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Wed Apr 23 14:01:03 SAST 2014

An easy rider and a toughie

BRUCE BENNETT | 10 February, 2013 23:46
Styling of the double cab is dominated by the prominent grille and Foton badge

Chinese vehicle manufacturer Foton took a big leap forward in South Africa this week with the launch of its 4x2 double-cab Tunland bakkie.

Foton introduced the 4x4 version here last year but, said MD Brett Soso, the 4x2 market is considerably bigger and offers more scope for the company to expand its activities in this country.

What is it?

It's a fairly luxurious, diesel, double-cab with a 925kg load bed. There are two models - the Comfort and the Lux. Build quality shows huge upgrades from early Chinese models.

How does it look?

It's big, high and handsome, and the Foton badge on the grille is a real eye-catcher - probably because one does not see too many of them around just yet.

The 16-inch alloy wheels boost the appearance.

What's it like to drive?

The comfortable ride, along with the 2.8-litre Cummins diesel engine, is among the most pleasantly surprising aspects of the Tunland.

With a motor that puts out 120kW and 360Nm, this big bakkie cruises with ease on the open road - and when you have to overtake, it accelerates impressively fast. You'll have to watch the speedo to avoid those traffic officers.

The interior is spacious, with good leg and headroom and a pleasant sound system.

Special features

The Lux comes standard with side steps, tonneau cover, rollover bar, leather seats, rear park distance control and a rear window demister.

Both models have two airbags, ABS brakes with EBD, aircon (particularly effective) and a sound system, as well as electric windows all round.

In addition, you get front and rear foglamps, height-adjustable halogen headlamps, a "door open" warning and rear-door, child-proof locks.

Should you buy one?

With pricing at R249950 for the Comfort and R269950 for the Lux, the Tunland 4x2 is a tempting proposition. The Cummins diesel is well-known in SA and can operate on even the "dirtier" (and cheaper) 500ppm diesel, in areas where 50ppm fuel is not available.

Quoted fuel consumption is given as 8.3 litres/100km.

There is a three-year, 100000km warranty and three-year roadside assistance.

Foton SA has 35 dealers.

ASX compact crossover from Mitsubish

THE ASX compact crossover from Mitsubishi has had a major makeover and Associated Motor Holdings (AMH), which took control of selling the brand from Mercedes-Benz last year, is hoping the vehicle will continue to attract buyers in greater numbers under its supervision.

What is it?

A crossover that has sold 1500 vehicles and has developed a loyal following of fans since its launch in South Africa in 2011.

There's space for five adults, with their luggage, and it has the ability to wander off the tar roads, such as in game parks and on farm roads. Anything more would be asking too much of this vehicle which was launched, with its new look, in Johannesburg last week, powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine with variable valve timing and with a choice of manual or CVT gearboxes.

How does it look?

The ASX is noticeably sleeker and fresher, thanks to a redesigned front grille, new front and rear bumpers, subtle chrome accents, and revised fog light surrounds.

Generous glass areas and the high seating position provide good all-round visibility, while handsome alloy wheels round off the look.

What's it like to drive?

Families which are not in a hurry to get to their destination, the ASX is absolutely ideal.

However, to light the fire under horses in the engine compartment, one needs maximum revs and lots of gear changing.

The 2.0-litre engine pushes out 110kW at 6000rpm and has a torque peak of 197Nm at 4200rpm.

The result is a 0 to 100km/h acceleration time of 9.6 seconds and a top speed of 196km/h.

Any special features?

We liked the idea of a nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate sound system, which is offered as an option on the top-end GLS version.

Sound levels are automatically adjusted to vehicle speed - a neat feature!

Should you buy one?

Sales figures of 1500 units since 2011 bear testimony to the popularity of the vehicle.

The face-lifted model should add more buyers, enabling Associated Motor Holdings to meet its sales targets.

ASX prices are:

2.0 GL - R279900

2.0 GLX - R304900

2.0 GLS - R334900

2.0 GLS (with Rockford) - R342 900

A three-year/100000km manufacturer's warranty and a five-year/90000km service plan come as standard.

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Wed Apr 23 14:01:03 SAST 2014 ::