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TRÈS BIEN BAKKIE

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PEUGEOT LANDTREK 1.9TD ALLURE 4X2 |

South Africa’s bakkie market is dominated by segment leaders Toyota, Ford, and Isuzu, but that hasn’t deterred Peugeot from grabbing a slice of the pie with its stylish Landtrek offering.

Peugeot is no stranger to the bakkie segment in South Africa, albeit a global hiatus from producing bakkies has cost the brand a significant potential market share in a country that has seen this segment explode in the last two decades. That said, Peugeot is one of the 

oldest car brands in the world and their ability to produce commercial vehicles that are Africa-tough cannot be disputed.

From the 403, launched in the 1950s, to its successor, the 404, Peugeot bakkies could be found almost everywhere on the continent and enjoyed a successful run in South Africa into the 1980s.

Given its rich history here, South Africa is an important market for Peugeot, prompting the brand to launch a total onslaught of new cars, including the Landtrek bakkie that made landfall here in late 2021.

DOMINATING LOOKS

The Landtrek is immediately identified as a Peugeot by its dominating grille and sleek lines. As bakkies have transitioned from being merely utilitarian workhorses to essential lifestyle equipment, the Landtrek is a fashionable alternative to the norm that urban customers should not overlook.

The 1.9TD Allure 4×2 version we tested combines functionality and flair with its vertical LED headlight array and well-appointed interior. Comfort is the name of the game for up to five passengers, with particular attention paid to the rear of the cabin, where the laid-back 23-degree angle of the 60/40 split seat makes a massive difference in comfort. In addition, the seat cushions can be tilted up for loading flexibility. 

Overall, the Landtrek passenger compartment is spacious and comfortable, and its class-leading width ensures optimal shoulder room of 1,550 mm for rear passengers.

The Landtrek’s advanced connectivity features (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) are accessed via a crisp 10” infotainment display. There is also a 10GB hard drive on-board for storing music, while the very effective automatic dual-zone air-conditioning system will keep things cool in summer and comfortably warm during the colder months. 

Safety is a priority in all Peugeot vehicles, with the front-wheel-powered Landtrek boasting the same active and passive safety features as its 4×4 sibling. Six airbags are scattered throughout the cabin, and two ISOFIX anchor points for securing child seats at the rear. Electronic stability with hill-descent control and hill-start assist is on-board, too, while Trailer Swing Control improves the Landtrek’s towing ability of unbraked trailers up to 750 kg.

Although the Landtrek is a comparatively large bakkie, a reverse camera and parking sensors all around make for easy manoeuvring in smaller spaces.

HEART OF A LION

The Landtrek is powered by a 1.9-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel (with variable turbine geometry) that produces 110 kW at 4,000 rpm and a peak torque of 350 Nm between 1,800 and 2,800 rpm. An on-paper comparison of rivals with greater engine capacity belies the Landtrek’s gutsy engine performance at higher speeds. However, at lower revs, the bakkie’s smaller engine is outperformed by such competitors as the 2.2-litre Ford Ranger and 2.5-litre Nissan Navara.

Highway cruising is comfortable and predictably smooth, with the Landtrek’s double-wishbone front suspension doing a decent job of soaking up road imperfections. Leaf springs at the rear endow the bakkie with a carrying capacity of up to 1,085 kg (the Nissan Navara will carry up to 1,053 kg), and up to 235 mm of ground clearance means that the Landtrek will not disappoint when it’s time to venture off the beaten track. 

LAST WORD

All said, the Peugeot Landtrek is an attractive alternative to the norm, and a like-for-like segment comparison reveals its dominance on the technology front, even at its slightly elevated price point. Landtrek has the grit needed to make an impact in the market. With Peugeot’s focus on growing its network of dealerships (now at 15 in total), and its sustained effort to keep increasing awareness of the Landtrek, the French Lion seems poised to regain some of its historical share of the bakkie market.

Report by BERNIE HELLBERG JR | Images © PEUGEOT SOUTH AFRICA

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