A value workhorse
GAVIN MYERS drives the JMC Boarding 4×2 SC LX Euro 4; a value-for-money single-cab bakkie that just might be worth considering
Having entered the local market in 2009, JMC – for Jiangling Motors Corporation – has made steady progress as one of the four Chinese light and medium commercial-vehicle suppliers that have managed to stick it out and get a foothold in the South African market.
The Boarding has been one of the company’s mainstay models over the years, and has recently come in for a bit of a refresh that includes a revised façade and Euro-4 powertrain. Granted, the overall styling is on the generic side, though the five-spoke alloys and front end – with its bold double-slat silver grille highlighting the large JMC logo – look good.
A single-cab bakkie is, however, not made to look good, it’s made to work … so what about that? Well, powering the Boarding is a 2,8-litre turbodiesel engine that produces 88 kW at 3 600 r/min and 245 Nm at 2 000 r/min.
The engine doesn’t rev high (it runs out of puff at the power peak), but it doesn’t need to; the torque is on tap from the start and shoves the Boarding along in a linear fashion whether laden or not. Drive is through a five-speed close-ratio gearbox that keeps the engine in the torque band at all times.
With a length of five metres and a three-metre wheelbase, the Boarding SC has a load bed measuring 2 290 (l) x 1 600 (w) x 380 (h) mm. It has a gross vehicle mass of 2 487 kg and a 1 497 kg tare mass, which endow it with a payload of 990 kg.
In LX spec, the Boarding offers electric windows; fog lamps and adjustable headlamps; a double-din sound system that includes CD, auxiliary and USB input; air-conditioning; key-operated central locking; and faux leather seats. Safety features include optional anti-lock brakes and electronic brakeforce distribution.
As with the exterior, the interior design is fairly generic, though JMC has spiced it up with silver accents and red-mesh door and centre armrest upholstery. The cab interior is slightly on the tight side, with not much rearward seat adjustment or stowage space.
Likewise, the door pockets are thin and difficult to access past the wide seats. With the exception of the air vents and centre cubby lid, which feel loose and flimsy, the quality of material, fit and finish is acceptable.
Any other niggles? Well, the motor is rather agricultural and the front suspension can lose composure if hitting a bump mid corner. However, these are issues that one can get used to with time.
JMC is currently offering a R10 000 cash-back deal on the Boarding 4×2 SC LX Euro 4, the base price of which is R194 880 (a Euro-2 version is available for R20 000 less). This includes a three-year/100 000 km warranty and roadside assistance. It competes against the likes of the petrol-only Fiat Fullback Single Cab at R240 900, the Foton Tunland Single Cab Workhorse at R209 995 and the GWM Steed 5 2.0 WGT Workhorse at R179 900.
As a value-based single-cab workhorse, the JMC offers a decent mix of carrying capability and standard spec, at a reasonable price.