South Africa

Jaecoo J7 lands on South African soil as market debut gets closer

Ahead of its eagerly awaited launch within the next two months, the first batch of Chery-owned Jaecoo’s J7 SUV have been spotted on local soil.

What to expect

Depicted in at least five colours on a car carrier reportedly in the Bryanston area of Johannesburg, the J7 will serve as the first model of the Jaecoo range that will be marketed in South Africa, and in tandem with the Omoda marque to create what Chery calls the O&J division.

Taking its name from the German for hunter – jäger – and cool, the J7 will be offered with front-wheel-drive or, as indicated by the images, all-wheel-drive, although exact model denominators remain unknown at present.

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While experienced last year in Chinese specification on the side-lines of Chery’s New Journey, New Life International User Summit in its hometown of Wuhu, the J7 will have notable specification differences for South Africa, the biggest being a 14.8-inch infotainment system as opposed to the regular 13.2-inch display in other markets.

First batch of Jaecoo J7's spotted in South Africa
First batch of J7s spotted on a car carrier mostly likely bound for a dealership in Bryanston. Image: Supplied

For the rest, South Africa is expected to get the 10.25-inch freestanding instrument cluster, a wireless smartphone charger, Sony sound system, heated front seats and a drive mode selector with seven settings; Eco, Normal, Sport, Snow, Mud, Sand and Off-Road.

Based on the same T1X platform as the Omoda C5, and indeed all of the current Chery products, the J7’s South African market dimensions is expected to be similar to the Chinese version, namely an overall length of 4 500 mm, width of 1 865 mm, height of 1 680 mm and wheelbase of 2 650 mm.

Petrol first, hybrid later

Along with a wading depth of 600 mm and ground clearance of 200 mm, the J7 will derive motivation from the same 1.6 T-GDI engine as the Tiggo 7 Pro Max and Tiggo 8 Pro, although outputs are still to be confirmed.

In China, where an aesthetically rebadged version called the Chery Tansuo 06 is sold, outputs are rated at the same 145kW/290Nm as in the mentioned Tiggo models, while in the Jaecoo version itself, power drops to 137 kW and torque to 275 Nm.

First batch of Jaecoo J7's spotted in South Africa
As evident by small chrome badge, the J7 will have all-wheel-drive traction as its most likely flagship variant. Image: Supplied

Regardless, the only transmission option buyers will have access to, is a seven-speed dual-clutch.

Confirmed to arrive later in the year, the plug-in hybrid J7 combines the smaller 1.5-litre petrol engine from the Omoda C5, Tiggo 4 Pro and Tiggo 7 Pro with a 19.27-kWh lithium-ion battery pack for an alleged total output of 180kW/510Nm.

In other markets, the setup has been rumoured to produce as much 240kW/545Nm, however, it remains open to speculation as to how much South African model will eventually produce.

More details soon

First shown at the Shanghai Auto Show last year, pricing for the J7 is still shrouded in mystery, though projections points to a starting sticker around the R650 000 to R700 000 mark.

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