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Changan bakkies: Making sense of dropside pick-ups

  • Changan bakkies – the upside of dropsides
  • Great for light deliveries to moving house
  • No wheel-arch intrusion – 2.7m load length

JOHANNESBURG, Gauteng – When you’re talking bakkies and the sentence includes “dropside”, according to Chinese company Changan, a new boy in the South African small-bakkie market, ”it means more than meets the eye…”

They’re distributed by JMC South Africa

”If you’ve got goods to move and want to supercharge the process and maximise efficiency,” a corporate media release sent to The Corner continues, ”a dropside bakkie makes life infinitely easier. We’re the only automaker currently offering an option in a compact light commercial – it’s the Changan Star III bakkie.”

CHANGAN BAKKIE: Cab-forward layout make a lot of sense when what counts is a long load bed. Image: Changan Motors
CHANGAN BAKKIE: Cab-forward layout make a lot of sense when what counts is a long load bed. i

That’s the cutie in the images… and, while ”compact”, it’s still a one-tonner.

The company loaned one to a family about to move house. ”What they needed,” the Changan release said, ”’was to move dozens of potted plants of various shapes and sizes – mostly heavy and bulky and, of course, unstackable – which made using a professional mover prohibitive.”


Loading from each side and the rear with the Star III’s sides dropped became easy.  The jigsaw of pots was, with several humans involved, moved in two trips.

”With a ‘bak’ length of 2.75m that was no surprise,” the team reported, ”and the absence of wheel-arch intrusions made the whole load bed  usable. Many single cabs are perhaps a half-metre shorter despite being perhaps a metre longer overall.”


The short wheelbase makes the Star III incredibly manoeuvrable and its forward-control layout and high driving position give the driver a commanding view of the road.

Star starts to shine

The bakkie has a 1.3-litre, 72kW/119Nm, four-cylinder engine driving the rear wheels and a five-speed manual gearbox.

Current retail price (Nov 2018) is R141 880.

CHANGAN BAKKIE: Doing the job with a dropside.

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