The Workhorse Pick-up For the Working Class

If you are searching for an affordable hardworking and resilient workhorse Bakkie – the JMC Boarding Euro II Single cab should definitely be on your shortlist.

This is going to sound strange, but while driving the JMC Boarding, it was like unbeknown to me I had joined a secret society. After just three days of driving the Boarding, I suddenly noticed other Boarding Bakkies on the road. While waiting for a parking space to become available at the local shopping mall. I randomly struck up a conversation with another Boarding owner, I spotted him fiddling in his pockets looking for his car keys – when I hollered to him, “Aren’t these just brilliant bakkies?” “Yes they are,” he wholeheartedly replied. After our friendly introduction, he lamented the trouble he had with his previous bakkie, (I won’t mention names), that the maintenance and running costs were killing his business. So he traded it in for the JMC Boarding. He was skeptical at first, with the Boarding being a Chinese vehicle, he couldn’t afford anything else and he was tied into a scrupless building contract with developers up in the North West. He explained that in the past twelve months he subjected his Boarding to immense punishment, harsh terrains, travelling long distances with capacity payloads – sometimes exceeding the Boarding’s maximum payload of 990kg which included his workers and while towing a trailer. He was astounded at the Boarding’s resilience and reliability – albeit under the same strenuous travelling conditions that his previous bakkie kicked the bucket. With great trepidation he was just waiting for something to go wrong with the Boarding. For a shock to break…for it to overheat…or for a variety of mechanical reasons; but after 100 000km he still has not had a day’s trouble with it. Our brief interaction was another puzzle piece for my review – I am fond of simple but “die hard” vehicles like the Boarding. It is so simple in fact, that it has neither ABS nor does it have airbags, which is not an issue. Considering its 2.8L turbodiesel engine produces only 84kw of power and 235nm of torque – sent to the rear-wheels via a 5-speed manual transmission – the Boarding is not a racehorse. Flat-out on the highway, it does 140km/h – albeit sufficient on-road performance to meet all the needs of a daily commute. Tarry enthusiastic driving antics and the Boarding will give you a fuel consumption between 7.5L/100km and 8.3L/100km.

There is however, one feature of the Boarding that does not make any practical sense to me – and that is the touchscreen infotainment system? The interior is neat, durable and the seats are rather comfortable, but the touchscreen seems out-of-place. Given the Boarding’s overall context of being a knock-around workhorse pick-up, I would much rather opt for an after-market radio front-loader CD player with USB/AUX function and handsfree cell phone Bluetooth connectivity. Standard equipment also includes electric windows, air-conditioner, central-locking, power steering, rear-chair pockets, front-fog lamps and adjustable headlights. The Boarding’s engineering simplicity is what makes it such a gem in the entry-level, workhorse bakkie segment and costs R186 880 – that’s R50 000 cheaper than its nearest Japanese rival. It also comes with JMC’s 3year/100 000km warranty.

By Dean Joseph