Which bakkie should I buy?

Owning and living with a bakkie is more than just walking into a dealership and paying for your truck. Your experience of and with the dealership can make or break your attitude to your bakkie and the brand.

If the purchasing and servicing experience is important to you this is going to help you decide which brands to look into.

The best buying and servicing experience is measured continuously by an independent research company, called Ipsos, for the industry.

Historic data

The owners of light commercial vehicles (LCVs) in South Africa are getting a very good deal in terms of their purchasing and servicing experience according to the results of the 2015 Ipsos customer satisfaction market research of the local automotive industry.

The good level of customer satisfaction in terms of the LCV purchasing and servicing experience in South Africa is underlined by the fact that four brands; Isuzu, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen, won gold awards for purchasing and three; Isuzu, Nissan and Toyota  won gold for servicing in the 2015 survey. So the top brands to own are Isuzu, Nissan and Toyota.

Chevrolet and Ford got silver awards for purchasing, while Chevrolet and Volkswagen earned silver for servicing. Ford was the only recipient of a bronze award for LCV servicing. This may be down to the massive growth of their market share last year.

The results of the survey are subjected to four separate checks and balances or so-called quality gates to ensure validity.

bakkie sales q

The servicing winners are:

bakkie servicing

“These 2015 figures are absolutely outstanding,” commented Patrick Busschau, the Ipsos SA Automotive Business Unit Director. “The very impressive results show that both the buying and servicing experience provided by dealers franchised by the participating brands in South Africa is world class.

“Buyers of light commercials are also not short-changed from a product, as well as a sales and after-sales experience perspective, and this is very important in view of the large number of people who now buy top end LCVs for both personal and leisure use. They pay a lot of money for many of these vehicles, which are now competing with mid to high-end SUVs in the quality and comfort stakes, and it is good to see that the manufacturers, importers and dealers are putting a lot of focus on providing excellent service to those buying and operating LCVs. The Isuzu, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen brands, in particular, in the LCV segment are to be commended for the consistently excellent service delivery when customers purchase or service these vehicles”.

Servicing over time

The servicing experience has improved over time as can be seen from the graph. Satisfaction has increased from 80% to 90% over the last few years.

Latest data from 2018

Bear in mind that this research is always a year behind and many bakkies have been upgraded or renewed in the last 12 months. This is just a rough guide as to the perceived quality.

In the graph below the lower the score the better.

The smaller bakkies have the disadvantage that they are noisier and have smaller engines. It is actually wrong to compare them with the bigger bakkies.

Safe motoring.


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












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.

Servicing my car – who is best?

Purchasing & Servicing quality awards

Ipsos, the market research company, measures the Competitive Customer Experience of car owners each year.

Its divided into the buying experience and the quality of servicing. It is split between cars and LCV’s (or bakkies and vans).

Here are the car results for this year.


Ipsos interviewed more than 23 000 customers about their purchasing and servicing experience in 2015, representing more than 75% of all cars sold, or 15 of the locally available brands. The missing brands include BMW and Hyundai/ Kia.

The biggest changes over the previous survey include a 3.7% improvement in the free of faults result but a 4.7% drop in the handling of queries or faults. So the dealers need a bit of polishing, but the manufacturers are improving.

Over time the quality has been improving and now sits at almost 95% for the industry, up from around 90% in 2004.

The gold medal achievers in the sales department are VW and Audi. GM, Mercedes Benz, Nissan and Toyota come next. Ford, Lexus, Renault and Honda also did well.

sales time

“The achievements by the industry overall in our ongoing study over the past four years have been outstanding and are a tribute to staff at the manufacturers’ head offices who are responsible for training and supporting the dealers as well as for the commitment of the dealers themselves. In particular the consistent excellence of Audi, Isuzu, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen brands must be highlighted for special praise,” said Patrick Busschau, the Ipsos SA Automotive Business Director. “It is amazing how the retail industry manages to lift the bar ever higher each year.”.


The Servicing Experience over Time has improved by 1% a year over the past decade and has now reached 90%.

Customers feel the are more appreciated and  are happy that they are offered transportation to the next destination. They are unhappy about the preparation of the staff and contact about progress.

Interestingly there is no difference between men and women concerning their perception of the servicing experience.

There are big differences between the races.

Servicing Race

Asian, not Indian, customers are the most unhappy while whites are happiest.

And the servicing awards go to:

Servicing winnersAudi received a platinum award for sustained customer satisfaction in both the passenger car purchasing and servicing experience categories, having won gold awards every year from 2012-2015. The Volkswagen brand received a platinum award for the purchasing experience with cars and LCVs from 2012-2015.
Other brands to receive platinum awards were Isuzu for the LCV purchasing experience, while Toyota and Nissan received these prestigious awards for LCV servicing in the period 2012-2015.

It is interesting the BMW withdrew from the research and that Hyundai may be sure of their product quality but not about their customer relations.


