With its chic ruggedness, the new Drifter is set to take on the already competitive bakkie market.

With its chic ruggedness, the new Drifter is set to take on the already competitive bakkie market.

A redesigned front-end with a new grille and bonnet design with wraparound integrated headlamps and a multi-reflector/clear lens combination are some of the new Drifter features. At the rear, the light cluster has been redesigned and the new Drifter can now carry significantly mor,e with the single cab able to lug 1 418 litres while the double cab manages 952 litres.

There are eight new models in the range, comprising four single cabs and four Double Cabs with 2,6-litre petrol or 2,5-litre intercooled turbodiesel engines. Both the single and the Double Cabs are available as 4x2 or 4x4. The 2,6-litre petrol engine produces 92 kW at 4 600 r/min with a maximum torque of 206 N.m at 3 500 r/min. The economical 2,5-litre intercooled turbodiesel engine churns out 80 kW of power at 3 500 r/min with a maximum torque of 257 Nm just 2 000 r/min. Both engines are complemented by a five-speed manual gearbox.

The Drifter is equipped with independent, double wishbone, torsion bar front suspensions while the rear is supported by semi-elliptical leaf springs. The front and rear feature gas pressurised hydraulic shock absorbers while all variants also feature raised suspension.

The sportier single cab comes with a front nerfbar, driving lamps, rollbar, tonneau cover, rear step bumper and bucket seats. Front driving lamps are mounted to the standard nudge bar, while an external 12V lamp with an extension cord will provide convenient exterior light at any time.

The cab interior is both spacious and functional and all Drifters arrive standard with air-conditioning and a radio/CD. Together with anti-trap electric windows, electric exterior mirrors and power steering, cubby with lockable lid, leather seat trim (Double Cabs) and a host of other features.

When it comes to safety, side impact beams are standard on all Drifter models while a collapsible steering column prevents driver injury in an accident. Dual airbags and ABS on the double cabs and front brakes discs and rear drums on the single cabs are amongst the safety features.

According to Rob Crouse, marketing manager for Mazda Southern Africa, the Mazda Drifter will appeal to those who see the vehicle as a substitute to their luxury sedans and SUVs. "They will buy a Drifter because they need the versatility of a pickup with the comfort of a passenger car - and they view it as an enabler to their adventure lifestyle activities," explains Crouse.

The new Drifter embodies the Zoom-Zoom spirit - that sheer joy of motion that everyone experiences as a child. Some adults never lose that feeling - they're the Mazda Drifter's target customers," said Crouse.

Petrol Models

2600 SLX LWB Hi-Ride R176,040

2600 SLX LWB 4X4 R227,040

2600 Double Cab SLE 4x2 Hi-Ride R233,406

2600 Double Cab SLE 4x4 R299,995

Diesel Models

2500TD SLX LWB Hi-Ride R204,960

2500TD SLX LWB 4X4 R259,535

2500TD Double Cab SLE 4X2 Hi-Ride R259,527

2500TD Double Cab SLE 4x4 R311,248