By: Mpho Mahlangu
As part of the Chery Tiggo 7 Pro Max national media launch, Chery South Africa also took the opportunity to officially launch the Jaecoo brand, which falls under the same umbrella as Chery and Omoda. We got up close and personal with the Jaecoo J7 and J8 that were on display.
The first product to be launched by the new Jaecoo brand will be the J7, which is expected to go on sale in the first quarter of 2024.
The Jaecoo J7, which shares its platform and powertrain with its Chery Tiggo 7 Pro Max sibling, will be the brand’s core volume seller.
This means the J7 will be powered by the same 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine, with power outputs listed at 145kW and 290Nm of torque. The engine will be mated to a 7-speed DCT, with power sent to all four wheels via an intelligent 4WD system.
Jaecoo are positioning the J7 as an urban off-roader which is “tougher than typical urban SUVs but more comfortable than traditional off-roaders.” Up to seven different driving modes will be on offer to choose from, essentially catering for a vast number of terrains.
Interestingly, the automaker also shared with media their plans to introduce a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) variant of the J7, which is expected to hit local shores in Q3 2024.
From an exterior styling perspective, automaker says that the Jaecoo J7 blends classic aesthetics with cutting-edge design. A matrix-style grille, slim LED headlights and flush door handles all contribute to the J7’s distinctive styling.
The cabin is minimalist and boasts a unique 14.8-inch vertically positioned touchscreen, however we couldn’t help but notice how certain interior features resemble a certain UK-based automaker’s vehicle *cough, cough, Land Rover Defender* .
Also on display at the media event was the flagship Jaecoo J8 which is expected in South Africa in Q4 2024.
The large and in charge J8 certainly won’t be confused with another vehicle, at least not from an exterior styling point of view. A classic cut-through waistline, a large waterfall grille and 20-inch two-tone Tornado wheels are some of the highlight styling cues found on the Jaecoo J8.
Interestingly, the J8 will be launched locally as a six-seater only. A J8 PHEV is on the cards for South Africa however it’s yet to be confirmed for local introduction.
The automaker also plans to launch a smaller J5, with a J5 Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) and J5 Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) also on the cards. These models are all however yet to be confirmed.