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The biggest development in the double-cab market since the Ford Ranger defended its title in last year’s Top 12 Best Buys was the introduction of the Isuzu KB range. With a supple ride quality – a long-standing attribute of the KB – a focus on mechanical robustness through General Motors’ local development programme and much-modernised cabin, the Isuzu is greatly improved. However, in CAR’s double-cab shootout, which appeared in the May 2013 issue and also featured the Foton Tunland newcomer, as well as subsequent road tests, it became apparent that the KB has not revolutionised the segment, merely garnished it. Therefore, the Ranger’s impressive drivetrains (which include 2,2 and 3,2-litre turbodiesels as well as an entry-level 2,5-litre petrol), its well-specced and spacious interior, as well as a good blend between on-road refinement/off-road capability, remain class leading. The wide range of models is backed by four-year warranties and five-year service plans from new.
If the winner of this category depended on one model, VW’s 2,0BiTDI Highline 4Motion Automatic (with its uprated engine and eight-speed ‘box) would take it … but not many buyers can raise R501 000.
Buoyed by running interior specification upgrades, the venerable Hilux continues atop the sales charts and performed well against more modern rivals in the aforementioned double-cab shootout. An all-new model debuts next year.
BEST 3/4-TONNE BAKKIE
The Chevrolet Utility remains our most-favoured small bakkie, but its lack of rivals apart from the workmanlike Nissan NP200 degrades the title. With nine models powered by either 1,4- and 1,8-litre petrol engines or a 1,3-litre turbodiesel, the Utility offers good load-bearing ability, a relatively spacious interior and depending on spec, a host of car-like interior features. However, the cabin’s finishes feel harsh. Can’t other vehicle manufacturers/importers find a product to challenge the Utility and NP200? For once, we’re not spoilt for choice.
- Isuzu KB
- Nissan Navara
- GWM Steed 5
Check out all the winners from our Top 12 Best Buys for 2014 here (click).