There is no doubt that Foton is the best performing Chinese automotive brand in the Philippines. In 2018, the local company that handles the brand was able to break into the top 10 in terms of sales, edging out Chevrolet for the ninth spot overall.
There’s are quite a few reasons for that. Things like a good pricing strategy, a good reputation in after sales, and a robust line-up that -while not as well refined as more established marques- boasts of a robustness that really caters to those that want a tough, no-nonsense mover of materiel, people, or their families.
One of those models is the Foton View Traveller, a massive, high-roof van that has it where it counts in so many aspects, most especially in price.
I won’t mince words with you: the View Traveller is an example of China’s attack of the clones. You don’t have to be an eagle eyed sleuth to realize the exceptionally strong resemblance the View Traveller bears to the Toyota Hiace, particularly the massive LXV variant. That’s the reality of business in China, and intellectual property is a difficult thing to pursue given that Foton’s parent is, uh, state-owned. We’ll cycle back to this later on.Back to the looks, yes, the resemblance is strong, though Foton made a few small changes, particularly with the fascia. They have their own grille, their own headlights, their own wheels, and a few other bits and pieces here and there. Yes, at this point I’m stretching it; vans aren’t about winning beauty contests, and that’s because they’re all about size.

What matters with the View Traveller is the amount of mobile real estate it gives you for the money. The van measures in at 5555mm long, 2060mm wide and 2310mm tall thanks to that high roof, meaning most of us really can stand inside. That gives you about 11 and a half square meters of real estate, so all you really have to do is rent a parking space and you have your own little condo on wheels. Tiny house hunting, anyone? 

I jest, of course. Besides, the View Traveller won’t be good as a mobile condo given that it won’t win awards for interior design; it prioritizes function over form. The dashboard is familiar, but differentiated slightly, particularly with the center stack for the audio unit and manual dual airconditioning system. The steering wheel is decent, and has good grip about it, despite the urethane construction. One thing I noticed right away, and something that’s consistent with Chinese automobiles, is the relatively short seatbelt length. I guess they don’t have too many laterally bigger gentlemen in China that drive.