The Mahindra Pik up 4x4 reminds me of some of the utilities from the 80’s, now don’t get me wrong this isn’t a bad thing. Approaching the Mahindra Pik-up you feel like you’re about to drive something between a ute and a light truck, and after driving around town and the bush that’s exactly what it is.
As you can probably guess the Mahindra is from India, and although it might be a small brand in Australia its one of the largest in India. Indian manufacturing means a lot of engineering goes into the design and functionality so these trucks last the test of time. To be honest it isn’t the best looking Ute available in Australia but how often are Utes judged on their looks unless you’re buying something like a HSV Maloo. Utes are built for a purpose, practicality and to be driven long and short distances carrying a load whilst keeping the occupants comfortable because for most tradies their Ute is their office.
The Mahindra Pik-Up tested was the 4x4 Dual Cab 2.5 Litre turbo diesel manual, the top of the range model, the cream of the crop, the Taj Mahal. From the outside the Mahindra Pik-Up features body coloured grille, mirrors, bumpers and door handles. The multi projector headlights are quite good at night and assisted by bumper mounted fog lights.
A great feature on the Mahindra which is not common on most Utes as standard is the cargo protection cage fitted to the tray behind the rear cabin window. This cage prevents larger items entering the cabin and injuring the driver or passenger under hard braking or in the event of an accident. It’s good to see Mahindra offer this safety feature, however it does lack ever important ABS brakes and airbags.
The Mahindra Pik-Up makes a tough off roader, with a great approach angle of 39 degrees due to the minimal front overhang. A ground clearance of 210mm is on the shallow side but matched with its torquey engine and low gearing transfer box the Mahindra can shine in the mud and keep up with the best of them.
The Pik-Up stands mighty tall at 1942mm compared to the equivalent Toyota HiLux at 1810mm. The Pik-up tested weighs in at just over 2 tonnes and can hold a load of 1000 kgs in its rear tray which has dimensions of 1489mm x 1520mm.
Underneath the ladder frame chassis is an independent front suspension using a torsion beam set-up, the rear axle is kept on the ground with a typical leaf spring set-up. Even without a load in the tray the Pik-Up provides a comfortable soft ride, the downside to this is that there is excess body roll.
At first glance the Pik-up appears to have alloy wheels, but look a little closer and you’ll notice they are wheel caps in front of steel wheels making it a more practical feature for buyers wanting to go off road or for those who work in harsher conditions and don’t want to scratch a shiny pair of alloy wheels.
Behind the bold grille lies a 2.5 Litre four cylinder turbo diesel engine, which complies with Euro IV emissions thanks to its common rail technology. It’s also quite fuel economic and with an 80 litre fuel tank it’ll travel impressive distances between petrol stations. The 2.5 Litre produces 79 kW and 247 Nm at 1800rpm, at low speeds the cabin noise from the engine is amplified however over 60 km/h the noise is less intruding.
The five speed manual transmission is a tough gearbox; the lever is long and large giving the Pik-Up a truck like feel. The clutch is relatively light and smooth with plenty of travel so farmers using the Pik-up all day long won’t be wishing they bought an automatic.
On the inside the Pik-up is far from boring, the styling might be outdated but its not bland, the centre switchgear and audio system is surrounded by a carbon fibre look finish trim.
The interior uses a two-tone style of black and grey, quite uncommon these days in utilities.
There is an abundance of cup holders within reach of the driver that double as handy storage compartments too. The front seats are wide and covered in a blue/green patterned finish cloth trim, the cloth and carpets are not the best quality when it comes to softness however they could prove to be quite durable over time.
Everything you handle in the Mahindra is large and thick, (well nearly everything) the steering wheel, interior door handles, gear knob and Jesus bar are suitable for people with a hefty grip.
The audio system is much like an aftermarket one, featuring some modern technology, yes it has the standard CD player but you can also plug in a USB or an SD card with music files and play through the four speaker sound system.
The rack and pinion power steering is pretty average, along with the turning circle of 12.6 metres. The steering wheel can be tilted to suit different driving positions as this truck is a great choice for the extra tall drivers, with acres of headroom someone over 6 feet tall won’t be feeling claustrophobic. The rear seats are comfortable and supportive and leave enough room for three adults sitting across the bench. Rear seat headrests are a great safety feature and there is also a centre armrest for the longer trips.
The Mahindra is a good compromise between a light truck and a Ute, for those buyers wanting a Ute for the outback, farming and a bit of four wheel driving consider taking the Pik-up for a test drive because its price of $29,990 is very competitive. The closest competitor to the Mahindra on paper is the Land Rover Defender crew cab chassis which starts at $51,990.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
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