The new Bantam is available in a variety of engine sizes, delivering power in a kilowatt range of between 55kW and 70kW. Available engines include the eight-valve 1.3-litre and 1.6-litre petrol SOHC engines, as well as the eight-valve 1.4-litre turbocharged diesel SOHC engine; each of which is equipped with manual five-speed transmission. The DuraTorq TDCi diesel engine uses a turbocharger and electronically controlled direct-injection system to create output of 50kW at 4000rpm; making these diesels incredibly capable on the road. The Bantam 1.6-litre engine can achieve a top speed of 171 kilometres per hour, with remarkably quiet road noise due to Accelerometer Pilot Control technology, which makes small adjustments to the main engine injectors every 0.3 milliseconds to ensure a hushed drive.
A variety of Bantam specifications are also on offer, and these include the:
- Bantam 1.3i
- Bantam 1.3i XL
- Bantam 1.3i XLT
- Bantam 1.6i
- Bantam 1.6i XL
- Bantam 1.6i XLT
- Bantam 1.6i XLE
- Diesel Bantam 1.4 TDCi
- Bantam 1.4 TDCi XLT
The standard Bantam is sold with air-conditioning and a radio-CD system as optional extras, while the XL models are available with two standard speakers, a radio-CD system, a rear step bumper, cab protector and body-side moulding. The XLE models have luxury interior features such as power adjustable mirrors, immobilisers and central locking.
Two impressive features in the Ford Bantam include good fuel consumption and power assisted steering, both of which are cost effective during congested city driving. Reviewers have tested consumption in the 1.6-litre Bantam engine in the city at just over nine litres per 100 kilometres, which when combined with this bakkie’s easy clutch and responsive transmission, results in affordable journeys. Tight power steering makes this Ford pickup solid at high speeds, while around corners the steering is supported by front Macpherson struts and gas-filled shocks, while in the back a conventional hard axle is also supported by gas-filled shocks, increasing this Ford’s handling accuracy.
In 2009, the Bantam Ford Pickup received an exterior revamp with redesigned front bumper and bonnet set, which is complemented by newly styled front headlamps while new 14-inch alloy wheels create a racy appeal. Reducing wind turbulence has clearly been a central design factor when reviewing this third generation Bantum: the body panels have been reworked for decreased wind noise, interior sealing has been optimised and advanced front and rear shocks reduce the effects of wind turbulence. The side windows behind each door add a sense of room within the cab, and increase the driver’s field of vision.
The Ford Bantam’s functional interior has a curved, weighty dashboard with a revised, easy-to-use instrument panel. The seats and door panels are trimmed in soft cloth and the seats are comfortable, while the rear and storage areas are finished in long-wear carpeting. Standard features in the XLE range include electric windows, immobiliser, central locking, air-conditioning, CD system with four speakers and electrically adjustable mirrors. In terms of interior luggage room, there are plenty of pockets and storage areas in which to place valuables, including pockets in the front of the seats, door pouches, or in the lockable cubbyhole. And conveniently, a shelf behind the seats has a double cup holder and barricade which stops loose items rolling off behind the seats when the Bantam rounds corners. Interior comfort, combined with exterior utility, is a maxim of the Bantam’s, and it is well-applied for corporate and private use. Considering that under the bonnet and in the suspension this Ford pickup remains largely unchanged, these new interior additions in 2010 are largely aimed at ensuring that you enjoy spending your time out on the road in your Bantam.