has something even better suited. It’s the entry-level Hilux 2.4 GD single-cab, which has a massive loadbed measuring 2315mm in length, 1575mm across and 480mm deep. 

Reapply your matric math and this Hilux’s loadbed calculates to a total water carrying volume of 1750-litres – which is nearly double its rated carrying capacity. The 110kW/343Nm Hilux turbodiesel engine could certainly haul that, but you’d have to add a few additional steel leafs to the rear axle to help it cope. Why have this one specifically? It’s a lot easier to heft those water containers onto a standard Hilux than any of its SRX or 4x4 siblings, which feature the raised-body build. 

Nissan NP200

For those living in one of the claustrophobically overdeveloped inner-city suburbs, a long-wheel base bakkie just isn’t going to work as your water vehicle, it’s too ungainly.

Your only compact bakkie option, is Nissan’s NP200. Although it’s not quite a workhorse in the manner of conventional 1t bakkies, NP200’s loadbed is still capacious enough to fill up to 1328-litres, which also unfortunately exceeds the rear-axle weight rating by 66%.

The tailgate is wonderfully low, opening to a loading pathway that is below hip height, which means less risk when tossing those 25-litre containers aboard. 

Suzuki Super Carry

Never knew Suzuki sold this in South Africa, now did you? The Super Carry was introduced to our market in 2016 and it’s a bargain mini-truck for the artisan or short-haul trader. Load capacity is a mere 750kg, but it’s superbly agile to drive and easier to park than just about any other mini-truck you could imagine. Light on fuel (6.7l/100km), if a bit slow (only has 54kW/101Nm), it’s the affordable option too, at R135 900.

Kia K2500

Another vehicle you were unaware of in the local market. Kia does a brisk trade in these little trucks, which don’t require anything beyond a standard driving licence and have excellent haulage attributes. Despite the shallow loadbed, volume is good at and the drop-sides make it easy to load the K2500 to capacity with a team, featuring three points of access, instead of everyone merely lining up to get those 25-litre containers on from the rear. Powered by a 2.5-litre turbodiesel good for 96kW and 255Nm, and shifting those outputs between six closely spaced ratios, the K2500 can haul many filled plastic containers, very economically. 

Hyundai H1 Panelvan

This is the one to have when you require moving a lot of water without many people knowing. The panelvan configuration means where windows would ordinarily be, there is white sheeting, so nobody can peak inside. And inside, it’s cavernous. A rubberised floor helps keep plastic containers in from sliding around and tie-down points secure any load which is stacked to the roof lining. 

Theoretically, the H1’s water transport volume is an astounding 5183-litres, but the load rating is only a fifth of that, at 1.1t. If you could convert it to a dually-tyre set-up at the rear, and double the amount of leaf-springs, you’d probably be in business for using its hypothetical water capacity. Best of all are the three access points for loading: sliding doors on each side and a tailgate, all featuring exceptionally low access, well below hip height. And that low access height means that even the kids can help H20 this one up to capacity. 


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