Foton Tunland

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New on the block: The Foton Tunland has some tough competition but should be able to hold its own.

Chinese bakkie geared for SA conditions

This new Chinese bakkie seems capable of handling the rough and tumble of South Africa’s terrain.

DESIGNED to tackle extreme off-road conditions, the Foton Tunland 2.8 is by far the most powerful Chinese diesel bakkie currently on the market.

Although there was limited opportunity to go off-road, the Tunland fairly smashed its way through the potholes on the roads in Umtentweni where I live), even the ones filled with water after some rain. It also bounced easily over the speedbumps without too much concern.

The cab offers the roominess of a big sports utility vehicle.

The Tunland comes standard with air-conditioning, electric windows, an adjustable steering column, central-locking, electric mirrors and a radio/CD audio system.

The Tunland’s design is very distinctive and unlike the majority of auto manufacturers in China, Foton has been quite original with the looks of its new pick-up. There are no tell-tale copy and paste elements of other vehicles (especially from other manufacturers) and overall, the Tunland’s build quality is on par with well-established brands in this segment.

During my time driving this vehicle – a first for me – I needed to go through to Amanzimtoti to play a league golf game. It was a joy driving it on the highway and even through the twisting streets of Toti on the way to the club.

The golf clubs travelled in comfort on the back seat, the only passengers the Tunland had to carry during the week.

The Tunland’s mechanical ingredients actually look quite compelling, with its 2.8-litre turbodiesel engine putting out 120kW and 360Nm.

It’s got good power off the mark, and climbs hills quickly and fairly easily. It certainly holds its own.

The bakkie boasts a ground clearance of 230mm, a maximum grade ability of 60 percent and a respective approach and departure angles of 300 and 240 degrees.

The Foton Tunland offers the option of a six-speed ZF automatic gearbox and buyers can also get the usual choice between rear-wheel drive and 4WD transmission, with rear diff lock.

The Tunland comes with most of the nice-to-haves in this segment, including an MP3/USB compatible audio system with four speakers (two on the lower spec model), electrically operated windows, ABS with EBD, auto-locking doors, front and rear foglamps and pre-tensioners on the front safety belts.

On the coast it’s available in Uvongo multi franchise (Daihatsu). 0393155100

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