Chinese brand JMC, which launched in 2010 with an Isuzu-lookalike bakkie called the BD, has renamed the range Boarding.

The new Boarding models are identical to the previous BD range with an 84kW/235Nm, 2.8-litre turbodiesel motor said to be sourced from business partner Isuzu, fitted to either single or double-cab body styles, both with two or four-wheel drivetrains.

I was told at the Boarding launch in Johannesburg last week that the new version also features a mild facelift, but all my eyes could pick up was new standard rubberising in the bin area.

There are three single-cab models ranging from Standard to Luxury trim levels that vary in price from R139 880 to R179 880, and two double-cabs, each with Luxury fittings but priced at R169 880 or R189 880 depending on drivetrain options.

JMC has sold about 200 bakkies since its South African introduction in March 2010 and now has 17 dealers nationwide. It claims to be the leading light-commercial builder in China and also the only Chinese brand not imported by an SA-owned company. JMC said it has a $50-million (R350-million) direct investment in SA and is wholly-owned by JMC China.

JMC now offers a standard three-year or 100 000km warranty, but service plans are still only offered as optional extras.

After a media test drive that involved on and off-road surfaces, it’s safe to say the Boarding falls squarely in with other “it’s-okay-for-a-Chinese-bakkie” bakkies, and is at least on par with numerous other Isuzu-lookalikes available locally.

The engine is very noisy, the interior rattles on even the smoothest roads, and the cabin is very rough around the edges. It is still impossible to compare this with Japanese rivals, but then again, so is the price. - Star Motoring