MAHINDRA has given its Pik-Up workhorse a mild facelift for the second part of 2020, as well as a few improvements.
Most of the changes centre on the fresh front-end treatment with a new grille, headlamps and bumper to liven up the look.
The mechanical package remains unchanged, with the four-cylinder, 2.2-litre turbo-diesel producing a modest 320Nm and backed by a six-speed manual transmission and part-time 4WD. There is no automatic transmission offered just yet. That should be coming in 2021.
While each update to the Pik-Up adds more features and refinement, it remains a no-frills worker that represents great value for money. The S10 Dual Cab Pik-Up as tested here is available with drive-away pricing from $32,990 with the factory tub.
Factor in that it comes with a five-year/100,000km warranty, five-year roadside assistance and four-year/55,000km capped-price service program and the Mahindra is worth a look in.
POWERTRAIN AND PERFORMANCE
AS mentioned, the Pik-Up’s powertrain remains the same as the last model, and that’s not a bad thing. The Mahindra ‘mHawk’ is very flexible in the way it responds as you go though the gears, with peak torque coming on from 1600rpm.
The Dana-Spicer sourced six-speed gearbox which replaced the old five-slotter two years ago, is smooth-shifting and simple to use. A minor annoyance when getting accustomed to the Pik-Up is that reverse gear is up and left beside first gear; you want to be sure of that when picking first or reverse; although, there is a beep from the dash screen when you select reverse and the camera comes on.
Speaking of that screen, we were critical of it when last we tested one as it had low-resolution images that were difficult to see, especially if you wear polarised glasses. There’s a new seven-inch screen there now and it’s crystal clear in all conditions.
It’s still located low in the centre stack so it’s not in the ideal spot for the driver, but it’s better than it was and it’s nice to know that the company has responded to past criticism.
THE Pik-Up is a tall-riding upright work truck so don’t expect any sports car-like performance from it on-road. That said, it’s quiet and relatively refined inside, willingly keeps up with highway traffic, and isn’t afraid to overtake with a little fiddle of the gearbox.
The suspension feels a bit underdone in the shock absorber department, as the Pik-Up tends to wallow over undulations – and this was unladen. The Pik-Up has a torsion bar independent front suspension and leaf-sprung live axle at the back.
The driving position is possibly the best of any four-wheel drive ute on the market. Upright and high, it offers excellent vision all around you through a massive windscreen and low side windows.
The seats are a bit narrow for my fat arse and wouldn’t be friendly on long drives, but they are okay for local work. Interior plastics are also a bit harsh and indicative of the Pik-Up’s price point and working class nature.
THE Pik-Up continues its no-fuss approach when you engage 4x4. This is done using a dial on the console, and there was no delay switching between 2WD, 4WD and 4WD low range.
The great visibility comes to the fore again, making the Mahindra easy to place on track, which is extra handy as the torsion bar front end offers very little wheel travel and you need to put the wheel in the right place to avoid lifting them.
Traction is aided by electronic traction control plus an Eaton auto locker in the rear axle. This is not driver selectable and instead locks the rear diff once wheel slip is felt at that axle. Its effect was really noticeable on one particularly rutted hill climb that had the Mahindra lifting a wheel and scrabbling for traction.
The vehicle comes to a stop with wheels spinning for a second before you feel that rear diff lock up and propel you forward. It eventually got us up a hill which has stopped some other 4x4 utes in their tracks.
This car is fitted with the optional factory side-steps, which we did bash down on a few times as they infringe on ground clearance. An option that would be better ticked for regular off-road use is the suspension upgrade, which also includes mild lift and a metal bash plate under the front.
MAHINDRA is a huge manufacturer of tractors, trucks and buses, so it knows a thing or two about building vehicles that are fit for purpose – and the Pik-Up is no exception.
It’s built to last and is more a workhorse than a show pony, which it seems many buyers in this segment are interested in. Put it to work on the farm, job site or courier run and it shouldn’t let you down.
It has an 80-litre fuel tank to keep you going, around one-tonne payload (depending on model specification) and 2500kg tow rating. While that’s a tonne down on most utes, it’s also enough to get most users by.
We see the Pik-Up as being more popular as the single-cab work truck than the S10 double-cab tested here, as the Mahindra doesn’t offer the style, comforts and safety features that many buyers are looking for in a family 4x4 ute. If that doesn’t bother you then the Pik-Up could be the budget ute for you.
Engine: 2.2-litre 4-cyl diesel
Max Power: 103kW at 4000rpm
Max Torque: 330Nm at 1600 to 2800rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual
4x4 System: Dual-range part-time
Kerb Weight: 2080kg
Towing Capacity: 2500kg
Tyres: 245/75R16 111S
Fuel Tank Capacity: 80L
ADR Fuel Claim: 8.8L/100km
Test Fuel Use: 10.4L/100km
Base Price: $31,990 (drive-away)
As Tested: $37,500 (drive-away with steel tray)
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