There's a large contingent here at BSM that believes that the Holden Maloo V8 is the car (er, pickup) to drive if one heads to Australia. Some of us even think it's worth adding to our garage, if a million dollars were headed our way, that is.
Of course, we live in the real world, and in the real world a petrol V8 sounds like a frighteningly quick way of going bankrupt, so we can do with a bunch of reasonably well powered diesels with a host of amenities and jaw- dropping good looks.
It seems some people are ready to answer BSM's call. Not one, not two, but three manufacturers are now in a position to offer us a decent pickup that doesn't make us city dwellers look like the average Indian cowboy out on a farm produce sale run.
Mahindra & Mahindra already offer the Scorpio pickup. Called the Getaway, it features the same 2609cc CRDe engine from the Scorpio, 115 bhp and a hefty 28.3 kgm of torque.
It's also available in four-wheel drive via a shift-on-the-fly mechanism, while the rest of the interior is the Scorpio. We are lucky to get the crew cab variant that is slightly tight on space at the rear, but you won't die of asphyxiation.
It looks the part, has a useful load bay, air-conditioning and the works. It doesn't handle like a Maloo, especially when you don't weigh down the load bay, but it's no tipper truck either. It'll do 140 kph easily, so you won't be keeping drivers in a Bolero Maxi truck company. It's yours for around Rs 8 lakh, and right now is the one you can buy.
Of course, if you are willing to wait, we suggest you try out the Tata Xenon. It's even better looking and well put together than the Getaway, and when launched should be priced in the same region.
You still have to live with the 3000cc Dicor engine from the Safari, but it's less painful as Tata Motors [Get Quote] have upgraded it over time.
The power band is not that narrow anymore and the 115 bhp is well in line to give the Xenon a top speed in the region of 140-150 kph. We at BSM are anxiously waiting for Tata Motors to announce a launch date, particularly for the single cab variant. Now, if Tata diverts some of their export commitments to Indian needs...
Then, at the Auto Expo in New Delhi, Swaraj Mazda [Get Quote] dropped a bombshell by displaying the Isuzu D-Max. It generally is found in markets like Thailand, where pickups are a rage, and Afghanistan, where pickups... er, are a rage.
Powered by a 3000cc common-rail engine, this one produces 135 bhp and 28.3 kgm of peak torque. This sounds way up the alley of the likes of the Ford Endeavour. It will be available in all probability as a crew cab with four-wheel drive and power everything, a proper lifestyle pickup truck. It won't be as cheap as either the Xenon or the Getaway, but at Rs 13-15 lakh, it doesn't sound all that expensive, does it?
We are quite happy that someone is listening to our calls. Now to ask Holden if they are developing a V8 diesel, and to request GM India to launch it here, please.