Landwind blows into South Africa
The easterly trade winds blowing over Africa have warmed up another notch with the launch of yet another Chinese marque, Landwind, in South Africa.
Established in 2004 as a subsidiary of the Jiangling Motor Company (JMC) and Changan Automobile, the brand has recently gained notoriety for its blatant copy of the Range Rover Evoque, badged the X7.
While clearly a knock-off it does not seem legal action is an option for Land Rover, given the number of other Chinese fakes and knock-offs of Toyota, BMW, Isuzu, Nissan and other models already on the roads.
Besides the Evoque debacle Landwind also attracted controversy when in 2005 its X6 model, in essence a copy of the third generation Isuzu KB (sold here as the Frontier) failed dismally in EuroNCAP safety tests.
Now Landwind is in South Africa. Not with the X6 or X7, but with a model known as the X5 in some markets.
However, it is not to be confused with BMW’s X5 and for sure not with the fake X5 model manufactured by Shuanghuan Auto in 2007 called the CEO.
Interestingly, at the local launch Landwind steered clear of calling it the X5, referring to it (also in their marketing material) only as the Landwind SUV or Landwind 5.
The 5 (or SUV) made its debut at the Guangzhou Auto Show in November 2012 and is imported here by JMC South Africa, which also sells the Vigus pick-up locally.
While details are scarce it seems the SUV, built in Nanchang in China, is a completely original design and it is being mooted by JMC as “a significant milestone for the JMC group” and being built “with superior quality while guaranteeing comfort and luxury”.
Seen in the flesh the newcomer is actually quite attractive, with modern lines reminiscent of a Hyundai iX35 or Honda H-RV, and this goes for the interior too, with definite RAV4 cues.
The SUV is powered by a Mitsubishi based two-litre four-cylinder turbocharged power plant delivering 140kW at 5 500rpm and 250Nm of torque from 2 800 to 4 400rpm, good enough for a claimed 0-100km/h time of 11 seconds, a top speed of 185km/h and average consumption figure of 8.5l/100km, its maker says.
Only 4x2 for now
The front wheels are driven through a 6-speed manual gearbox and only one 4x2 model will be available for now, to be followed by two 4x2 derivatives with a newly-developed 8-speed automatic gearbox.
It's not badly kitted out, with standard features such as manual air-con, power steering, central locking, a radio with MP3 and aux port, plus single disc CD, electric windows and side mirrors, rain wipers with intermittent setting and roof rack rails.
Safety features include dual airbags, ABS with EBD, park distance control, high-mounted LED brake light and child-safety rear door locks – all for R269 880, including a two-year/60 000km service plan and a 3-year/100 000km warranty.
While the Landwind looks better than expected and is priced well compared to the GWM H5 (R284 900), the diesel driven Mahindra XUV500 (R299 995) and the Ssangyong Korando (R324 995), only a real test drive will reveal if it is any good.
We hope to do so in the near future.
R269 880, including a two-year/60 000km service plan and a 3-year/100 000km warranty.
#Jiangling #JMC #X5 #5