Long-term test (Introduction): Mahindra Pik Up DC 2,2 CRDE 4x4 S10
After a month without a bakkie, I am back on track with the latest version of Mahindra’s double cab. Formally called the Scorpio Pik Up – it is based on the Scorpio SUV – this S10 version comes with four-wheel drive and low range. Knowing the duties that lay in store, we requested a towbar and suggested rubberising the load bay for all the work envisaged. Side steps were added, too; not a bad feature due to the raised height of this bakkie.

I had returned from a launch on a public holiday and hopped right in, packed for a weekend up the West Coast and headed off after inserting a USB stick and a CD, plus pairing my phone. I punched in the destination and, at first, it said, “Not recognised.” Then I noticed I first had to tell the system in which country I was. Now that’s impressive. Perhaps a trip through Africa is on the cards?

Travelling at a true speed of about 110 km/h (the speedometer over-reads by 4%) into a northerly wind meant the fuel consumption wasn’t great but the trip back saw an improvement, again taking it easy. The engine is flexible – much quieter than the original Scorpio units – and the gearbox is precise with a short throw, notwithstanding a longish lever.

A narrow sand road not far from the beach was the ideal environment in which to conduct an initial test of the Pik Up’s capabilities. The sand became quite soft in places and I stopped to test the pull-away from standstill.

After stalling the engine because first gear is quite tall, I switched to low range and from there it was a breeze. Some of the sand was so soft that it felt as if the handbrake was still engaged and it required plenty of throttle in the first three gears to avoid getting stuck on an incline. This was with the tyres fully inflated, though, and it’s important to remember these JK Elanzo tyres are all-terrain biased.

One of the features that has come in handy is the ability to deactivate the auto lights and wipers if desired. I dislike auto wipers for false sweeps caused by sand but, as there is no intermittent setting, I’ve chosen to activate them when it rains lightly. This then performs the intermittent action automatically and effectively.

A farm trip has already been ticked off, with 500 kg of goods loaded and this smoothed the firm ride a little. I noticed there was minimal sagging in the rear suspension; a good sign as, no doubt, in the coming year the Mahindra will carry even heavier loads.

After 1 month
Current Mileage:
740 km
Average fuel consumption:
10,18 L/100 km
We like:
positive-feeling gearbox
We don’t like: 
large turning circle

Long-term test (Update 1): Mahindra Pik Up DC 2,2 CRDE 4x4 S10
The Mahindra Pik Up is still doing its job without fuss or fanfare as it conveys goods and passengers in Cape Town and to the farm over weekends.

While I’ve been impressed with the array of tie-down hooks around the load bay, as well as the large lip which can be used for further connection points, unfortunately there are no tie-down eyes on the floor. This would be very handy to secure goods that are lower than the top of the bay.

The engine is easy-going, flexible, difficult to stall and can handle low revs, even idling along in sixth at around 50 km/h without the driver needing to use the throttle. Cruise control adds to the comfort as you rest your feet on the spacious floor with your elbows on the armrests; ideal for long journeys.

The gearbox has one of the best shift actions in a bakkie. The phrase used to be “knife through butter” but, these days, it’s more like “flicking a light switch” with a light, positive, mechanical feel. The Pik Up does have a rather large turning circle, though, which requires careful manoeuvring when parking.

The JK Elanzo tyres are not a brand well known in South Africa but they are coping well with the sharp rocks on my farm that have caused a number of punctures on various vehicles in the last few years. The low-fuel lamp comes on when there is still more than 100 km available before the tank runs dry and generally over 800 km on a tank is the norm.

Recently, a warning light has illuminated on the display screen indicating it’s time for a service. Intervals used to be 5 000 km but this has recently been extended to 10 000 km, so I’ll pop in at the local dealer to have the computer reset until the service is due in November.

