by Vuyi Mpofu
My first memory of a car brand is Peugeot because my family owned three of them when I was a toddler. I guess you could say I grew up Peugeotnized.
The first three cars I remember in our family were the Peugeots 404 and 504 sedans and 404 Pick-Up. The 404 Pick-Up specifically was my favourite as it doubled as my first experience in a ‘cabriolet’ whenever I sat in the load bed. So, upon receiving my invitation to attend the launch of the Peugeot Landtrek my mind instantly took me down memory lane, evoking a nostalgic recollection of its legendary predecessors.
A Significant Legacy of Manufacturing Pick-Ups
Once referred to as the Champion of Africa, Peugeot pick-ups were the dominant force on the continent and can still be found on the roads anywhere from Cape Town to Cairo.
Never in a million years could I have imagined that I would once again lay eyes on a bakkie from the French automaker. Of course, back in the day, the word ‘bakkie’ didn’t exist. Rather, we called these vehicles either a pick-up or a truck. Those who are slightly more grey-haired than me simply referred to them as pick-up trucks.
Fast forward to 2021, a year in which Peugeot celebrates its 211thanniversary in the automotive business, the French manufacturer has made history; re-entering the One-Ton segment with the unveiling of its first pick-up in over 30 years – the Landtrek.
With the introduction of the Landtrek, Peugeot is in a sound position to make a welcome comeback into a market where it boasts an indisputably strong and successful heritage.
Derivatives and Powertrains
Perhaps because Peugeot is dipping its toes back into the Pick-Up market, the manufacturer is only introducing the Landtrek in 2 derivatives at this stage being the 4×2 Allure and 4×4 Active.
Both models are double cabs but a single cab workhorse will be introduced to the market at a later stage.
Powered by a 1,9-litre turbocharged engine that produces 110kW engine and 350Nm of torque, the Landtrek is pared to a six-speed automatic gearbox with Sequential, Sport, or Eco drive modes.
Attractive Exterior Styling Aligned With Peugeot’s Modern Personality
Arriving at the venue on launch day I could barely contain my excitement. I really wanted to see the Landtrek in the metal because I have always maintained that it must be nearly impossible for car designers to come up with an interesting look for a pick-up.
I mean, just how creative can one get when designing a cab joined to an open box? I imagined the difficulties designers of the Landtrek must have encountered when trying to modernize the French One Tonner while somehow paying tribute to its illustrious ancestry.
Nevertheless, the first thing you notice when looking at the freshly tailored Landtrek is that it features an exterior design that is easy to associate with the current aesthetics of the modern range from the French car brand.
Swept-back headlights equipped with vertical LED light signatures and Day Time Running Lights, coupled with a blackened vertical grille, give the Landtrek an appearance of gritty determination.
The big lion logo at the centre of the grille is a glaring reminder of the Landtrek’s parentage and it is interesting to note that Peugeot has not used its new and evolved logo. Personally, I don’t think the latest logo would have worked and I am glad to see the return of the roaring lion; complete with flared claws and looking as unafraid to conquer the African roads as in the days of the celebrated 404 Pick-Up.
The Landtrek uses quite a liberal amount of chrome. As beautiful as the pick-up is, I couldn’t help but get the sense that its designers eventually arrived at a point where chrome seemed to be the answer to everything.
Kind of like “when in doubt, add chrome”.
Chrome in the roof rails, chrome door handles, chrome side mirrors, chrome in the faux skid plate, chrome to border the grille and fog light housing. As much of a chrome-fest as the Landtrek is, I begrudgingly confess that the shiny detailing actually works and does indeed give the Landtrek a healthy dose of ooh la la.
Alluring Interior Design Aligned With Modern Peugeot Range
Climbing into the Landtrek 4Action’spacious cabin my eyes hungrily flashed over its impressive interior. Most noticeable are the familiar toggle switches and a myriad of other signature Peugeot highlights, (in keeping with the French automaker’s passenger car and SUV line-up) which make the Landtrek immediately recognizable as part of the Peugeot family.
I was delighted to find that the Landtrek 4Action features six-way adjustable seats (for both front occupants), an adjustable steering wheel and seven grab handles to ease into its cabin. At my height, being able to gracefully launch myself into the interior or any high-rise vehicle is something I truly appreciate. And, the ability to tweak my seating position on the fly is an absolute necessity.
The use of chrome on the inside works to accentuate key features within the Landtrek, tastefully adorning the two-spoke steering wheel, inner door handle, automatic gear lever and aircon vents. Furthermore, the chrome does a good job of brightening up the interior as a whole.
A 10-inch HD screen compatible with Apple CarPlay™ /Android Auto™ and 10 GB hard drivebalances at the top of the dashboard sets the tone for a technologically-enhanced driving experience.
Normally, I wouldn’t make a fuss about the rear seats in a Pick-Up but I have made an exception in this case. The backrests of the three rear passengers are comfortably reclined at a 23°angle allowing for even greater comfort. If you have ever had the misfortune of sitting upright in a vehicle on a long-distance drive you’ll understand why this seemingly simple feature gets another nod of approval from me.
Satisfying Selection of Safety Features
Safety is ensured by six airbags and an Electronic Stability Programme that includes Hill Descent, Hill Start Assist, Trailer Swing Control and Lane Departure Warning (available in the range-topping 4Action model).
Fitted with rear reverse cameras and parking sensors, the feature I liked most is the off-road camera (positioned in the passenger rear-view mirror) and the 360° panoramic camera system. These support the driver when negotiating obstacles or narrow roads. When using the cameras on the 4×4 course, I initially had a hard time relying on them. Being an OG in the motoring world, all I wanted to do was stick my head out of the window to see what lay ahead, but I had to train my vision on the 10-inch screen instead and allow myself to be guided by technology. Halfway into my ‘drive-by-camera’, I wondered why other off-roaders don’t come standard with this ‘life-altering feature.
When you look at offerings against which the Landtrek competes, one has to take their beret off at the French because the Landtrek does indeed stand out from challengers on the market.
Landtrek 4×2 Allure: R 579 900
Landtrek 4Action 4×4: R 669 900
The Landtrek comes standard with a five years/100 000 km Warranty and Service Plan. Service intervals are at every 10,000km.