Following the launch of its Cummins-powered Tunland 4x4 bakkie last year, Foton has introduced a pair of 4x2 models that represent a far more affordable alternative.
Foton is offering the Comfort model for R249 950 and the Lux for R269 950, which is a significant saving over the equivalent 4x4 models, which retail for R339 950 and R359 950. The Tunland models also under cut similarly-equipped Japanese models by over R100 000, with the Hilux 3.0 D-4D Raider model costing R389 000.
Like the 4x4s, the 4x2 models are powered by a 2.8-litre Cummins turbodiesel.
Unlike its Chinese rivals, the Tunland doesn't fall short in the engine department, with all models powered by a 2.8-litre Cummins ISF turbodiesel motor that pushes 120kW at 3600rpm and 360Nm at 1800rpm.
Foton claims a fuel consumption figure of 8.3 litres per 100km, but because of the prominence of 500ppm fuel in South Africa, which can be used in the Foton, service intervals have been cut from 20 000km to 10 000km. It does at least come with a two-year/40 000km service plan, but this is below par for the segment.
The 4x2 Fotons don't skimp on comfort kit, with standard features including air conditioning, MP3/USB audio system, electric windows, remote central locking, 16-inch alloy wheels, dual front airbags and ABS brakes. Among other amenities, the Lux adds leather seats, rear park distance control, a rollover bar on the load box, tonneau cover and side steps.
Foton also claims that this bakkie has one of the most spacious interiors in the 'premium' one-ton market, as well as competitive load box dimensions. The payload is rated at 925kg and the maximum towing capacity is 2500kg.
TESTED IN SA
Foton goes to lengths to explain that the Tunland has been extensively tested in South African conditions and its products are backed by a three-year/100 000km warranty.
While it can't match the dealer footprint of its rivals, being a relatively new player in the market, Foton does have 35 outlets around the country and plans to extend this to 40 by the end of next year.
It may take some time for this Chinese player to prove itself in a market dominated by the Japanese, but the fact that it's put together using some well-trusted component manufacturers - Cummins engine, Getrag gearbox and Dana rear axle - should prove reassuring to customers. What's more, it's hard to ignore the Tunland's price advantage.