After 4 months
Current Mileage:
4 809 km
Average fuel consumption:
8,96 L/100 km
We like:
 cornering lamps; high seating position
We don’t like:
 stop/start; large turning circle

Long-term test (Update 2): Mahindra Pik Up DC 2,2 CRDE 4x4 S10
The first thing I do after starting up the Mahindra is switch the start/stop off. I leave the auto wipers on, however, as well as the auto-lights button. The only problem with this function is that you cannot use high beam. Strangely, the auto lights must be deactivated in order to do this. That aside, it’s testament to how well equipped this Mahindra is. The Pik Up stands tall and has high-mounted seating, which gives great visibility. Allied to that, cruise control provides a relaxing drive, although there is slight hunting as the system maintains a steady speed.
If only parking the Pik Up was so easy … the lack of parking sensors or a camera means cautious manoeuvering is necessary.

After 5 months
Current Mileage:
6 135 km
Average fuel consumption:
8,92 L/100 km

Long-term test (Update 3): Mahindra Pik Up DC 2,2 CRDE 4x4 S10
I often stop at Agrimark in Rawsonville with an already fully loaded Mahindra for some purchases and there is always a farmer or two inspecting the Pik Up while I’m shopping.
On the latest trip, I had 600 kg of animal feed in the load bay, which had minimal effect on the steering and resulted in a more settled ride. I have also discovered an unusual benefit of the low-range function. When teaching a learner driver, it helps to eliminate stalling while making crawling-speed progress. This allowed my teenage daughter to get the hang of steering and shifting gears while driving slowly on the farm.

After 6 months
Current Mileage:
7 350 km
Average fuel consumption:
8,81 L/100 km

Long-term test (Update 4): Mahindra Pik Up DC 2,2 CRDE 4x4 S10
I recently had to load a fridge/freezer, gas stove and a 13 kg top-loader washing machine onto the back of the Mahindra and all these bulky items fitted in one go. Apart from the gas stove, these then had to be transported to the farm which is more than two hours from Cape Town. Because I had to load 500 kg of horse feed as well, I decided to add the old Venter trailer to help out. When towing a trailer (a caravan is a whole different story), I drive quite a bit slower so as not to push up the fuel consumption too much and, impressively, the load had very little impact on the Pik Up’s drinking habits. At 8,80 L/100 km, its fuel usage is impressive.

As if this was not enough for one day, we also added some wood and steel windows, and moved them to storage for use later when a house is built at the farm. I am grateful Mahindra SA coated the load bay with a polyurethane lining as there is not a scratch or blemish even with the many bulky items I have transported. It’s also worth getting this option to maintain the good looks of your bakkie.

There are many tie-down fixtures in the large load bay but all are located high up to the sides. If there were a few on the floor of the bay, this would allow the easy securing of smaller goods with straps.

The Pik Up (and the trailer) then had a break for a week or two while my back recovered from all the loading. It was soon business as usual, however, when I transported a set of heavy, deep-cycle batteries, a task which proved no challenge for the dependable Pik Up.

Then came a request to collect a dozen hay bales from a local farm. Again, the large and deep load bay took the bulk well and we proceeded to offload into the storage container while trying to keep the horses from tucking in for a free meal. They were allowed to devour the “crumbs”, however.

After 7 months
Current Mileage:
8 450 km
Average fuel consumption:
8,80 L/100 km

Long-term test (Update 5): Mahindra Pik Up DC 2,2 CRDE 4x4 S10
Compared with most bakkies, the Pik Up has two standout features. Aft passengers appreciate the ample legroom and high seating posi- tion, coupled with the large glass area affording a safari-like view of the countryside. What’s more, the low-down thrust of the turbo (from just above 1 000 r/min) provides a satisfying kick, which some of the Mahindra’s rivals don’t offer.

