The first suggestion of a 4x4 ute from French automaker Peugeot only surfaced in 2016 and barely 15 months later the production version has been revealed.
Rather than the Toyota HiLux-based ‘premium’ ute mooted at the time, Peugeot has gone in an entirely different direction. Called the Peugeot Pick Up, the new ute is still borrowed from another automaker’s range, though, instead of a Toyota pairing, Peugeot has opted to rebadge the Dongfeng Rich ute as an extension of an existing joint-venture between the two companies.
That makes the Peugeot Pick Up a cut-price proposition, but rather than a global introduction for the new 4x4, Peugeot is looking to re-enter the African ute market, which it had previously had a presence in from the mid 1950s until as recently as 2005 with a ute version of the Peugeot 504.
Peugeot’s design input to differentiate the Pick Up from the Rich it’s based upon include a new grille with Peugeot script across the top, and the Peugeot name stamped into a unique tailgate skin, recreating the look of the 504 ute.
Peugeot touts the Pick Up’s robustness, reliability, and ease of maintenance but has also added a few luxuries to the equipment list including standard air conditioning, power windows, CD player, dual airbags, rear park sensors, and ABS brakes.
Class-leading interior room is also promised, although at its core the Pick Up (and the donor Dongfeng Rich) is based on the D22-generation Nissan Navara which first surfaced in the late 1990s.
Both 4x2 and 4x4 drivetrains will be offered, powered by a 2.5-litre common rail diesel engine producing a fairly feeble (by modern standards) 85kW and 280Nm, linked to a five-speed manual transmission.
Somewhat worryingly Peugeot suggests “the more the vehicle is loaded, the better it uses the drivetrain” suggesting unladen handling is likely to be sketchy at best. Payload maxes-out at a respectable 815kg.
While the Pick Up is part of Peugeot’s internationalisation plans, it’s not expected to appear outside of developing markets, with Africa the only confirmed market so far leaving the door open to a safer, more modern 4x4 ute to arrive in Europe - and potentially Australia.
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