Last week we listed the most powerful bakkies outside of South African shores, this week we show some appreciation for the utilitarian beasts that South Africa does play home to. Ryan De Villiers takes a look at the most powerful bakkies available to the South African market, listing the top five and giving honourable mentions.
Competition breeds innovation, writes Ryan De Villiers for CAR Magazine. The automotive space as we know it today is the product of decades of competition between hundreds of aspirational monikers who have long since relied on the power and grunt of a vehicle to determine its position in the automotive pecking order.
Here are the top five most powerful bakkies available in the South African market right now!
1. Ford Ranger Raptor 3,0 V6 – 292 kW/ 583 N.m
The gravel road king. An icon amongst local bakkie offerings and arguably the segment’s front-runner. Ford’s Ranger Raptor returns in a new generational guise punctuated by C-clamp headlights and a more intimidating appearance. The 3,0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 EcoBoost petrol engine produces a whopping 292 kW @ 5 650r/min and 583 N.m @ 3 500r/min. The sonorous power plant is fixed to Ford’s Electronic ten-speed automatic transmission. Read our full review after a Namibian excursion with the Blue Oval’s Dune Decimator!
2. Jeep Gladiator 3,6 Rubicon Double Cab – 209 kW/ 347 N.m
Jeep converted its popular SUV into a rugged bakkie powered by the firm’s Pentastar 3,6-litre V6 capable of a power output of 209 kW and 347 N.m. The Gladiator’s heart is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission that Jeep claims delivers shorter shifting times, greater performance and maximum efficiency. Although equipped with an engine that has the most displacement in this top five listicle, the Gladiator’s towing capacity is rated only for 2 721 kg while lesser power ladened competitors, like the Hilux, are capable of 3 500 kg.
3. Ford Ranger 3,0 V6 Double Cab Wildtrak 4WD – 184 kW/ 600 N.m
Ford has introduced a new generation of its Ranger nameplate. The exterior of the new ranger is punctuated by elements such as the C-clamp headlights shared with that of the Raptor. The range-topping Ranger model is afforded a power output of 184 kW and 600N.m equalling the power output of the 2023 Amarok range-topper.
4. Volkswagen Amarok Aventura 3,0 TDI Double Cab – 184 kW/ 6000 N.m
Volkswagen’s latest bakkie offering expands the nameplates horizon through a next-gen platform and offers. The range-topper in the Amarok fleet is powered by a 3,0-litre turbo-diesel V6 capable of 184 kW and 600 N.m. Identical outputs to its aforementioned Ranger twin, this after Ford and Volkswagen came to an agreement to produce the models on the same assembly line in Silverton.
5. Toyota Land Cruiser 79 4,0 V6 – 170 kW/ 360 N.m
A standout among the “rough and rugged” bakkie collective, Toyota’s Land Cruiser 79 is as tough as they come. Modern renditions see the integration of infotainment screens and a softer interior while the exterior retains Toyota’s signature farmland workhorse styling. Motivating the distinct-looking off-roader is a hearty 4,0-litre V6 power plant capable of a maximum output of 170 kW and 360 N.m.
- Mitsubishi Triton 2,4DI-D Double Cab 4×4 Xtreme. 133 kW/ 430 N.m
- Nissan Navara 2,5 DDTi Double Cab Pro-4X 4×4. 140 kW/ 450 N.m
- Toyota Hilux 2,8GD-6 Double Cab 4×4 Legend RS. 150 kW/ 500 N.m
- Isuzu D-Max 3,0TD Double Cab V-Cross 4×4. 140kW/ 450 N.m
*This article first appeared in our sibling publication CAR Magazine in March 2023