VW’s Revamped Saveiro: South America Thrives

  • Volkswagen introduces refreshed Saveiro pickup in South America with dynamic design tweaks and enhanced features.
  • South African bakkie enthusiasts left waiting as Saveiro remains exclusive to left-hand-drive markets, dampening hopes.
  • Volkswagen Group South Africa hints at potential introduction of a locally manufactured unibody bakkie, igniting anticipation for future offerings.

A new wave of excitement is sweeping across South America as Volkswagen introduces a revitalized version of its famed Saveiro pickup truck. The latest iteration, the fourth facelift of the third-generation Saveiro, comes with a slew of updates that reaffirm its status as a prominent contender in the bakkie market. However, as enthusiasts celebrate the refreshed Saveiro’s arrival in South America, South African consumers find themselves watching from the sidelines, yearning for a chance to experience this revamped legend on their own soil.

A Glimpse into the Renewed Saveiro

Volkswagen’s Saveiro, a unibody pickup truck, has a rich history that can be traced all the way back to its origins in 1982. Built on the foundation of the now-discontinued Gol hatchback, the Saveiro has undergone several transformations over the years, and the latest update solidifies its enduring appeal. The design enhancements, although subtle, contribute to a more dynamic and contemporary appearance.

The Saveiro’s facelift includes a redesigned front bumper, a new bonnet, and an updated grille adorned with a chrome strip that gracefully links the headlamps. The fenders receive fresh wheel-arch trim, and the rear taillights are now connected by a matte-black strip on select higher-tier models. Not only has the exterior received a facelift, but the rear bumper has also been revamped, potentially leading to an improved departure angle, making it even more adept at handling varied terrains.

Furthermore, a thoughtful adjustment to the front suspension grants the Saveiro an additional 10 mm of ground clearance. According to Volkswagen Brazil, this enhancement not only offers a more comfortable response to uneven surfaces but also delivers a better angle of attack during off-road adventures.

Power and Performance

Beneath the Saveiro’s hood resides Volkswagen’s reliable naturally aspirated 1.6-liter petrol engine (EA211), which generates 79 kW of power and 151 Nm of torque. Transmitting this power to the front axle is a 5-speed manual transmission that puts drivers in control of the driving experience. An interesting facet of the Saveiro is its adaptability to ethanol, which can result in slightly higher power outputs when compared to conventional petrol.

The Saveiro’s load-bearing capabilities are equally impressive. Single-cab variants boast an impressive payload capacity of 664 kg, showcasing its ability to handle substantial loads. On the other hand, the double-cab configuration, despite featuring two doors, remains adept at carrying up to 638 kg, making it a versatile choice for various needs.

Diverse Model Lineup for Varied Tastes

The rejuvenated Saveiro range encompasses four distinct models that cater to different preferences and lifestyles. The lineup includes:

ModelCab TypeTier
RobustSingle CabEntry Level
RobustDouble CabEntry Level
TrendlineSingle CabMid-Tier
Extreme (formerly Saveiro Cross)Double CabFlagship

Safety remains a top priority across the Saveiro range, with standard features such as dual front airbags, electronic stability control, hill-hold control, ABS, disc brakes on all wheels, and rear parking sensors. These measures ensure that both drivers and passengers are well-protected in various driving conditions.

South African Enthusiasts Await in Anticipation

As the refreshed Saveiro gains admiration in South America, South African enthusiasts are left with a feeling of longing. The end of production for the Nissan NP200 in the country’s half-tonne bakkie market by March 2024 further adds to the anticipation for a suitable replacement. The question arises: Will the Saveiro ever find its way onto South African roads?

Martina Biene, Chairperson and Managing Director of Volkswagen Group South Africa, has provided insights into this matter. While many have inquired about the possibility of introducing the Saveiro to the South African market, Biene explained that despite numerous feasibility studies, the intricate process of converting the left-hand-drive Saveiro to right-hand-drive has proven to be cost-prohibitive. This revelation dashes the hopes of South African consumers eager to embrace the Saveiro’s latest incarnation.

However, there is a silver lining on the horizon. Biene alluded to the potential introduction of a comparable unibody bakkie manufactured within South Africa. The “A0 Entry SUV,” a forthcoming vehicle from Volkswagen Group South Africa, will share the same MQB-A0 platform as the Polo and other esteemed VW Group products. Biene disclosed that this new model could potentially offer a payload capacity of up to 750 kg, catering to the demands of the South African market and offering a glimmer of hope for those longing for a new-generation bakkie.

In conclusion, as the refreshed Volkswagen Saveiro embarks on its journey in South America, South African consumers are left in eager anticipation of a similar offering tailored to their preferences. While the updated Saveiro shines on distant shores, Volkswagen Group South Africa continues its exploration of opportunities that align with the evolving needs and desires of its local customer base.

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