Distinctive and affordable

HEAD TURNER … The JAC T9’s distinctive appearance. Photo: Francois Lottering

Chinese manufacturer JAC has not only upped their game, they are slowly setting the trend for affordable and reliable vehicles.

The brand may have initially been frowned upon when first introduced to the Namibian market, but with the T9’s smaller brother, the T8, a different approach was paved for potential clients and JAC owners.

The T9 is worlds apart from the T8 in the upgraded segment alongside more prominent and costly brands.

The T9’s aggressive appearance, with its grill and integrated lights, bears a stark resemblance to classic American bakkies synonymous with the American dream, however, this vehicle comes at a fraction of the price, while being just as reliable and much more fuel efficient.

Top Revs recently had the opportunity to take the T9 out on the open road to see how it handles and what impressed was the size of the vehicle’s interior and exterior, and the solid feel on any road surface.

The power comes from the super responsive 2.0L diesel turbo engine, complemented by a ZF 8-speed automatic transmission. The T9 also offers the driver more experience, with four different driving modes – eco, standard, snow and sports.

The engine delivers 125Kw and 410Nm, which makes driving in thick sand a breeze due to the power to gear ratio, while engaging 4WD 4-High or $-Low settings can be done at the touch of a control knob.

The 8-speed ZF also assists in keeping revs low while ensuring enough torque is at hand without compromising on responsiveness.

The gear-lever is user friendly, giving a feeling of a race car’s sequential gearbox which is easy, smooth and simple to operate.

The T9 is quite sizeable for its range, measuring (LxWxH) 5330mm x1965mm x 1920mm. It also has a good ground clearance, with 210mm (21cm).

With the 360 camera and parking sensors, it makes parking in confined areas much easier.

The vehicle has various personalised settings, such as the 360 camera that can be set to show the surroundings once the indicator is activated. This allows the driver to see and observe any objects that might be a hazard to the safety of the car.

The multifunctional steering offers functions like speedcruise, telephone controls, infotainment controls and even data, as well as distance travelled, fuel consumption and fuel range.

With an average fuel consumption recorded by Top Revs of 13,5 litres per 100 km on a round trip from Swakopmund to Windhoek, the T9 can travel just over a 1 000km at an average speed of between 115 and 120kph with a fuel tank of 76 litres.

Night driving is also a joy, with the T9 lights able to be electronically adjusted from inside to ensure it will not blind oncoming traffic.

The cabin and reading lights are well designed and placed to light up the entire cabinet, and can be operated individually to suit the passengers without bothering the driver.

The two-tone leather-like seats and interior are both luxurious looking and pay attention to detail.

Like many car journalists focusing on the safety specs and accessories, this time around Top Revs also looked at passenger comfort in the back.

Apart from spacious leg and head space, the vehicle offers enough storage space in the doors and behind the two front seats by means of pockets, while a charging port between the front seats can be used to charge electronic devices.

As an advantage, a folding armrest complete with two cup holders is stowed away between the two rear passengers. It can be neatly stowed away making space for three passengers in the rear.

There is also a vent at the back for a comfortable drive, and the T9 is fitted with an electric controlled sunroof that has two different settings for a comfortable ride.

The vehicle’s towing capacity is impressive, with maximum braked towing of 3 500kg and a payload of a 1 000kg.

Look out for the T9’s siblings, the T6 and T8, as well as light commercial trucks in the same stable.

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