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Review: JMC Landwind 5 4X2 MT Lux

2017-06-28 08:07

Alan Rosenmeyer

NOT TOO SHABBY: Wheels24's Janine van der Post finds the JMC Landwind 5 is rather enjoyable.Image: Wheels24 / Janine van der Post

Johannesburg - Jiangling Motor Corporation, better known as JMC, has been in South Africa for a few years with its Boarding and Vigus bakkies. Over time, it has built a reputation for offering tough, albeit basic, value-for-money vehicles. 

Recently JMC SA has expanded its line-up by entering the hotly-contested SUV market with the addition of its Landwind.

My impression is that this is a cautious, toe-in-the water exercise for JMC. To date there is only one version of the Landwind available, so let’s run through a few of the specs of the vehicle.  

READ: Here's why the JMC Landwind 5 is not such a crappy Chinese car

It’s powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine. Its fairly high outputs of 140kW/250Nm already put it near the top of the pack in terms of power in its segment.

Its positioning is unusual as its quite low/basic in terms of spec, creating an anomaly in my mind. I couldn’t quite work out what market position or segment the SUV is aimed at. Maybe a lower- power output or a much higher spec level with this motor would make a far better combination to buyers.

At present, the engine can only be mated with a 6-speed manual transmission, though an  automatic will be available soon. SUV’s are naturally suited to an auto for relaxed driving. In general usage, I found the gearbox rather “clunky” and heavy, especially in the cold. It did improve once it had warmed up but still remains a weak point in the vehicle.

                                                         Image: Wheels24 / Janine Van der Post

Although some other tests that I have read complained about turbo lag, I did not find this an issue at all. I found the engine responsive. Freeway driving is very pleasant with good acceleration in all gears and downshifting to overtake is seldom required. Cruising ability is assisted by fairly long gear ratios, that means that the engine is simply ticking over at less than 2500rpm at 120km/h.

Basic spec

Safety is catered for with ABS (with EBD) and two airbags. Once again, I believe that a higher spec model could include an increased airbag count for families although given its price I suppose its current load-out is sufficient. A loud beep and muting of the sound system occurs when engaging reverse and rear-park assist is fitted. 

Read here for more MotorMatters.

Inside, you'll notice how low-spec the model really. The steering wheel is devoid of any buttons or controls and the instrumentation is basic. No touch-screen and the infotainment system looks very dated. You'll notice a similar cell-phone style layout to the previous Ford Fiesta.

There's nothing wrong with it it's just rather old school and there are way too many buttons. The system does offer a USB facility and works very well. Below the infotainment system is the air-con and again I have no complaints with both heating (on cold Highveld mornings) and cooling functions.

                                                           Image: Wheels24 / Janine Van der Post

The first impression when entering the vehicle is of it s generous space. There's loads of legroom for rear passengers as well as the ability to adjust the angle of the rear backrests. The standard cloth upholstery looks like it will be hard-wearing and suited for family use (read: kids). One area that disappointing is the cheap look and feel of the shiny plastic along the door handles, something that could be improved very easily. 

The boot area is voluminous with Landwind quoting a capacity of 855 litres and the usual pull-out section to protect your luggage from prying eyes.  The rear seats do have a 60/40 split folding facility if you need more luggage capacity.

Landwind claim fuel consumption of 8.5-litres/100km for the vehicle which sounds reasonable for a vehicle of this size and type. 

In summary, this vehicle is a conundrum to me; It offers excellent space, probably too much engine and not enough luxury and up-to-date tech. However, the price positioning is very competitive. If you need a medium-sized family SUV with more than adequate power then this could be just the vehicle that you’ve been looking for. I’ll eat my hat if you can find a competitor with similar power and spec at this price.

Talking about price, the listed figure for the Landwind 5 is R289 880 but right now, there is a special offer at R249 880 and that includes tow bar and sidesteps.  

The 3 year or 100 000km warranty plus 5 year or 100 000km service plan could go a long way toward assuaging any lingering doubts that potential buyers may have regarding a relatively untried and unproven (in SA at least) product.

Read here for more MotorMatters.
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