Thundering American bakkies we wish we could add to our 2021 Christmas wish list

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  • These trucks (bakkies as we know them) are built to take on extreme tasks without breaking a sweat.
  • All of them are surprisingly, relatively, affordable in the USA compared to what we pay for bakkies in SA.
  • Sadly, due to left-hand drive design, we don't expect to see these vehicles launch in Mzansi any time soon.
  • For motoring news, go to Wheels24

Ask any petrolhead or car enthusiast which vehicles they would like to buy in South Africa right now, and they will, without a doubt, rattle off a few left-hand drive models that we can't officially drive on the road here. While we have access to an incredible selection of new vehicles to choose from in SA, there's no denying that we want the bakkies on this list to come to Mzansi.

We recently caught up with our friends, Eric Stafford and Drew Dorian, over at Car & Driver magazine to talk about pick up trucks in the USA, and they pointed us in the direction of their feature on the best new American pick-up trucks for 2021. We wanted to cry when we saw some of the cool new pick-up trucks the Americans have access to and found it challenging to pick just three. Nevertheless, here are three bad-ass bakkies that we wish were sold in South Africa (in descending order).

Which of these bakkies would you like to see launched in South Africa in 2022 and why? Please drop a comment below or send us an email here.

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Chevrolet Colorado
Chevrolet Colorado

3. Chevrolet Colorado

The boys and girls with the bow-tie call the Colorado a mid-size pick-up truck, and that makes sense for the American market. It's a big, bruising vehicle, and with suitable options, it looks like it's ready for a wild Baja style adventure through the Karoo. American reviewers say the Colorado provides respectable ride and towing capabilities. It should, thanks to the range-topper's V6 turbo engine and quick-shifting auto box.

For the 2022 model year, our petrolhead bakkie friends over in the USA will be able to order the Colorado with something called a Trail Boss Package that provides an additional suspension lift, as well as beefier shocks and more rugged wheels and tyres. Think of it as the Ranger Raptor's worst nightmare, particularly in ZR2 trim with imposing black trims and wheels and aggressive scoops and intakes in the front bumper.

You could have the Colorado with a four-cylinder engine, too, but we know that the one we want in Mzansi is the ZR2 with the turbo V6 engine that punches out 230kW and 450Nm. Over there, this bakkie would set you back around R650 000. It's just amazing how much value the bakkie guys get in the USA. Please come back to South Africa, Chevrolet, and please bring the new Colorado with you!

Chevrolet Colorado
Chevrolet Colorado

2. RAM 3500 and TRX

RAM 3500
RAM 3500 can tow up to 16 tons

Our fondest memories of the gargantuan RAM pick-up truck stem from Walker Texas Ranger, as it was Chuck Norris' vehicle of choice in the show. More recently, the RAM has us smitten in TRX form. You see, not only is the RAM available as a heavy-duty truck but it's also known as an ultra-high-performance, go-anywhere mountain destroyer.

The 2022 RAM 3500 offers a thundering Cummins engine option that produces 298kW, but more impressively, it churns out 1450Nm of torque. They say this bakkie can tow up to 16 tons of braked trailer cargo. It's essentially a truck that you can use every day if you don't mind its colossal turning circle and inability to fit in any parking space. 

The TRX? Well, we can imagine how that meeting went. "Let's take the Hellcat engine and stuff it into our best-selling pick-up!"

"Heck, yeah!"

Jokes aside, if you like the Ford Ranger Raptor we mentioned earlier, you will love this TRX. It's a fire-breathing V8 with more than 520kW of power and around 700Nm of torque. Whether it's powering through dirt or eating through tarmac, zero to 100km/h takes less than 5 seconds. According to RAM, it remains a bakkie, able to haul up to one ton in its load bed.

This isn't a workhorse, bakkie, however, and the reason we think it's perfect for Mzansi is that you can have the best of all worlds in one vehicle. Seriously, we can't think of a go-anywhere beast of a machine that costs the equivalent of R1,1 million in the USA. The TRX is a performance icon, and we're denied the privilege as bakkie-loving South Africans. Would you mind bringing the TRX to South Africa, please, RAM?

RAM TRX interior
RAM TRX interior

1. Ford F-150

Ford F-150 Raptor
Ford F-150 Raptor

Yeah, we know, it's the world's best selling vehicle, and we can't even get our hands on an entry-level version of this Ford. The F-150 comes in so many flavours that it's challenging to decide which one would be perfect for South Africa. Of course, the Lightning would be amazing, but the levies on electric vehicle imports in Mzansi is still too high for Ford to price the F-150 Lightning competitively in the local market.

This brings us to the Raptor. The big, bad boy Raptor took performance motoring into the dirt in a mainstream way when it launched more than a decade ago, and now in its latest iteration, the bakkie is considered to be one of the best pick-up trucks on sale in the world. The Car & Driver lads say it's meant to fly higher, to pound across the desert faster, to look meaner than ever before, and we have to agree with them.

At the moment, the 2022 Ford F-150 Raptor has to make do with a twin-turbo V6 petrol engine that punches out around 335kW and 450Nm of torque. But, Ford is working on a Raptor R, which is expected to see the launch of a model that will directly compete with the RAM TRX. If you had to treat yourself to an F-150 Raptor as a Christmas present in the USA, you'd pay around R975 000.

If we had to pick just one of these for our Wheels24 Christmas stocking, it would undoubtedly have to be the TRX, although there's no way we'd say no to a Colorado or Raptor. Let us know in the comments which truck you would like to see in South Africa as an official model.

Ford F-150
Ford F-150 offers plug points in the rear of the vehicle.
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