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Manufactured as either a Mazda Bongo or Ford Freda, this 8 seater MPV has a lot going for it. The standard 2.5l turbo diesel engine gives more than enough power to drive the somewhat unaerodynamic box along at comfortable cruising speeds between 70 and 80mph, though over 80mph the fuel economy does suffer noticeably. BUT the japanese fuel filter system will accommodate the use of refined/recycled vegetable oils and biofuels without any additional modification.
Coming fitted with A/C as standard, most models also deliver power steering, electric windows (front), electric mirrors, and a handy rear parking mirror that for once actually helps!
The pure MPV version is often referred to as the 'Bongo-low' by those who have the auto-freetop elevating roof. This is mainly because the freetop incarnation of the Bongo is an excellent example of modern campervans. Not only does the roof extend to accommodate a 2 berth sleeping compartment (with emergency exit), but the seats can also be folded down for a further 2 berth, making this the only viable 4 berth mpv camervan on the market in this price range.
Competing with the VW and Mercades products I would have to say that the Japanese win the technology game - I had a rather envious look from a Merc owner who was struggling with his manual roof when I arrived at a campsite. Parking up and hitting the electric elevate button, he turned green by the time my roof had automatically popped up!
There are also lots of great extras available for the vehicle, from the simple FM band convertor for the original Japanese stereo, to after market armrests, cup holders, space technology beds, drop in kitchens, entertainment systems and attachable awnings. I own a 4 berth awning tent which I use as kitchen space on extended trips. Very easy and quick to set up. - most of these can be found on ebay.
All in all this is much more reliable and spacious than the old aircooled VW campers, much cheaper than the modern VW & Merc offerings, and fitted with many of the 'gadgets' that are expected as standard in this modern age.
For more detailed information why not check out the bongo owners club at www.bongofury.co.uk - also a perfect place to get replacement parts and service kits in stock in the UK.
. A good review but if you feel you would like to add or expand on the details in the review at any time in the future you can do this by pressing the edit link in the centre at the top of your review as you read it. . Fionaxx
exup35 10.05.2007 23:51
decent review - I hadn't heard about these, but they look decent enough for what they do . Is this an officially imported model to the UK?