Would you pick the JAC T8 double cab bakkie over a Toyota Hilux or Ford Ranger?

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JAC Motors T8
JAC Motors T8
  • JAC T8 comes in 4x4 and 4x2 models, and both are well-appointed.
  • They claim you can get up to 900km of driving range on a tank of fuel.
  • It uses BorgWarner technology in its 4x4 drivetrain.
  • For motoring news, go to Wheels24

Chinese state-owned JAC Motors is looking to claim a larger slice of the pie in South Africa's increasingly popular double cab bakkie market. The company offers its new T8, which they say is the most advanced pick-up ever developed by JAC Motors in its near 60-year history.

The T8 bakkie is based on JAC Motors' eighth-generation international platform that's said to provide increased stability, safety and comfort. It is manufactured in China and is now exported to more than 40 countries worldwide. The T8's global launch took place in 2019 and has since boosted JAC's global growth in the rapidly rising leisure-orientated double-cab market segment. In South Africa, the new T8 2.0L CTi line-up comprises a 4×2 and a 4×4 derivative.

"The T8 double-cab is the bestseller in our product stable. With its powerful new 2.0-litre turbodiesel powerplant, it definitely will increase our share of this competitive market segment," says Karl-Heinz Göbel, Chief Executive Officer of JAC Motors South Africa.

Would you consider the new JAC T8 over a Toyota Hilux or a Ford Ranger? Tell us why in the comments section, or please send us an email here.

JAC Motors T8
JAC Motors T8

Stylish, eye-catching design

JAC is confident that the new T8's design will attract South Africans looking for something that turns heads. It adopts a large hexagonal black grille up front, connected to smart-looking xenon headlamps with built-in LED Daytime Running Lights. Fog lamps are integrated into the front bumper, and the JAC badge is boldly embedded in the grille, contributing to an overall rugged design. In keeping with that rugged theme, the bakkie comes with bold black wheel arches, custom running boards and a style bar to round off its macho appearance. 

We like the attractive two-tone 18-inch alloy wheels with a floral-inspired design, and the beefy 265/60 R18 tyres perfectly fit the bakkie's contemporary look. The unique 'Double C' LED tail-light design enhances its eye-catching appearance and makes it easily noticeable at night, too. It also features rear fog lamps.

JAC Motors T8
JAC Motors T8

Powerful and efficient new diesel engine

The T8's newly engineered, 2.0-litre common-rail four-cylinder turbodiesel engine features an intercooler and Electrical Variable Geometry Turbocharger (EVGT), which is good enough for 104kW and 320Nm. The powerplant is paired to a six-speed manual transmission. According to JAC, the average fuel consumption of the new 2.0-litre 4x2 model is 8.7 litres per 100 kilometres (in a combined cycle), and it will give you an approximate range of 900 kilometres on its 76-litre fuel tank.

JAC Motors T8
JAC Motors T8

Loaded with features and technologies

JAC says safety is the quality DNA Element of the company. This business philosophy sees a host of active and passive safety features included as standard. You get dual airbags, a traction control system (TCS), vehicle dynamics control (VDC), electronic stability control (ESC) and hill-start hold control (HHC). The T8 also features disc brakes in the front and rear, with an anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), brake override system (BOS), hydraulic brake assist (HBA) and a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS).

The bakkie comes respectably equipped on the luxury side of things and features luxurious interior appointments such as a multi-function steering wheel, adjustable steering column, cruise control, air-conditioner, leather seats, and electric windows. It also features a multi-information display instrument cluster, a reverse camera, rear park distance sensors, remote keyless entry and central locking with auto door locks.

Tech-savvy customers will also appreciate the vehicle's touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone support. 

JAC Motors T8
JAC Motors T8

It's built to take on the big names in the business

The new T8 features a double-wishbone independent front suspension with coil springs to achieve superior handling and passenger comfort. The manufacturer says the bakkie can better suppress body roll with more substantial lateral rigidity, especially when the vehicle is laden or encountering severe off-road conditions.

The bakkie supports a robust ladder frame suspension, including rear integral bridge support. It is 5325mm long, 1880mm wide, and 1830mm high, with a wheelbase of 3090mm. According to JAC, the turning radius of the T8 is a handy and surprising  6.2 metres, making urban and off-road driving a cinch. The T8's payload is 900kg, and its double-skinned load-box measures 1520mm (l) × 1520mm (w) × 470mm (d). The load-box is sprayed with an anti-scratch and corrosion-resistant truck bed liner, and the vehicle boasts a maximum towing mass (braked) of 2000kg.

JAC Motors T8
JAC Motors T8

The T8 4×4 model features an electronically-controlled part-time four-wheel-drive system from BorgWarner. With the press of a button, the driver can switch between two-wheel drive (2H) and four-wheel drive (4H) up to 80km/h. The T8 4×4 also offers a low-speed four-wheel drive (4L) selection and a torque amplification mode, enhancing off-road ability. 

All models come with a five-year or 150 000km manufacturer's warranty and a five-year or 60 000km service plan. Service intervals are scheduled every 10 000km.

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