In recent years, the humble bakkie has evolved from simple workhorse to luxurious all-rounder. This is thanks to SA’s love affair with the double cab - the ability to play as hard as they work is a big factor in their popularity. Modern bakkies are nearly as comfortable (and just as powerful) as their SUV counterparts, but offer a far greater sense of adventure. We take a look at the poshest bundu bashers available in SA.
1. Volkswagen Amarok 3.0 V6 TDI Extreme 4Motion
Price just R4 000 shy of R1 million, VW’s Amarok is not only the priciest but most powerful, too. The turbodiesel V6 is creamy smooth and has buckets of torque on tap. 190 kW (200 on overboost) and 580 Nm of torque give the Amarok hot hatch rivalling acceleration - 0-100 km/h comes up in just 7.6 seconds.
The acceleration is remarkable, the torque shoving the heavy double cab down the road with great authority. It even makes a great noise. Inside, you’ll find all the refinements befitting a R1 million car. Leather seats, climate control and a reverse camera (with front and rear parking sensors) are standard. A less expensive Highline trim level is available, from R921 900.
Interested in purchasing an Amarok? Click here.
2. Ford Ranger Raptor 2.0 BiT 4x4
While second place technically belongs to the Amarok Highline, we’ve decided to include it above. The Ranger Raptor is undoubtedly one of SA’s most desirable double cabs. It’s off-roading ability is unmatched, courtesy of reworked Fox suspension and knobbly off-road tyres.
As capable as the regular Ranger is, driving the two back-to-back highlights the Raptor’s sheer talent. The reworked suspension not only gives it a smoother on-road ride, but remarkable handling on slippery gravel. Of course, let’s not forget the muscular styling with its flared wheel arches and unique front end treatment. You pay for this level of talent, and at R910 200, it’s not cheap. But, if you prefer to spend your weekends tackling the dunes and exploring the outdoors, this is the car for you.
Interested in buying a Ranger? Click here.
3.Isuzu D-Max 300 Arctic Trucks AT35 4x4
Pushed into the limelight by Top Gear’s polar exploration mission, Arctic Trucks is an Icelandic company which specialises in converting bakkies into serious all-terrain vehicles. Little known is the Isuzu D-Max AT35, an incredible creation by the company, offered here in SA.
While the styling remains relatively unchanged, there’s no confusing an AT35 for a regular D-Max. Jacked up to provide 268 mm of ground clearance - and fitted with spectacularly large tyres - the AT35 is at home on the rough stuff. On road, it can be a bit of a handful, the raised ride height and off-road tyres making the big Isuzu feel cumbersome. Inside, you’ll find the usual refinements, with satellite navigation, electric driver’s seat and leather trim all forming part of the R906 900 package.
4. Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD-6 4x4 Legend RS AT
South Africa’s favourite bakkie received a comprehensive facelift last year, bringing the styling up to date. Aside from a styling nip and tuck, the unburstable 2.8-litre turbodiesel got a power hike - it now offers 150 kW and 500 Nm of torque - the same as it’s closest rival, the Ranger 2.0 BiT.
Like the others, the innards of the Hilux resemble a luxury SUV rather than a workhorse. Impressively, Toyota’s stalwart boasts a remarkable ground clearance figure of 286 mm. Seven airbags and a host of electronic safety features make up part of the extensive features list. At R868 100, it’s priced like a luxury car. Thankfully, it’s equipped like one too.
Interested in buying a Hilux? Click here.
5.Toyota Land Cruiser 79 4.5 D4-D LX V8
Loved by farmers across the country, Toyota’s old school Land Cruiser bakkie is the only one here that offers V8 power. Despite the lofty price tag of R839 900, the interior is rather sparse. Yes, you receive two airbags and air-conditioning and a few other goodies, but don’t expect much.
What you’re paying for here is engineering. Sheer dependability and reliability that makes the Land Cruiser the choice of car for anyone living in isolated, rugged areas. That tough V8 gives the big bakkie enough grunt to take on everything this side of Kilimanjaro - just look at the stats. A 700 mm wading depth, a 130 L fuel tank and 235 mm ground clearance makes this Land Cruiser the car to have if exploring Africa is your goal.
Interested in buying a Land Cruiser? Click here.