First drive: Jac JS4 in the UAE

You may have already noticed the JAC cars all over the UAE. They have become a popular choice for this region thanks to their competitive pricing and sleek looks. Not to forget, they are pretty loaded up with options. We recently had a chance to take a closer look at the JAC JS4.

The JAC JS4 was the first SUV launched for the JS series, replacing the S4 in the lineup. The Sub-Compact SUV follows JAC’s new design language, with thin daytime running lamps on top and LED headlamps flanking the black grille on the bumper. The car is about 4.4 meters long, which is longer than rivals such as the Nissan Kicks and the Hyundai Creta. The tyre wells have black plastic around them, as well as the bottom of the doors, to give it a more “SUV” look.

The JS4 sits on 17-inch alloy wheels, which seem small for the design. Probably add an option for 18-inch wheels? The rear gets LED tail lights running across the width of the car, which looks pretty good, especially at night. The rear fog lamps are embedded nicely in the rear bumper. The plastic diffuser gets a metal look with a small cutout in the bottom for the thin exhaust tip. Thankfully, no fake taillight pipe design in the JS4. There is also a roof rack and shark fin roof antenna.

The interior is where the JS4 really brings value. The leather upholstery for the seats increases the premium feel inside. It doesn’t end there, with leather wrapping and stitching on the door sills and around the centre console. Also, the centre armrest and steering wheel are wrapped in leather. We don’t think we have come across any other car with so much leather at this price point.

The space for the rear passengers is also fairly decent and probably one of the best in its category. The trunk space is said to be about 520 litres and 1050 litres, with the rear seats folded down, which would probably make it class-leading in this category. Just as a comparison, the Hyundai Creta has 433 litres of trunk space with the rear seats up.

Everything is powered, including the windows and mirrors and the driver’s seat. You also get a smart key, so locking and unlocking the car is a simple process of touching a button on the door handle while switching on/off the JS4 at the push of a start/stop button.

The infotainment system has a 10.25-inch touchscreen with all the options the Gen Z/millennials require, such as Bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple Car Play connectivity. There is one USB port in the front and one for the rear passengers. The JS4 gets 6 speakers, which were actually decent. One complaint would be that when we were driving during the afternoon, there was too much reflection on the screen because of the sunlight, making it difficult to see the information displayed. Otherwise, the screen is fairly responsive and easily connected to our Android and Apple devices.

The automatic A/C worked well, but we drove it during pleasant January weather when temperatures outside didn’t exceed 27 degrees. We will hopefully get a crack at it during the summers, which will be the actual test. The rear vents were also there.

One feature we loved was the 360-degree camera, which is again rare for cars at this price point. Not only is it great for parking, but the side cameras also switch on when you indicate to the right or left, showing the kerb and blind spot.

Under the hood, we get a 1.5-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine mated to a CVT. Power is rated at 147 hp and 210 Nm of torque. The engine has been tuned towards fuel economy, so don’t expect to win drag races. There is a linear buildup of power to keep things smooth. Fuel economy was also decent, with our test drive consisting of a mix of highway and city driving in equal measure, giving a return of 10.2 km/litre.

Switching the gear to “S” mode tends to give you a bit more control over keeping the engine rpm higher and also allows you to do some fake “gear shifts.” The steering wheel is not the lightest, but it is light enough to perform one-handed parking manoeuvres. It gets an electronic parking brake and has an “Auto Hold” feature, so you don’t need to keep your foot on the brake pedal every time you stop.

There is the 4-cylinder buzzing engine noise when you floor the accelerator and some tyre noise when cruising, but nothing annoying. Wind noise becomes quite evident when driving at speeds above 100 kph.

The suspension is tuned towards comfort and soaks up bumps rather well on the highways, but it tends to be a bit bumpy during low-speed driving. Body roll will creep in when going around corners during a spirited driving session, and tyres will eventually squeal to remind you this car is not meant to be driven that hard.

Safety features on the JAC JS4 include dual front airbags and front side airbags. It also has a tyre pressure monitor, ABS, electronic brake distribution, hydraulic brake assist, hill start assist and stability control.

The JAC JS4 offers a comprehensive package for the end user at a competitive price of just AED 63,000. There is a reason we are seeing so many on the road. No other manufacturer currently offers these many features at the price. While some of the competition might offer slightly better fuel economy and drive dynamics, the JS4 isn’t too far off. It offers more legroom, trunk space, interior features and a premium interior feel.

Keep track of the latest JAC JS4 prices in the UAE & KSA buyer guide.

What do you think?



  1. Kia Carens clone.. 🙂

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