Double-cab bakkies are hugely popular in South Africa and the local market is mostly dominated by the likes of the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger. These vehicles are very much top-of-mind in conversations around the braai but there are however a host of often-forgotten products on offer that can be had at a fraction of the price.
Sure, the vehicles we will be outlining here may lack the brand appeal afforded to the Hilux and Ranger, but they represent value in the sense that they are significantly cheaper to buy new and for the most part offer a decent level of specification.
For the purpose of this list, we felt it was important that a double-cab bakkie be fitted with basic safety features such as airbags and ABS. The reason for this makes sense if you consider that buyers in this segment are often looking for a vehicle that can play the role of workhorse during working hours while also being a relatively safe family vehicle when the weekend arrives.
This list highlights the cheapest double-cab bakkies currently available in South Africa with the inclusion of airbags and ABS. For the sake of comparison, we will also take a look at what similar money can buy you in the used car market.
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The Steed 5 2.2-litre is the cheapest double-cab bakkie with safety features offered in South Africa.
The GWM Steed 5 2.2 Lux Safety version features a naturally aspirated 2.2-litre petrol engine that delivers 78 kW and 190 Nm of torque to the rear wheels via a five speed manual transmission. GWM claims a fuel consumption of 10.2 L/100km for this derivative.
This Steed 5 rides on 15-inch alloy wheels and air conditioning, rake-adjustable steering wheel, CD player, all-round electric windows and electric mirrors are included as standard. ABS with EBD is included as are a total of two front airbags for the driver and passenger.
The GWM Steed 5 2.2 Lux Safety is sold with a 5-year/100 000km warranty while an optional 5-year/60 000km service plan is available. If safety features are not a high priority for you, there is also a more basic version on offer for R184 900 which does without the airbags and ABS. You can read a review on this version by clicking here.
Furthermore, if you want more features and a more modern design, you could look at the newer Steed 5E, offered in 2.4-litre petrol SX guise for R239 900. The engine in this derivative punches out 93 kW and 200 Nm of torque. A 2.0-litre turbodiesel (105 kW/305 Nm) version sells for R269 900. Read a review of the Steed 5E here.
We say: The GWM Steed 5 has been around for a while and this 2.2-litre petrol derivative in particular has proven very popular. If your budget can stretch to the 5E, however, that model's increased refinement and better finishes will impress. But beware the fuel consumption of the 2.4.
The Mahindra Genio uses an economical 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine.
The Mahindra Genio 2.2CRDe double cab is powered by a 2.2-litre turbodiesel offering 89 kW and 290 Nm of torque. The rear wheels are driven through a five speed manual transmission and Mahindra claims an impressively low fuel consumption figure of 7.9 L/100km.
Major features include air-conditioning, rake and reach adjustable steering wheel with mounted controls, cruise control, CD player, USB port and electric windows. 15-inch wheels are standard on the Genio. In terms of safety, ABS with EBD is included and a total of two airbags (driver and passenger) is fitted as standard.
The Mahindra Genio is sold with a 3-year/100 000km warranty and a 3-year/60 000km service plan is available as an option.
We say: We have not yet tested a Mahindra Genio, so can't comment on the driving experience. Regarding the brand - Mahindra has a growing presence in South Africa, but sales of the Genio have been slow. Most private buyers appear to opt for the more rugged-looking Scorpio Double Cab (priced from R249 995).
The JMC Vigus's design is based on the Ford Ranger's. Petrol and diesel derivatives on offer.
The lesser known JMC Vigus 2.4 LX offers 95 kW and 201 Nm of torque from its 2.4-litre petrol pot. A five-speed manual transmission drives the rear wheels with a claimed fuel consumption figure of 10.2 L/100km.
Notable features include air-conditioning, electric windows and a USB port for connecting devices. The Vigus also features rear park distance control to help you steer the vehicle into its parking bay safely. The Vigus rides on 15-inch wheels. ABS with EBD is included along with two airbags.
The JMC Vigus is sold with a 3-year/100 000km warranty as well as a 5-year/60 000km service plan.
A higher-specification SLX version sells for R279 990, while diesel variants (powered by a Ford-sourced 2.4-litre engine) start at the same price. JMC has a partnership with Ford in China, and the Vigus is based on the Ranger underneath.
We say: The JMC Vigus drives well and seems impressively well built, but in some part due to a limited dealership network not many have been sold. We have also net yet officially tested this vehicle though some team members have driven it before.
The Xenon may be ageing, but its engine is impressively powerful and economical.
The Tata Xenon is second most powerful double-cab bakkie on this list with 110 kW and 320 Nm of torque generated from its 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine. The rear-wheel driven Xenon makes use of a five speed manual transmission and claims to achieve a fuel consumption figure of 9.0 L/100km.
On the features front, the Xenon rides on larger 16-inch wheels and offers air-conditioning, rake and reach adjustable steering wheel, navigation, Bluetooth capability, CD Player, USB port and electric windows. Two airbags are fitted and ABS with EBD is standard.
The Xenon is sold with a 4-year/120 000km warranty and a 5-year/75 000km.
If safety features are not a concern, but you need a diesel-powered double-cab, then the 3.0-litre DLE may be of interest. It is priced at R199 995 and offers 85 kW and 300 Nm of torque.
Read about Tata's future product plans here.
We say: The Tata Xenon has been around for a long time and has received many upgrades along the way. We think the 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine is impressive, but the rest of the vehicle hasn't quite kept up. It is comparatively unrefined and dated inside compared with the other vehicles on this list.
The Tunland offers space and power in a modern-looking package.
The Foton Tunland 2.8 Comfort is the most expensive and most powerful double-cab bakkie on this list, but it is also, along with the JMC Vigus, of a newer design. Its Cummins-sourced 2.8-litre turbodiesel engine delivers 120 kW and 360 Nm of torque to the rear wheels via a 5-speed manual ‘box and carries a claimed fuel consumption figure of 8.3 L/100km.
Key features include 16-inch wheels, air-conditioning, multi-information display, CD player, USB and Auxilliary port, electric windows and electrically adjustable mirrors. ABS with EBS is standard and the Tunland is fitted with two font airbags for the driver and passenger.
The Tunland comes with a 3-year/100 000km warranty and a 2-year/40 000km service plan.
More derivatives of the Tunland are on offer, including a Luxury 4x2 derivative (R319 995), while the most affordable 4x4 model starts at R389 995.
We say: We have just received a Tunland for an extended test, so watch out for an in-depth report soon. Initial impressions are favourable, with a spacious cabin and solid feel being most notable. The engine, too, feels willing, but perhaps a sixth-gear is needed for relaxed cruising.
The used market opens up a wide range of options to the double-cab bakkie buyer and if you are shopping in the R200 000 – R300 000 bracket, you have lots of choice but you’ll have to shop carefully. Factors such as mileage and condition of the vehicle will need to be considered. Look out for signs of extreme use (underbody damage) and check carefully for rust, as some of these vehicles will have been used to tow or carry leisure equipment to dams, lakes, rivers and to the seaside.
In this price spectrum, more popular double cabs such as the Volkswagen Amarok, Isuzu KB, Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux are widely available.