- UK-based engineering firm turns robust Suzuki Jimny into an even more capable workhorse.
- Can carry up to 500kg payload. Ideal for agribusinesses, game rangers, paramedics, and adventurers.
- Vehicle is comprehensively rebuilt - as close to new as possible - and sells for less then R500 000, depending on spec.
- For motoring news, go to Wheels24
South Africa is, undoubtedly, 'bakkie country'. Sure, they might sell more pick-up trucks by volume over there in the USA and perhaps in Europe if you add some countries together, but if you look at the local sales charts each month, usually it's the Toyota Hilux or the Ford Ranger slugging it out for sales supremacy amongst the venerable Volkswagen Polo and Polo Vivo.
As reflected in these sales, we love bakkies, and more and more South Africans are opting for bakkies as their daily drivers and family cars. We'd argue that South Africans would even buy the thundering American full-size pick-up trucks if the prices were correct, and we didn't need a Code 10 to drive them.
Meet the custom bakkie that's ideal for SA 4x4 enthusiasts
As much as we love and appreciate bakkies in South Africa, similarly, we adore modified vehicles. This Yomper strikes the perfect blend of off-road capability with compactness, and it's a Suzuki, a brand that's ascending quickly amongst the sales ranks in SA. We think this new entrant in the space, from a British start-up, could hit a sweet spot for South Africans.
The Yomper 4x4 is the brainchild of UK-based engineering firm Samson Engineering, which boasts an established background in designing, developing, and manufacturing bespoke commercial trailers and construction equipment. The company is known for creating bespoke vehicles, developed from 'blueprints' to meet specific requirements.
Would you buy the Yomper if Samson Engineering sold it in South Africa? What would you use it for? As a daily driver for commuting? A weekend warrior? As a business tool? Let us know in the comments section, or please send us an email here.
Suzuki Jimny serves as the heart of the little giant
The Yomper is available in tray-back 'Bergan' variation or drop-side configuration. Depending on your specific requirements, its length can vary so that you could opt for a 'long-wheelbase' Jimny here.
The company says the vehicle is developed on a specifically strengthened Jimny chassis, designed to deliver an unparalleled combination of load space and off-road capability. This sort of modified Jimny could be perfect for small-scale agribusinesses, off-road utility vehicle users such as game rangers or emergency services first-responders.
Naturally, the Yomper is also suited to sports vehicle enthusiasts and leisure pursuits. Samson Engineering has rated the Yomper to carry a payload of up to 500kg and comes it even comes with a 12-month warranty in the UK.
Designed and built by and for enthusiasts
Giles Walker, Yomper's chief executive officer, says: "We've always worked in an environment where we apply advanced engineering principles to meet the specific demands of a job. When I heard from many people in my local community – many of whom are farmers - about the lack of a suitable small utility SUV on the market, I decided it would be an excellent opportunity to create one. You can't buy an inexpensive go-anywhere working vehicle anymore, so we decided to make one."
Walker expounds that he knew what would make for a good sports utility vehicle as an off-road and trials bike enthusiast. "The natural choice for the base vehicle was the Suzuki Jimny – cheap, affordable and reliable, yet small enough to go where other off-roaders can't and with exceptional off-road capabilities, without the issue of a heavy off-road 'tyre print'."
Inspired by the classic Subaru Brat
A design-by-blueprint exercise followed in which Walker created a brand new chassis and bespoke alloy body for the Yomper and converted the Jimny bodyshell into a chassis cab with its strengthened rear bulkhead.
Next came the Bergan – inspired by the Subaru 'Brat' pick-up, with integrated pick-up 'tray back' bodywork. "There are other companies who have done Jimny pick-up conversions," says Giles. "But none have gone as far as to create a bespoke body and chassis like that of the Yomper, which is essentially a ground-up vehicle that uses the Suzuki running gear and front bodywork more as components to create a full vehicle than as a basis for conversion."
Under the bonnet, the Yomper uses Suzuki's tried-and-tested 1.3-litre naturally-aspirated 16-valve petrol engine. However, as part of the vehicle's purchase price, the engine and running gear is comprehensively overhauled and rebuilt in-house. Many new components and serious upgrades are added to ensure its ability as a workhorse, they say, making it as close as possible to a brand new vehicle as reasonably practicable.
For those fortunate enough to live in regions where the Yomper is officially sold, it retails for the equivalent of R430 000 (without any taxes included yet) depending on specification. To find out, go here. As far as bakkies go, this is one that would undoubtedly carve a niche for itself in SA. Let us know in the comments section if this is the sort of vehicle that interests you.
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