I HAVE never recommended a Chinese-made bakkie before, but the Steed 5 turbo-diesel bakkie is making history by being the first one I can recommend.
I drove the Steed 2.0 turbo-diesel double cab from Cape Town to Mossel Bay using the N2 and coming back on the gravel road via Van Wyksdorp – a good test of high-speed highway and various types of gravel roads.
The bakkie I drove had 10 000 km on the clock. I never heard a squeak or a rattle. The Steed 5 seems to be a very well built bakkie, along the lines of the previous Isuzu, but with a new engine and gearbox.
The fit and finish appears to be very good. It comes with the basic safety equipment like ABS, EBD, two airbags and fog lamps.
The cabin does not try to be car like. It is a comfortable, well laid out bakkie. The air-conditioner works well.
The radio/CD player is a standard type unit. The seats are comfortable, even over longer distances, but are not height adjustable.
The interior is completely dust free. I drove more than 300 km on gravel roads, without a speck of dust. It drives well on gravel roads – better than the HiLux or the previous KB.
On tar it is a pleasure to drive. The sixth gear is a long overdrive only good for level cruising, but in fifth, the Steed climbs hills without effort.
The steering is light at low speeds and stiffens with increased speed. It works very well. I found the brakes effective and well adjusted. The suspension is good for both on-road use and gravel travel. You can expect fuel consumption of around 10 litres per 100 km.
This is the first Chinese bakkie that you must consider if you are in the market for a bakkie. It is a very good value proposition.
The Steed does not try to be anything other than a fine one-ton light truck. Build quality seems to be good. It is fantastic value for money and it feels and looks like a real bakkie, which it is.
The Steed 5 Double Cab 2.0 VGT 4×2 costs R239 900; its 4×4 sibling costs R264 900 – prices that are almost impossible to beat.
It carries a 3-year or 100 000 km warranty.
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