New JAC T8 2.0 4X4
The demand for double cab bakkies in South Africa is as high as ever. No wonder several manufacturers have launched their challengers in the local market and one of those is the JAC T8.
We tested the Chinese carmaker’s T8 Double Cab (available at MyRide JAC Paarl) and wanted to put the new kid on the block through its paces.
WHAT’S UNDER THE JAC T8’S BONNET?
Power comes from a 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine with 104kW and 320Nm. Those power figures aren’t bad when you consider its engine’s low cylinder capacity.
It’s mated to a six-speed manual transmission and has a claimed fuel consumption of 7.8l/100km. Judging by the many photo’s of real life fuel consumption figures by proud T8 owners on the JAC forums, this consumption figure also seems a fair reflection of real life consumption figures.
A quick glance at the interior and you’ll notice black leatherette seats, a large touchscreen infotainment system and a leather-bound multifunction steering wheel.
The instrument cluster features lots of chrome in circular shapes and there’s more around the air vents. All in all, it’s a modern-looking interior and has several storage compartments binnacles, including cupholders and a large cubbyhole.
The space in the rear is adequate and the seats would do a good job of keeping the rear passengers comfortable on a long trip.
The JAC T8 rides on 18” wheels, and the alloy sports a unique design not seen in the segment.
With this being a 4×4 derivative we took the JAC T8 off the beaten track to test its capabilities. The bakkie held its own in what could be seen as tricky conditions, but it offered superior traction from all four wheels.
It’s fitted with stability control and that gave us the confidence to really push the bakkie to its limit on the rough stuff.
It’s advisable to bypass the short first gear and instead launch the JAC T8 in second, as it has sufficient torque.
We were left feeling that the JAC T8 is one of the best double cabs to come out of China, thanks to its performance on the trail we tested it on. Getting back onto the black stuff, the JAC T8 shone even brighter thanks to an easy clutch feel and strong lowdown torque.
Because its engine is lighter, the performance feels strong and sprightly thanks to its turbocharged feel.
When driving around town, the JAC T8’s good ride quality was evident. Despite being built on a ladder frame chassis it felt composed in the urban environment.
We know that buyers are looking for cheaper alternatives in the double cab market, but they’re not willing to compromise on safety and features.
JAC has fitted the T8 with a plethora of safety equipment including two airbags up front, as well as ABS, EBD, TCS, VDC, HBA and HAC.
Items as standard on this model worth mentioning include xenon headlights with LED daytime driving lights, LED rear lights and indicator lamps on the side mirrors.
In the highly competitive world of double cabs, it’s great to see a Chinese carmaker produce a quality bakkie that can withstand the requirements from South Africans who use bakkies for a myriad of applications.