A tonne of support
Good loading ability, reliability and running costs have made Daihatsu’s Gran Max a popular choice among small business and fleet owners. SEAN NURSE joins the Daihatsu team to see how these features can also be used for a good cause.
The Daihatsu Gran Max has been a shining light for Daihatsu Southern Africa since its introduction to the market some three years ago. The proven powertrain and reliability of the vehicle have seen it achieve sales success among small business and fleet owners.
Daihatsu has marketed the Gran Max around three key features, first being its loading ability. It offers a 3,7 m3 load bed along with a one-tonne loading capacity, which is impressive for a vehicle this size. The low loading height of 720 mm and three-way drop sides make the loading and unloading of the vehicle less of an effort.
The second key feature is the reliability; the Terios-based powertrain and five-speed gearbox provide some 71 kW at 6 000 r/min and 134 Nm at 4 400 r/min. The powertrain is said to have the lowest warranty claim rate in the segment. In addition to rugged mechanicals, the chassis has been reinforced to accommodate large loads.
The third feature of the Gran Max is something that fleet or small business owners and indeed the general public are concerned with – fuel consumption and running costs. The parts for the Gran Max are readily available and therefore reasonably priced. It also features a clutch protection mechanism to ensure that the vehicle’s clutch will last as long as the manufacturer intended.
Daihatsu decided to put the 2013 Gran Max through a new set of challenges to test these three key areas. The vehicles were loaded with 300 kg and a specific route took members of the press on a back-road journey from Daihatsu’s headquarters in Boksburg, on Gauteng’s East Rand, to the Steve Biko Hospital in Pretoria.
The aim of this journey was to provide the Childhood Cancer Foundation of South Africa (CHOC) as well as the Children’s Oncology Ward of the Steve Biko hospital with goodies such as toys, colouring books and pens. Discount chain Makro supported the initiative with a donation of goods to the CHOC foundation.
A sizeable number of cash donations were also made by the media guests on behalf of Daihatsu SA. These will aid CHOC in caring for these children (who are of all ages, backgrounds and ethnicities) while providing the Children’s Oncology Ward with funds for vital equipment.
Daihatsu claims the Gran Max has a fuel consumption figure of 7,7 l/100 km unloaded but, as we experienced while competing in the fuel consumption challenge, it is possible for that figure to dip below 7,0 l/100 km, even when under load, should you choose to drive with fuel saving in mind.
When driving the Gran Max one does not expect luxury or a great deal of refinement, but where it does shine is in its ability to carry large loads without feeling overburdened. The seat however, is extremely upright and can become uncomfortable when driving for long periods.
The gear stick is situated in the perfect position; just a finger’s length from the steering wheel, while the slightly ponderous, but entirely manageable, shifts from the gearbox are in tune with the vehicle’s workman-like character.
Overall it is a vehicle with a bundle of attitude that always feels willing to tackle anything that you throw at it; from highways to the dirt roads we encountered, the Gran Max felt up to the challenge.
The Gran Max retails for R139 995 for the standard version which includes ABS brakes. The high-spec version comes in at R149 995 which sees the addition of dual airbags and air-conditioning. Both models come with a one-year/unlimited distance warranty.