Ashok Leyland of India has entered the Southern African commercial vehicle market by introducing the Dost 1.5-litre turbodiesel bakkie. Boasting class-leading attributes in the entry-level pick-up segment, the Ashok Leyland Dost is set to appeal to small businesses, farmers, and fleet operators alike.

Ashok Leyland, flagship of the Hinduja Group, is India’s second-largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles and the fourth-largest manufacturer of buses in the world, among other accolades. Being a US $4.5 billion company with a 75-year legacy since 1948 and a footprint extending across fifty countries, Ashok Leyland is one of Asia’s most fully integrated manufacturing companies. 


Ashok Leyland understands that the economic stability of a country depends on the safe and timely transportation of goods, and builds vehicles to facilitate this. Dost, one of Ashok Leyland’s award-winning light commercial vehicles, is ideal for ensuring last-mile transportation of goods loaded off bigger trucks, into congested city lanes, and across challenging terrain. Dost’s car-like ease and fuel efficiency make it a convenient option to navigate through smaller lanes, ensuring doorstep delivery of goods to the consumer.

Dost is Ashok Leyland’s entry-level workhorse and boasts a rated payload of 1,250 kg, the highest in the entry-level pick-up segment. 


The Ashok Leyland Dost comes with a 1,478 cc, three-cylinder, common rail turbodiesel engine, which produces maximum power of 44 kW at 3,300 r/min and maximum torque of 158 Nm at 1,600 to 2,400 r/min. Compared to direct competitors, the Dost offers a  reasonably powerful diesel engine paired with a short-geared five-speed full synchromesh manual transmission for optimal tractability and fuel efficiency even when fully laden. 

This bakkie has a 215 mm diaphragm and single dry plate clutch setup for better drivability, reliability, and durability. A single dry plate clutch does not require any lubricant for the seamless functioning of the clutch. It is used in bigger trucks since heat generation is lower. Coming to the load-lugging ability, the Dost’s 29% gradability, when fully laden, helps to negotiate tough terrain comfortably.

When unladen, the Ashok Leyland Dost achieves a class-leading fuel consumption figure of 6.1 l/100km in the combined cycle and 7.5 l/100km when fully laden. Considering the 40-litre fuel tank capacity, users can expect to achieve an unladen fuel range of over 600 km. 


The semi-forward control Dost pick-up has a muscular and sharp fascia with minimal elements to not appear busy in design and construction. It offers a tall stance that gives it an impressive road presence. 

Three models are available namely a Chassis Cab (for unique load body configurations), a Fixed Sides Deck (FSD) model and a Drop Sides Deck (DSD) model. The FSD model has a load body measuring 2,500 mm x 1,620 mm x 368mm with sleek headlights integrated into the body. The DSD model offers the convenience of easy loading and off-loading, with the load body at 2,656 mm being 156 mm longer than that of the FSD model. The DSD model is also equipped with a sturdy cab protector.


Mounted to a sturdy ladder frame chassis with six cross members, the front suspension is rigid with under-slung parabolic leaf springs and double-acting shock absorbers. The rear suspension comprises over-slung semi-elliptic leaf springs with double-acting shock absorbers. Drive to the rear wheels is through a propeller shaft connected to a sturdy semi-floating rear axle.

A long wheelbase of 2,350 mm ensures stability on uneven roads. Ground clearance is 177 mm, approach angle 19°, ramp over angle 23.5° and departure angle 22°. As a result, inner city speed humps and undulating rural terrain are managed with ease. 

The big load body with six cross members ensures that Dost carries more load, allowing operators to earn more in its category. Featuring sturdy latches and cargo tie-down hooks, the load body on the Ashok Leyland Dost is designed to take heavy loads. 

All these attributes combine to give the Ashok Leyland Dost class-leading load-carrying capacity in the segment for entry-level pick-ups, of 1,250 kg for the FSD model and 1,205 kg for the DSD model with its heavier load body.


Multiple safety features always keep the Dost’s occupants and its load safe. The nose area is fitted with a strongly constructed absorption bar for protection in front-end collisions and ELR safety belts with emergency locking reactors. 

With a loading capacity of 1.25-tonnes, safe braking is not only of paramount importance but needs to be predictable as well. The Dost is equipped with vacuum-assisted hydraulic disc brakes in the front and drum brakes in the rear with a Load Sensing and Proportional Valve (LSPV) for efficient braking. 

The Ashok Leyland Dost model line-up for Southern Africa with recommended retail prices inclusive of VAT at 15% are as follows:

  • Ashok Leyland Dost 1.5 TD Chassis Cab – R229,999
  • Ashok Leyland Dost 1.5 TD Fixed Sides Deck – R249,999
  • Ashok Leyland Dost 1.5 TD Drop Sides Deck – R254,999

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