Tested: 2021 Peugeot Landtrek 1.9TD D/C 4×4  

I detest click-bait. And blatantly fluffed-up, agonisingly drawn-out, mostly American pieces that waste a substantial part of your life to eventually impart no more than a few seconds of valuable information. So, in order to not string you along any further: this Peugeot bakkie is not that great.

Let me quickly quantify that for you. If you own or plan on owning a Toyota Hilux or Ford Ranger, you may want to give this fashionable newcomer a skip. It’s certainly not as accomplished, definitely not as powerful and most probably quite a pain to live with… seeing that we have no Peugeot dealers in Namibia.

Nonetheless, my colleagues and I spent an entire week with this fairly new press vehicle in order to tell you what it would be like to own. And as luck would have it, one of NamWheels’ old friends had just returned this double-cab from a 3-day marathon trip to the Skeleton Coast.

Despite a lack of grunt, everything apparently went well.

In keeping with my hatred of delayed information gratification, that is another huge problem most people will identify in this half-Asian, half-European creation: its engine. At the time of publishing this piece, the LandTrek is only shipped with one power plant: a 1910cc in-line 4-cylinder turbo-diesel.

This engine develops up to 110kW at 4,000rpm or 350Nm between 1,800 and 2,800rpm, driving the rear rubber (Allure model) or all four wheels (this 4Action derivative) via a traditional but perfectly acceptable 6-speed automatic gearbox. There is currently no factory-fitted diff lock available for these vehicles.

The amount of outright punch and twisting power from this machine would’ve been absolutely acceptable in a 1.9L Volkswagen TDi passenger car just a few years ago. More than acceptable, actually. But when you strap this slightly noisy motor to a chunky double-cab bakkie weighing at least 2 tons… the results are mediocre.

Peugeot claims 0-100km/h in a shocking 15.9 seconds but this is where I have the first bit of amazing news for you. After just two runs with our Racelogic PerformanceBox, we managed a best time of 13.52 seconds. While that’s still in the bottom echelons of our D/C bakkie performance charts, at least it’s not dead last.

In fact, it’s shoulder-to-shoulder (at least theoretically) with the Mahindra PikUp S11 Karoo; a rustic but loveable brute whose performance I described as “adequate” after adding 6,300km to its overall mileage. So, just like that Indian double-cab, this French one simply demands an extra degree of planning for fast journeys.

What this means is that, if you’re a complete speed demon, stop reading right here and move on to something with substantially more fire power. However, should you not care too much about a bakkie’s performance and still be interested in this Landtrek, I’ll do my best to spit out a few more random observations.

It’s quite fancy, this thing. Farmers and construction workers will be better served by an Isuzu or Mahindra, while fashionable or eccentric individuals may step right up for a closer look. In the bakkie world of interesting designs – which, admittedly, is a tiny place – my new order is Triton, new BT-50 and this Landtrek.

Perhaps the brand-new Mazda double-cab is more handsome, I’ll leave that decision up to you, as both these newbies are gambling quite severely on the appeal of their looks. It’s my firm belief that, at this point in time, they’ll garner a few sales in trendy suburbs, or the odd die-hard fan, but be mercilessly teased by the rest of the country.

What this Peugeot lacks in dealer support, alleged reliability or schoolboy brand loyalty it makes up with refreshing style and modern gadgets. Much like its abovementioned interesting brethren, the cockpit of this vehicle is a glorious orgy of dancing lines, daring shapes and dazzling textures.

Never mind all the tech.

Just a few highlights, between angles and switchgear that could make a Cruiser owner faint at 50 paces, are six airbags, ISOFIX child seat anchors, digital climate control, lane assist, LED headlights, 3-way drive mode, voice commands, keyless access, rear parking sensors and camera, as well as a large touch-screen media system with navigation.

The list goes on and on, which is a good thing because this vehicle’s price is a rather saw point you should know about. At roughly R670,000 it’s more expensive than a PikUp or D-Max but offers similar performance. I will credit this Pug with superior style and space-age goodies. Go for the 4×2 model and the price sinks to R580,000.

Is this good enough to knock Toyota or Ford off their perch? Of course not. It’s hardly sufficient to tickle a few numbers away from the lesser-known brands and then there’s that whole final-nail affair of not having an official representative in our Land of the Brave. For that kind of money, I vote you get the excellent Mitsubishi Triton.

As a final footnote, we gave this press vehicle to our retired senior journalist who adores the French lion brand and tells gushing stories of 404 bakkies. His eventual impression of this new model was one of severe dismissal. The Peugeot Landtrek is neither desirable nor innovative; save its design.

Hello, X-Class and BT-50: yet another stylish double-cab bakkie nobody wanted.

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