JMC (also known as Jiangling Motors Co. Ltd) are a Chinese company that produce mid and high-end commercial vehicles and dual passenger/cargo vehicles that have ranked in the top echelons of sales revenue and volume for the last few years. As explained by the friendly team at Gindra Motors dealership in Kempton Park, the JMC Vigus is the latest in the 4×2/4×4 division that is currently making waves for its feature-packed and value-for-money offering.

The Vigus certainly looks the part of a tough, rugged frontier double-cab, with smooth and sleek lines that are underscored by a sturdy, solid frame. The vehicle itself is large and imposing; at 5.3metres in length and 1.7 metres in height, the Vigus certainly creates a whopping big first impression. The robust exterior is offset by a lovely, stylish interior that truly catches me off guard – I find myself wondering why the leather seats, smooth and silky dashboard and spacious interior were a surprise, and I am forced to admit that with such a full-bodied exterior, I had assumed it would be a work-horse inside – coarse, ugly and hard. By contrast, the cabin is luxurious and roomy, with well-padded seats and great finishes, and a full spectrum of features that hint at the fact that this is still a hard-working, weight-lifting, rock-crushing bakkie.

The engine, a 2.4 litre turbo diesel machine, rumbles pleasantly to life, identifying itself as a powerful pull force.  With an enormously spacious load bin, the Vigus has all the appeal of a functional and practical double-cab, whilst allowing passengers to sit in sedan-like luxury, both front and rear. I am particularly blown away by the extra space available in the cabin and the smooth, high-quality finishes. A great infotainment system is available, as well as multi-function steering wheel – the display is clear and user-friendly and I find myself feeling confident and assertive as I put it through its paces.

On the city road, the Vigus shows no hesitation and is a smooth and responsive drive. Switching to and from 4×4 mode is convenient in the 4×4 variant, and as far as off-road abilities go, my husband and his bundu-bashing friends testified with great enthusiasm to the effortless and fervent way in which the Vigus takes on the tougher terrain.

As the generous price puts the Vigus in the same category as some of the bottom range 4x4’s, it is on par with the top-level double-cabs in terms of features and capabilities. With the 4×2 petrol variants starting from only R224 880, the magic definitely lies in the value for money offered by this double cab. Gindra Motors also remind me that there is currently a R25 000 Trade Assistance or Cash Back benefit available at purchase, which – combined with substantial service plan (5 years/60 000km) and warranty (3 years/100 000km) – makes the Vigus an obvious choice when looking for a tough double cab.

By Desh Pillay Bechan