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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist


Foton sets sights on HiAce with Asambe taxi and View minibus

Line-up of three van includes a taxi and shuttle minibus, plus an all-electric panel van with a range of 195 km on a single charge.


Exhibited alongside three new trucks plus the Tunland G7 bakkie at its re-launch event on Wednesday (26 June), Chinese brand Foton debuted three iterations of the View minibus that will go on-sale within the coming weeks.

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

Known as the G7 in China, but as the renamed View CS2 in South Africa, the second generation, as with the original, differs very little from the Toyota HiAce in the shape of a different grille with the Foton logo, slightly altered headlights, restyled taillights and marque specific wheels.

Model range

Asambe

In a reversal from its home market, only two of the displayed versions will carry the View name as the 16-seater taxi will be called Asambe or “let’s go” in isiZulu.

Foton debuts new taxi and electric panel van
Rear sports lights clusters almost similar to those of the Nissan NV350.

Measuring 5 380 mm long, 1 980 mm wide and 2 285 mm high, the high-roof only Asambe offers a choice of petrol and diesel engines, though made in-house and not sourced from Toyota.

Its wheelbase stretching 3 110 mm, the powerplants consist of a 2.4-litre petrol developing 100kW/200Nm and a 2.8-litre turbodiesel producing 96kW/280Nm.

New Foton Asambe revealed
Asambe will provide seating for 16 and already conforms to taxi industry requirements.

In both instances, drive goes to the rear wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox with respective fuel consumption figures of 11.9 L/100 km and 8.9 L/100 km.

On the specification side, both models come as standard with a Bluetooth and USB enabled sound system with two-speakers, air-conditioning with roof mounted rear vents, a height adjustable steering wheel trimmed in “genuine” leather, dual front airbags, ABS and EBD.

Foton debuts new taxi and electric panel van
Asambe’s interior is no frills, but still has a number of creature comforts.

Distinguishing itself from the petrol, the diesel’s only extra addition are body-coloured bumpers.

View CS2

Positioned above the Asambe in a capacity directly aimed at the HiAce GL, the View CS2 provides seating for 15, but with a less rudimentary interior and a more powerful diesel engine.

Foton reveals new View shuttle bus
New View CS2 will take aim at the Toyota HiAce GL.

Billed as a “luxury shuttle bus”, the CS2 sports the same dimensions as the Asambe, but eschews both engines for a newer 2.0-litre oil burner developing 101kW/330Nm. Also gone is the manual gearbox, replaced by a six-speed automatic.

Foton reveals new View shuttle bus
View CS2 will sit 15 and like the Asamble, comes in long wheelbase, high roof bodystyle only.

Also only available in long wheelbase, high roof guise, the View CS2’s specification sheet comprises body-coloured door handles and bumpers, fabric seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, front electric windows, remote central locking, a 3.5-inch instrument cluster display and a four-speaker sound system.

Foton reveals new View shuttle bus
Creature comfort level has been stepped-up to also include a touchscreen infotainment system.

Also standard is:

  • LED daytime running lights;
  • electric mirrors;
  • dual front airbags;
  • ABS and EBD;
  • Electronic Stability Control;
  • rear parking sensors;
  • tyre pressure monitor;
  • Lane Departure Warning;
  • 15-inch alloy wheels;
  • reverse camera;
  • touchscreen infotainment system

eView

Perhaps the most intriguing offering, the eView, as its name indicates, drops the combustion engines for a 50.23-kWh lithium phosphorate battery pack powering a single electric motor.

Foton debuts new taxi and electric panel van
Unique to the segment, the panel van becomes an EV called the eView.

Measuring 5 320 mm long, 1 695 mm wide and 1 990 mm long, the eView produces 85kW/290Nm, and according to Foton, will do 195 km on a single charge while supporting both AC and DC charging.

Its wheelbase measuring 3 050 mm, the eView has a payload of 1 150 kg, a cargo volume of seven cubic metres and a pair of dual sliding doors as standard.

Foton debuts new taxi and electric panel van
Modelled on the Asambe, the eView has a claimed range of 195 km and is powered by a 50.23-kWh lithium phosphorate battery pack.

Included on its list of spec are 15-inch wheels, electric windows, ABS and EBD, remote central locking, air conditioning, Hill Start Assist, rear parking sensors and a two-speaker Bluetooth and USB compatible sound system.

Price

  • Asambe 2.4 16-seat – R439 900
  • Asambe 2.8D 16-seat – R499 900
  • View CS2 2.0D 15-seat – R599 900
  • eView panel van – R850 000

NOW READ: Foton announces South Africa return date headed by new Tunland

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