What’s in a name? When you’re talking bakkies and the name includes the word “Dropside”, it means more than meets the eye…

If you’ve got goods to move and you want to supercharge the process and maximise efficiency, a bakkie with a dropside configuration makes life infinitely easier. The only manufacturer currently offering this option in a compact light commercial vehicle configuration is the Changan Star III bakkie – yet it is still capable of carrying a full one tonne payload.

To put its attributes to the test we loaned one of our bakkies to a family on the move. What they needed to move included dozens of potted plants of various shapes and sizes – mostly heavy and bulky and, of course, unstackable. This made the cost of using professional movers to relocate them all but prohibitive.

But Changan came to the rescue. With the sides dropped to make for easy loading (from three directions simultaneously if necessary) and a jigsaw puzzle of pots created to load as many as possible, the green goods were moved in just two trips.

With a ‘bak’ length of 2.75 metres that came as no surprise to us and of course the absence of wheelarch intrusion makes the load area 100 percent usable. By way of comparison, many single cabs are up to half-a-metre shorter in ‘bak’ length despite the vehicle being up to a metre longer overall!

These factors make the Star III incredibly practical and manoeuvrable – just what is needed if your business loads and unload goods in tight spots. It measures just over 4.5 metres nose to tail and has a generous 2.9 metre wheelbase. With its forward-control layout and high driving position, the driver gets a commanding view of the surroundings, with obvious advantages in the workplace.

Factor in the willing and responsive 1.3-litre, 72kW/119Nm four-cylinder engine mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox and driving the rear wheels (the only suitable layout for a commercial vehicle) and it is no wonder the team at Changan feel justified in describing the Star III bakkie as a real hard worker.

At a current retail price of R141 880 business owners after an affordable and practical solution need look no further.