ANY TIME you assemble all of the major players in a category and compare them it will produce some heated chatter. Especially when, as was the case with our big one-tonne pick-up comparison test, you team up with the crew from another magazine to get the number of drivers required.
In this case, we partnered with the guys from WHEELS Magazine, who don’t always see eye-to-eye with us on the performance of off-road-capable vehicles. They’re more used to driving sports cars and hot hatches than anything capable of driving off-road or carrying a tonne. Some of them get nose bleeds if they get in anything with upwards of 200mm of ground clearance.
So it did come as a surprise when both our authors came to the same conclusion as to which is the best car in this class. Interestingly, it is the most passenger car-like in the group of utes and the oldest one on the market. Everything else is either new or has copped a major update in the time it has been available.
If you’re silly enough to read this page regularly, you’d know I don’t rate any of the double-cab one-tonne 4x4 utes highly. They’re all too compromised to do anything exceptionally well, as they try to be everything to everyone and don’t excel in any discipline. If I had to choose any of them, I reckon the V6 VW is a pretty good town and country road car.
This week I’m driving the Mahindra Pik-Up, and I’d rather own it than any of the utes in our big test. For starters, it’s got a proper gearbox, a good-sized cabin, better visibility from its more upright driving position, it handles a load well, and it costs only $32K. It mightn’t be pretty or refined, but you can’t argue with the performance and value for money.