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.