Earlier in May, Wheels24's Charlen Raymond looked at half-tonne bakkies that would do really well should it arrive here in South Africa. We then had an overwhelming response from readers who eagerly agreed to this notion.
Raymond wrote: "Following the exit of the Ford Bantam and Chevrolet Ute, the Nissan NP200 is the only remaining half-tonner in South Africa. It is without rival and the thousand units (on average) it sells per month, continually puts it in the top five of best-selling bakkies in SA."
The three half-tonne bakkies in question are the VW Tarok, Ford Bronco, and the Renault Oroch.
Wheels24 reader, Philip Theunissen from Pretoria, wrote to us and shared his views on why he needs a half-tonne bakkie I, and what it should entail:
Theunissen says: "I am one of those people who have been waiting in vain for a half-tonne double cab bakkie to be launched here in SA. I have also been pulling my hair out from frustration with the vehicle manufacturers lack of insight. For the past three years, I have seen articles about the Duster Oroch arrival being "imminent" but all in vain. Now its the Tarok which is also, unfortunately, "not for SA".
Do you agree with Wheels24 reader Philip Theunissen? What kind of features would you want in a half-tonne bakkie for SA? Please email us your thoughts here.
"I used to drive double cabs because they ticked all the boxes a family man could possibly want: a family car, daily commute, tow vehicle, DIY, pick up and delivery, as well as the weekend drive to the local dumping site. However, because 90% of my annual driving is to the office, 75km from home, I scaled down to a 1.8-litre Chevy utility sport a few years ago - it did not make financial sense to haul a 2-tonne double cab down highways five days a week.
"Although the Chevy utility is a real gem to me and hasn't had a single fault after 145 000km, it has its shortcomings which are:
1. On odd occasions, I need to take the kids to school or have to pick up more than one colleague. I can't, because of having only one extra seat.
2. It runs beautifully and silent up to around 110km/h, but beyond that, the revs become too high for daily highway driving comfort, even in fifth gear.
"So for me, the perfect vehicle now would be a half-tonne double cab with the following attributes:
1. It has to have either six gears or a longer fifth gear which runs at no more than 3000rpm at 120km/h.
2. A modern, responsive, fuel-efficient, powerful yet silent diesel option of around 1.5-litres which does not sound and respond like a tractor.
3. Enough space to comfortably fit four or five adults.
4. A slide-out extension for the load bay.
5. Accessibility to fit other dealer or aftermarket-fitted accessories such as roof racks, roll bars, tow bars, or tonneau covers, etc.
6. Decent ride height, and ground clearance with a 'windgat' (read: assertive) stance, and attractive finishes.
Most of the little bakkies are already available in Brazil (Tarok, Fiat Strada, Oroch, etc.) have these traits so yes, bring them here!! We cannot forever be stuck with the unrefined Nissan NP200 being the only option.
Lastly, I still think front-wheel drive would be the better option because these bakkies drive with no or little load 90% of the time, and there simply won't be enough traction on the rear wheels.
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