August 02, 2019 By Kevin C. Limjoco Photos by Nicolas Calanoc

2018 JAC S7

Fulfilling best effort

Here is the other “star on the emblem” automotive brand, JAC, which uses a 5-pointed star instead of three. Before I get into their current in-country flagship vehicle, the S7 crossover, I want to give you all a very brief background of the company because JAC is growing way faster than we all expected.

JAC is officially called Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Co., Ltd., which is a Chinese state-owned consumer and commercial vehicle manufacturer based in Hefei, Anhui Province, China and was established in 1964. They have collaborated with Hyundai in the past and have recently partnered with Volkswagen AG for joint EV-solutions. At the moment, JAC’s own full-EV vehicles, headlined by the iEV6E models, are quite attractive and boast ranges up to 390 kilometers on a single full charge. The first model from the JAC Volkswagen partnership is the recently launched SOL E20X. They are not a small company at all with annual production of vehicles exceeding 500,000 units every year for almost a decade.

All that being said, there is nothing like experiencing the vehicle properly and independently, so I asked to spend a week with the domestic official distributor Triesenburg Auto Corporation’s (TAC) fully equipped 7-seater. TAC is also the exclusive distributor of King Long vans and Keyton MPVs, and is part of the hugely successful and diverse LICA Group of companies that have been doing business in the Philippines for more than 50 years.

I’m very happy to say that the TAC team has a genuine winner on their hands. The good-looking JAC S7 is a properly designed and engineered crossover with a strong emphasis on fulfilling customers’ needs and maximizing tangible values. Buying the JAC S7 is not a question of whether you have courage with a strong willingness of risk, as many potential buyers may automatically reason against. It’s my hope that consumers would give the brand the opportunity to reward you with a very positive experience. Much like I experienced, and I am quite a stern critic always looking out primarily for the consumer. I initially looked for as many compromises that the crossover may have had and found exceedingly little especially at this price and segment points. Sure, the common sea of plastics are present, which was expected, but what wasn’t expected was the refreshing high-level of abundant interior materials and equipment that was applied to all areas. I honestly think the JAC S7 is a justifiable alternative to even the award-winning domestic MPV staple: the Toyota Innova.

The S7 uses the same wheelbase length as the Innova at 2750 mm but it is 55 mm longer, 70 mm wider, but 35 mm lower on a monocoque frame with fully independent suspension instead of a ladder frame with a rigid rear-axle. It comes with 18-inch alloys wrapped with 235/60R18 103H Kumho Crugen Premium KL33 tires, and strong all-around brake discs too.

The JAC S7 seats its 7 passengers with even more general ride comfort combined with a lot more creature comforts compared to a top-spec and more expensive Innova. The climate control vents look great and work very well, the analog clock is actually a nice touch, and the double-stitched leather seats are well designed and very comfortable.

The cabin has exemplary NVH, even the engine bay is very well damped and sorted, the switchgear is good, it comes with a panoramic moonroof, very comprehensive active and passive safety equipment, the full-TFT instrumentation and central control unit have abundant data and features reinforced with a 360° parking camera and a rocking Infinity 10-speaker infotainment system.

And how does it drive? Actually, really well! It can run rings around the Innova. It handles and rides as well as a previous generation Hyundai Santa Fe but with more eagerness. After a week of testing, I can confidently say that the JAC S7 is currently the strongest and most convincing unconventional model in its genre.

Specifications

Engine

Engine Inline-4
Displacement 1997 cc
Cylinder Head DOHC 16V
Fuel Injector Direct Injection Intercooled Turbo
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 188 bhp @ 5000 rpm
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 221 lb-ft @ 1800-4000 rpm
Transmission 6-speed DCT

Performance

Top Speed 170 km/h
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 9.3 sec.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l) 9.1 L/100 kms

Ratings

Price as Tested (PHP) Php 1,490,000
What's Great Very long list of standard equipment, peppy, full-featured, tremendous value, comfortable.
What's Not So Early brand anxiety, halogen headlights, fake rear exhaust trim, 2WD.
C! Editors Rating 9/10
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