The first car launch of the year, and the honour goes to the highly popular Mahindra Pikup S11 which has now come into SA with an automatic gearbox. It is the first country to launch the Pikup auto, and this is probably justified as extensive testing was done here to get the S11 to the car that was launched. It comes in the S11 and the S11 Karoo auto.
Looks wise, the Mahindra Pikup S11 bears a resemblance to the iconic Toyota Landcruiser 79. It has the same rugged characheristics. However that is quite illustrious company, so lets break down the variables that make up the S11.
So we will start with the major change to the previous generation Pikup, and that is of course the auto gearbox. It is being used for the first time on this model, and is a sequential self-shifting option and is mated, in 4×4 models, to a new Hill Descent Control (HDC) system that utilises engine and vehicle braking for slow descents on tough, off-road terrain and that can be controlled with the in-built cruise control system. Make sure you do switch this feature on when you go down a steep section, as I did not and we kind of ran away.
Available at first, in the double cab Pik Up body style. It will be launched with a new, luxury S11 specification level that includes all the luxuries of the S10 and more at a later date. The gearbox changes smoothly on the open road, and it is always good to drive an auto. We did some 4×4 driving at a track, with some fairly technical obstacles, and it handled them well. We also went up Breedt’s Pass with 4×2 derivatives, with very little issues. The pass is particularly rocky.
The main design change is the bold and stylish new grille, which replaces the narrower chrome inlays of the S10 model with wider chromed vents that are reminiscent of the range-topping Mahindra Scorpio S11 models.
The grille is flanked by new headlamps, with chrome inserts housed in and behind clear screens. New, chromed fog lamp surrounds in the wide, lower air intake round off the front design changes.
In addition to the new front design, the S11 Automatic Pik Up has colour-coded side mirrors with integrated indicators. At the rear of the new model, there are S11 and Automatic decals as well as the addition of a new reverse camera that has to date not been available on any Pik Up model. Many people will say it’s just a bakkie, and a rather agricultural one at that, however South African’s have always had a love affair with them, and this one certainly looks tough.
Taking centre stage is a brand-new 7” touch screen infotainment system with a capacitive interface. This new system offers Bluetooth connectivity, a multitude of entertainment and vehicle information screens and full turn-by-turn navigation as standard. The infotainment screen also displays the image of the in-built reverse camera in full colour. Media tech is very important in this day and age, and the Mahindra S11 is well covered in this regard.
All S11 models will further offer an automatic climate control system in place of the standard manual air conditioning system, and all models have an adjustable multi-function steering wheel that controls the infotainment, phone and cruise-control systems.
As the most luxurious model in the range, the S11 carries over all the luxury and safety features of the manual S10 models. This includes two airbags, 12V power points for the front and rear occupants, traction control, electric windows with an automatic up/down mode on the front windows and automatically locking doors.
Fitted with Mahindra’s much-loved mHawk turbodiesel engine of 2.2 litres, this engine works well on open roads, where I found it slightly wanting was on Breedt’s Pass where we encountered some rocky sections, and when it had resistance, instead of getting torque and bulldozing through, it seemed to die a bit. Once we had momentum however, it got through, and to be fair, it was a tricky section and we were in a 4×2 derivative..
This four-cylinder engine has common rail injection and turbo charging to deliver 103 kW at 3 750 r/min and 320 Nm at a flat band between 1 500 r/min and 2 800 r/min.
The mHawk turbodiesel was designed with a high 16.5:1 compression ratio to offer exceptional performance, while only using 7.9 litres of fuel every 100 km in a combined testing cycle.
The King of Pik Up models – S11 Karoo AT
We drove mostly the Karoo S11 which Mahindra first launched the Karoo Special Edition late in 2018 to celebrate the successful opening of its local assembly facility in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
The decals and detailing make it look good, with some stickers on the back and side, and special off-road alloy wheels that feature a blacked-out design with chrome detailing.
This model also has a custom-designed and lockable roller deck system for the load box as standard, while all S11 Karoo models will have a rubberised load bay. All Pik Up Double Cab models feature a standard ground clearance of 210 mm, an approach angle of 34 degrees and a departure angle of 15 degrees. The high standard ground clearance and narrow-fitting side rails mean that the Pik Up has a very impressive breakover angle of 18 degrees.
Among the many benefits of owning a Pik Up are its heavy-duty Cushion suspension system, which allows the 4×2 double cab models to load up to 1 095 kg, while 4×4 models can easily transport up to 995 kg. As on other models, the S11 also offers a double walled load bay for extra durability.
The Mahindra Pik Up double cab range is certified to tow a braked trailer of up to 2 500 kg, and all double cab models are fitted with Mahindra’s mechanical differential lock (MLD), which it developed in partnership with Eaton and which offers complete lock-up between the rear wheels when there is a loss of traction, such as in challenging off-road conditions.
Warranty, service plan and pricing
The all-new S11 Automatic and S11 Automatic Karoo will be available with a standard 4-year / 120 000 km technical warranty and free Roadside Assistance plan. It also has a comprehensive service plan for 5 years or 100 000 km. The first lubrication service is at 10 000 km and every service thereafter will be done at intervals of 20 000 km.
The double cab pricing is as follows:
The double cab pricing is as follows:
Mahindra Pik Up S11 AT 4×2 R384 999
Mahindra Pik Up S11 4×2 Karoo AT R399 999
Mahindra Pik Up S11 AT 4×4 R414 999
Mahindra Pik Up S11 4×4 Karoo AT R429 999
This pricing is very competitive, and this is what makes Mahindra the fastest growing O’em in the industry for 2019. There were a few issues which we were advised about on launch, namely the very high consumption figures showing, which were incorrect, and it had a few shakes and rattles. But on the whole it is a solid, rugged offering, and because of the value, will find some ready buyers. Mahindra have indicated that they will only be seeking new dealerships in Swaziland and Botswana, as they are happy with their partners so far,