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Chinese Jaecoo J8 luxury SUV confirmed for South Africa – What to expect

The new Jaecoo J8 SUV has been confirmed for a South African introduction, which will take place in the last quarter of 2024.

Only revealed in October, the J8 is the larger sibling of the J7 – the latter of which is arriving on our roads in early 2024 – and the flagship of the automaker’s global catalogue.

Jaecoo is a sub-division of Chinese automaker Chery and focuses on producing more rugged SUVs than Chery’s urban-focused Tiggo Pro range. In fact, South Africa will be one of the first countries to welcome the Jaecoo brand as it is still quite young, only debuting at the Shanghai Auto Show in China in April this year.

The name is a fusion of the German word “jäger” (meaning “hunter”) and the English term “cool”, thus “capturing two elements central to the brand’s philosophy: outdoor adventure and urbanism,” said Tony Liu, executive deputy general manager for Omoda and Jaecoo.

The J7, J8, and other upcoming products will be sold through and supported by a dedicated network of dealerships, of which there are 30 already established across South Africa and another 20 in the pipeline before the end of 2024. 

What to expect

The J8 is the pinnacle of what Jaecoo has to bring to the table, being the largest and most luxurious SUV the automaker produces.

The sizeable six-seater features Nappa leather seats, a matte black deer leather roof, faux wood finishes, and soft-touch surfaces that serve to create an elegant atmosphere that would put to shame any of the rivals from Britain or Europe.

Beyond these premium materials, it is equipped with amenities such as a 24.6-inch curved infotainment screen, a 14-speaker Sony sound system, 255-colour waterfall-style rhythmic ambient lights, and a “super-sensory” air conditioning system with independent temperature and fan settings for each row of seating.

At 4,815mm long, 1,924mm wide, and 1,710mm tall, the new Jaecoo will also be one of the larger offerings in its price bracket once it arrives on our shores.

Under the hood, the J8 sports the same 2.0-litre, turbocharged petrol motor as in the Chery Tiggo 8 Pro Max, combined with a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

The motor is capable of generating 187kW and 390Nm in the Chery, but it remains to be seen whether it will be tuned up or down once it is adopted by the Jaecoo.

Complementing the power unit is either a two-wheel-drive or a smart four-wheel-drive system that can “easily master seven major driving scenarios, offering a more robust, agile, and smooth driving experience,” said the company.

This is paired with a “CDC magnetic levitation” suspension setup that can freely adjust the vehicle’s posture under different loads and road conditions to provide a good balance between comfort and handling at all times.

“More details, including local specifications and pricing, will be released closer to the respective models’ launches in 2024,” said Chery.

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