A Review of the Bakkie Shootout 2021 Examination 

We are confident that you will concur that this has been an enormous Bakkie Shootout; it is one of the most ambitious projects that CAR has undertaken… and one that has the potential to cause the most division. Whenever it comes to bakkies, South Africans do not simply take one side or the other. 

The vast majority of people have one, and once they settle on a bakkie brand, they stick with it no matter what. Because of this, we didn’t just go around the block in the double cabs like everyone else does to pick a winner. You, the customer, are entitled to the most comprehensive analysis that can be provided.

We wanted both the subjectivity of team votes and the objectivity of challenges, and we wanted to leave no stone unturned in our consideration of all of the important factors that go into the equation of purchasing something (such as resale value, parts pricing, and dealer network). And before you write in – and we know you will – there was no meeting or collusion to decide who the winner would be.   Because of this, the team is also seeing the final results for the first time right along with you. All voting was done in private. To arrive at the ultimate tally, then… 

When it came to this Shootout, the JAC T8 was a clear underdog, and its low placing doesn’t do justice to the way it performed at Klipbokkop. Its brand-new 2.0-liter engine allowed it to outperform many of the favored brands on the drag strip, and it also performed admirably off-road without any problems. The high rate of fuel usage and the presence of some less desirable features within the pre-launch test mule were our only two concerns. All of these issues will, without a doubt, be resolved by the time it is made available to the general public for purchase. 

There is no denying that the Mahindra Pik Up can be a challenge to operate on a daily basis as a driver, despite the fact that owners adore them for their toughness and our research results on Shootout have only served to reinforce that fact. As a consequence of this, you have to back off and adopt a low-stress strategy, which may be one explanation for its unexpected victory in the fuel usage test.

The “old faithful” Isuzu D-Max will be the next vehicle to be discontinued. We are confident that Isuzu will not mind if we refer to it as such because, despite the D250’s tame performance, it still possesses a charm that many people find endearing. It excels in off-road performance, and we hold high hopes that its successor, which is expected to be released early the following year, will narrow the gap between itself and its lifestyle-oriented competitors. 

If there is one thing that the rise to prominence of the GWM P-Series demonstrates, it is that South Africans want more technology and facilities in their bakkies, and in order to get them, they are prepared to seriously consider other options for the lengthy players in the market. It has an outstanding required standard at a price that is competitive, and the NVH suppression is pleasing. As a result, it is well on its way to being a formidable competitor in our market. 

We did not quite know what to anticipate from the new Mazda BT-50 due to the fact that it does not share its mechanicals with Ford. However, in the end, the firm ride quality does not achieve the optimum combination between on-road responses, off-road convenience, and load-bearing potential. While there are certainly some positives, such as a modern interior, a generous standard specification, and strong performance, the ride quality does not achieve this optimal balance. It is intriguing to speculate about what Isuzu will do with the D-Max given that it will use the same underpinnings. A ride quality that is more accommodating to passengers’ needs would be at the top of our shortlist. 

Whereas the Mazda had trouble finding a balance between its on-road and off-road capabilities, the Nissan Navara did a masterful job of striking that balance. It features an interior that is loaded to the gills with amenities that are comparable to those found in cars, and when equipped with the Pro-4X trim, it also looks quite good. The only thing that caused its charge to slightly decrease was the drivetrain’s performance in both the drag test and the drag race. Nevertheless, those problems should be resolved after the gearbox electronics are remapped and after the vehicle has been driven for a few more miles. 

However, we continue to be thoroughly impressed by its all-around functionality, which places it at the top of an intense mid-pack tussle. In the past, we have had good experiences with Mitsubishi Tritons, which did set the bar high for Shootout. It only fell short of the podium finishers in terms of pricing for replacement parts and dealer footprint, as well as resale value. 

The Amarok V6 TDI has been awarded the bronze medal for its performance at the higher end of the dual-cab spectrum. Despite its hand-clenching asking price – which, intriguingly, we now know retains its value very well – the wolf of Wolfsburg continues to be a firm favorite among CAR enthusiasts due to its powerful performance, comfort, high-quality cabin, and off-road capabilities aptitude. 

This Leaves Only Two Options

The formidable Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger are South Africa’s top two sales performers month after month, moving hundreds of thousands of units each time. Both of these vehicles are manufactured in South Africa. The in-depth nature of this Shootout will ideally shed light on the various skill sets possessed by each bakkie as well as the underlying ideologies of the businesses that manufacture them. 

In favor of the Toyota Hilux are its extensive dealer network, astounding components pricing (on the Raider model we assessed), unparalleled resilience in the drag and axle-twist test, and widespread consensus that it excels off-road. It is without hesitation the king of the rough stuff, and it is the bakkie that we would most confidently point north of the border for an overland journey. As Gerhard put it so eloquently, “The Hilux is the vehicle you know would get you home regardless of the circumstances,” and it’s true. 

Bakkie Shootout 2021 was won by the Ford Ranger by a narrow margin; the difference between first and second place was only 9.5 points spread across 16 categories. This was due to the Ranger’s more coherent scores all around. Ever the adversary of the Hilux, if you consider our final scoresheet, the inner fit and finish, technology, on-road elegance, performance, fuel efficiency (thanks to an outstanding 10-speed automatic transmission), and superior noise, vibration, and harshness suppression earn the Ford the victory. In addition, the Blue Oval has won CAR’s Top 12 Best Buys awards a total of ten times, making it the clear victor once more. With the imminent arrival of the brand-new Silverton-built P703 Ranger, it would be a stretch to say that it doesn’t have some pretty big shoes to fill.