The Top 7 SA-bound bakkies we're looking forward to the most in 2021 and beyond

By Pritesh Ruthun Time of article published Oct 20, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - Halfway through the fourth quarter of 2020, a year that most automotive manufacturers would rather write off from a revenue perspective, the focus is shifting toward a more prosperous year ahead.

With 2021 squarely in our sights and the subsequent firing up of production engines around the world despite the ongoing pandemic, we can expect a number of new models to land in South Africa next year. Everything from ultra-high performance sports utility vehicles such as the Audi RS Q8 to compact hatchbacks such as the Peugeot 208 that have been delayed due to Covid-19 lockdown, are on the way.

In this piece, however, we're looking at South Africa's bread and butter models, the light commercials and double-cabs that are coming in 2021. After all, the Toyota Hilux and the Ford Ranger remain the best-sellers month in and month out and with several new competitors on the way next year, these models might have their work cut out for them to remain at the top of the food chain.

Here are our top 7 bakkies to look forward to in South Africa.

1) Isuzu D-MAX

Isuzu's D-MAX is due for an upgrade and next year will see the introduction of an all-new model that will take the fight to the best-selling Hilux and Ranger.

The company's manufacturing plant in the Eastern Cape is already gearing up for production of the new model and while details remain hush, you can expect the local D-MAX to share a lot of its traits with its international counterparts.

The tried-and-tested 2.5-litre turbodiesel model is expected to remain a staple in both the single cab and double cab models, with X-Rider and other special edition models expected further down the line. Although we won't be getting the high-tech 1.9-litre turbodiesel engine that other markets receive, we can expect a beefier version of the current range-topping diesel that displaces 3.0-litres and punches out around 140kW and 450Nm.

Expect the new D-MAX to arrive in showrooms in late 2021 or early 2022.

2) Peugeot LandTrek

The new Peugeot LandTrek might be a breath of fresh air in the luxury double cab market, but we can't help but wonder if the bakkie will face the same fate as the Mercedes-Benz X-Class. Premium bakkies aren't known to do too well in South Africa, as much as we love them, and being a relative newcomer to the segment, Peugeot will no doubt have its work cut out to convince us that the bakkie is any good.

Expect the French brand's 2.2-litre turbodiesels to do duty here, with around 140kW and 400Nm on tap in the range-topping models. Also expect a cutting edge array of comfort and safety features that will rival most luxury cars. Peugeot will no doubt bring a few quirks to the segment too and we're looking forward to putting the LandTrek up against some of its key rivals once it lands in Mzansi.

Expect the Peugeot Landtrek to arrive in showrooms in the third quarter of 2021.

3) GWM P Series

Say what you want about the quality of GWM's vehicles and the brand's aftersales service, you can't help but envy its success when it comes to staying power. Far too many Chinese light commercial brands have come and gone in South Africa, but GWM has proven that it's here to stay and with 2021 firmly in its sights, it is looking forward to bringing the new P Series bakkie to our shores.

The P Series is expected to share its platform and running gear with the Haval H9 SUV, meaning a high-output 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine with around 140kW and 360Nm on taps. It should be able to tow the industry-standard 3500kg and if the 4x4 models come through as hinted at in teaser information, expect Toyota Land Cruiser levels of offroad capability with up to three diff-locks and a smart offroad driving programme as standard.

Expect the GWM P Series to arrive in showrooms at the beginning of 2021.

Nissan Navara N-Trek Warrior

Although the latest-generation Navara has only been on sale in South Africa for about three years now, the vehicle has actually been on sale globally for more than half a decade.

This means an all-new model is on the way next year and Nissan will be building it in South Africa too.

The current Stealth model ticks all the right boxes for us and while it's not the most powerful or most capable bakkie (off-road particularly) it certainly brings some style to the sea of Ranger and Hiluxes out there.

What we're looking forward to when it comes to the new Navara is an N-Trek Warrior edition, similar to what Nissan retails in Australia. Think of it as a direct competitor to the Ranger Raptor with beefier bodywork and a more rugged drivetrain and engine package.

The 2.3-litre turbodiesel engine fitted to the current generation Navara will be carried over but we're hoping that it's more refined with less turbo lag and more power.

Nissan could borrow the V6 diesel engine that did duty in the Mercedes X-Class for a proper range-topping creation, but that's probably not going to happen. For now, we're awaiting further news on local spec and pricing, but here's a look at what the current Navara Warrior is like and as you can instantly see, it will be a hit in Mzansi.

4) Renault Alaskan

Every year we write about it and the Oroch. Every year, we are left disappointed. The idea of a compact Renault bakkie makes sense considering South Africa's love affair with pick up trucks. According to Renault South Africa, both models are undergoing constant evaluation, however, we feel that it's the Nissan NP200 and Nissan's commercial vehicles in general (thanks to the Alliance) that stand in the way of Renault bringing LCVs to South Africa in the near future.

Nevertheless, the Alaskan is a Navara-based bakkie that uses a 2.3-litre turbodiesel engine as motivation. It has around 140kW and 350Nm and is mated to an automatic gearbox. Should the bakkie ever materialise, expect it to undercut the Navara. We're hoping that the Peugeot LandTrek mentioned earlier does enough to get people into different kinds of vehicles, enough to motivate the launch of Renault bakkies in SA too.

5) Toyota Hilux Invincible

Toyota's Hilux will no doubt receive a refresh in 2021 to enable it to remain competitive. The bakkie has just been facelifted though so you can expect the same 2.8-litre GD-6 turbodiesel engine to remain the range-topper for some time to come.

The Invincible model, which was launched in the UK a few years ago, could make perfect sense as a competitor to the Ranger Raptor. Toyota assured us in a recent press conference that they are working a bakkie to take on the Raptor, but they did not confirm a name for it. The company created a few hundred Gazoo Racing Hiluxes last year, 600 in total, which sold out very quickly so it's expected that a high-performance Raptor-type vehicle could be just the thing for those Dakar fundis out there.

Expect the Hilux facelift in showroows in the third quarter of 2021.

6) Ford Ranger Raptor V6

Ford won't admit that they're working on a V6-powered Ranger, but we've heard different things from a few sources. The company has enjoyed a rousing year of success with the Raptor, Wildtrak and the Thunder, but with the launch of new competitor models, the Blue Oval needs to think out of the box to remain competitive.

If the rumours are true, expect the Ranger Raptor V6 to come with a twin-turbo V6 petrol powerplant that punches out more than 250kW and 500Nm. The V6 Raptor already exists in F150 form in the United States and we think it's only fair that we receive the V6 treatment too.

While these top six bakkies are the ones we're really excited to experience and tell you all about, there are so many other bakkies to keep an eye of for too, such as the new Mazda BT-50, new Amarok V6 and more...

Follow @IOLMOTORING on social media for the latest bakkies news as it breaks...

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