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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Foton gearing-up for bakkie return with new Tunland G7

Replacement for the original Tunland will be a double cab only powered by an in-house developed 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine.

A small-time player in the bakkie segment before quietly exiting six years ago – though not entirely as it kept its truck and bus divisions going – Chinese marque, Foton, has announced its return in the second quarter of the year with the replacement for the Tunland.

Surprise return

Set to become the brand’s only non-medium or heavy-duty vehicle once again, the official statement send by Foton doesn’t name the newcomer outright apart from mentioning it as representing a “pivotal moment in the South African automotive industry”.

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A quick glance on Foton South Africa’s website though identifies the model as the Tunland G7 sold as the Tunland Yutu in China since 2019.

What is it?

Replacing the original Tunland on local soil – which never made to South Africa after a facelift in 2018 – the Tunland G7 already has a presence in select South American and Middle Eastern markets, and even Europe with Italy being the most prominent.

Only listed in South Africa as a double cab unlike the original that also offered a single cab bodystyle, the Tunland G7 measures 5 340 mm long, 1 870 mm high and 1 940 mm wide while riding on a wheelbase of 3 110 mm.

Its ground clearance rated at 200 mm in Italy, the Tunland G7’s off-road angles remain unknown, though depending on the market, payload varies from as little as 880 kg, to as much as 1 090 kg.

No Cummins input

The importation of the Tunland G7 set to be handled by Mandarin Parts Distributors, owned by Combined Motor Holdings (CMH) who also distributes Proton, preliminary expectations points to the newcomer deriving motivation from a single powerplant.

Foton returning to bakkie market with Tunland G7
Unlike the original Tunland, the G7 will be sold solely as a double cab. Image: Foton Peru

Although motivated by a 2.0-litre turbo or 2.4-litre normally aspired petrol engine in China, South Africa seemingly appears set to only get the turbodiesel, a 2.0-litre developed by Foton and not by Cummins as the 2.8 in the original Tunland was.

Paired to either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission, with driver going to the rear or all four wheels, the unit, according to the Foton website, develops 120kW/390Nm, more than any Latin American or the Italian market.

On the spec front

Regardless of the drive wheels, a rear locking differential comes standard, along with a drive mode selector with two settings; Eco and Sport.

Foton returning to bakkie market with Tunland G7
Inside, buyers have the option of an eight or 10-inch infotainment system. Image: Foton Peru

In terms of the specification, the Tunland G7 sports 16 or 18-inch alloy wheels, an eight-inch or 10-inch infotainment system, a four-speaker sound system, a five-inch TFT instrument cluster display, keyless entry, push-button start, dual-zone climate control with PM2.5 filtration, heated front seats and ambient lighting to name but a few.

Notable safety and driver assistance systems comprise a tyre pressure monitor, all around parking sensors, a 360-degree surround-view camera system, Hill Descent Control, Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Monitoring, six airbags and Brake Override Assist.

Watch this space

For the time being, pricing and exact details of the Tunland G7 remains unknown, though expect it to be similar or in the region of the Mahindra Pik-Up, Great Wall Motors P-Series and even the incoming JAC T9.

Information from Foton Peru and Foton Italy

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