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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist


Coming in 2025: JAC gives first glimpse of T9-based Fortuner rival

Unofficially called the T9 SUV, the newcomer will ride on the same platform as the bakkie variant, and most likely provide seating for seven.


Its South African operations officially bolstered by the long delayed T9 Hunter bakkie, Chinese automaker Jianghuai Automobile Company – better known by its abbreviation JAC – has filed the first images of a brand-new SUV confirmed for unveiling next year.

Entering a tough segment

Set to premiere, on local soil at least, in the second quarter of 2025, the still unnamed SUV, as per the images shown at the T9’s media launch in Krugersdorp outside Johannesburg on Monday (20 May), utilises the same frontal design as the bakkie, though with extensive changes from the B-pillar back.

Seemingly the actual images of what the production model will look like, the SUV adopts the same design philosophy as other comparative Chinese products by fixing the spare wheel to the tailgate instead of underneath the body.

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Its side profile and shoulder line from the C-pillar back not being dissimilar to the current Ford Everest, the SUV sports squared-off taillight clusters only different in the LED layout from the new Haval H9, plus a spoiler integrated into the roof.

While no further details were divulged, JAC did name the Toyota Fortuner and Mitsubishi Pajero Sport as the “T9 SUV”’s direct rivals on a list likely to also include the Everest, Isuzu MU-X and Mahindra Scorpio-N.

Body-on-frame

Effectively confirming the newcomer as a body-on-frame or bakkie-based SUV, the use of the T9’s JL32 platform will almost certainly apply, as would the seven-seat capability offered as standard on all of its mentioned rivals.

As a comparison, the T9 measures 5 330 mm long, 1 965 mm wide and 1 920 mm high while riding on a wheelbase stretching 3 110 mm.

JAC gives first glimpse of new T9 SUV
T9 Hunter has officially debuted in South Africa, albeit without the Hunter suffix, and will serve as a base for its incoming SUV sibling. Image: JAC

The bakkie’s interior, 210 mm of ground clearance and availability of low range on four-wheel-drive models set to be carried over as well, the SUV will almost certainly also make do with the same powertrain options, which in the Chinese-spec T9 Hunter consists of a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol and the sole option for South Africa, a 2.0-litre turbodiesel pumping out 125kW/410Nm.

Not mentioned was the plug-in hybrid unit mentioned last year for the bakkie, as well as the 88-kWh electric module the T9 Hunter EV debuted with at the Auto China Expo in Beijing earlier this month.

More soon

For the moment, no confirmed details surrounding the “T9 SUV” are known, however, don’t be surprised if some do emerge within the coming weeks and months.

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