To date there has only been one Chinese product that has realistically had the good to take the fight to the Hilux and Ranger, and it’s called the Foton Tunland.
We had one for a year and we liked it very much, so we’re happy to see that Foton will be introducing an SUV based on the Tunland. This SUV will squeeze itself into segment dominated by the all-new Fortuner.
The name is derived from the Spanish word “savannah” and is meant to emphasize the vehicle’s go-anywhere ability.
We saw the car at Foton’s stand at the recent Nampo Harvest Festival and it looks good. The interior looks fine and the exterior seems to be adequately attractive, but it doesn’t really matter.
The reason we think these Foton models are so good has to do with the engine. It isn’t a Mitsubishi or Isuzu rip-off, but rather a modern 2.8-litre Cummins turbodiesel that has been available locally since the Tunland’s launch in 2012. It’s a lovely powertrain with loads of power and torque across the rev range. It’s frugal as well, as we regularly managed to get 9l/100km from our modified Tunland long termer.
The Sauvana will be launched in the fourth quarter, but we have nothing with regards to price. Foton just says it will be competitive, which it will have to be if it wants to steal sales away from the mighty Fortuner.
The local line-up isn’t known yet, but it will likely be similar to the Tunland range, which has high and mid-grade spec levels in both 4×2 and 4×4.