I’ve had one small mishap, however. During a tight parking manoeuvre, one of the plastic wheel-hub covers suffered a scratch. The Pik Up will soon have its 10 000 km service and, hopefully, get a replacement cover.
After 8 months
Current Mileage:
9 575 km
Average fuel consumption:
8,80 L/100 km

Long-term test (Update 6): Mahindra Pik Up DC 2,2 CRDE 4x4 S10

One of the biggest recent inclinations in Cape Town has been buying water tanks. Not a day goes by that you don’t see big canisters being transported to their new homes to wait patiently for the skies to release that most precious of gifts: rain. The Pik Up has done much more than its fair share for this noble cause. I have lost count, but at least eight tanks have been delivered to the homes of friends and colleagues, and to my own house.
The trick is to buy only up to 2 500-litre tanks, as these fit quite easily into the load bay. Any bigger would not work. Also, these tanks are light and manoeuvrable enough to be loaded by just two people. I even transported an open 1 000-litre tank to the farm to be used as a splash pool for the children. This I jokingly dubbed a “Bakkuzzi”, albeit an obviously empty one. I have some more backbreaking deliveries to organise including a dining room table and chairs, yet another bookcase and ... a piano. This is not going to be easy and I can see trailer hire will be required despite the Mahindra’s generous load bay.

With a bakkie always popular with colleagues needing the space, what I was warned might happen eventually did. The roof-mounted antenna is inflexible and, coupled with the Pik Up’s tall profile, means reversing in a covered parking lot is not advisable. While I did my best to watch out for this, I did not pass on sufficient warning to others on the team and it is now an ex-antenna. Surprisingly, the FM band still works just fine. It doesn’t help to completely flatten the antenna to just above the roof as turbulence causes it to knock the metal.

After 9 months
Current Mileage:
12 201 km
Average fuel consumption:
8,95 L/100 km
We like:
thoroughly enjoyable gearshift
We don’t like:
inflexible antenna
Long-term test (Update 7): Mahindra Pik Up DC 2,2 CRDE 4x4 S10

TEMPUS fugit (time flies) and my time with the Pik Up is drawing to a close. This has me pondering what I am going to miss most about the big double-cab bakkie from India.

Surprisingly, at the top of my list is the six-speed manual gear- box. I say this because automatic transmissions are all the rage and manual vehicles seem to be slowly heading for extinction. With the majority of my driving taking place in traffic as the roads become more congested, there is no doubt an automatic is the way to go. Yet, for various reasons, including an easily modulated clutch and smooth, fuss-free shift, I have not once wished the shift was automatic, even when doing a school run.

The one thing I always do when driving the big Mahindra is switch off the stop/start function, as it is quite abrupt in its action and, curiously (something we’ve noticed on other Mahindras, too), doesn’t always disengage immediately. Frequently firing up a sizeable diesel engine doesn’t seem like a good idea, either, not to mention the wear on the flywheel ring gear.

Another feature I often use is cruise control. Many of my weekend journeys are on quieter roads so I get to relax my right foot regularly, but Mahindra’s system is not perfect; it tends to hunt as it tries to maintain a constant speed.

Due to the extended overhang at the rear, the multi-pin towbar connector gets slightly knocked out of position every time I care- fully negotiate a particular dip on the farm but so far, the metal mounting plate to which the connector is attached is holding up perfectly well, testament to the vehicle’s overall quality.

Aside from these small gripes, life with the Pik Up has been a joy thus far. And the fuel consumption has remained steady below 9,0 L/100 km, which is impressive for a big pick-up resigned to spending most its life in an urban locale.

After 10 months
Current Mileage:
13 650 km
Average fuel consumption:
8,97 L/100 km
We like:
seat comfort; armrests
We don’t like:
hunting cruise control

Long-term test (Update 8): Mahindra Pik Up 2,2 CRDe DC 4x4 S10

The Pik Up’s remarkable outward visibility comes courtesy of a high seating position accompanied by a tall roof which allows for a large glass area. The only downside of the slab-sided design is the drag factor when driving at higher speeds into a strong southeaster. Slower trips around town actually result in better consumption than at cruising altitudes thanks to the diesel power not fighting bluff aerodynamics. 

After rain, water tends to collect in the load bay and the Pik Up has to be driven to force this water to the rear to drain, otherwise your next load is going to get wet. 

After 11 months
Current Mileage:
 14 275 km
Average fuel consumption:
 8,95 L/100 km