and the Land­wind SUV com­peti­tor from Jian­gling Mo­tor Cor­po­ra­tion

BRIAN BAS­SETT drives the JMC Land­wind 5

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE -

THE South African ve­hi­cle mar­ket seems to have a huge ap­petite for com­pact crossovers and SUVs, which has led to the withdrawal of some ex­cel­lent large sedans from the mar­ket­place.

There also ap­pears to be a grad­u­ally in­creas­ing ac­cep­tance of Chi­nese cars so the in­tro­duc­tion of the Land­wind in 2015, a ve­hi­cle first shown at the Guangzhou Mo­tor Show in 2012, there­fore comes as no sur­prise.

The Land­wind’s de­sign and man­u­fac­ture has in­volved a num­ber of dis­tin­guished names in the au­to­mo­tive world. The en­gine is a 2,0 litre Mit­subishi power plant, which once pow­ered the Mit­subishi Evo, while Pro-Drive pro­vided the sus­pen­sion, Borg Warner the turbo charger, Del­phi the elec­tron­ics and Ge­trag the gear­box. But the Land­wind com­petes against the likes of the Nis­san Juke, Ford Ecosport and Mahin­dra XUV 500 — all very good buys. So we are grate­ful to Ba­boo Essa of Metro Car Sales for al­low­ing us a few days with the car.

Styling

The first thing one looks for in a Chi­nese ve­hi­cle is the ex­is­tence of de­sign cues that may de­rive from other sim­i­lar, suc­cess­ful Ja­panese, Korean or Euro­pean ve­hi­cles on the mar­ket.

The Land­wind, how­ever, ap­pears to be re­fresh­ingly new in de­sign, al­though there are those who see el­e­ments of the Ford Kuga, Re­nault Koleos and Hyundai ix35 in its makeup.

That mi­nor is­sue aside, the de­sign won’t over­whelm you but it does grow on you. The ex­te­rior is smooth and slick. It also does not look like any­thing else on the road and projects a bold, prac­ti­cal and solid stance, which gives it a pres­ence even though the de­sign is not ag­gres­sive.

The front end is quite long and flanked by swept back head­lamps on ei­ther side of a three-slat­ted grille with cen­tre badge. The car also has a pair of fog lamps flank­ing a black lower grille and the rear end has a well-de­signed tail­gate flanked by wrap-around tail lamps. In all, a well-pack­aged and good-look­ing ex­te­rior.

In­te­rior

The in­te­rior is light, spa­cious and airy. The in­te­rior ar­range­ment is use­ful with about a hand width of head­room and a huge rear seat space, which al­lows three adults plenty of leg room.

The dash is pleas­antly un­fussy and be­sides the many but­tons for the ra­dio/CD/AUX, it is easy to op­er­ate. There is un­for­tu­nately no multi-func­tion steer­ing wheel, touch screen, Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity or cruise con­trol.

But while the Land­wind lacks the ba­sic add-ons that help sell the more ex­pen­sive SUVs, what it does of­fer are easy to op­er­ate man­u­ally.

One nig­gle for es­pe­cially more pe­tite driv­ers will be the driver’s seat, which has no height ad­just­ment. For the longer driver, the rake-and-reach ad­just­ment for the steer­ing wheel does help to cre­ate more knee room. Other than the height prob­lem with the driver’s seat, the seats are well fin­ished in a ro­bust two-tone fab­ric and of­fer com­fort and space.

Hard plas­tics abound in this price range but the piano black trim holds the de­sign to­gether in a mod­ern and fash­ion­able man­ner. The boot space is con­sid­er­able and al­most dou­bles with the rear seat folded down. The level of crafts­man­ship is sur­pris­ingly good, but the ve­hi­cle we drove had a cover for the cub­by­hole that did not quite fit prop­erly. The steer­ing wheel and gear lever ap­pear to lack ro­bust­ness, al­though gear changes re­main un­af­fected.

Safety and se­cu­rity

The Land­wind has all of the fea­tures needed for a safe jour­ney.

There is ABS with EBD, park dis­tance con­trol, a high mounted rear brake light, child safety rear door locks and seat belts for all.

The car has, in ad­di­tion, elec­tric win­dows and side mir­rors, as well as driver and pas­sen­ger air bags. Power steer­ing is stan­dard and the wipers have an in­ter­mit­tent set­ting, while the roof rails will take your ex­tra lug­gage for the hol­i­days.

Per­for­mance and han­dling

The Land­wind is an ur­ban SUV and the four-cylin­der, tur­bocharged Shenyang Aerospace Mit­subishi 4G63S4T en­gine puts out 140 kW of power and 250 Nm of torque.

Mated to a six-speed man­ual gear­box it will take you from 0-100 km/h in about 11 sec­onds and top speed, should you need it, is around 185 km/h. Fuel con­sump­tion is dif­fi­cult with an SUV, but is likely to be around 10,5 l per 100 km in the com­bined cy­cle.

The Mit­subishi en­gine un­der the Land­wind’s hood is re­spon­sive and en­er­getic, but the en­gine re­ally only livens up at around 3 000 rpm, when it has the feel its power and torque pre­dict. The steer­ing is quite re­spon­sive, but the car does not like be­ing driven hard on very poor roads.

The soft spring­ing re­sults in some body roll but the ride on most road sur­faces is pli­ant.

At nor­mal speeds the Land­wind had no prob­lem on dirt and the 190 mm ground clear­ance en­sures there is no scrap­ing on very bad roads.

For mums look­ing for a spa­cious SUV, the Land­wind of­fers fam­ily transport with­out pre­ten­sions or badge clout, but with a big dis­count and a three­year/100 000 km guar­an­tee and a two-year /60 000 km ser­vice plan.

And, a bonus when it comes to ser­vic­ing costs, Metro Cars’ de­voted garage is no­tably lower in price than the com­peti­tors who do have the badge clout.

Costs and com­pe­ti­tion

The Land­wind 5, 2,0 MT will cost you around R290 000. Land­wind deal­ers do, how­ever, have a cur­rent of­fer of R40 000 deal as­sis­tance, which brings the price down to R250 000 to turn this SUV into quite an at­trac­tive propo­si­tion.

This mar­ket sec­tor is com­pet­i­tive and you should also look at the GWM H6, Mahin­dra XUV 500, SsangYong Ko­rando and Nis­san Juke.

PHOTO: AL­WYN VILJOEN

The Land­wind is made for mums who just want a good-look­ing, spa­cious fam­ily car that won’t break the bank and can tra­verse oc­ca­sional dirt roads.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.