Road Test: Mahindra Pik-Up Single Cab 4x4

By: Fraser Stronach, Photography by: Fraser Stronach


Mahindra’s new Pik-Up has finally arrived in Australia. Here we drive the single-cab 4WD variant

  

Could Mahindra's second generation Pik-Up set the fox among the chickens?

After its launch last year, Mahindra’s second-generation Pik-Up work and farm 4WD ute has arrived in Australia and brings a raft of changes lead by a more powerful engine and a new six-speed manual gearbox.

The cabin interior is new too; and there’s more equipment, more safety features, and a re-styled exterior.

The Pik-Up was first sold in Australia in 2007 and was updated in 2011 with a new (Euro 5 emissions compliant) engine and with the addition of an Eaton automatic-locking rear differential.

Since it arrived in Australia in 2007, well over 5000 Pik-Ups have been sold while globally some 500,000 Pik-Ups and Scorpion SUVs, which are built on similar platform as the Pik-Up, have been sold.

Much of the Pik-Up’s appeal is of course in its pricing. This single-cab 4WD in basic cab-chassis guise is just $26,990 drive-away. To make a functional work vehicle all you need to do is add a rear tray, either a genuine accessory tray, or one from an independent supplier.

Climb Aboard

The Pik-Up cabin is spacious and comfortable

You can tell by looking at it that the Pik-Up single-cab is a work and farm ‘truck’ in the style of LandCruiser 79 Series rather than a budget competitor for the more ‘car-like’ utes like the Toyota Hilux or Ford Ranger.

Like the LandCruiser 79, the Pik-Up has a tall and upright cabin. Like the 79 it’s also a fair step up into the cabin; and while the standard sidesteps make that easy enough there’s no grab handle to provide extra assistance.

But once inside the Pik-Up you’ll find a cabin that spacious, airy and comfortable.

There’s no reach adjustment for the steering wheel (only tilt adjustment); but the seats are well shaped and the upright driving position provides excellent vision for the driver.

The new dash also brings a more modern and up-market feel to the Pik-Up and the interior is generally neatly finished.

Behind the seats there’s a good amount of space to carry items like a small bag although more stowage recesses for things like phone, wallet and keys, and for drinks or water bottles, would be welcome.

On the Road 

The Mahindra Pik-Up has a 2.2 litre 4 cylinder turbo diesel engine

Fire up the engine and the first thing you’ll notice is just how quiet it is. Once under way the engine remains quiet and helps bring a new-found sense of refinement to the Pik-Up.

The engine is also willing and energetic with a good spread of power across the rev range. With a maximum of 103kW of power (90kW in the out-going model) and 330Nm of torque (previously 290Nm) the Pik-Up still isn’t a rocketship but is nevertheless relaxed and effortless and has no trouble holding highway speeds even on hills with little need to downshift.

Even on the freeway – an environment the Pik-Up is least designed for – it gets along very nicely indeed.

Good fuel economy too unless you really press on at highway speeds where the blunt-nosed aerodynamics don’t work in the Pik-Up’s favour. Overall the test fuel consumption was just below 10 litres/100km, so there’s plenty of range from the 80-litre tank.

In all this the engine is helped by the new six-speed manual (previously a five-speed) that provides a low enough first gear for gentle, no-throttle take-offs and a sufficiently tall top gear for relaxed highway driving.

The Pik-Up’s a typical light-commercial vehicle in as much as it’s built on a ladder-frame chassis and has independent front suspension with a ‘live’ or solid axle and leaf springs at the rear.

On the road it steers and handles far better than you’d expect of a ‘farm truck’, although the unladed ride is on the firm side.

In the Paddock

The Pik-Up offers good ground clearance for paddock work

The Pik-Up offers good ground clearance for paddock work and has a major advantage that its rear differential lock engages automatically when it senses wheelspin, and works in both 2WD and 4WD.

It also has electronic traction control, which remains active on the front axle if and when the rear locker engages, a feature that most 4WD utes with their driver-switched rear diff locks don’t enjoy.

For paddock work, first-gear high-range could be a bit lower although low range is easy enough to engage (via a rotary dial) and provides a significant reduction and excellent crawling ability.

The Pik-Up comes standard with highway-pattern tyres that work well enough in all but mud; while the high profile (75 Series on 16-inch steel wheels) means less potential of tyre sidewall damage from hidden rocks and the like.

Load Carrying

The Pik-Up handles an 800kg load with ease

With a gross vehicle mass of 3150kg the Pik-Up single-cab has a payload around 1170kg once you have fitted a tray. Take off the weight of the steel bullbar and towbar fitted to our test vehicle, and the weight of the driver, you still have a payload in the order of 1000kg.

We threw 800kg in the tray (our standard test payload) – above the axle and not against the backboard – and the Pik-Up hardly flinched. The rear suspension dropped a mere 45mm, which is less than the likes of Hilux and Ranger with the same load.

On the road there’s no nose-up, light-in-the-steering feel and the handling was very acceptable. And a much more compliant ride of course then when unladen. The engine also did a notably good job of hauling that load even if you could feel there was a significant load on board

Ownership

Fixed-price servicing is set to be offered soon

The Pik-Up has 15,000km or 12-month service intervals, and Mahindra will soon offer fixed-priced servicing although the details weren’t available at the time of writing. Service support is provided by 40 dealers nationally.

The warranty is the industry standard three years/100,000km with an extra two years coverage on the powertrain provided the vehicle hasn’t covered 100,000km.

Currently the resale value of the Pik–Up after three years is around 50 per cent, which is good for a low-cost vehicle and no doubt indicative of the fact that the Pik-Up has already gained a good reputation for reliability.

The Pik-Up certainly looks robust and solidly built in terms of its chassis and suspension.

Nice detail touches include gas bonnet struts and a manual fuel-pump prime, although the lack of a lock for the fuel cap isn’t ideal.

Sum Up

The Pik-Up is worth a look for anyone needing a 4WD for the farm, or a work sigle cab

 

For anyone after a 4WD farm or work single cab the Pik-Up makes a convincing ‘buy-me’ argument given what it does, how it does it and how much you pay.

It does all the basics well and is difficult to criticise except in detail. The Pik-Up also doesn’t lack for equipment despite its low price.

On the negative side the tow rating is only 2500kg at a time when most utes offer at least 3000kg or 3500kg.

The Pik-Up also hasn’t been ANCAP safety rated at the stage. The previous model achieved a three-star rating and since that time the Pik-Up has gained a number of safety features including electronic stability control, traction control and rollover mitigation, so the new one should do better if and when tested.

If you are balking at the $80K you pay for a Toyota LandCruiser 79 Series single-cab once you add a tray, air-conditioning, which is not standard, and on-road costs, do yourself a favour at take a look at the Pik-Up.

Read the full report in the April edition of the ATN magazine.

 

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