DFSK returns to the UK at the CV Show 2017

  • Chinese mini truck and van brand is back
  • New UK importer and distributer confirmed
  • Four model range, set to start under £10,000

Chinese light commercial vehicle (LCV) brand DFSK has a new UK importer and distributer, and has made a surprise return appearance at the CV Show 2017.

DFSK’s four-strong range of mini trucks and vans is unlike anything else on the current market, and in some ways seems to hark back to an earlier age of basic commercial transport.

But they promise exceptionally high value, plus a potentially appealing ratio of size to load capacity, so could appeal to budget-conscious urban operators.

Who the heck is DFSK?

Best known for its previous Loadhopper model – which may ring a few bells thanks to its hilarious fake BMW grille design, which looked highly incongruous on a micro van – DFSK is short for Dongfeng Sokon, and one of major Chinese manufacturing group Dongfeng Motor’s subsidiary brands.

Who is the new importer and distributor for DFSK?

A new company called Vehicle Import & Distribution Ltd – which has recently been established by Bassadone Automotive.

That probably doesn’t mean much to you (it doesn’t to us), but Bassadone Automotive also owns SsangYong Motor UK Ltd, the importer and distributer of SsangYong’s cars and commercials.

Hence the new DFSK models appearing on the SsangYong stand at the CV Show, alongside the Musso pickup and SsangYong Korando commercial.

What’s the new DFSK model range?

There will be four models initially: C31 single-cab mini truck, C32 double-cab mini truck, C35 panel van and C37 mini van.

An example of each of the first three is on display at the NEC.

Details and spec of the DFSK C31 mini truck

DFSK C31 mini truck

As with every DFSK, this is a compact vehicle: overall length is just 4,730mm, and it’s only 1,733mm wide. The load area is a generous 2,900mm long by 1,640mm, however – considerably larger than a more conventional single-cab pickup truck despite the smaller footprint. Payload is also impressive, at 1,245kg, while the dropsides make for easy access.

Performance, however, may not be so hot. Every DFSK on the show stand is powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine, which produces just 115hp and – more critically – just 147.5Nm of torque. Shifting a full payload is going to require… patience.

Details and spec of the DFSK C32 mini truck

DFSK C32 mini truck

You might expect the double-cab C32 to have the same exterior dimensions as the single-cab C31, only with additional cab space for a second row of seating. But no.

At 4,940mm by 1,655mm it’s both slightly longer and slightly narrower, which suggest the five passengers are going to want to be very good friends – especially in the back.

The load area for this model is 2,260mm long by 1,540mm wide, and the payload capacity is 1,185kg. Again there is dropside access. It’s powered by the same 1.5-litre petrol engine as the C31.

Details and spec of the DFSK C35 panel van

DFSK C35 panel van

Described as a city delivery vehicle, the C35 also combines small dimensions with a large load area.

Externally it’s 4,500mm long, 1,680mm wide and 2,000mm tall – which is actually slightly taller than the latest Citroen Dispatch, Peugeot Expert and Toyota Proace triplets.

The load area is 2,630mm long by 1,480mm wide and 1,300mm tall – adding up to 5.1 cubic metres of space in volume terms. Payload is 710kg, which is again impressive for such a small vehicle, and you get twin sliding side doors for convenience.

Power comes from the 1.5-litre petrol engine detailed above.

When do the new DFSK models go on sale, and how much do they cost?

There is no pricing information yet, but the DFSK range is expected to start at under £10,000 – which suggests they will be excellent value. Though perhaps they will need to be in order to compete with modern, diesel-powered rivals.

The new models will go on sale in summer 2017. We look forward to giving them a try.

A-Z of the CV Show 2017 on Parkers Vans

Best small vans for payload – the full list on Parkers Vans

Best small vans for fuel economy - on Parkers Vans