FORD BANTAM BUILDS ON FROM AN UNPRECEDENTED SUCCESS

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BUILT FORD TOUGH

With a history that dates back to 1983, the Bantam is the longest standing nameplate in the South African Ford portfolio – The original Bantam, given a unique new guise in 2002, has enjoyed an extensive and enduring success in the South African market.

Based on the Fiesta and Ikon of the time the newly launched Bantam was a runaway success from the word go. The newcomer surpassed all expectations and became the market leader in its launch month. The Bantam continued the trend setting pace and soon became the first half-ton pick-up to break through the 1 000-unit barrier, which was achieved just a year after launch.

In keeping with the Ford promise of delivering innovative products that are customer driven the Bantam now receives a number of visual enhancements and specification upgrades for 2006 while still remaining true to the hardworking and reliable image it has developed over the years.

The new-look Bantam remains sincere to its South Africa roots with both the 1.3-litre and 1.6-litre RoCam engines manufactured in Ford’s Port Elizabeth plant.

The Bantam has been developed by South Africans, with South African conditions in mind. It is the product of home-grown expertise and a fundamental understanding of the competitive LCV segment, contributing to the realisation of a vehicle purpose-designed to suit local operating conditions and environments. With a high local content, parts are freely available and at a lower cost, making the Bantam a wise choice for any potential buyer.

A SOUTH AFRICAN LIFESTYLE

The South African market has for many years enjoyed a unique love affair with small trucks. With a passion for the outdoors and a hardworking mentality the Bantam is truly representative of the South Africa lifestyle.

While the Bantam offers many practical and occupational benefits it is similarly adept at supporting lifestyle pursuits such as surfing, quadbiking, kayaking or camping.

The Bantam’s new exterior physique is the first indication of the fun-loving nature of the vehicle. The new design incorporates a new front grille with a wider and deeper mesh pattern.  Both front headlamps now sport transparent multi-reflector lens elements, while the 1.6i XLE benefits from the addition of stylish new fog lamps.

The 1.3i XL receives an extra dose of style with the addition of a painted front bumper. The base model 1.3 Bantam also receives some minor tweaks – a new rear end bumperette and interior cloth trim add further appeal as does the addition of a sliding backlite, which adds to the overall functionality of the vehicle.

The 1.3i XL, 1.6i XLT and the 1.6i XLE have received the majority of the exterior enhancements. The three models now sport newly shaped rear step bumpers as well as new body side protection mouldings. Also on offer are new wheel lip mouldings, which perfectly compliment the updated 14″ alloy rims featured on the three vehicles.

The Bantam’s new look is completed by modernised seat fabrics and door trim panels as well as newly added mud flaps, front and rear, on all models bar the entry level 1.3i and 1.6i. Lastly the 1.6i XLE now displays body colour exterior handles and has been fitted with new removable PVC floor mats

CAR-LIKE FEATURES FOR A ½ TON BAKKIE

The front wheel driven Bantam sports Macpherson struts up front and rides on a conventional dead axle at the rear with gas-filled shocks front and rear. The combination equates to a comfortable driving experience that has many qualities normally associated with small passenger vehicles.

In addition to providing a sophisticated driving experience the Bantam is equipped with a number of comfort and convenience features that add to the car-like experience of the Bantam.

All models feature power steering for more adept manoeuvrability under any circumstance. Bucket seats across the range provide another example of the Bantam’s affinity for comfort.

Both the 1.6i XLE and the 1.6i XLT offer leather seats as an option, making them the only ½ ton bakkies to sport optional leather trim. The pair now also features remote central locking in addition to features such as a 4 speaker audio system, and air-conditioning as a standard fitment (optional on 1.3i, 1.3i XL and 1.6i).

The 1.6i XLE offers electric windows and mirrors as well as driver and passenger airbags and now becomes the only ½ bakkie to feature an alarm system as standard.

Where engineering safety into the new Bantam is concerned, Ford had three main objectives: Firstly, to ensure that chassis rigidity complements road handling and overall driveability. Secondly, to build a body shell that is able to withstand and absorb impact energy and carry a half-ton load without flexing or weakening – and thirdly, to direct the energy generated by an accident away from the occupants. These objectives have been accomplished using both active and passive safety features.

THE VEHICLE OF CHOICE FOR ASPIRING BUSINESS OWNERS

The Bantam remains the perfect partner for any aspiring business owner thanks to its unparalleled balance between comfort and convenience as well its reliable reputation.

Business owners will be able to rest easy knowing that the Bantam has a proven record of low running costs. In addition down time is minimised with parts being freely available thanks to the fact that the Bantam is engineered and manufactured in South Africa.

At 1 430mm the Bantam, offers the widest load box in its class – the added flexibility of the wider load box is an invaluable asset no matter what ones loading requirements are.

With six models and two engine variations available customers are able to choose a model tailored to their specific requirements.

The new Bantam will initially be available with two RoCam engine options: the trusty 1.3-litre 8-valve SOHC and the more powerful 1.6-litre option. The 1 297cc pushes out a maximum power output of 55kW @ 5 500rpm and produces a torque peak of 110kW @ 3 000rpm. The 1 597cc RoCam motor develops 70kW of power at 5 500rpm and has a maximum torque figure of 137Nm on offer from just 2 500rpm.

The RoCam engines are based on the Roller Cam principle, which ensures more accurate valve performance and greatly reduces friction and noise levels. The Roller Cam followers stay in constant contact with the camshaft to reduce friction and enhance engine durability.

Manufactured in Ford’s Port Elizabeth based plant, the RoCam motor is the perfect engine choice for the Bantam as it has been manufactured in South Africa to withstand South African conditions.

The RoCam motor was initially designed to meet the requirements of emerging markets that required motors to run on different fuel grades to many of the developed countries. The result is an engine that is able to run on almost any octane rating but still maintains the highest global quality standards.

The RoCam units are renowned for being durable and cost effective while still maintaining sophisticated engine management systems. South Africa now supplies diverse markets such as Asia, South America and Europe with the popular RoCam engines.

Both business and private owners will be happy to find that the Bantam comes standard with a comprehensive 3year / 100 000km warranty while services are pegged at 15 000km intervals.