In the hotly contested double-cab bakkie segment, the Landtrek faces myriad obstacles en route to gaining its piece of market share. We test the range-topping model. 

 + Distinctive styling; generous standard equipment

 − Perceived interior build quality not as sturdy as expected

South Africans love bakkies. Browse through the classifieds, and you’ll find nearly a dozen manufacturers sell these popular vehicles in SA. However, it’s no secret that there are two brands that enjoy the most significant market share. These are, of course, the bestselling Toyota Hilux and the Ford Ranger. Peugeot introduced its first bakkie as early as 1938. With its latest bakkie – the Landtrek – the company aims to steal some market share from the established players.

Landtrek

However, the Landtrek isn’t entirely Peugeot. It shares its underpinnings with a Chinese bakkie. Although made in China, Peugeot does state that the manufacturing takes place under the watchful eye of the French firm. It certainly looks like a Peugeot. So, let’s start there, with the exterior styling…

Where most manufacturers have focused on building bakkies boasting more beefed-up appearances, Peugeot has veered off this approach to exterior styling, with the French car manufacturer handing its latest bakkie the flair Peugeot has become known for. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Landtrek is striking. Dominating the double-cab bakkie’s prominent front end, the grille is endowed with a large Peugeot Lion emblem, although not the latest iteration, and features a thick, chrome grille surround. Flanking the grille, the LED headlamps incorporate the firm’s now-familiar, sabre tooth-inspired LED daytime-running lights. It turns heads. ’Round back, the brand’s badge is sited dead centre. The sculpted rear bodywork wraps around a pair of LED taillamps. Chrome finish has further been applied to the roof rails; roll bar, which feature “Landtrek” badging; and chunky door handles. Perceived exterior build quality is sound.

However, the same tune cannot be sung of the interior, where perceived cabin build quality seems slightly below par compared to its rivals in this segment. Although hard plastic trim can be found inside most bakkies, the items fitted to the Landtrek doesn’t feel as sturdy. The interior’s contemporary Peugeot design does, however, look good, with a 10-inch touch-enabled display taking centre stage in the leather-upholstered cabin. Although not featuring similar software as Peugeot’s local hatchback and crossover offerings, the large infotainment screen boasts Apple CarPlay and Android Auto screen mirroring, Bluetooth connectivity, and satellite navigation. In addition, the 4Action model tested here features a 360-degree surround-view camera system, complete with 3D functionality. Two USB ports can be found up front, with a single item at the rear. Fore and aft park distance control is standard. Operating cruise control and navigating the 4.2-inch colour TFT driver information display’s menus are done via the leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel.

Sited below what Peugeot likes to remind us is “the largest multimedia touchscreen on the market”, a pair of pleasingly analogue dials are used to adjust the dual-zone climate control set-up. Another design highlight is Peugeot’s piano key controls. These items are used to lock/unlock the doors (keyless entry is standard), activate hill descent control, and engage the rear diff lock.

Another welcome addition to the cabin, the tiller is adjustable for rake and reach, though we would have liked the latter to be more extendable. However, this, plus the fitment of electrically operated (including for height) front pews, allows the driver to dial in a near-perfect seating position. Fore and aft headroom are generous. The front seatbacks also incorporate neat fold-out hooks for bags or hanging up a suit or dress to avoid wrinkling. Sited between the 60:40-split rear seatbacks, a fold-out armrest includes two cupholders. Safety items include six airbags and a duo of airbags. A tyre-pressure monitoring system and a full-size spare alloy wheel (located under the load bed) are standard, providing peace of mind to the driver.

In urban environments, the Landtrek performed seemingly well. The steering is light, allowing for easy manoeuvrability in town. The suspension arrangement is softly sprung, providing for a supple ride. However, a few road imperfections on the outskirts of town did relay some vibrations through the 265/60 rubber, which is wrapped around the Landtrek’s 18-inch two-tone alloys. Around town, the engine’s outputs of 110 kW and 350 Nm deemed sufficient, though, on the long road, the 1.9-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel unit seemed to run out of breath when overtaking was required. Peugeot claims an 80 to 120 km/h overtaking acceleration time of 15.5 seconds in top (sixth) gear.

Although bakkies have, in recent years, become more leisure-orientated vehicles, buyers still expect their double cabs to offer the necessary off-road driving capability. We headed to a facility to test the Landtrek’s 4×4 prowess.

The course comprised myriad obstacles, which tested how the bakkie would fare on steep inclines, declines, and side slopes. The Landtrek fared well. It boasts a ground clearance of 239 mm, an approach angle of 29 degrees, a departure angle of 27 degrees and a break over angle of 25 degrees. Wading depth is rated at 600 mm. The Landtrek also benefits from a low-ratio transfer box and mechanical rear diff. The 3D-view functionality of the camera system provided much-appreciated assistance over tricky obstacles.

Landtrek

The verdict

3/5

With its latest double cab, Peugeot aims to build on its bakkie heritage. Although manufactured in China, the Landtrek looks distinctly Peugeot and, like the firm’s crossovers and SUVs, offers a generous amount of standard kit. However, the Landtrek can’t rely on these factors alone. It falls seemingly short in the overall on-road refinement we’ve come to expect from the French brand. Off-road, however, the Landtrek fared well to clear most obstacles. The biggest obstacle the range-topping Landtrek faces is, however, pricing.

Deep data

Peugeot Landtrek 4Action 4×4 AT

Price: R669 900
Engine: 1.9 L, 4-cyl, turbodiesel
Transmission: 6-spd AT
Driven wheels: R/A
Power: 110 kW @ 4 000 r/min
Torque: 350 Nm @ 1 800-2 800 r/min
0-100 km/h: 15.9 seconds
Top speed: 171 km/h
Fuel consumption: 9.1 L/100 km
CO2: 239 g/km 
Length: 5 330 mm
Height: 1 858 mm
Width: 1 963 mm
Wheelbase: 3 180 mm
Weight: 2 095 kg
Payload: 1 015 kg
Fuel tank: 80 L
Warranty: 5 years/100 000 km
Service plan: 5 years/100 000 km

(Published in APEX issue 04)