Why Mahindra’s bargain S11 takes centre stage
There's very good reason we are Mahindra bakkie fans.
Packing that 'tough and durable DNA’ that's now beyond well proven in the local market, you may be surprised to learn that this new automatic version of the all-new S11 Pik Up was exclusively developed in SA. And that it's been launched in this market first in response to overwhelming demand for an automatic transmission in this built-for-Africa bakkie.
The all-new next-generation six-speed automatic transmission has a sequential self-shifting option and we have to admit that it is a very good match for Mahindra’s trusted 103 kW 320 Nm 2.2 litre mHawk common rail turbodiesel in this 4x2 version. Packing a standard Mahindra Eaton mechanical differential lock, you’d be shocked where you can take this 4x2 version too.
Never mind that it boasts well over a tonne's payload at 1095kg and is certified to tow a 2500kg braked trailer, while it has more than adequate power and reasonable performance too. That’s all pretty much what we have pretty much come to expect from Pik Up over the years, as is the good old horrendous turning circle.
For the record, the S11 Auto accelerates, overtakes and cruises well, as our test data below confirms and it’s economical too — Mahindra claims 7.9 l/100 km in the combined cycle and we noticed the fuel gauge was not at all inclined to move very much too.
Look, its turning circle is horrendous and S11 Auto is slightly laggy from a standing start, but we also never quite expected it to deliver damn decent ride and a surprisingly quiet cabin on the road, all of which add to a number of quite pleasant surprises from this bakkie. Like that the seats are most comfortable, never mind the command arm rests are a life saver.
I was also most impressed by the infotainment, while the new reverse camera was unexpected and the audio system far exceeded expectation. That brand-new full colour 7” touch screen with Bluetooth connectivity, a multitude of entertainment and vehicle information screens and full turn-by-turn navigation, is run via the adjustable multifunction steering wheel that also controls phone and cruise control functions.
It may not be the best looking bakkie out there, but its new S11 trim is eye-catching thanks to a stylish new grille and bumper, upgraded headlights, new colour-coded wing mirrors with indicator repeaters and other subtle changes, which Mahindra reminds us make it stand it out as the flagship it is.
S11 also now gets automatic climate control over and above dual airbags, 12V power points front and rear, traction control, automatically locking doors and auto up and down power windows. I did however miss the slide-open rear glass that works so well on many S11 rivals.
I also feel the headlights are a bit dim and the brights do not spread wide enough. Clearly Mahindra has spent quite a lot of effort in making them look good, maybe the next step is to make them shine a bit brighter…?.
All of that said, the world is a completely different place to what it was when this bakkie was launched just a few months ago, which plays straight into Mahindra’s hands for sure. Back in February, if you were eyeing a double cab bakkie, you were probably considering a stunning top-end model from an ‘established brand.’
But right now, those goalposts have moved right off the field of play, haven’t they? Enough to probably help you overlook those few arbitrary concerns we cover above. All of which means that the fantastic value this bakkie offers now certainly makes it worth the look, doesn’t it…” - Giordano Lupini
ROAD TESTED: Mahindra Pik Up S11 AT 4x2
Engine: 103kW 320Nm 2.2-litre turbodiesel I4
Drive: 6-speed automatic RWD
0-60km/h: 5.02 sec
0-100km/h: 12.25 sec
0-120km/h: 15.00 sec
400m: 18.3 sec @ 119km/h
80-120km/h: 10.46 sec
Braked Trailer: 2500kg
Fuel: 7.9 l/100km
CO2: 220 g/km
Warranty/Service: 4y 120K/5y 100Kkm
LIST PRICE: R385K