JMC Landwind 5: Solid, if not a rocket ship

This writer does not often sample test vehicles’ safety gear, for good reason. My mandate is to drive test cars like their probable buyers would, and things like panic braking and sideways sliding do not fit.

But, with the JMC Landwind 4×2 AT Flagship, I was forced to properly test its ABS disc brakes and EBD. Coming home after dark from a race meeting at the Free State Phakisa circuit, I found a large flock of sheep crossing the tar road between Welkom and Riebeekstad.

Travelling at around 80km/h, I braked with all my might and swerved violently at the same time. The vehicle’s above-mentioned safety systems coped perfectly and I managed to miss all the sheep except one unfortunate ram who went on to meet his maker.

Damage to the Landwind was slight and I was able to drive home after watching the stock thieves disappear into the night with their ill-gotten bounty. The Landwind impressed in other competent ways as well.

It comes powered by a four-cylinder, turbocharged, 1 997cc petrol engine, which produces 140kW of power at 5 500rpm and 250Nm of torque between 2 800 and 4 400rpm. This goes to the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The vehicle is 4 568mm long, 1 855mm wide and 1 710mm high, and sits on 17-inch spoked alloy wheels. Inside, it will seat five adults, while able to offer an additional 855 litres of boot space.

The driver is faced with a multi-function leather-covered steering wheel, plus a touchscreen infotainment system that controls a navigational system, a radio with six speakers, CD player, MP3, Bluetooth and rear-view camera.

A rocket ship the Landwind is not. With a kerb mass of 1 620kg, it boasts no more than restful acceleration and we rather doubt the manufacturer’s top speed claim of 170km/h.

Driving it between Gauteng and the Free State, we found it would comfortably cruise at 120km/h on cruise control, in top gear with just under 3 000rpm on the rev counter.

Doing that, it returned an average fuel consumption of 9.3l/100km – not all that impressive, but this is a heavy people-carrier and one should not expect wonders from a turbo petrol engine.

In all, the Landwind offers reasonable value at a recommended R309 880, which includes a five year/100 000km service plan, a three year/100 000km warranty and 24-hour roadside assistance.

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