Brent Co / Brent Co | October 27, 2010 14:01
A Storm is BrewingAs far as vehicles from China are concerned, Foton can be considered one of the more reliable names in the light commercial category. The Foton brand belongs to the Beijing Automotive Group, manufacturer for Jeep, Daimler, and recently Saab.
The Foton Blizzard is inspired by the Isuzu TFR from which the design and basic setup was patterned after. After officially introducing the pick-up truck to the local market in 2009, Foton decided to come up with an upgraded version. Enter the Turbo variant.
Under the hood is a 2.8-liter turbo-diesel engine, possibly modeled after an Isuzu as well. Producing 92 PS of power and a 202 Newton-Meters torque, engine is mated to 5-speed manual transmission. Acceleration is heavily aided by the turbo for a preliminary kick but which eventually plateaus at 3000rpm.
Brakes have ample stopping power and would have been decent if not for the pedal feel being a bit on the spongy side. ABS is standard equipment on the 4x4 variant as a safety feature. The drive system can be switched from 2-wheel to 4-wheel drive modes on the fly electronically with buttons located in the center of the dashboard, signs of modern technology at least. Steering feels very light but hints of reaction delay. There is little amount of body roll even with a stiff suspension.
For a truck, the Blizzard does its basic job but it ends there. Don't expect a joy ride on this work horse, as the rigid axle rears and double wishbone front suspension setup make the journey stiff and bouncy. You can forget about your travel playlist as well or keeping the radio volume down, because engine noise is unbearably loud even at idle state. If you pay attention to it, vibration can be quite jarring.
The interior is utilitarian gray which gives a hint of the truck's function. Gray is also the color of the leather seats - no need to worry about getting in with dirty trousers there. The problem begins when it tried to be something it isn't: by adding faux wood. In my opinion, the accent is out of place and in bad taste.
Aesthetics aside, the legroom is adequate for the rear passengers given this vehicle's wheelbase compared to newer models. For a car that tries to impress with gentlemanly wood accents, you would think some thought was given on the passengers' comfort. But as it is, the brand can still improve its air conditioning, which isn't as cool as its name.
For the extra features, although enjoying it is questionable, Blizzard does provide a complete in-car entertainment system comprised of an MP3 capable CD player, a radio (with poor reception), USB connectivity, SD card slot and four speakers. Power features include door locks, windows and side mirrors. A keyless entry with alarm system is also factory installed.
The good news is this vehicle has a lot of room for improvement. Build quality is respectable, which is a strong point to start at, although enhancements in that department are always welcome. Foton may not be there yet among brands like Isuzu, Mitsubishi, Nissan, and Toyota, but based on functionality and at Php890, 000 tag price, the Blizzard Turbo 4x4 is at a very competitive level among its China-made counterparts.