I recently got behind the wheel of the brand’s Vigus, for a week, to see what this new contender is all about. Before anyone judges this for being Chinese let’s not forget that the progress made in the Chinese automotive segment has occurred at a staggeringly fast pace. Take the Foton Tunland I drove last year, which was certainly a massive improvement over the first batch of Chinese bakkies brought in locally.
I’ll be honest and admit, the Vigus doesn’t really move the Chinese bakkie game on. It does have a better interior, gearbox and slightly more modern design than the Foton, however, the 88kW/290Nm Ford 2.4-litre TDCI engine simply makes the Vigus frustrating to get up to speed. JMC claim a fuel consumption figure of 8.2 litres/100km, however, during my time with the car I managed around 10.5 litres/100km.
There is a petrol variant which uses a 2.4-litre Mitsubishi engine with 95kW/201Nm and will most probably provide similar levels of performance, albeit with higher fuel consumption. The powertrain options are quite disappointing; the bakkie simply needs more grunt.
In terms of looks, the Vigus isn’t a bad looking vehicle; its rear quarters are actually quite attractive, while its front-end is distinctive enough to give it some road presence. I did notice the colours on the vehicle did not match as the shade of gold differed from the front bumper to the side panel. This may be a result of paint reacting differently on plastic versus metal.
There was also an issue with the badging, for example, the one side of the bakkie featured a 2.4-litre badge and the other side was bare - quite bizarre. Its 6.5-inch touch screen infotainment system and fascia work well though, and it looks good with USB, DVD and AUX compatibility. Bluetooth would have been a welcome addition.
It has leather seats, electric windows, air conditioning, ABS and EBD along with driver and passenger airbag as standard in the higher end SLX model that I had a go in. The 4X4 model that I drove has an on-the-fly switch which allows the driver to select between two-wheel, four-wheel-high and four-wheel-low range.
It is a capable off-road vehicle with a decent amount of ground clearance (225mm) and decent traction from its all-terrain tyres. We took it up a few steep slopes covered in slippery grass and sharp rocks and it handled well. Watch video below:
Overall, the review of the Vigus may not seem all that positive, however, the Vigus is by no means a bad product. It’s easy to drive, comfortable and looks good.
The Vigus comes with a three-year/100 000km warranty and a five-year/60 000km service plan.
Pricing for our JMC Vigus 4x4 SLX Diesel is R355 990.