Johannesburg - Chinese importer JAC is hoping to make South African bakkie buyers sit up and take notice with its new JAC T9 flagship double-cab offering.
The newcomer was fully revealed at the recent Shanghai Auto Show and is set to reach South African shores during the second half of 2023.
The JAC T9 will initially be available locally in turbocharged petrol and diesel form but, interestingly, there’s also a fully electric variant set to follow in 2024, along with a plug-in hybrid.
When it launches later this year, the JAC T9 will be available with a choice between two turbocharged 2.0-litre engines, with the diesel version offering 125kW and 410Nm and the petrol variant producing 168kW and 380Nm.
While that diesel engine hardly sounds competitive in today’s bakkie market, those who are prepared to wait until 2025 will get to opt for a new 2.5-litre turbodiesel unit.
The petrol and diesel engines will be paired with an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox, and buyers will get to choose between 4x2 and 4x4 variants, with the latter offering low range and an electronic diff lock.
JAC claims a maximum braked towing capacity of 3 500kg for the new J9.
The carmaker hasn’t announced the outputs of the fully-electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) variants, but the former will be fitted with an 88 kWh LFP battery pack that allows for a claimed range of over 400km between charges.
The PHEV variant pairs a 2.0-litre turbopetrol engine to an electric motor and 26.8 kWh LFP battery pack, allowing for claimed overall consumption of around 3.3 litres per 100km.
As its imposing looks imply, the JAC T9 is a big bakkie, with an overall length of 5 330mm making it marginally shorter than the new Ford Ranger. It’s built around the company’s third-generation “international” platform and reportedly boasts five-star safety ratings from five different global safety authorities.
JAC says the new bakkie boasts a ground clearance of 210mm and a payload of exactly one tonne.
As we’ve come to expect from modern Chinese vehicles, the cabin is packed with tech, including a 10.4-inch touch-screen infotainment system and 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster.
Driver assistance features include a 360-degree surround-view camera, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking.
"The new T9 is a welcome addition to the T-Series line-up, offering great value for money,” said JAC South Africa CEO Karl-Heinz Göbel.
“We expect the T9, with its powerful and efficient powerplants, large body design and innovative technology, to be an extremely attractive alternative at a more affordable price point," Göbel added.
Just how much it’s going to cost is something they’re not telling us for now, but all will be revealed closer to launch.
The JAC T9 double cab will be sold with a service plan and warranty that are both valid for five years or 100 000km.