Bold and brass - Can Peugeot's new Landtrek bakkie go toe-to-toe with Hilux, Ranger?

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• Peugeot will launch its new Landtrek bakkie in South Africa this year.

• The bakkie will be powered by both a petrol and diesel engine.

• The Landtrek will go up against several established rivals in SA, including the Toyota Hilux.

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One of the most anticipated new vehicles this year has to be the Peugeot Landtrek. Due to arrive at a yet-to-be-announced date, the bakkie will be taking the fight to the established names in South Africa's highly contested bakkie market. Visually the bakkie meets the criteria for it to be considered a bakkie, but the real test will come when it's launched, and the public begins interacting with it.

But it can't be ignored that the Landtrek is indeed an imposing bakkie with a look and stance that will have most road users sit up and take note. The large grille and dramatic headlight design leave the Landtrek with a look that several bakkies can only dream of emulating.

However, an imposing and dramatic design is one part of the Landtrek's arsenal and would the bakkie have to come up with a lot more if it wants to stake its relevance in the market. Not to mention toppling the formidable Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger when it comes to sales.

That aside, how will the Landmark stack up against the establishment when it arrives in South Africa this year? Let's find out.

Peugeot Landtrek
2021 Peugeot Landtrek

Engine talk

Any manufacturer producing a bakkie will know that the engine is a fundamental part of the build, but there's been an inclination towards small capacity engines in recent years. It started with the Volkswagen Amarok more than a decade ago when the German automaker shoved a turbocharged 2.0-litre diesel engine under the bonnet. More recently, Ford introduced a 157kW/500Nm bi-turbo 2.0-litre diesel engine in its Ranger. When Isuzu's new D-Max arrives in 2022 - bar any interruptions - it will implement an even smaller diesel engine: a turbocharged 1.9-litre unit.

Peugeot, however, will have one up over the D-Max because its Landtrek will debut in South Africa with a 1.9-litre diesel engine, as well. Said to produce 110kW/350Nm, Peugeot promises that the engine has improved insulation to cancel engine noise while reaching higher speeds with less friction and wear. A second engine, a 2.4-litre turbo petrol unit, is also available, with power rated at 157kW and 320Nm. Both engines are available with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, with the auto' box offering Sport and Eco driving modes. The bakkie will be available in 4x2 and 4x4 guises.

Interestingly, guys like Ford and Isuzu have omitted petrol-powered bakkies from their lineups, with a handful of players, like Toyota, still offering a petrol engine. It remains to be seen how Peugeot will make its 2.4-litre engine work because the average South African bakkie buyer will instead opt for the diesel - if buying trends are anything to go by.

Peugeot Landtrek
2021 Peugeot Landtrek

Off-road credentials

While we cannot yet report on the Landtrek's ride quality and off-road abilities, we can discuss what it offers on paper. Peugeot says that the Landtrek will be available with 16- or 17/18-inch wheels, which influences ground clearance: 214mm with the 16-inch rim or 235mm with the two biggest sizes. In addition, the bakkies approach and departure angles of 30° and 27°, respectively.

The 4x2 models will see drive channeled to the rear wheels via a longitudinal shaft with a differential on the rear axle. On the 4x4s, 4x4 modes can be engaged with a dial from inside the cabin and an 'eLocker system' is fitted on the rear diff. This system can disengage automatically.

Wading through water also seems to be of litle worry as the Landtrek is said to clear pools of up to 600mm in depth. The Landtrek has a 3.5-tonne towing capacity.

The bakkie has the right tools in its box to stake its claim in our bakkie market - on paper, at least. Whether or not it will be enough, only time will tell. 

Peugeot Landtrek
2021 Peugeot Landtrek
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