I have a genuine fondness and respect for JMC. It is refreshing to meet a vehicle manufacturer whose products live up to their promises but without wanton expectation. I refer to the JMC Carrying SWB Commercial truck and its name…Carrying…befits its intended design purpose – which is to carry stuff.

So reviewing the Carrying was simple…not to mention a relief. I did not need to focus on its handling, driving comfort, cabin ambiance or onboard technology – no! I wanted to test its capability, fuel efficiency and drivability. A rich irony having just completed my review of the Ford Fiesta ST200 – a hot-hatch low-flying precision machine was a striking contrast to the JMC Carrying, which was like trying to steer a Pontoon for the very first time. It took me a moment to adapt to the cab-over-engine driving position, along with the barrel-rim size steering wheel – and the continual push-pull steering technique. Gratefully, the Carrying is not the first truck I have driven and truck driving is in my blood: my father trained truck drivers in the army, and he was a Mack truck diesel mechanic. Therefore, the Carrying in my estimation was a walk in the park. Once the word was out that, I had a small truck in my possession – my close friends suddenly seemed a whole lot closer. My WhatsApp buzzed with requests to move household furniture, large appliances, and a twenty-metre long wooden garden fence – the garden fence presented just the right challenge. Ten sections measuring 2m x 1.8m each, weighing close to ninety kilograms per section needed transporting over a distance of thirty kilometers. Hardly a challenge for a small truck like the Carrying, but the route was wrought with steep inclines, awkward cambers, and irregular and bumpy road surfaces – average Johannesburg roads. A rather jolting driving experience, but its strength is its engine. Powered by an 84kw, 2.8L, turbodiesel engine, rated the number one diesel engine in China, married to a 5-speed manual transmission that puts down 235nm of torque sent to the rear wheels – performance figures that do little justice to define a commercial vehicle that weighs two tons and is capable of carrying 1.6 tons of cargo. Yet, up a traffic congested steep hill, the Carrying maintained excellent bottom-end momentum, and reached respectable road speeds that ebbed with the flow of traffic – demonstrating excellent resolve and an almost endless reserve of workhorse power. All while achieving a decent fuel score of 8.5L/100km. I didn’t expect much driving…or driver comfort…not from a commercial vehicle that costs R241 880, standard features include a radio/front-loader CD player, air conditioner, electric windows and power-steering. For practical reasons a highly durable waterproof vinyl material lines the cabin floor, there are two cubbyholes and additional storage compartments under the seats – intelligent versatility.

My final thoughts: On an economy of scale, the JMC Carrying is a logical purchase that offers competitive value-for-money – a highly competent and industrious workhorse. Complete with a feasible 5year/150 000km warranty and a 3year/90 000km service plan.

By Dean Joseph