Toyota Auris XR review

Toyota Auris XR review

Auris XR

Auris XR

Toyota entered the hatch market with the Corolla hatch in 1984 based on the FF (front engine, front wheel drive) 5th generation family size Corolla range which also included more sporty rear wheel drive models.

Today Toyota makes many different hatchback models including the very small Aygo, the compact Yaris and the family sized Auris.

The C segment which includes the medium family cars like the Auris comprises compact family hatches (30%) and sedans (70%) but is under pressure from compact SUVs which are like little station wagons on tall wheels.

The present version of the Auris is an example of just how good today’s car design and engineering is. It simply does everything so well and ticks so many boxes.

⊗ Good fuel consumption.

Toyota Auris XR at Lourensford Estate.

Toyota Auris XR at Lourensford Estate.

⊗ Excellent road manners.

⊗ Solid build quality.

⊗ Comfortable interior.

⊗ Comprehensively equipped.

⊗ Safe.

⊗ A pleasant car to drive, with a fun dimension.

The electric lime green XR Auris we got to test certainly stood out on account of its colour. But it also stands out because of its design and styling. And value for money.

Toyota_Auris-etc-011-DashI particularly like the design of the dashboard. It reminds one of an aircraft dash, but in a good technical way, not the fake styling of some other brands. The interior is really pleasant and well thought out, with plenty of storage nooks. Space is actually quite good. The boot easily passes the pram test and is surprisingly big for a hatch.
In the Auris, Toyota has caught up with VW and Ford in respect of the perceived quality and I think may exceed them in the actual quality of materials used and feel of the switchgear.
The drivability is more sprightly than sporty. It goes well and does pack a satisfying dollop of power and good almost sporty road manners. It is not a GTi or STi wannabe, rather a well behaved car with a slightly mischievous streak.
Toyota claims 0 to 100km/h in 10 seconds. In reality acceleration is on par with the competition and more than good enough.

I got 7.1 Litre/100km in Auris-Xr-Vergelegen-094-flankmixed driving, which implies that 6L/100km on the open road is more than likely. If you drive really carefully you will be able to improve on these figures.

Resale values for Toyota hatches have always been good, and I think you can expect the same or better for this range.
The competition in this niche of the market is fierce and several cars are deserving of consideration. I would recommend testing the Focus and Mazda3 before deciding.

Prices start at R223 700 for the base X version right up to R360 300 for the Hybrid. The model we tested was the XR at R287 700.

Warranty is 3 years/100000 km. Sevice plan is 5 years/90 000 km.

Also consider the VW Golf , Kia Cerato, Hyundai i30, Peugeot 308, Ford Focus and Mazda3



Toyota Cape Dealer Rally 2015

Toyota Cape Dealer Rally

Mark Cronje and new navigator Gerhard Snyman finished the 13th and final stage of the Western Cape event in a time of 1 hour 53 minutes 59.8 seconds to beat Gugu Zulu/Hilton Auffray (Sasolracing Volkswagen Polo) by a 3 minutes 23 seconds.

Ford Fiesta flying in the Cape Dealer rally 2015.

Ford Fiesta flying in the Cape Dealer rally 2015.

Henk Lategan/Barry White (Sasolracing Volkswagen Polo), won five stages in a row but unfortunately  did not finish and could not catch Cronje who was penalised with 20 seconds for hitting a chicane in stage 11.


Leeroy Poulter/Elvéne Coetzee (Castrol Team Toyota Yaris) hit a series of jumps at high speed sending them head over heels and ending their rally.


The proverbial sting in the tail of the rally saw to the demise of Henk Lategan/Barry White (Sasolracing Volkswagen Polo), the only team to really threaten Cronje and Snyman, in the final stage due to suspension failure.




Results: (Click here) 

