Bakkies, pick-ups, or, if you’re an Aussie, utes. They’re taking over the world. That might sound like an exaggeration, but
when you consider their success worldwide – a bakkie is the single bestselling vehicle in the USA (the Ford F-Series);
here in South Africa the Hilux and Ranger duke it out for sales supremacy; a ute is marginally second in the rankings in Australia; they dominate in much of Southeast Asia; and it’s a fast-growing market segment in the UK – perhaps the takeover is closer than you realise. Further proof is the ever-increasing number of manufacturers preparing to venture into the segment. After just getting used to the fact that VW is now a player in the bakkie market, news came that – of all the unlikely brands – Mercedes-Benz was readying its GLT contender for production in 2017. Renault has since unveiled its Alaskan pick-up, there’s been much speculation of the Korean brands following suit and, of course, there’s the vehicle on the cover of this magazine.
Who would’ve anticipated Fiat launching a double-cab one-tonner? My own tastes have begun leaning bakkie-ward in the last couple of years. My dad had one when I was a youngster, an ‘80s Ford Cortina bakkie with the words “Ken Smith Sports” emblazoned on the side. I never liked it much. That signage with its accompanying cartoon character wearing every single
piece of sports equipment imaginable might’ve had something to do it … but I am beginning to reassess my position. Having experienced the increasingly supple ride offered by the likes of the Amarok, Ranger, KB and Hilux, as well as the leap forward in drivetrain refinement and interior spec to go along with that built-in practicality, goanywhere capability and relative value for money, a double cab would suit my lifestyle very well. World domination, here we come!