BAKKIE SHOOTOUT 2021 – Exterior styling, which is the best looking?

So, which is the best looking? – Like most bust-ups, this one started in the parking lot, observed by the assembled army of journalists and experts tasked with evaluating these 10. Our venue was Klipbokkop Mountain Reserve outside of Worcester, the most exhaustive 4×4 testing facility in the Western Cape, and a venue that’s seen many a pre-production 4×4 tested to the edge of destruction by Gerhard and his team before going on sale. Trust us, out here, there’s nowhere to hide.

Joining the CAR team was off-road guru Gerhard Groenewald; Mark Samuel, editor of Popular Mechanics; and Carri-Anne Jane, the motoring editor for Women and Home. So, we had a well-rounded, unbiased point of view on the double cabs … and the animated arguments had started before we’d left the parking.

Styling wasn’t an aspect of truck ownership that would’ve ranked highly years back but nowadays, most top-of-the-range leisure lifestylers come dressed to the nines in exterior addenda and attention-grabbing alloy wheels. Resident attractiveness expert, photographer Peet Mocke – who spends hours each day with his lens trained on cars – picked the Pro-4X adorned Nissan Navara straight away as the easiest on the eye with its dark-silver paintwork, blacked-out grille and alloy-wheel combo with red flashes.

It’s no easy task injecting stylistic distinction into the pre-prescribed double-cab form. Yet, Ford’s FX4 package does so for the Ranger XLT, a bakkie that’s matured well over its lifecycle. With a sleek, car-like silhouette and single-frame grille that blends stylishly into its headlight, the new Mazda BT-50 looks like one of the most expensive bakkies here – which it most certainly is – and it sports attractive 18-inch rims with relatively low-profile rubber for good on-road stance. But more about the pros and cons of slender sidewalls later …

The slightly older Mitsubishi Triton, meanwhile, still comes across as an attractive bakkie, as does the Volkswagen Amarok, even if the Highline in white looks restrained considering the volcanic performance of the V6 TDI. This is all completely subjective, of course; you might rank them differently.


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