Peugeot is returning to the bakkie market with a new model that it plans to sell in Africa from the end of 2017. Strangely though, a spokesperson for Peugeot SA could not advise why it is only planned for SA in 2021.
The company is revisiting its history in the bakkie segment, particularly in Africa, dating back to the Peugeot 403 Camionnette-Bâchée of 1956, the 404 Camionnette-Bâchée of 1967 and the famous 504 pick-up that succeeded it until 2005, the last year of production in Nigeria.
For styling reasons alone there seems little to get excited about. The company has a large staff of designers but it seems none of them could be bothered to put much effort into the design. Instead they just added a Peugeot grille and badge to the Chinese Dongfeng Rich Ute, which is the same vehicle.
It does feature Peugeot lettering stamped into the rear panel.
The French company says its new bakkie will fulfil the fundamental needs for robustness, endurance and a 4×4 drivetrain in the segment. It is aimed at customers who desire a work tool that is reliable in every circumstance and easy to use and maintain, but that allows for a flexible combination of professional and family activities.
With a length of 5.08m it is only planned as a double cab, which represents about 10% of the bakkie market in the north and west sub-Sahara Africa regions. The model features ground clearance of 210mm-215mm and is built on a ladder chassis with a rigid rear axle, four-bladed springs and Yokohama tyres as standard. The load zone has a bed that is 1.40m long and 1.39m wide, equipped with anchoring hooks on the outside.
The side walls and the real panel are covered with a protective resin. The maximum payload is 815kg.
The drivetrain features a longitudinal 2.5-litre common-rail turbodiesel engine that develops 86kW and 280Nm, combined with a five-speed manual gearbox. It will be available in 4×4 and 4×2 versions.
The drivetrain of the 4×2 version is linked to the rear wheels via a longitudinal drive shaft and a differential positioned within the rear axle. The 4×4 version is engaged using a special lever to transmit some of the power to the front axle. This allows the driver to make a selection where needed, whether in normal 4×4 4 high mode or in the 4 low mode at low speeds. Thanks to a reducer, the company says extra torque can be applied at very slow speeds to manoeuvre out of more extreme driving situations.
Standard features will include manual air-conditioning, electric windows, radio with CD player and a USB port. Rear seat space is claimed to be 1 738mm with knee space of 62mm. It will also have an ABS braking system with brake-force distribution, rear parking aids, passenger and driver air bags, as well as electrically adjustable exterior mirrors.
The Peugeot 504 was and still is an iconic bakkie in Africa. We are not sure its latest effort will have the same appeal. – Mark Smyth