John Deere and Mahindra have squared off in the US over the latter’s advertising claims.
The focus was the Mahindra Pik Up, a vehicle with the right credentials for rural folk looking for a no-frills workhorse or for a side-by-side user wanting to lift their game and cut day-to-day costs.
First impressions are usually a ‘Vegemite moment’, with the boxy looking truck getting a ‘nay’ from some or a ‘yay’ from those who like its simple lines and lack of curves. Whatever the impression, adding bull bars and side steps are an easy disguise, leaving Joe Public to wonder what brand it is.
The single-cab flat-deck is the best looker as the double-cab looks a little stretched. But this is really a work vehicle, so a few hours or kilometres behind the wheel helps things fall into place.
Both are powered by Mahindra’s own engine: a 4-cylinder, 2.2L turbo diesel that pumps out a modest 103kW /320 Nm torque – nothing startling. This mates to an Aisin-supplied 6-speed manual transmission as slick and positive as any and better than many.
The flexibility of the engine allows relaxed driving at the legal speed or just above. The ride is firm but not uncomfortable and the steering has good feedback, with a little judder if the road surface is poor.
In the cabin, the S6 flat deck version is utilitarian but has firm supportive seats and standard features like air conditioning, a reasonable stereo, power windows and the like.
The S10 double cab, well-deck version, is a bit more up market, with standard items like touch screen audio and navigation, cruise control, reverse camera, climate control, auto headlamps and auto wipers.
In all the versions the cabin is particularly roomy, especially in headroom, irksome for this 1.83m tall driver in Japanese vehicles.
It is rated to tow 2.5 tonnes, short of some competitors, but how many people need 3.5 tonne capacity all the time?
Surprisingly, the Pik Up off-road was an eye-opener, tackling terrain that many higher priced options would have baulked at.
The 4WD system offers high and low ratios with engagement ‘on the fly’, and an Eaton speed-sensitive mechanical diff lock helps to keep thing moving when a wheel starts to spin or loses contact with terra firma. Add to that a hill hold and hill descent feature and you couldn’t fault it or get it stuck.
Starting at a price of $25,990 the Mahindra Pik Up delivers exceptional value for money.