Biggest and strongest bakkies not available in South Africa

The grass is always greener on the other side, writes Ryan De Villiers. While South Africa enjoys an ample selection of bakkies, across the pond countries like America have access to some of the most ludicrous iterations on the planet. Here are some of the most powerful bakkies that aren’t available in South Africa. 

South Africans are bakkie-crazed, but then you get Americans. Ryan De Villiers, writing for our sibling publication CAR Magazine, takes a look at the powerful bakkies available in the States and not SA.

Let’s kick off this list by focusing only on production bakkies that are gifted with enormous amounts of power from the factory rather than products from the likes of Hennessy or Yenko and special edition models like the F-150 Shelby Super Snake. These are the most powerful production 4X4 bakkies we don’t get in South Africa…

Starting our list off are some ludicrous production bakkies, that are available straight off of the dealership floor. 

2021 Ram TRX – 523 kW and 881 N.m 

powerful bakkies
Image: Ram

While the Toyota Hilux serves as the longstanding competitor to the Ranger, in the US, Ram goes head-to-head with the Raptor. The 2022 Ram TRX is powered by a supercharged 6,2-litre V8 producing 523 kW and 480 N.m which allows the TRX to pace from 0 to 100km/h in roughly 4,5 seconds! Aside from its power plant, the big burly bison is an intimidating four-wheeler that proudly wears its title of “most powerful pick-up in the world”. 

Related: 2024 RAM Trucks revolutionary EV concept

2022 Ford F-150 Raptor R – 521 kW and 867 N.m 

powerful bakkies
Image: Ford

A difference of two or three kW results in the most powerful Ford bakkie being relegated to second place. Powered by the same 5,2-litre supercharged eight-cylinder heart powering the Shebly GT500, Ford’s Frankenstein bakkie has a power output of 521 kW and 867 N.m. While the standard Ranger Raptor offered in SA currently holds the title of the most powerful performance bakkie here, it doesn’t hold a candle to its dessert-conquering Blue Oval sibling.

2023 F-series Super Duty Tremor – 320 kW and 350 N.m 

You might need a truck license to drive one, but Ford’s F-Series bakkies are some of the biggest (and most powerful) bakkie offerings in the world. The 2020 Ford F-250, as an option, can be powered by a 6,7-litre PowerStroke diesel V8 provides a power output of 372 kW and 1627 N.m which may not be as many kW as the upper ranks of this list, the Super Duty Tremor is capable of towing up to 6 800 kg!

Moving as swiftly along as these bakkies can, here are honourable mentions in the aftermarket/special edition segment.

A quick caveat. Aftermarket tuners and this-party tuners offer bakkies that eclipse the performance figures of production bakkies, and for that reason, it seems reasonable to not clump them together. 

Hennessy Mammoth 1000 TRX – 754 kW and 1 313 N.m

Despite being the most powerful production 4X4 bakkie in the world, Hennessey has done what they do best, adding power and making cars look meaner. The TRX is no exception. Powered by an upgraded 6,2-litre supercharged V8 affording the battle-ready bakkie with an output of 754 kW and 1 313 N.m, which makes it the most powerful “pick-up truck” in the tuners’ fleet

Chevrolet Silverado Yenko/SC – 596 kW and 976 N.m 

A long face and husky frame are staples of the Silverado, but the Yenko/SC rendition takes all of the base models’ quirks and turns it up to 11. Powered by a supercharged 378-cubic-inch LT1 aluminium block V8 endowing the larger 4X4 with 596 kW and 976 N.m. The beefy power plant is mated to a heavy-duty six-speed automatic. Only 50 of these were ever made. 

Ford F-150 Shelby Super Snake – 574 kW 

powerful bakkies
Image: Ford

Equalling the domineering physique of the Silverado, the F-series Super Snake is composed of a rowdy supercharged 5,0-litre V8 producing 574 kW which is housed in a gargantuan frame. Changes to the Super Snake that differentiate it from its regular counterpart range from lowering springs, an upgraded supercharger, optimised air vents, etc. 

So, next time you see South Africa’s most powerful production bakkie on the road; the Ford Ranger Raptor, just remember, Americans like to do things far bigger!

*This article first appeared on CAR Magazine in March 2023.