The power to persuade – As car testers do, the consensus was that we should do a series of one-on-one illumination drag races … mostly, because it would be great for our YouTube channel, but also because modern pick-ups spend 90% of their time on the road. Knowing which is the fastest does matter, even if it’s just to impress your mates at the pub. Klipbokkop has the old Worcester road cutting straight through it; a rough, narrow two-lane grey top ending rather spectacularly in the farm dam. Thankfully, our quarter-mile stretch ended long before that.
We strapped our testing equipment into each vehicle and nominated the same lead-footed drivers for each race. The broken tar, gusting wind and heavily fuelled vehicles didn’t make for ideal sprint times but the test was repeatable and consistent nonetheless.
It’s no surprise that the D250 D-Max – with its notchy manual gearshift – and the heavy and modestly powered Pik Up, bowed out first. In the midfield, precious little separated the GWM P-Series 2,0 TD, Ford Ranger 2,0 SiT and Nissan Navara 2,5 DDTI and, if we could’ve held multiple races into the night, the order might’ve been different every time. The times noted were the fastest from three recorded runs. Of the trio, it was the 140 kW/450 N.m Nissan that left us scratching our heads. It was not able to battle further up the field with the likes of the Mazda BT-50 for a sub-10 second sprint to 100 km/h. A reason may have been that the factory-fresh Pro-4X arrived with a mere 1 800 km on the clock and still needed bedding in.
Then again, the JAC T8 2,0 CTI arrived with precious little mileage on the odometer and left many more of the fancied competition in its wake with a zero to 100 km/h sprint on tarmac in 11,30 seconds.
Besting the eager Chinese entrant was the hard-launching Mitsubishi Triton 2,4 DI-D, one we’ve long known to be a sprightly double cab. The Mazda BT-50 3,0 TD, with its sophisticated, road-biased layout, made the most of its 140 kW/450 N.m to bridge the gap between the mid-pack and the V6 Amarok and claim the silver medal position. Ultimately, there was no catching the titanic Volkswagen in this challenge; it pulverised the zero to 100 km/h sprint in less than 8,00 seconds.
We repeated the drag race on sand with drivetrains in four high and the variance in the finishing order was marginally different.