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By Mark Jones

Road Test Editor

VIDEO: Suzuki Jimny-styled all-electric Jaecoo J6 shows it face

Known as the Chery iCar 03 in China, this rugged off-roader could be heading for SA.

While running around China for the Beijing Motor Show last month, The Citizen Motoring found ourselves spending time in Wuhu, the home of Chery International. While attending the Chinese carmaker’s International Business Conference, we stumbled across a cute, retro-looking off-roader wearing a Jaecoo 6 nameplate.

Watch Jaecoo J6 video

In China it is known as the iCar 03, which falls under the umbrella of Chery’ iCar electric car brand. But since the Omoda and Jaecoo brands are used for Chery’s export markets, this means that the J6 will be making its way to South Africa and we guess it will be sometime in 2025.

I will start with what you can see, because the more technical and model specific details are always hard to pin down at events like these. It won’t take a lot of convincing to see that this Jaecoo J6 is modelled on the boxy Suzuki Jimny. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing because the Jimny has a cult-like following. And I have no doubt that the Jaecoo J6 will cash in on some of the popularity the Suzuki enjoys.

ALSO READ: Plug-in hybrid Jaecoos destined for South Africa with serious shock

Bigger than Suzuki Jimny

Size-wise, it’s bigger than a Suzuki Jimny 5-door and looks to be on par with the Kia Seltos or Toyota Corolla Cross. So, it will seat four adults in relative comfort. But as is the case with all boxy compact off-roaders, they better not bring a lot of luggage. The load bay area is rather small and shallow.

What you will get though is a modern, minimalistic interior. It worked well together with a very neat digital dash and large infotainment screen that was intuitive and easy to use. What exact spec will be offered here, and across what model derivatives, we haven’t a clue. But if the Jaecoo J7, that has just been launched in SA is anything to go by, you shouldn’t get shortchanged with the J6.

Where the whole Suzuki Jimny comparison thing gets blown out the water is that the Jaecoo J6 all-electric. In China there is a single motor rear-wheel drive model that produces 135kW of power and 184Nm of torque.

And then there is a potent little all-wheel drive model that churns out 205kW and 279Nm. We got to have a very brief burst in it with in a parking lot-like test area in Wuhu.

ALSO READ: PODCAST: Jaecoo J7 has potential to take SA by storm (video)

J6 for the win

Burst is probably the right word. And blast would be too strong for trying to describe the straight-line acceleration. But it was more than enough for what is an ultimately billed as an off-roader. Even with dedicated off-road modes and raised ride height, is the Jaecoo J6 going to be a giant killer? We very much doubt it, but it should keep you suitably entertained when off the beaten path on the weekend.

Talking of getting out on the weekend, the new game-changing, fast-charging, CATL LFP lithium-ion phosphate battery packs used on the Jaecoo J6 are claimed to offer ranges of 401km and 501km, model dependent, from a 69.8 kWh battery.

Now if only Chery International can land this Jaecoo J6 in Mzansi at the right price, no thanks to the government who tax electric vehicles to death, they could have a little winner on their hands in the EV space.

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