VW Amarok Canyon the most fun Leisure Bakkie

VW Amarok Canyon

The VW Amarok 3.0TDI V6 4Motion Canyon is Leisure Wheels magazine’s Bakkie of the Year.

The German bakkie, up against nine other double cab bakkies for the crown, scored 90.5% ahead of Ford’s Ranger Raptor (86.3%) and Toyota’s Hilux 2.8GD-6 Legend 50 (85.4%). The new competition format revolves around Average Joe’s bakkie requirements, and not flippant matters such as 0–100km/h acceleration times.

Instead, the competition focused on real-world issues such as fuel consumption, load carrying ability, towing, safety, handling, 4×4 ability, interior, long-term ownership and, counting 20% of the overall score, a subjective driving test score, as adjudged by five industry experts and professional drivers.

The Leisure Wheels test lab.

The results are:
1) Volkswagen Amarok 3.0TDI 4Motion Canyon AT 90.5%
2) Ford Ranger Raptor 86.3%
3) Toyota Hilux 2.8GD-6 4×4 Legend 50 (manual) 85.4%
4) Ford Ranger 2.0 Bi-Turbo 4×4 Wildtrak AT 83.4%
5) Mercedes-Benz X350d 4Matic 81.6%
6) Isuzu D-Max 3.0DT 4×4 LX (manual) 78.9%
7) Nissan Navara 2.3D 4×4 Stealth AT 78.8%
8) Mitsubishi Triton 2.4Di-D 4×4 AT 75.9%
9) Mahindra Pik Up 2.2CRDe 4×4 Karoo 70.4%
10) Toyota Land Cruiser 79 Namib 64.2%

The Raptor is wide and has an almost mean stance.

“Our aim with this test was to focus on real-world factors that affect real bakkie owners, and to go the full nine yards establishing those results. For the fuel consumption test, conducted on Gerotek’s high speed oval, we devised a set route that included stop-and-pull-off simulations, full throttle overtaking simulations, as well as slow and high speed laps. We also added 190kg to the bak, so the results are what consumers can realistically expect to achieve, on a daily basis,” explains Leisure Wheels’ Danie Botha.

And what is it about the Amarok that set it apart from the rest of the pack? Is it really perfect in every which way?

“It’s certainly not perfect,” says Botha. “It didn’t score well in the 4×4 ability, long-term ownership and safety segments. But for the rest, it really is a solid, classy package. It seems VW’s engineers worked some kind of magic with the leaf-sprung rear suspension, offering an SUV-like ride on all surfaces. And that V6 engine… here’s a bakkie that will outrun many hot hatches between traffic lights, yet it can carry nearly a ton on the bak.”

The March issue, featuring the comprehensive Bakkie of the Year report, goes on sale on Monday, 17 February. More detailed results in the respective segments will be published on leisurewheels.co.za.

Toyota HiLux 2.8 GD-6 4×4 Raider review

Toyota HiLux 2.8 GD-6 4×4 Raider

HiLux is dead, long live HiLux. The king of the bakkie world is back with a bang.

Toyota HiLux 2.8

Toyota HiLux 2.8

The latest HiLux is a big improvement over the previous model in almost every way, but especially in the important aspects like ride quality, handling and fuel consumption.

My wife, Danita, was impressed by how much better the ride is of the new HiLux. She says it does not feel like a truck anymore. She could even see over the bonnet.

“What I really liked was the smoothness of going from wet muddy conditions onto gravel, thick sand and the brutal climbing power in very windy conditions on the slippery slopes of the mountains above Kleinmond! I really like it’s versatility … a stylish loyal workhorse clad in an elegant suit.  I felt safe inside,  protected by the powerful engine and strong body. I have never been quite so relaxed during a 4×4 trip in challenging weather conditions!”

HiLux_2.8-dashVisibility is good for a double cab. The whole aspect of handling and control has been taken to a new level and is now much easier and you feel more in control. Although it is substantially bigger it doesn’t feel clumsy or vague to drive.

HiLux is selling very well, so it must be ticking the right boxes. I thought the Toyota engineers have done a good job of refining what was in its day a highly competent bakkie.

The new Hilux is available in four grades, from workhorse to Raider with SRX in the middle. There is also a specialist SR spec for the mining industry. In total there are 23 models.

Drive Mode Select (Eco and Sport) with iMT

The gearbox is really good. Toyota is using an intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT) on top models.  iMT effectively incorporates rev-matching technology on both up- and downshifts, to provide a smooth drive as well as assisting drivers with smooth take-offs.

Using the 4WD change-over switch, the driver can select between 2WD, 4WD and 4WD with low range. The system allows the driver to switch between 2WD and 4WD ‘High’ on the fly, up to speeds of 50 km/h

HiLux_2.8-rear

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Active Traction Control system (A-TRC) found in the Land Cruiser family of vehicles is now also fitted to top HiLux models. A-TRC uses a combination of engine torque control and brake pressure modulation to provide maximum traction under most conditions.

