Why more women should drive bakkies

We spend some time with the Toyota Hilux Dakar to find out why more women should drive bakkies…

This week I’ve been test driving the limited edition Dakar version of South Africa’s top-selling bakkie, the Toyota Hilux.

As someone who spends a lot of time commuting in and around Cape Town’s busy CBD, one wouldn’t imagine that a large bakkie like this is a vehicle that belongs in my ‘most desired vehicles’ list. But it is, and for a number of reasons. First however, here’s a bit of background on Toyota’s Hilux Dark model…

The Toyota Hilux Dakar

Toyota announced the introduction of this limited edition model in June (2018). The Dakar suffix is reserved for the pinnacle of Hilux variants which presents a unique product offering befitting to the revered label.

It offers an all-new, more prominent and sportier-looking face and a black-gloss accent strip on the bonnet with stylised Dakar insignia attacked to the grille. Distinctive touches have also been added to the door handles and power-retractable mirrors. Overall, its exterior boasts a much more aggressive and adventurous design to represent this Hilux’s Dakar spirit.

Inside is still as comfortable as ever and makes it easy to mistake it for a large SUV when you’re seated behind the wheel in the driver’s seat on the open road. On our 6-speed manual test unit, its gearbox is smooth and responsive while its engine is quiet, but powerful enough to give you a real sort of confidence wherever you’re driving.

All Dakar models are based on Raider models which employ either the proven 2.8 GD-6 powertrain or a 4.0-litre V6 engine on the double-cab units.

Driving the Hilux Dakar (and why more women should)

Traditionally, it seemed as though the right to be behind the wheel of a large and powerful vehicle was reserved only for mucho-men, but things are changing. Today, it’s becoming less uncommon to spot fearless females taking charge of SA’s popular bakkies, and after spending a week with the Hilux, this is one such bakkie that I hope to see more women driving in the future. I had the Dakar edition, but the regular Hilux is just as perfect women…

Be fearless and confident

There’s a sense of confidence that comes with driving a bakkie. A raised seating position keeps you on top of things and you can spot potential hazards or obstructions ahead of you sooner than you would in a regular passenger car.

Handles South Africa’s damaged roads

The Hilux also handles South Africa’s damaged roads with ease. Even in the city, our roads are filled with uneven, bumpy and potholed surfaces that make us even more apprehensive when driving. When you’re driving a bakkie like the Hilux, there’s no need to worry, because it absorbs any troublesome road conditions without you even noticing.

Power, responsiveness and fuel efficiency in one

Then there is the range of powerful engines to consider. We drove the Hilux’s 2.8 GD-6 diesel engine, which offers a combination of power, responsiveness and fuel efficiency. In our Dakar unit, both Eco and Power modes are provided. These modes alter the powertrain’s character to either enhance fuel efficiency or boost acceleration. Eco mode is great for the city, especially when you’re stuck in stop-start traffic that usually drains a fuel tank. Power mode will show you what this engine can really do and sharpens up the Hilux’s responsiveness further. These modes can be selected on the fly, so there’s no need to stop when changing them.

Also read: Toyota Hilux leads sales charts

Get out there!

Previously, the thought of venturing off the beaten track and learning how to ‘off-road’ with a bakkie petrified the living daylights out of me. I’d immediately offer the wheel to my dad or brother and refuse to try it for myself for fear of getting our vehicle stuck or even rolling it. After my first experience at off-roading, over two years ago now, I instantly felt more confident and was yearning for more! It becomes addictive. The sense of accomplishment you feel after conquering a large sand dune or rocky hill is something that I so wish more women would allow themselves to experience. The Hilux Dakar is the perfect vehicle to try it in too, as it offers both rear-wheel and switch-on-the-fly four-wheel drive as standard! It does all the work for you, allowing you to enjoy the experience without too much hassle. Try it, ladies, you’ll thank yourself!

There’s a reason why the Toyota Hilux is currently South Africa’s biggest-selling bakkie and it all comes down to reliability and affordability. With a range of derivatives to choose from, as well as configurations and transmissions, there’s a Hilux for everyone!

Dakar pricing

Service Plan, Warranty Period

As a commitment to excellent customer service, Toyota has increased the service plan period on 2.8 GD-6 models from 5-year/90 000 kilometres to 9 services/90 000 kilometres, whilst the 4.0 V6 model receives an increase to a 6 services/90 000 kilometre period (previously 5 years).

The Warranty period is 3-year/100 000 kilometres and applies across the Hilux range.