These were the new bakkies, SUVs and cars announced at the 2023 Nampo show

Published May 17, 2023


By: Colin Windell

Bothaville, Free State - The annual Nampo Harvest Day agricultural show opened with a plethora of model launches from a variety of automakers keen to tap into the farming community.

Held in Bothaville in the Free State, the event has grown from being a purely farming equipment show to covering all aspects of farm life, and the “village” boasts its own airstrip, comprehensively filled with private and charter flights from all corners of the country.

With almost all the active motor companies in South Africa present, it is also the largest motor show. The interest by showgoers can easily be gauged by the large numbers that attend the twice-daily off-road exhibition where examples from all the manufacturers are driven through a tough stadium course, allowing an up-close look at their capabilities.

Attracting plenty of attention was the big and bold Isuzu D-MAX Arctic AT35, designed in collaboration with Arctic Trucks, which is renowned for producing some of the most capable overlanding vehicles on the planet.

“We launched the first-generation D-MAX Arctic AT35 in 2019, and it quickly earned an enviable reputation as one of the boldest, toughest and most capable 4x4 bakkies on the market,” says Kevin Fouche, the department executive of product planning and programme management at Isuzu Motors South Africa.

Isuzu’s Struandale plant is the only Isuzu facility in the world accredited by Arctic Trucks to produce the D-MAX AT35. Based on the range-topping D-MAX V-Cross 4x4, the AT35 is produced on the same production line as the standard D-MAX models.

Standing on 35-inch tyres, the Artic gains larger wheelarches and a beefed-up suspension where a purpose-designed lift kit raises the ground clearance from 232mm to 266mm and increases the vehicle height from 1 810mm to 1875mm.

The standard vehicle’s wading depth of 800mm climbs to 865mm on the D-MAX Arctic AT35, while the approach angle of 33 degrees, an improved departure angle of 23 degrees and the greater break-over angle of 34 degrees increase its off-road capability.

While not as radical, Mitsubishi came to the party with four new models including the first showing of the all-new Outlander.

“We are very excited that we are able to finally share Mitsubishi’s new flagship model with the public and feel that Nampo Harvest Day is the perfect location to do so,” says Jeffrey Allison, the general manager of marketing at Mitsubishi Motors South Africa.

Based on the Nissan X-Trail, the new Outlander is fitted with a 2.5-litre normally aspirated DOHC engine that produces 135kW and 245Nm, and is coupled to an eight-step CVT transmission offering a claimed consumption of 8.1 litre/100km on the combined cycle.

It has Super All-Wheel Control, an innovative electronically controlled AWD system that uses intuitive sensors to maximise vehicle control, distributing power to all four wheels, while four driving modes balance economy and performance.

The interior layout, comprising seven seats, offers multiple configurations, while the four-spoke leather steering wheel is tilt and telescopic adjustable and is home to cruise control buttons and paddle shifters.

A 12.3-inch Digital Driver Display is flanked by an eight-inch Smartphone-link display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on GLS models or a nine-inch unit on Aspire derivatives.

When it goes on sale, the Mitsubishi Outlander will be offered in two derivatives badged GLS and Aspire.

Ford had two new vehicles on show – the pre-production versions of the armoured Ranger, developed in conjunction with SVI Engineering, and the Ranger Wildtrak X that is due for general release later this year.

The bullet-resistant prototype B4 armoured vehicle is on the Double Cab Wildtrak 3.0L V6 4WD 10AT and features ballistic glass rated to stop handguns up to .44 Magnum, while the completed production version will get lightweight Kevlar sheets concealed within its body, providing occupants with 360-degree protection. Level B4 discreet represents the ideal anti-hijack solution and also delivers protection during brick-throwing incidents and against other hand-held projectiles.

Factory-backed Level B6 discreet armour – which protects against assault rifles, including AK47, R1 and R5, and is the highest level of civilian armour allowed without a special permit – will likewise be available for the new Ranger, along with a B6 Stopgun V2.0 kit pitched at the security industry.

“The Ranger Wildtrak range has been immensely popular in South Africa for more than a decade due to its trend-setting style, peerless status, innovative suite of driver assistance technologies and exceptional performance,” says Doreen Mashinini, the general manager of marketing at Ford South Africa.

“Nampo and Ford South Africa have a long and proud history and we’re thrilled to be revealing the Wildtrak X at this year’s event to whet the appetite of those customers who push the boundaries of an active, outdoor lifestyle.”

The Wildtrak X has a wider stance and increased ground clearance, along with purposeful all-terrain tyres fitted on 17-inch alloy wheels combined with specially tuned Bilstein Position-Sensitive Dampers.

It is also the first Ranger model to be equipped with Ford’s Trail Turn Assist. This system, which applies brake pressure to the inside rear wheel, helps reduce the turning radius by up to 25%.

It is designed to be used on loose surfaces at speeds of under 19km/h, and can be engaged when the vehicle is in either 4H or 4L and the rear differential is unlocked

The Wildtrak X is powered by Ford’s 2.0-litre Bi-Turbo diesel engine that produces 154kW of power and 500Nm of torque and is matched to a 10-speed automatic transmission.

GWM – at Nampo for the first time – showed opposite ends of the motoring scale, with the macho Tank off-roader and the fully electric Ora city car.

The Tank 300 will be the first model in the range to be launched with the larger Tank 500 likely to follow early next year.

Powered by a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine, the Tank 300 generates 162kW and 387Nm of torque, while the Tank HEV offers 258kW (combined) and 615Nm (combined). Both have a ground clearance of 224mm, an approach angle of 33 degrees and a departure angle of 34 degrees.

“Tank sits on a ladder-frame chassis, similar to the P-Series,” says chief operating officer Conrad Groenewald, “and this gives it serious off-road credentials. We believe both business and leisure buyers will be impressed with what they see”.

Pricing for the Tank 300 Range is expected to be between R685 900 and R851 900.

The GWM P-Series LTD will be the new flagship of the leisure range of Double Cab pick-ups. This limited edition is a 4x4 powered by a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine generating 120kW at 3 600r/min and 400Nm of torque from 1 500r/min, driving through an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

The new edition GWM P-Series LTD will be retailing for R694 950.

Ora is the first fully electric vehicle for the GWM brand in South Africa and is a compact city car with a battery range of up to 400km, producing 126kW and 250Nm from its lithium-ion battery pack and recharging from an 80kW DC charger will see it go from 10% to 80% in 41 minutes.

“This is a significant step for GWM South Africa, especially as the car uses a Dragon Volt battery from SVolt Energy Technology Co that is cobalt-free, as well as being long-lasting and extremely durable,” says Groenewald.

The GWM Ora fully electric range of vehicles will retail from R716 900 to R915 900.

Plenty of food for thought.