The arrival of new Chinese car brand Jaecoo in Malaysia means that we will see its first model—the J7 AWD SUV landing in showrooms soon. Now while the brand hasn’t yet arrived into Malaysia, right-hand drive vehicles are already on our roads testing. For the record, Jaecoo is actually a sub-brand of Chery, the brand that has recently made a comeback to the Malaysian market.
According to Jaecoo Malaysia, the J7 AWD is also available for special previews to prospective dealers and investors in advance of showroom openings. Meanwhile, the start of early pre-introduction marketing campaigns is expected to generate buzz before the vehicle’s official launch into the Malaysian market in 2024.
What exactly is the J7, then? It is a unibody SUV with dimensions of 1,865 mm in width, 1,680 mm in height, 4,500 mm in length and a wheelbase of 2,672 mms. To put it into perspective, it’s roughly the same size as a Honda CR-V.
A 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine producing 197 hp and 290 Nm powers the J7 with power being channelled to all four wheels using a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox. This drivetrain gives the J7 AWD a WLTP fuel consumption rate of 7.48 L/100 km and permits it to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in around 8 seconds, or so says Jaecoo.
The J7’s rugged SUV potential is suggested by its boxy external design. Highlights of the J7 AWD’s exterior include electric flush door handles, LED headlights, welcome lights and a taillight design reminiscent of the Ford Everest.
A 6-way powered driver seat with seat ventilation and heating is one of the interior highlights of the SUV with a chiller-equipped centre armrest box fitted for warmer climates.
The driver can use two screens—a 14.8-inch vertically-mounted touchscreen and a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster that’s linked to an eight-speaker sound system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
There are literally dozens of Chinese carmakers that we haven’t heard of yet, but newcomer (Chery’s) Jaecoo looks as accomplished and well-designed as any export brand coming out of China. And its interior appointments and quality seem on a par with those of Japan and Korea. Jaecoo was remaining tight-lipped about pricing but we can expect some extremely competitive prices when it lands in our showrooms next year.