Bakkies, Buyers' advice, Chevrolet, Motoring News, opel

Will crime cause demise of SA’s much-loved bakkie?

  • Car or bakkie – which makes more sense?
  • Working space, 600kg load, safely locked in
  • More versatility than SA’s beloved trucks


FOR GENERATIONS South Africa has been bakkie crazy – many of us grew up with a light truck in the driveway and many businesses needing a versatile workhorse/delivery vehicle chose a bakkie.

Opel’s Corsa, later re-badged Chevrolet Utility (bad and boring choice – Ed) was for many years selling way more than 1000 a month but go to Europe and businesses prefer the security of what Safricans call ”a panel van”.

So Chevrolet SA asked: What’s the attraction of a van over a bakkie?


Well, it seems crime is catching up nationwide – who in their right mind would leave anything on the load-bed of a bakkie these days? Many owners are now adding – or asking for the extra before taking a new delivery -a canopy or sliding security assembly over the open bit.

Unfortunately,  a load bay or canopy can’t be included in a vehicle’s theft alarm system and theft has become, according to Opel SA, commonplace.


The canopy is also an extra expense and secured by only a few clips – the first element to rip apart in a crash or collision. Hinges and gas struts can rip out and the the load-bed is not included in the air-conditioned space, has little headroom, and has no second-hand value – oh, and is usually white so will need to be spray-painted to match the bakkie’s paint job.


Cargo vans, however, are designed as versatile load-carriers, have much more load volume thanks to a lower load bed, keep any cargo out of sight and enclosed, and the anti-theft alarm will work.

The cab of Opel’s new Combo van, now in South Africa, is according to the automaker a comfortable place to spend time and the load volume can also be accessed by a side sliding door.

READ MORE Opel features on Carman’s Corner

Motive power comes from a 1.6 turbodiesel engine capable of towing a bike-trailer, boat or extra cargo on top of the main 3.3 cubic metres load volume..

Standard safety kit includes a driver’s crash bag, full-height steel bulkhead ‘twixt cab and cargo, stability and traction control, hill-start assistance and emergency braking. The van’s sides are excellent for corporate advertising – Opel estimates it will be seen by as many as 70 000 people a day in a busy metro.


The Combo can also be used as a weatherproof working space – space which will also be appreciated by employees getting in and out for tools, goods or other equipment.

The Opel Combo’s squarish body shape means there’s ample space inside, the low floor makes access easy and the vehicle is rated to carry 600kg.

(…and, a suggestion… on a long trip or camping trip you can kip in it.)

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