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JAC T9 unleashed in Zim

THE JAC T9, a rugged but attractive bakkie, is now on sale at JAC Motors Zimbabwe. With prices starting at US$47 500, it is clear the Chinese have found something sensational.

THE JAC T9, a rugged but attractive bakkie, is now on sale at JAC Motors Zimbabwe. With prices starting at US$47 500, it is clear the Chinese have found something sensational.

During Easter, I found a blue one at Sam Levy Shops, and it had presence. I abruptly pulled over, got out of my vehicle, and walked around the T9. As a self-proclaimed "car guy" I can absolutely relate; I have been in worse situations.

The bakkie from JAC Motors, the T9 2.0L CTi, is capable of being an industry shaker. The T9's quick turbo-diesel engine and precise ZF eight-speed automated transmission power, its dominating presence on the road and array of active and passive safety systems.

Adventurers and those with busy schedules will love the T9 for its superb performance, fuel efficiency, roomy interior, and car-like handling. The T9 is serious business, going after the increasing demand for double-cab vehicles with a variety of 2.0L CTi variants that come in 4×2 and 4×4 body styles.

The Chinese mean business

Back when the P Series debuted in Zimbabwe a few years ago, I did warn readers to disregard Chinese cars at their own peril. The Chinese get the best designers and technology from other manufacturers.

They refine this knowledge and technology to offer the resulting products at a lower price. Where other manufacturers offer extra features at a cost to the buyer, the Chinese offer them as standard.

The T9 aims to challenge well-established brands in the bakkie industry, such as the Toyota Hilux, Isuzu and Ford Ranger. Believe me when I say it does. Built in China and sent to more than 40 nations, the T9 is now locally available after having been successfully launched in South Africa recently.

This week, their managing director, Takudzwa Nyamakura, invited me to spend the day with the beautiful but gritty looking T9. Nyamakura said: "The stylishly designed T9 isn't just a bakkie; it is a lifestyle — a fusion of power, advanced safety, and luxurious comfort, delivering the complete lifestyle experience".

He was not off the mark, as that aptly captures the essence of the T9. Regarding appearances, the new Chinese competitor is off to a strong start. As you drive along the road, its swept-back clusters of daytime running lights and large, intimidating grille draw attention; one onlooker even drew comparisons to a Raptor.

It sits at the lower end of the double-cab pricing range and offers better looks and a more comfortable ride than some of the more expensive alternatives. Available in 4x2 and 4x4 drive configurations, it costs between US$47 000 and US$53 500, depending on the standard grade and trim level.


The T9 has an updated powertrain range, with a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine being the base model. For the year 2024, more engine alternatives are in the works, including turbo-petrol, BEV, and PHEV batteries.

With its eight-speed automated transmission and 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine, it produces 125 kW and 410 Nm of torque. Typical 4x4 features include low-range gearing and a diff lock.

Impressive power and performance are only two of the many benefits that the T9 Bakkie offers. With its 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine and user-friendly ZF 8-speed automatic gearbox, you will feel at ease either cruising down the highway or taking on rough terrain.

The JAC T9's 4x4 variants come with a low-range transfer case and a rear diff lock, making them part-time 4x4 options.

I was able to get it up to speed on dirt roads and highways with reasonable ease. There is noise once the turbo spools in, and it glides along at higher speeds calmly and pleasantly. It boasts one of the best NVHs of any bakkie I have driven.

Even without any cargo, the ride was extremely pleasant for a bakkie, which surprised me greatly.


The inside was also pleasantly surprising.

Featuring quilt-patterned leather seats and an abundance of simulated satin chrome decoration on the dashboard and centre console, JAC makes no secret of its aim to become upscale.

The T9 has a captivating and contemporary design that effortlessly combines form and function. A high-strength steel birdcage body, multi-layer anti-collision beams, and modern braking systems are just a few of the safety measures that come standard on this vehicle.

Leather upholstery, automatic temperature control, and a high-end infotainment system that works with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are some of the luxurious interior touches in the T9.

In the centre of the cockpit sits a massive vertical touchscreen, 10.4 inches (26.4 cm), with sleek, contemporary graphics. Even though JAC is obviously embracing modern technology, the temperature settings should be more conveniently located on a separate screen.

Leather seats with electronic adjustment for the driver, automatic temperature control, cruise control, a multi-function steering wheel, and the infotainment system described earlier are all standard features in even the cheapest model.

The "Super Lux" trim level, which I tested, comes standard with a sunroof, heated front seats with electronic adjustment for the front passenger, rear privacy glass, and a surround-view camera.

It comes with a 5-year/100,000-kilometre warranty. I peeked around their shops. Accredited JAC technicians provide maintenance and repairs utilising state-of-the-art JAC software, hardware, and tools.

My decision

It is a terrific deal considering the price and the whole package that this bakkie offers. It may pose a serious challenge to the industry leaders as time goes. The JAC T9 is appealing enough to make budget-conscious bakkie purchasers pay note.

As companies look at good bakkies whist cutting costs, the T9 will meet the brief. South Africans have gone wild over this bakkie. It will do well locally if promoted correctly.

This new Chinese competitor is a great pick at this price range due to its stunning, rugged, handsome aesthetics and spacious modern SUV like interior.

Call JAC Motors Zimbabwe at 53 Seke Road, 0242 750557/0773 080 873, for more details on the JAC T9.


Displacement (cc): 1999 cc

Emission Control: Euro II

Engine: 2.0 turbo diesel

Fuel consumption: 7.8l/100km

Maximum Power (kw@r/min): 125 kw @ 3600 rpm

Maximum Torque (Nm@r/min): 410 Nm @ 1500-2500 rpm

Transmission: ZF 8-speed Automatic Transmission

  • andrew@muzamhindo.com.

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