A firm favourite of rural families and those seeking to get off the beaten track, Subaru has announced the introduction of its first battery electric vehicle (BEV) with the longawaited Solterra all wheel drive SUV confirmed for here in early 2023.
Getting past that first impression, that goes on to reveal that the interior is never going to win any prizes for style, it looks like the mechanicals are very well sorted, which is reassuring if you’re considering dipping your toe in the budget end of the burgeoning ute market.
Mahindra’s own mHawk 2.2 litre, four-cylinder turbo diesel pumps out a relatively modest 103kW/320Nm, that combines with a six-speed manual gearbox to push it along quite cheerfully. While manual transmissions appear to be a disappearing breed, this one changes as slickly as any top end brand, while the ratios are progressive and keep things in the “sweet spot “of around 1,800rpm at legal road speeds.
For those looking to explore beyond the tar seal, the 4WD versions are fitted with a Borg Warner electrically-shifted transfer case that made it very capable when we ventured into some soggy Waikato paddocks in late April.
Offered in single cab 2WD or 4WD or as a double cab 4WD, all with rear low-level trays, the company can also supply a single cab with a much deeper well-side body, offering acres of spaces for an extra $1,000.
Out on the open road, the Pik Up drives with very good manners, with precise, wellweighted steering, along with a torquey motor that hangs on well down below 1,500rpm before the gearbox needs to be stirred. The independent suspension at each corner travels well over any road imperfections and makes for a comfortable ride on more serious off-road terrain.
On the safety front, whilst not up there with the latest suites, the mix includes dual airbags, crash protection zones, ESP and ABS. Tech is taken care of with the likes of central locking a noisy alarm and reverse camera on the S10 version. Payload for the rear tray is rated up to 1,035kg, combined with rear towing capacity of 2,500kg, brought to a stop by a front-end disc and rear drum set-up.