Toyota claims 7.1 litres per 100 km. I got just over 8L/100km, making this bakkie light on fuel.  The 2.8 diesel delivers 130 kW and  420Nm from 1600 to 2400 rpm. The 2.8 GD-6 4×4 models allow a solid 3.5 tons of towing capability.

The eighth-generation HiLux, Toyota says is fit-for-purpose. After a week at the wheel that is my overriding impression. They know how to build bakkies having sold HiLuxes since 1969.

Little nitpick niggles

The rear bumper sticks out quite a bit from the body and may snag things especially in the veld butHiLux_2.8-nose also add wind resistance.

The rear legroom is still tight and not as good as the competition.

The infotainment screen and instrumentation is much better than the previous model but has not quite caught up to the Ranger and KB.

The bakkie we tested cost R529 900.

Pricing is as follows: Single cab:  From R228 900 to R 435 900
Xtra cab: From R333 900 to R470 900
Double cab: From R 377 900 to R593 900

There is a 5 year or 90 000 kilometre service plan. The standard factory warranty provides cover for 3 years or 100 000 km, but you can extend it to 6 years or 200 000km for R7 200.

Bear in mind four new bakkies are coming to market in 2016/17. They are the new Mitsubishi Triton and Nissan Navarra as well as the launch of the FIAT Fullback and Mercedes bakkie.

The Ford Ranger and Isuzu KB series are formidable competition. VW Amarok will catch up when it gets its facelift and new engines soon.

Also have a look at the two Steed ranges from GWM. You may just be very surprised.

Toyota HiLux 3.0 D-4D 4×4 DC Legend 45 review

Toyota HiLux 3.0 D-4D Legend 45 double cab 4×4 review

Born just before the seventies with a price of only R1 525 as a 4×2 single cab with a 1.5-litre petrol engine, HiLux has come a long way. Millions have been made.

Toyota HiLux

Toyota HiLux

It is a Legend. No other bakkie comes near in terms of sales or reputation.

We have just driven the seventh series HiLux again in Legends45 form, which is basically the outgoing version before the new bigger series 8 is launched later this year. Toyota have sweetened the deal by upping the accessories on this model but keeping the price down.

This traditional size bakkie is easier to manoeuvre and park than the new super-sized double cabs.

HiLux Legends 45

HiLux Legends 45

HiLux is a very competent all rounder and it does everything well. It is a little old fashioned but in a comfortable familiar kind of way.

It looks like a bakkie and drives like one. This double cab is a luxury workhorse without pretences.

The suspension is firm, perhaps a little too firm, as unladen it still tends to be a little skittish but the electronic stability control really helps to improve the ride. The traction control works seamlessly and invisibly.

I tested it on the Helderberg Farm 4×4 trail black route and it never hesitated. I think it will be good in sand as well.

The highway performance is good. Lock it at 120km/h with the cruise control and it just sails along without ever breaking into a sweat.

In town it is easy to use as it even has a rear camera which makes parking a breeze. My wife felt the camera’s position is a little vulnerable though.

The 3.0 D-4D turbodiesel engine has been around for a while and does not deliver exciting performance, rather it is dependable, effective and a very good mix of usable power and torque. It will do the job and not let you down. I got 10litres/100km in mixed town, highway and some 4×4 driving. So consumption is pretty good.

The cabin is functional rather than fashionable or even pretty to look at. But it works. It is a Toyota bakkie after all. The black leather seats are comfortable and have enough adjustability. It comes with all the nooks and crannies and a really pleasant to hold leather covered multi-function steering wheel.

Rear legroom is OK and access is acceptable.

It comes fairly well equipped with climate and cruise control, a good sound system, navigation with multi-function screen, bluetooth and several plug points.

Safety is also comprehensively specified.

The 3.0 D-4D 4×4 DC Legend 45 as tested costs R505 400. That is a heck a lot of money, but then this is a lot of bakkie.

I believe the trade-in value of the 7th generation HiLux will remain very good partly because the new generation 8 bakkie is reported to be bigger and many people prefer the slightly smaller size.

The limited special edition 45 is available in 4×2 Raised Body and 4×4 and across all variations – Single Cab, Xtra Cab and Double Cab. There are 13 different Toyota Hilux Legend 45 model versions.

Also consider the Mitsubishi Triton, GWM Steed and Nissan Hardbody.

The standard HiLux single cab range starts at R291 800. The 2.5 D-4D Raised Body DC Legend 45 is the base Legend model and is R420 100. The top-of-range 4.0 V6 4×4 Auto DC Legend 45 is priced at R544 600.

Warranty is 3 years or 100 000km. The service plan is 5 years or 90 000km.

HiLux_ass