When bakkies were first introduced to SA, they often looked like derivatives of popular small cars which had been modified by someone with an angle grinder. ‘Just cut off the bodywork behind the driver’s seat and fit a load bay and a tailgate,’ might have been the instruction from the marketing departments.
Since it was a relatively small vehicle, the phrase ‘light delivery vehicle’ was an appropriate choice; and so, too, was our word: ‘bakkie’. But, time has moved on; and, with the evolution of the ‘bakkie’
came the introduction of the ‘Double Cab,’ and more, with some manufacturers offering options such as two or three different door configurations − including a ‘suicide door’ arrangement!
Today’s light delivery vehicle is a far cry from those early saloon-car derivatives. Contemporary designers think big; and the Mazda BT-50 is (in my opinion) no longer a bakkie; it’s a truck. Not a lorry… but a truck; and there’s a difference – trucks are cool!
The BT-50 feels so big you could probably land a surveillance drone on the load bay deck – no matter what the wind direction! In fact, the load bay on the BT-50 double cab measures 1 549 x 1 560 mm. With an overall vehicle length of 5 365 mm and a width of 1 850 mm, our test vehicle quickly earned the nickname, ‘The Nimitz’. If you are going to tow anything – and you will want to – you will appreciate that Mazda have given it towing capacities of up to 1 800 kg on the manual gearbox models and a whopping 3 350 kg on those derivatives with automatic transmissions. (Why the
difference? This appears to be classified info.) But, bear in mind SA legalities – you may not exceed the 5 950 kg GCM (gross combined mass), which depends again on the model you choose.