The ultimate bakkie

Bruce Fraser

Bruce Fraser

Chevrolet has just put a whole new meaning to the term bakkie - with the introduction of the new Lumina SS Ute series.

I mean, who's ever heard of a single-cab bakkie that packs a V8, six-litre engine capable of producing a gut-busting 270kW of power and 530Nm of torque?

Imported from Australia, the Chev Ute has a rich history dating back to 1951.

Originally designed as a "working man's" workhorse, the vehicle still retains a hard edge to it but has managed to incorporate modern technology and comforts for what might be the ultimate bakkie.

It's hard not to notice this vehicle since it comes in nine distinctive colours. From Atomic Metallic (lime green) to Crunch Metallic (a kind of burnt orange colour), this bakkie definitely stands out from the crowd. Groovy, baby!

One actually wonders what was going through the designers' minds when they came up with this psychedelic concoction. Could it perhaps have been too many Fosters Lagers getting the creative juices flowing, one wonders!

The 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels also definitely give it that muscle car look, but it is when you turn the key that you know this is no ordinary vehicle.

With four exhausts protruding from the rear, the acoustics are superb.

Tap the accelerator and the vehicle lets out a roar like a wounded lion. Put foot to the floor and it sounds like a symphony orchestra in full flow.

What better place to try out the capabilities of the vehicle than the picturesque setting of Mpumalanga, and that is exactly where a group of motoring journalists headed last week to see if the Chev was everything it's cracked up to be.

And to be completely honest, it damn well is.

Heading into the twisty roads of Devil's Knuckles just before you hit the Long Tom Pass near Sabie, it was the ideal opportunity to see how the vehicle performs.

One criticism of the previous generation of the Chev was that the back tended to sway when put under pressure. The latest Lumina has traction control - and what a blessing it is.

In second gear you easily hit 100km/h, third gear saw 160km/h come up on the electronic speedo, and without bragging, let me just say we cracked 200km/h while only in fourth gear of the six-speed gearbox.

The vehicle is available in a six-speed manual and as an automatic.

lBoth models are priced at R359000.