Know how much you can spend on a car but haven’t made up your mind which one to buy? Each month, we recommend two sensible options, plus a left-field choice.
 
Requirements: Double-cab bakkies have become expensive items, as evidenced by the Amarok and X-Class. What if your hard-earned bucks don’t stretch to those lofty levels? Here we highlight three models that make excellent second-hand buys on a budget.
 
Sensible: Mitsubishi Triton DC 2,4 D-iD 4x4 AT


 
0-100 km/h: 10,40 seconds
Top speed: 178 km/h
Power: 133 kW
Torque: 430 N.m
CO2: 218 g/km
Fuel consumption: 8,80 L/100 km 
 
When we conducted our Double-cab Shootout in May 2017, employing the expertise of rally star Hannes Grobler, we – and Hannes – were surprised the Triton made it to second spot on the podium behind the Volkswagen Amarok. It also reached the top spot in the simultaneous caravan towing test. There’s no doubt the Triton is an accomplished product. Although sales are nowhere near that of past decades, this remains one of the most trusted brands for strength and reliability, qualities so sought-after in South Africa’s tough road conditions.
 
While the Triton has just received a facelift (see the road test last month), there is little change to its mechanicals or performance, and that makes it so appealing as a used buy. The Mitsubishi offers all you need in a lifestyle bakkie, plus some interesting features such as paddle-shifters for the automatic model and electric driver’s seat adjustment.
 
The automatic transmission has five forward speeds on pre-facelift models and a low-range transfer case. Levels of comfort and interior space are decent.
 
While our Shootout test states the braked tow rating is 1 500 kg, this was a precaution pending homologation approval. The figure was later confirmed as 3 100 kg.
 
Space: 4/5 seats, 950 kg payload
Safety: 2 airbags, ABS with EBD, stability control
Cost of four tyres: R8 864
Road test: May 2017 (2,4 D-iD 4x4 AT)
 
Sensible: Fiat Professional Fullback DC 2,4D 4x4 AT


 
0-100 km/h: 10,64 seconds|
Top speed: 179 km/h
Power: 133 kW
Torque: 430 N.m
CO2: 207 g/km
Fuel consumption: 8,52 L/100 km 
 
If you have a spare Italian flag sticker you’d like to add to the back of your bakkie, you could choose the Fullback. The Fiat is a rebadged Triton and stole some of Mitsubishi’s thunder by arriving first in SA. Unusually, it is available with either the previous-generation 2,5-litre turbodiesel engine or the latest 2,4-litre.
 
Pricing, new or used, is highly competitive, so you could save a fair sum by looking around for a low-mileage model of recent vintage. The full range includes single cabs with the cheapest powered by a 2,4-litre, four-cylinder petrol, followed by the pricier 2,5- and 2,4-litre diesels.
 
The 2,4 D-iD is supplied only in auto; if you want a manual gearbox, opt for the 2,5-litre (131 kW). Note the older engine is neither as smooth nor as flexible as the former. If your finances allow, the 2,4-litre is undoubtedly better (although pricing on the 2,5-litre is exceptional).
 
Interior space and spec levels are as per the Triton, although Fiat claims a slightly higher payload than Mitsubishi.
 
Keep the exhaust-gas recirculation valve clean and, if you experience a loss in power or an increase in consumption, have the injectors checked and recalibrated. Of course, this applies to the Triton, too.
 
Whether or not Fiat/Chrysler joins forces with Nissan/Renault/Mitsubishi should not affect parts supply.
 
Space: 4/5 seats, 968 kg payload
Safety: 2 airbags, ABS with EBD, stability control
Cost of four tyres: R8 436
Road test: December 2017
 
Left-field: Land Rover Defender 110 DC TD S


 
0-100 km/h: 19,59 seconds
Top speed: 131 km/h
Power: 90 kW
Torque: 360 N.m
CO2: 278 g/km
Fuel consumption: 12,6 L/100 km 
 
The off-roader with the longest heritage, the designations 90, 110 and 130 originated not from power outputs, but their original wheelbase lengths (measured in inches, of course, as it’s a British vehicle). Our last road test took place a long time ago, in 2008. The engine used then was a Ford-derived four-cylinder turbodiesel with a capacity of 2,4 litres.
 
Steering was still the old worm and roller and all the controls were listed as fairly heavy. We also found the ride firm, so this is not a vehicle for everyday commuting.
 
As a testament to what these Landies were primarily intended and used for – longer travels into the wilds – many of the examples offered in the classifieds are already extensively kitted out for adventure with gas canisters, deep-cycle batteries, roof racks and tents.
 
Reliability of the engine and transmission is good but, due to the poor aerodynamics, fuel consumption is poor for a diesel at more than 12,0 L/100 km. The 75-litre tank at least allows for a decent range (some for sale have been fitted with a long-range tank).
 
Interestingly, for such a solid workhorse of a bakkie, this one has coil springs all round, not leaf springs at the rear. Watch out for overheating issues, clutch wear and injector settings. Keep all filters clean, especially after off-road trips.
 
Space: 4/5 seats, 1 100 kg payload
Safety: ABS, traction control
Cost of four tyres: R8 844 
Road test: February 2008 (110 SW)

Second hand cars for sale