SR – SUPERALLY DAY 1 SR – SUPERALLY – DAY 2 POS CAR ENTRANT DRIVER / CO-DRIVER CL CAR Stage Comp SS7 POS SS8 POS SS9 POS SS10 POS SS11 POS SS12 POS SUB TOTAL PEN TOTAL DIFF to prev comp DIFF TO 1ST CAR 1 425 John Peiser John Peiser / Weston Peiser S5 Subaru Impreza 6 08:14.5 2 12:22.8 2 16:03.8 3 15:00.6 2 08:08.6 1 12:27.9 1 1:12:18.2 00:00 01:12:18.2 2 76 Lourens van Rensburg Lourens van Rensburg / Nina van RensburgS5 Ford Fiesta R2 6 08:21.3 4 12:51.2 4 16:50.0 4 15:03.4 3 08:22.2 2 13:00.3 2 1:14:28.4 00:00 01:14:28.4 00:02:10.2 00:02:10.2 3 419 Quinton Swarts Paul van Wyk / Quinton Swarts S3 Volkswagen Golf 6 09:05.8 6 13:56.4 5 17:58.1 5 15:31.7 4 09:02.8 3 14:00.8 3 1:19:35.6 00:00 01:19:35.6 00:05:07.2 00:07:17.4 4 455 Matthew Jason Kohler Ebrahim Levy / Matthew Jason Kohler S3 Toyota Corolla 6 09:33.7 7 14:54.6 8 18:23.1 6 16:05.6 5 09:14.4 4 14:51.9 4 1:23:03.3 00:00 01:23:03.3 00:03:27.7 00:10:45.1 5 423 R. Reynders H Mathee / R. Reynders S4 Datsun Deluxe 6 09:50.0 10 14:24.3 6 19:45.7 8 17:01.4 7 09:45.2 6 15:27.4 5 1:26:14.0 00:00 01:26:14.0 00:03:10.7 00:13:55.8 6 450 Paul Emmanuel Paul Emmanuel / Robin Benjaman S4 Volkswagen Polo 6 10:04.9 11 16:23.4 10 21:39.7 9 18:50.9 8 10:04.7 7 16:26.2 7 1:33:29.8 00:00 01:33:29.8 00:07:15.8 00:21:11.6 7 431 Ismaeel Davids Ismaael Davids / Yusuf Ganief S3 Toyota Corolla 6 09:35.6 8 28:34.8 14 19:24.4 7 16:09.0 6 09:29.5 5 15:59.0 6 1:39:12.3 00:00 01:39:12.3 00:05:42.5 00:26:54.1 8 430 Denzil Isaccs Denzil Isaacs / Robyn Isaacs S1 Toyota Tazz 6 12:09.0 12 18:09.2 11 22:40.6 10 19:00.7 9 11:09.1 8 19:19.6 8 1:42:28.2 00:20 01:42:48.2 00:03:35.9 00:30:30.0 DNF 62 Henry Kohne Paulus Franken / Henry Kohne S5 Volkswagen Polo 4 07:29.7 1 11:41.6 1 15:06.5 1 12:55.6 1 00:00.0 00:00.0 0:47:13.4 00:00 00:47:13.4 DNF DNF DNF 65 Ashley Haigh-Smith Ashley Haigh-Smith / Nial Burns S5 Ford Fiesta R2 3 08:17.1 3 12:42.6 3 15:18.0 2 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 0:36:17.7 00:00 00:36:17.7 DNF DNF DNF 421 Trevor Hodges Trevor Hodges / Ian Thebus S5 Volkswagen Golf 2 08:44.0 5 14:28.6 7 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 0:23:12.6 00:00 00:23:12.6 DNF DNF DNF 404 Divan de Goede Tiaan Rabe / Divan de Goede S2 Volkswagen Golf 2 14:33.7 13 18:16.1 12 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 0:32:49.8 00:00 00:32:49.8 DNF DNF DNF 406 Sakkie Bosman Charl Strydom / Sakkie Bosman S4 Volkswagen Polo 2 14:33.7 13 18:16.1 12 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 0:32:49.8 00:00 00:32:49.8 DNF DNF DNF 408 Anwar Levy Anwar Levy / Jean-Pierre Jacobs S3 Volkswagen Polo 1 09:42.4 9 15:17.3 9 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 0:24:59.7 00:00 00:24:59.7 DNF DNF DNF 413 Keenan Sassman Keenan Sassman / Clint Lingeveldt S3 Toyota Corolla 0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 0:00:00.0 00:00 00:00:00.0 DNF DNF DNF 415 Llewellyn van Greunen Darren v Greunen / Llewellyn v Greunen S1 Volkswagen Golf 0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 0:00:00.0 00:00 00:00:00.0 DNF DNF DNF 432 Andy Haigh-Smith Andy Haigh-Smith / Craig Gray S3 Mutsibushi Lancer 0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 0:00:00.0 00:00 00:00:00.0 DNF DNF Results brought to you by the National Rally Commission Event Timing by Calog 2015 TOYOTA CAPE DEALER RALLY 18/19 SEPTEMBER 2015 FINAL REGIONAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION 13.03 21.71 26.29 22.10 13.03 21.71 CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS 2ND STEWARD ORIGINAL SIGNED BY STEWARDS


Toyota Fortuner Mk2 revealed

The second generation Fortuner goes on sale in Thailand on the 16th July 2015 and locally in Q1 2016.

According to Calvyn Hamman, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Toyota South Africa Motors, the brief was simple: “Design a Fortuner than can compete in terms of style and aesthetics while staying true to its authentic SUV characteristics and genuine 4WD performance.

“I like the analogy used by the Fortuner’s Executive Chief Engineer, Hiroki Nakajima, in which he compares the new Fortuner to a well-made suit. The style and quality are clearly apparent on the outside, and this assures you of the fine quality and detail of the lining on the inside, even although you may not be able to see it. In other words, there’s nowhere I can’t go and nothing I can’t do with my Fortuner, but I’m sure going to do it in style!”

Toyota Fortuner 2016

Toyota Fortuner 2016


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.