Battle of the 4×4 Pick-U.S

Bakkie – a household name in any African home. Bakkies have been the favourite mode of transport for Namibians for many years and their popularity keeps growing despite growing fuel costs.

We take the top three pick-ups, the Volkswagen Amarok, the Izuzu KB and the Nissan Navara, and try to establish which is the best bakkie.

While all three are a clear step away from traditional bakkie design, the Amarok and Isuzu certainly stand out. The Navara, while not a bad looking vehicle in itself, feels yesteryear mostly likely because it is. The design is a few years old and in definite need of a refresh, which is luckily much nearer than we may think.

While the Isuzu is newer, the VW does have the edge in styling. The clear cut lines and aggressive stance give it a menacing persona on the road. That’s one point to the Amarok.

When it comings to loading, the Amarok takes the lead again. The 2.52 square metre tray is the longest (1 555mm), widest (1 620mm) and deepest (508mm) in its class, exceeding that of some competitors by as much as 25%.

Where the Japanese have traditionally mounted the rear leaf springs beneath their ladder frame chassis, the Germans have opted for a unique side mounting design with the Amarok. This allows for a lower centre of gravity and cuts overall height, while maintaining a high 249mm ground clearance. Cleverly, it makes for tall side walls (hence deeper load box) and a low load sill height of 780mm. That’s two for the Germans.

Isuzu fights back in the motor department. By far the smoothest motor of the bunch with plenty power on tap, the Isuzu diesel lump is seriously impressive. Petrol variants in the Navara are also worth a mention thanks to a very punchy V6 version. VW aims to impress with a small capacity bi-turbo 2.0l diesel, but we found it a bit pap on serious trails. That’s one point to Isuzu and Nissan each.

German vehicles are famous for their interiors and the Amarok is no different. The Amarok is spacious, luxurious and very well put together, a stark contrast against the Nissan and Isuzu with cheap, easy to clean materials. Fit and finish on both are great, though. Judging on luxury alone, that’s another point for the VW.

There’s no denying that all three bakkies will easily manage what 98% of their owners will throw at them. Pavement parking, grocery shopping and long hauls. When things get rougher, things get interesting, though. The Isuzu and Navara both handled all grade three obstacles with ease, only snagging the Tupperware bumpers on the more technical bits. Approach and departure angles on both are perfectly suited to the harsher stuff.

The Amarok, unfortunately, did not fair as well.

Approach angle is much lower and it often struggled to get up steeper hills in the mud when it didn’t catch the front bumper. Nevertheless, it still managed a fair bit of the course. The Isuzu just had that little bit of extra grunt to get it up and over. Another point for the Isuzu.

The clear winner here is the Amarok, or is it? Well, no, all three of them are.

They may seem very similar, but in all honesty, all three will easily manage what most expect from them. If you expect to do grade three to four trails, get a Defender pickup.

For the rest, get whichever you like best, they are all magnificent machines.

Source : The Namibian