Mahindra’s self-shifting Pik Up is the cheapest automatic double-cab bakkie in South Africa. Priced at R429 999, it’s a bargain compared with pricier alternatives. But what if you want to spend even less? Here, we look at two second-hand alternatives for under R300 000.

Jarryd’s choice: Mitsubishi Triton DC 2,4 DI-D 4x4 AT

0-100 km/h: 11,86 seconds
Top speed:
177 km/h
Power:
133 kW
Torque:
430 N.m
CO2:
207 g/km
Fuel consumption:
9,40 L/100 km (fuel index)

It may not enjoy the popularity of the Hilux and Ranger but the Triton is an excellent alternative to the ubiquitous double-cab bakkies plying our roads. While examples fitted with manual transmissions are fairly common in the second-hand market, self-shifters are seldom found in the classifieds. Look far and wide, however, and there are a handful of automatic Tritons at just under R300 000.

The 133 kW 2,4-litre turbodiesel powertrain is remarkably refined, impressing the CAR team in our 2017 Double-cab Bakkie Shootout. The interior is equally as pleasing as the engine. Unlike many bakkies, the Triton features a cockpit blessed with solid materials, creating a suitably inviting ambience. Adding an element of comfort are supportive front seats that enable plenty of adjustment. Along with the adjustable steering column, finding a driving position to suit you is easy.

Curiously, the Triton has just two airbags (driver and passenger). Although it’s not cramped, the Mitsubishi loses out on rear legroom, offering less space than larger rivals such as the Ford and Toyota. This is a small price to pay overall, as the Triton is immensely capable off-road, with excellent axle articulation twisting the bakkie out of even the trickiest obstacles.

It comes as no surprise, too, that the Mitsubishi is reliable, with owners racking up monumental mileage without worry. Thanks to relatively compact dimensions and direct steering (for a double-cab, at least), the Triton is easier to drive than most bakkies and would therefore be a good choice for a first-time pick-up owner.

Aside from just a pair of airbags, the equipment levels will leave the average owner wanting for nothing. A reverse camera, parking sensors, full leather upholstery and electric windows are all part of the package. Search for an example with the remainder of its five-year/90 000 km service plan. At a Mitsubishi dealer, expect to pay around R5 500 for the 90 000 km service and R6 500-R8 000 for the 120 000 km service.

Space: 4/5 seats
Safety: 2 airbags, ABS with EBD, ESC, hill start
Cost of four tyres: R8 964
Road test: May 2017

Peter’s choice: Ford Ranger DC 3,2 TDCi XLT 4x4 AT

0-100 km/h: 12,39 seconds
Top speed: 179 km/h
Power:
147 kW  
Torque:
470 N.m
CO2:
235 g/km
Fuel consumption:
11,52 L/100 km (fuel index)

With the double-cab bakkie segment setting itself apart from the majority of workhorse bakkies as a more lifestyle-oriented sector, buyers are choosing those pick-ups with added creature comforts. This has included the general trend towards automatic transmissions to cope with increasing traffic congestion while providing a relaxed driving experience.

I’ve opted for the Ranger as we wanted to keep the budget below R300 000; there are very few sound Hiluxes on offer at this price. We must limit the search to pre-2018 models, so three to four years old.

When we conducted our 2013 Double-cab Bakkie Shootout, there was much excitement surrounding the then-recently launched new Ranger and it finished in the top three overall. In its favour are good looks, plenty of torque, impressive steering, ride and space. Against the Ranger counts its sheer size. Parking this big Ford in a conventional parking bay takes due care and attention.

While the automatic gearbox of the Ranger is not the best out there – especially when compared to the Amarok’s superb eight-speed ZF unit – second-hand VWs are in short supply and a bit pricey. The same goes for the rugged Isuzu KB autos that are available only with rear-wheel drive, not 4x4. Check the action of the gearbox for jerkiness. If in doubt, have it assessed by a gearbox specialist. You do not need the considerable expense of transmission repairs on top of the outlay.

Another word of caution: fuel consumption is not as light as, for example, the KB300’s. There are complaints of turbos giving up, too. Purchase a mechanical insurance plan, just in case.

Mileages vary but Rangers tend to be used frequently. Try to find an example with no more than 120 000 km on the clock. Parts supply is not a problem thanks to the high numbers sold and serviced along with the vast dealer network. If you want to spend a bit less, Ford offered the option of a 2,2-litre.  

Space: 4/5 seats
Safety: 7 airbags, ABS with EBD, ESC
Cost of four tyres: R10 150
Road test: May 2013

Second hand cars for sale