Tunland Foton – Road test of a vehicle that sounds like a folding bed


Utes in Australia are a significant part of our market.

So far this year we have sold over 32,000 two wheel drive utes and nearly 99,000 four wheel drive utes.

They account for nearly 16% of the total market. That’s almost one in 6 new vehicles on the market.

Most of the top players have utes. The exceptions are the Korean car makers but ask any Australian executive from Hyundai or Kia and they will tell you that they would love to add a ute to their range.

Honda and Subaru also focus just on cars.

The third bestselling car on the market is the Toyota Hilux.

And these types of vehicles are getting better and better all the time.

Enter the Chinese vehicle the Foton.  Can they make it in this competitive market.

To tell us about the vehicle I am joined on the line by Tim O’Brien the founder of the web site

  • The name sounds like a lounge that folds out into a bed. Is that a barrier?
  • When I picked up the vehicle they told me that it was an upmarket Great Wall. Is that damned by faint praise?
  • The relaunch saw a simplified model range, a wider dealer network and a lower price for the sole 4WD model.
  • The big feature is a Cummings diesel. 8 litre 96Kw in single cab 4×2 but 120 kw in all other models.
  • Good power but noisy. A colleague came and stood beside the car to have a chat while I was sitting inside and you could hear him raise his voice to be heard over the idling engine.
  • Top of the line has leather trim seat facings and wood panelling which doesn’t seem to fit the image.
  • It’s a big vehicle. 3 metres long. I was parked in a residential street when a little Smart car parked behind it. The Foton dwarfed the Smart car.
  • I find these vehicles are great for a family – throw things in the boot but I wouldn’t want to travel a long distance in one. The Ford Ranger would be a much more pleasant vehicle.
  • Cruise control, via steering wheel tabs – in most versions. Not in the 4×2 Dual Cab.
  • No Electronic Stability control.
  • CD/MP3/Radio audio with 4 speakers, Bluetooth® streaming /AUX/mini USB ports
  • Price Top of the range – Dual Cab – 2 wheel drive $27,000 – four wheel drive $30,000 plus on roads

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