Jaecoo J7: Ready to rumble

JAECOO Malaysia recently put its upcoming J7 premium sports utility vehicle (SUV) to the test at the Malaysia 4WD Training and Experience Centre (M4TREC) in Semenyih where members of the media experienced its off-roading prowess.

To recap, what is known so far about the J7 is that it will come in both front- and all-wheel-drive (AWD) configurations with prices expected to range between RM150,000 and RM160,000.

As stately and as large as it seems, the C-segment SUV is powered by a turbocharged engine with 197PS and 290Nm.


Bearing in mind that while the J7 faced six off-road obstacles, the vehicle still maintained the standard-issued 19-inch road-going tyres for SUVs.

Starting with the roller ramp that is designed to simulate loss of traction on the front right and rear left wheels, the Intelligent AWD system is said to have a 0.1 second intervention.

With the AWD system working in conjunction with traction control, power was quickly transferred to the remaining wheels to pull itself up and over the ramp.

All the driver needs to do is apply a healthy dose of throttle and allow the two systems to do their respective jobs.


Dubbed the Frame Twister, this obstacle is designed to highlight a vehicle’s structural stiffness.

Here, the vehicle needs to navigate over large alternating undulations between the left and right sides of the vehicle to exact a “twist” on the chassis.

With the brand claiming more than 80% high-strength steel used in the J7, there was nary a hint of chassis flex experienced through creaks or weather strips rubbing against the inner sections of the doors. Impressive.


Creeping over such inclines allowed the J7 to demonstrate that even with three or just two (one on each axle) wheels having contact with the surface, the vehicle was still able to bring itself through.

Having 200mm of ground clearance certainly helped as well and would also prove useful later.

Avid 4X4 drivers will appreciate the importance of having a low centre of gravity, which is where the J7 can shine as well as it travels on a 30-degree slope without any concern of tipping over.


Wading through 500mm of water proved to be a non-issue with the cabin remaining dry and no signs of water intrusion.

Traversing over a ridge crossing at an angle brings together the J7’s ride height, chassis stiffness and its 21-degree frontal angle of approach and rear’s 29-degree angle of departure – all thanks to the short front and rear overhangs.

Overall, the J7 feels sturdy during such instances and does well to keep traction and power in play.


What impresses is the provision of four added driving modes of Sand, Mud, Snow and a general Off-road mode on top of the standard Economy, Normal, and Sport modes.

Although having numerous driving modes will undoubtedly help drivers tailor the vehicle’s abilities to the road’s surface, some might argue that it would be better if it had a height-adjustable suspension.

But this would only put its price point further out of reach.

With all that’s already been imbued within the J7, this SUV has become a readily capable off-roader – barring anything extreme that 4X4 vehicles are more familiar with.


Aiding its off-roading capabilities is the large 14.8-inch infotainment screen that is linked to a 540-degree camera system (AWD variant only) and adds greatly to the convenience of solo off-roaders.

The system properly stitches together the cameras’ images to show what the J7 is rolling over with a three-dimensional and transparent view – all at the touch of a button.

If anything, the J7 is good enough to traverse through light off-roading situations that will give inexperienced off-roaders the confidence that this SUV can plough itself through.

Finally, being comfortably seated in a premium cabin makes the experience more enjoyable.