It started innocently enough. I had to move a few things from my old house to the new one and needed a bakkie to make life a little bit easier.
I would have used “my” Isuzu KB, but it has a canopy on the load bin, which is practical most of the time, but it makes life tough when you need to move something taller than the roofline of the car.
Instead of spending a morning swearing, sweating and struggling to remove the Isuzu’s canopy, I decided to ask GG if I could use “his” Tunland, which comes as standard without a canopy. It also has a rubberised load bin, meaning my furniture and it would be protected in case of a severe speed bump or pothole.
I put on my brave face and approached his desk.
“Can I use your bakkie for a few days,” I asked, explaining the extent of my laziness and disdain for physical effort.
GG is a decent man, and a wonderful colleague, so he surrendered the keys to his bakkie, but I could see the man was hurting. He had gotten used to the Tunland and its intricacies, which is something you really get used to when you have a long-termer. It may not be your own car, but you end up defending it ferociously.
I soon found out that GG’s fondness of his Chinese bakkie is not unfounded. It’s a lot easier to drive in the city. The steering in the KB can be a tad heavy at times and it still feels very big and bulky, especially when you have to navigate the older suburbs that were built in a time before the idea of a double-cab was even conceived
The Tunland feels lighter on its feet, more nimble in heavy traffic. This is an important positive attribute, as most double-cabs inevitably spend their lives hauling families around in the urban jungle.
There are, however, a few things I miss about my KB. The Tunland doesn’t have cruise control and it has the annoying habit of starting my playlist from the very beginning, instead of remembering which song it was playing the last time I got out. I really love A Perfect Circle, but I don’t want to listen to The Outsider every single time I start my car.
Other than that, it’s been a perfectly acceptable everyday companion. It’s easy to live with and easy on the eyes. This bakkie is drastically changing my perceptions regarding Chinese vehicles. And not just mine either. Every now and then I catch people in other bakkies ogling the Tunland. Are they jealous? I don’t think so, but I do believe this bakkie is carrying the flag for future Chinese imports.
Owners of mainstream bakkies like the KB used to laugh at imports like the Tunland, but I think they’re now starting to wonder if it may be a worthy investment.
I certainly think so. I wouldn’t mind living with it full time, if it wasn’t for GG staring covetously at me from his side of the office.
The man wants his bakkie back and I can’t really blame him for that.
Check out GG’s video review of the Tunland below.