With their workhorse ranges fully developed, JAC now turns its attention to the leisure double-cab market.

The JAC T9 range offers a high-value alternative to established leisure double cabs.

With a variety of opponents ranging from the ancient Mahindra Pik Up to the high-value GWM P-Series, the JAC T9 faces strong competition in our market. And that’s without even mentioning established contenders from Ford, Toyota and Isuzu, or off-beat alternatives like the Nissan Navara, Peugeot Landtrek, or Mitsubishi Triton.

JAC T9 in motion

It’s a crowded marketplace, and, as Peugeot already found out, it’s extremely difficult to get traction with so many other compelling offerings out there. But JAC is feeling very optimistic about their newcomer, and a look at the spec sheet and price list soon reveals why.

Broad-shouldered and LED-framed, the JAC T9 looks thoroughly contemporary from the rear.

What is the JAC T9?

First unveiled at the 2023 Shangai Auto Show, a mere six months ago, the T9 caps off the JAC bakkie range. With the T6 and T8 model ranges catering for the less-expensive double cab market and covering the price range from R 350,000 to R 500,000, the T9 adds more features and technology to go with its more upmarket and more expensive positioning in the range.

JAC T9 Badge and LED tail lights

Interestingly, this also makes JAC the only manufacturer to offer three distinct double-cab models in their range, even if all three models are spun off the same platform. Seeing as the T9 sits at the top of the JAC bakkie range, it offers a lot of contemporary comfort- and technology features to complement its revised (and rather aggressive) styling. Not only does it look mean from the front, but burly black wheel arch extensions, side steps, a sports bar, and two-tone 18-inch alloy wheels ensure that the T9’s appearance should appeal to those who prefer some extroverted style in their double cab without needing to raid the aftermarket.

There is a choice between 2WD and 4WD models, but all JAC T9 models feature the ZF 8-speed automatic.What engine does the JAC T9 use?

While it uses the same 2.0-litre turbodiesel four-cylinder as you’d get in a T8, the T9 offers the ZF 8-speed automatic transmission instead of its lesser sibling’s 6-speed manual gearbox. The engine’s outputs are rated at 125 kW and 410 Nm, which is competitive with other offerings in this price bracket. Future drivetrain possibilities include a 2.0-litre turbo petrol mill, a fully-electric version, and various hybrid configurations, some of which are slated to arrive on local soil in 2024.

A digital instrument cluster is used in all JAC T9 models.

The drivetrain offers the choice between RWD or a part-time 4WD system with a low-range transfer case, with the latter version also receiving hill descent control and a rear differential lock. All models feature hill-start assist and stability control, so even the 2WD will get to most of the places you’d likely want to visit.

Plush leather seats with electric adjustment are standard in the JAC T9 range.

JAC T9 standard equipment

This is where the high-end JAC sets itself apart from its siblings, thanks to a very comprehensive kit list for its market segment. Standard features on all models include diamond-pattern leather seat trim and a multi-function steering wheel also wrapped in hide, a digital instrument cluster, automatic climate control with rear-seat vents, cruise control, electric driver’s seat adjustment, a 10.4-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity and smartphone mirroring, 220V, 12V and USB power outlets all over, and even wireless charging for your mobile device.

All JAC T9 models feature standard wireless charging pads.

Stepping up from the base “Lux” trim to the “Super Lux” adds niceties such as electric adjustment for the passenger seat, heated front seats, a power tilt-and-sliding sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, and an auto-dimming interior rear-view mirror.

JAC T9 Lux models feature a rear-view camera, but Super Lux trim adds a surround-view camera system.

JAC T9 safety features

Seeing as the T9 is aimed at the leisure market, it’s only reasonable to expect a comprehensive safety equipment list to go with the nice luxury features. While the JAC T9 has not yet been hurled at an obstacle by any of the international crash testing authorities, the related T8 did achieve a 4-star China NCAP rating. While this can’t be compared to the much more stringent Euro NCAP testing, it does indicate that the platform itself does at least conform to the generally accepted minimum requirements in its class.

Xenon headlights are standard on the JAC T9. While LEDs would have been even better, most opponents still offer halogen light units.

To this end, all T9 variants feature six airbags, disc brakes all round with ABS and electronic brake force distribution, a rear-view camera, rear parking sensors, auto-on headlamps, LED tail lamp clusters, and tyre-pressure monitoring. The JAC T9’s headlights buck the current trend by being xenon units instead of the LEDs which currently form the industry standard, but they are at least a huge step forward from the halogen lamps usually found in this price bracket. The high-spec T9 Super Lux adds a surround-view camera and front parking sensors to this list.

JAC T9 prices

Pricing takes on paramount importance when considering a high-value offering, even if a model is intended as the range-topper. With the sub-R 500,000 segment already served by the T6 and T8, the T9 range starts at R 529,900 for the base 4x2 Lux trim and runs up to R 649,900 for the range-topping 4x4 Super Lux.

Big and bold, the JAC T9 styling alone should appeal to those who want to stand out in a crowd.

This pricing structure pitches the automatic-gearbox-only JAC T9 range against a brace of low-to-mid-spec alternatives from Ford, Toyota, Isuzu, Volkswagen and GWM, and makes it rather more alluring than the entry-level Peugeot Landtrek as well. These prices include a warranty for five years or 100,000 km, and roadside assistance and a service plan for the same time and distance.

JAC T9 2.0 CTi 4x2 Lux: R 529,900

JAC T9 2.0 CTi 4x2 Super Lux:  R 579,900

JAC T9 2.0 CTi 4x4 Lux:  R 599,900

JAC T9 2.0 CTi 4x4 Super Lux:  R 649,900

Martin Pretorius