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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Pair of ‘plus-sized’ Foton bakkies coming to South Africa teased

Using the same engine as the G7, the distinctly American-looking V7 and V9 will only be detailed once an official date of reveal has been set.

Announcing its return to South Africa last week, including pricing of the new Tunland G7 bakkie, Foton also provided a first hint of two additional models it will market locally most likely at some point next year.

Look familiar?

Unveiled at the Shanghai Auto Show last year, the Mars pair of bakkies borrow heavily from the Ford F-150 and Ram Rampage stylistically, although without motivation from an engine bigger than 2.0-litres.

ALSO READ: Foton fires latest Chinese bakkie price salvo with new Tunland G7

Known as the Mars 7 and Mars 9 within the confines of the People’s Republic, for South Africa, the pair will be sold as the Tunland V7 and Tunland V9 as a step-up from the regular Tunland that carries the Yutu suffix in its market of origin.

Starting first, the F-150 influenced Mars 7 or Tunland V7 straddles the gap between the G7 and Mars 9/V9 with an overall length of 5 797 mm, height of 1 910 mm, width of 2 090 mm and wheelbase of 3 505 mm.

Foton bringing two more bakkies to South Africa
Appearing similar to the Ram 1500 and Rampage, the Tunland V9 currently sits atop Foton’s bakkie range in China. Image: Foton Philippines Facebook page

For its part, the Rampage-aping V9, despite its supposed flagship nomenclature, has an overall length of 5 617 mm, height of 2 090 mm, width of 2 000 mm and wheelbase of 3 355 mm.

Offered solely as a double cab with a choice of rear-wheel-drive or selectable four-wheel-drive with low range, neither the V7 nor the V9’s payload rate emerged during the unveiling in China, though information on Foton’s claims a ground clearance of 240 mm for both, plus a towing capacity of 3 500 kg.

Spec and power

On the power front, the 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine from the Tunland G7 has been carried over, albeit with electrification in the form of a 48-volt mild-hybrid system.

Foton bringing two more bakkies to South Africa
Highlighting the interior is a 14.6-inch infotainment display. Image: Foton Philippines Facebook page

Producing 120kW/450Nm, the unit is paired to a six-speed manual gearbox or a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic on the V7, with the latter being the sole option for the V9.

Notable specification items consist of a 14.6-inch infotainment system, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, 18-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated electric front seats, front and rear locking differentials and a suite of safety and driver assistance systems adhering to Level 2.5 autonomous driving.

No reveal date yet

Unveiled in the Philippines in April where two variants of each are sold with rear-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive priced from 1 758 000 (R539 921) to 1 888 000 pesos (R579 847) for the V7, and from 1 788 000 (R549 135) to 1 998 000 pesos (R610 559) for the V9, South African market details of both models remain unknown, with the same applying to the actual launch date.

Additional information from autoindustriya.com and autohome.com.cn.

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