The Indian Mahindra Diesel pickups are among the most highly anticipated imports around these parts. The small, cheap pickup fits the bill but what's it like to drive?'s Mike Levine takes the Mahindra "Pik-Up" for a spin.

According to Levine, who drove two pre-production models similar but not identical to what the U.S. will get, the truck was shockingly competent compared to what he expected.

We drove the Pik-Up unloaded on a loop that took us around Atlanta's suburban and rural roads and the Georgia 400 tollway. What most impressed was the Pik-Up's driving manners. Mahindra's pickups are naturally set up to carry those crazy-heavy payloads in developing countries, so we expected a joltingly stiff ride, but the version we drove has surprisingly good road feel. The steering isn't numb or loose, but is reasonably solid. When we turned corners or changed lanes at highway speeds there was very little body roll or handling slop. The truck goes where it's directed with minimal fuss. As much as we beat up on the interior, there weren't any noticeable shakes or rattles, though the small cabin had louder than average wind noise. Overall, ride quality and noise, vibration and harshness is very competitive with current U.S. midsize pickups, if not superior to some. Shocking, we know, but it's true. This is a truck that could function as a daily driver as well as a workhorse.

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Special thanks to Mike Levine for the photos