Launch review: JMC Carrying Plus and Vigus 5
The new Carrying Plus
With the introduction of the Carrying Plus, Jiangling Motors Corporation (JMC) South Africa has moved up a weight division.
The Plus boasts a 4-tonne payload yet is priced below R300 000 in dropside configuration. This price includes the security of a 3-year/90 000 km service plan and a 5-year/150 000 km warranty. It brings a great degree of affordability to this class.
Key updates include a spacious and safe cabin, efficient aerodynamics, two wheelbase options and two cabin widths. It is available in dropside, tipper and box van configurations.
Longer, larger and safer than the Carrying, the Carrying Plus has a dual-tyre rear axle. This enables it to comfortably manage a four-tonne payload.
The forward-control layout is aerodynamic and safe. Large, elegant headlights are stacked alongside the grille, above which there’s a wide, curved windscreen, giving the driver excellent forward visibility. The same approach has been taken with the side glass: the window line slants dramatically upward to ensure front three-quarter and side visibility. Large exterior mirrors stand wide of the cab, maximising rear visibility.
Testing mileage exceeded two million kilometres, in every conceivable condition, to ensure that all possible scenarios have been investigated. Mechanical downtime is the thief of productivity in the commercial vehicle market and with this in mind the engineers at JMC have worked closely with top automotive suppliers to ensure the Carrying Plus is rugged and reliable.
Features & Comfort
The needs of the driver and up to two passengers has been high on the priority list. Features such as power steering with height adjustment, and – on Lux versions – air conditioning and electric windows, all help to minimise human downtime.
Well-padded and ergonomically-designed seats from Lear Corporation ensure that driver fatigue will not be an issue while hard-wearing materials and quality plastics are designed with long life in mind.
Standard features include a radio, reverse warning alarm, front foglamps, dual sun visors and generous cabin oddment space.
The vehicle has additional high-strength steel in key places to increase rigidity and enhance not only safety but improve refinement.
Powered by a proven Isuzu-derived 2,8-litre turbodiesel mustering 84kW and 210Nm, the all-new JMC Carrying Plus is primarily designed with long days and short nights in mind: an 83-litre fuel tank maximises operating range.
A heavy-duty braking system includes ABS and an exhaust brake and drive is to the rear wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox and 16-inch wheels are fitted, with heavy duty tyres. It is obvious the Plus is a real workaholic.
Configurations and payload
The Carrying Plus has a tare weight of 2 480kg and has a gross vehicle mass of 6 500 for a payload of 4 020kg thanks to the dual-tyre rear axle.
When fitted with a dropside body the extended wheelbase Carrying Plus boasts a cargo area of 4 155mm by 1 940mm, with a depth of 380mm. The latter number increases to or 2 050mm in wide-cabin guise. With a box body, dimensions are 4 080mm by 1 910mm/2 050mm (normal and wide-body respectively) and a height of 1 930 or 2 050mm.
Partnering with global suppliers has results in a rugged and reliable vehicle which can handle tough operating conditions without complaint. As these suppliers are household brands in the motor industry, it also means parts are both affordable and readily available from JMC’s network of 25 service outlets.
The Carrying Plus moves the brand into a new area of the commercial vehicle market. With solid foundations already set by its smaller siblings, JMC SA is ready to change up a gear.
JMC South Africa has also has launched the latest Vigus double cab – the Vigus 5. The Vigus bakkie line was Introduced locally in 2014 and has become JMCSA’s best-seller. The latest version is expected to build on the solid foundations of its predecessor where rugged design and ownership affordability has positioned it clearly in the mind of the buyer who requires a double cab that’s mantra was – and remains – ‘no nonsense.’
Vigus 5 nevertheless encompasses many improvements while calling on a legacy extending beyond 50 years when it comes to vehicle manufacture.
It retains a body-on-frame construction with the chassis comprising no less than eight lateral braces. This results in a stiff, flex-free platform: this rigidity has handling and safety benefits. Independent, double wishbones with coil spring front suspension and a solid rear axle suspended on leaf springs complements an all-disc high-performance stopping system with ABS and EBD.
Confirming that this Vigus isn’t shy when it comes to hard labour is a pair of burly and generously-proportioned exterior tie-downs each side and an additional two on the inside – the load is going to stay where intended. The Vigus can carry a load of up to 815kg.
The bold grille is a standout feature of the striking styling, while smooth, flowing flanks ensuring the Vigus cuts easily through the air. The windscreen is steeply raked contributing to the efficient aerodynamics. Even the cab protector is neatly integrated to give the transition from cab to ‘bak’ a smooth and integrated look. Wraparound tail lights incorporate foglamps and the tailgate is opened with a sturdy central latch.
A willing yet refined four-cylinder 2.4-litre turbodiesel is the default engine choice and with 103 kW and 310Nm there’ll be no waiting around. This Puma engine – uprated in this guise – is the result of JMC’s successful collaboration with Ford. It is an outstanding powerplant for this kind of commercial application and the Puma is renowned for its long and trouble-free service life, along with low service costs.
A five-speed manual gearbox is standard and both two- and four-wheel drive versions are offered. A sophisticated cabin with soft-touch panels in key areas contributes to the new Vigus being a great all-rounder.
The cabin is trimmed to LX – luxury Extra – level, which means a generous array of equipment. Getting comfortable will pose no challenge thanks to a steering column adjustable for height and leather-clad seats positioned to provide both a commanding view of the terrain and staying power when long stints at the wheel are required.
More importantly, it was designed from the outset to bring JMC’s mainstream LCV right up to the minute in terms of overall look and feel. A new feature for this generation is the large touchscreen, mounted high up in the centre of the dashboard.
Chrome detailing and brushed aluminium garnishes around the outer air vents and the hang down centre section add to the ambience, as does the sense of quality in the tactility of the steering wheel, gear-lever and the switchgear. A pair of multifunction stalks take care of lights and wipers while steering wheel controls allow for the cruise control to be operated, along with the key functions of the entertainment system and phone.
The Vigus is generously equipped and reducing driver load still further is standard rear Park Distance Control, a multifunction steering wheel and cruise control. Passengers too benefit from the likes of standard air-conditioning, electric windows and central locking. With Bluetooth, dual 12 Volt outlets along with Aux and USB ports, staying in touch and in charge is easy.
The latest Vigus double cab bakkies represents a significant step forward. The proven reliability of the drivetrain and overall ruggedness of the design has been complemented by significantly improved comfort and refinement. Hassle-free ownership is further ensured by our three year or 100 000 km warranty and a six-year or 60 000 km service plan.
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