Not many of you heard about JAC, mostly because it’s a Chinese manufacturer which until recently didn’t managed to catch much attention. The company however, has recently made a joint venture with Navistar and started to use Cummins engines for its lineup of trucks.
At the moment, JAC is also in full expansion and plans to conquer new markets. Its lineup of vehicles includes light, medium and heavy duty models and all of them are fairly versatile.
The Heavy duty range of trucks is offered in tractor, mixer, dump and lorry configurations with gross vehicle weights ranging from 13000 kg to 50000 kg.
Whether we are talking about passenger cars or trucks, the Chinese manufacturers were never able to come up with attractive designs. The old JAC Heavy Duty range of trucks makes no exception and looks dated with a plane and rudimentary design.
The trucks feature a cab over engine configuration and are available in both day and sleeper versions to appeal to a wide range of customers.
The front grille is traversed by a few horizontal stripes which enhance the length of the cab and act as a base for the big JAC logo embossed above.
In order to improve the high speed stability, the truck received two lateral wind deflectors which also give a touch of dynamism to an otherwise highly utilitarian appearance.
The headlights are placed low into the bumper and their lenses are made of a strong material being able to endure without breaking the punishment of hard working conditions.
To offer easy access inside the cab, the truck was fitted with anti slip footsteps and ergonomically placed grab handles.
Don’t expect to find any modern interior, as the cab continues the dated look found outside. At least you’ll have plenty of space as the cab has a height of 2.0 meters creating a spacious and airy working environment.
Keeping in trend with today’s standards, the dashboard features a wraparound design, offering easy aces to the numerous controls fitted in the center console.
Unfortunately, the interior materials don’t do anything to hide the Chinese origins of the truck. There’s plenty of hard plastic that fails to pass the standard tap-tap test with the back of the knuckles, but at least it’s nicely grained and doesn’t cast much glare on the somewhat rakish front glass.
Compared to its European or even the Japanese rivals, the JAC truck is definitely a step behind when it comes to plastics, fabrics and build quality. Overall interior functionality, on the other hand, leaves very little to complain about. The instrument cluster is also nicely shaped with big gauges and indicators displaying the usual information.
Perhaps the most unfortunate piece of the interior puzzle is the high-gloss fake wood trim. Hence we’ll advise you to avoid it and stick to the matte finish, which makes the plastiwood much less noticeable.
Directly in front of the driver is a four spoke steering wheel which offers a confident grab and is also available with both tilt and telescopic adjustments.
The seats are part of the hard class and aren’t as comfortable as the European models. Though, they come with a wide range of adjustments, so it will be fairly easy to find a less uncomfortable driving position. For increased comfort, JAC also offers air suspended seats as an optional feature.
A large panoramic windscreen offers an excellent view of the road, while the high seats give you a commanding driving position.
You won’t complain about the storage either and the sleeper cabs offer a 1.95 meters length, 0.64 meter width resting place which is pretty basic but it offers a proper comfort. Other features found inside are indoor lamp, reading lamp, hooks for hanging clothes, sun proof panel, glove box, cigar lighter and electro-clock.
The JAC Heavy Duty trucks are powered by a range of Cummins engines which develop between 220 hp and 440 hp with maximum torque figures of 720 Nm to 2100 Nm. The Cummins engines are the best part of this truck, as regardless of what models you choose you’ll be rewarded with a proper punch and a huge torque achieved at relatively low revs. TO be more efficient and environmentally friendly, the Cummins engines use SCR (selective catalytic reduction) technology which makes them compliant with the Euro 3 and Euro 4 emission norms.
The engines are offered with a wide range of automated and manual transmissions. The manual transmissions have a rubbery feel, but the automated units come from Eaton which makes them pretty good and responsive, being able to deal great with the utilitarian character of the truck.
JAC Heavy Duty Engines Specifications
380 @ 1800
1825 @ 1200
Ride and handling
The JAC heavy Duty trucks are built on a strong frame and use all steel suspensions with parabolic leaf springs and hydraulic shock absorbers which can deal effortless with massive payloads. For increased performances there are also available optional air suspensions.
The full floating cab offers a proper ride quality while the shock absorbers manage to keep the smaller bumps outside the cab without affecting the driver comfort. Though, we’ll advise you to choose the air suspended seat option as it offers a significantly better ride than the standard one.
The truck is fitted with an overly light power steering which is a step behind the Japanese rivals. At low speeds however it will offer a better response despite its lack of any road feedback.
This old generation of the JAC Heavy Duty was replaced by a new model in 2011. But even for its time the truck was far behind most of its competitors due to the dated design and the poor built quality.
Luckily, the engines were supplied by Cummins which made the truck’s performances fairly good, as it managed to deal effortless with any payload. On the other hand, the ride wasn’t as comfortable as other vehicles in the segment and the handling was also pretty unsettled without inspiring you any kind of confidence.