Story By Ian Glover

Way back in the Swing era of music, a singer named Ella Fitzgerald reigned supreme. She wouldn’t make it today, lacking a photographic model’s looks and body. Though she had a voice like honey and an incredible range, Ella was anything but model-like – a paradigm example of how video killed the radio star. There’s a story that an equally well-known musician of the time woke up in bed next to Ella one morning. “Oh no,” he groaned. “Ella, for Heaven’s sake, sing something!”
The Mahindra Pik-Up is a bit like that. With styling cues reminiscent of a square tub of margarine, it almost demands a test drive by someone with the visual acuity of Stevie Wonder, but after that, criticisms are few and far between.
Now imported by TMI Pacific, the Pik-Up is not Mahindra’s first venture into Australia. In the 1980s Perth Mitsubishi dealer John Hughes brought in a Mahindra Jeep copy, made under licence with a Peugeot diesel motor. Despite being told repeatedly that the vehicle was a farm implement – not an RV – with more PTOs than you could poke a driveshaft at, it was marketed to take on the likes of LandCruiser head-on, and failed dismally. This time, the sales push is far more realistic, targeting tradesmen, industrial site users and, judging by the presence of TMI Pacific at rural field days, predominantly farmers.
For the rural user, the Mahindra has much to recommend it. Headroom is excellent, both front and rear, perfect for even those whose choice in headgear is a Stetson. Thanks to an extremely short cutaway out the front (the fact that the 2.5-litre common rail turbo-diesel power plant is a four-cylinder helps here), over-bonnet visibility is superb – just the thing for sighting stumps when paddock bashing. Unable to source gear, transfer case and final-drive ratios from the importers, we can’t tell you what the low-range first gear ratio is, but can report that it slows the vehicle down well enough to crawl around paddocks when hand feedings are necessary.

This story excerpt is from Issue #55

Outback Magazine: Oct/Nov 2007