There’s been plenty of interest in Ford’s upcoming small bakkie (which reports suggest will be called the “Maverick”). And that had us thinking: which half-tonners (or, in some cases, three-quarter-tonners) do South Africans miss most?
Well, we had a look back over the past few years to pick out the most recently axed half-tonne bakkies. With Nissan’s NP200 the only surviving option in this segment (and Volkswagen’s Saveiro seemingly not on the cards for SA), which of the below would you most like to see resurrected?
Four small bakkies SA misses...
When General Motors pulled out of South Africa at the end of 2017, the Chevrolet Utility went with it. Known as the Montana in other markets (and preceded by a Corsa-badged version here in SA), the Utility was produced at GM’s Struandale plant in Port Elizabeth. Towards the end of its life, it was offered exclusively with a naturally aspirated 1,4-litre petrol engine, delivering 68 kW and 120 N.m to the front axle via a five-speed manual gearbox.
Fiat’s Strada left the local market as long ago as 2012. While earlier models were produced at Rosslyn by Nissan South Africa, Fiat eventually switched to a fully imported, Brazilian-built Strada range (a new generation, complete with double-cab variants, has just hit South America but isn’t on the cards for SA). In 2009, a 1,4-litre engine replaced the previous 1,2- and 1,6-litre powerplants. This mill generated 60 kW and 120 N.m, sent to the front wheels through a five-speed manual ‘box.
Towards the end of 2011, local production of the Bantam ended. Its final update in 2009 included the introduction of a 1,4-litre turbodiesel engine offering 50 kW and 160 N.m. Petrol options, meanwhile, came in the form of a 1,3-litre unit with 55 kW/110 N.m and a 1,6-litre mill with 70 kW/137 N.m. A five-speed manual transmission was standard across the range.
Based on the Mk1 Golf, the Caddy was built in Uitenhage for South Africa until 2007, a couple of years before the Citi Golf went out of production. Over the years, it was offered with a 1,6 petrol engine, a 1,6 diesel unit and a 70 kW 1,8 petrol powerplant.
... and one it desperately wants
In South America, VW offers a small bakkie known as the Saveiro. South Africans have long been pleading with the Wolfsburg-based firm’s local arm to import the Gol-based model, but since it’s currently built in left-hand-drive configuration only, that’s not been possible (in 2018, though, VW SA said it was “not yet convinced” of the bakkie’s local viability “in light of all production considerations, price and market placement”). But there’s a new-generation, MQB-based model on the cards...