The double-cab bakkie market is booming in South Africa and automatic derivatives are proving to be particularly popular in the local market. Sales statistics provide interesting insight into the automatic double-cab market, showing significant growth in this segment. Total automatic double cab sales have more than doubled over the last five years, indicating strong demand in favour of automatics.
The automatic trend is easily understood when you consider that many double-cab bakkies are used for leisure purposes and are often put to use in built-up urban areas where automatic transmissions make driving easier and less stressful. More than this, towing and venturing into the wild with an automatic transmission is so much easier too, making it a sensible purchase for those with active lifestyles.
Considering the popularity of automatic double-cab bakkies, we have compiled a list of the five cheapest double-cab bakkies currently on sale in South Africa. Here they are…
The Ford Ranger is capable off-road and has decent road manners for city driving.
Ford recently expanded its Ranger lineup with the addition of 9 automatic derivatives and the 2.2 Hi-Rider XL automatic is currently the most affordable automatic double-cab model on offer in South Africa with a price of R384 900. Its 2.2-litre turbodiesel offers 118 kW and 385 Nm of torque, powering the rear wheels through a 6-speed automatic transmission. For those looking for 4x4 capability, the XL 4x4 automatic is priced from R426 900.
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Our thoughts: The Ford Ranger is equally effective as a family leisure vehicle and an off-roader. Not only is the Ranger (arguably) the best-looking double-cab bakkie courtesy of its brutish, macho styling, as well as the most affordable option on this list, it is also the most fuel-efficient (new) double-cab .
Ford Ranger content:
The Mazda BT-50 shares its underpinnings with the Ford Ranger, but its exterior styling is polarising.
Although not hugely popular, the Mazda BT-50 3.2 SLE 4x2 automatic is the second cheapest double-cab bakkie available on the new vehicle market and it’s priced at R447 500. A 3.2-litre turbodiesel powers this derivative with 147 kW and 470 Nm of torque at your disposal through a 6-speed automatic transmission. For 4x4 capability, you can expect to pay R506 100.
Our thoughts: It's so closely related to the Ford Ranger (the bakkies used to be produced in the same Silverton factory), we cannot fathom why the BT-50 never garnered a bigger following, although the Mazda arrived at a time that saw it suffer due to Mazda's (then) imminent departure from the Ford stable
Mazda BT-50 content:
The new Toyota Hilux is dominating the double-cab bakkie market with strong sales month-on-month. With peak power of 130 kW and 450 Nm of torque produced by its 2.8-litre turbodiesel powerplant, the Raider 4x2 automatic is a popular choice and is priced at R496 100. A 6-speed automatic ‘box powers the rear wheels, but if its a 4x4 that you need, then the Hilux 2.8 GD-6 4x4 Raider is priced at R541 000.
The Hilux 2.8 GD-6 Raider automatic (4x4 and 4x2) is currently the best-selling automatic double-cab bakkie in South Africa.
Our thoughts: No double-cab bakkie has a stronger reputation in the South African marketplace than the Toyota. The interior and ride quality is much improved and the Hilux is known to retain its value well in the used market. The sales figures speak for themselves.
Toyota Hilux content:
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The Isuzu KB is a true workhorse, but lacks the sophistication and overall refinement of its (newer) rivals.
The hard-working Isuzu KB 300D-Teq LX 4x2 automatic offers 130 kW and 380 Nm of torque from its 3.0-litre turbodiesel engine, which powers the rear wheels through a 5-speed automatic transmission. This derivative is priced at R501 200 and the LX 4x4 version will cost you at least R563 500.
Our thoughts: The KB is pricey, but near indestructible. If you're looking for a utilitarian double-cab that’s as tough as nails, the Isuzu will serve you well.
Isuzu KB content:
The Volkswagen Amarok offers serious off-road capability with attractive interior and exterior styling.
Despite the Amarok being largely underrated, it remains a popular choice locally, with automatic derivatives being particularly sought after. The 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine delivers 132 kW and 420 Nm of torque through an 8-speed automatic transmission. The 4x2 derivative is priced at R519 200 while the 4x4 version is priced at R570 200.
Our thoughts: The Volkswagen Amarok is a stylish choice with its SUV-like interior and imposing stance. It rides well on the road and its automatic transmission is a peach. However, it is a pricey option compared with its rivals and, remember, a facelift is not too far away.
Volkswagen Amarok content: