With the JAC E-JS4, Auto Kunz brings the second model of the Chinese brand to Switzerland. The SUV at a fixed price impresses above all with its range.
Cars from JAC are not often seen on our roads - however, JAC is one of the few Chinese brands that are offered in Switzerland at all. The vehicles are imported by Auto Kunz in Wohlen AG, and the E-JS4 is already the brand's second model after the E-S2. Here, the importer itself has taken care of localization and adaptation to Swiss needs and laws. "We are in almost daily contact with the person in charge in China," said Kevin Baumann of Auto Kunz, who was responsible for the import. On the one hand, this involved legal requirements such as driving noise at less than 30 km/h, which is not mandatory in China. On the other hand, the vehicles also required various adjustments to meet the requirements of Swiss customers. For example, a translation of the entire system into German, but also a DAB radio had to be retrofitted and programmed into the infotainment.
There is not a single component in the interior or in the technology that is reminiscent of VW or comes from the Volkswagen parts shelf. In China, the compact SUV is also available with a combustion engine, meaning that the design of the electric version with electric motor, transmission and high-voltage electronics at the front under the hood is also conventional. The battery is installed in front of the rear axle under the rear seat. Despite being only 4.4 meters long, the E-JS4 offers a surprising amount of space, and the battery is not even noticeable. The trunk has a capacity of 520 liters up to under the load compartment cover, and up to 1050 liters when the rear seat is folded down. However, the somewhat high loading sill, over which the luggage and shopping have to be lifted, is annoying.
Renunciation as a credo
The compact Chinese offers generous space not only in the trunk, but also on the rear seats, so that adults can sit relatively comfortably. Knee room is somewhat limited due to the short wheelbase, but the seating position is comfortable. Unlike other electric cars, where the battery in the underbody restricts the footwell, the E-JS4 offers enough space here. The driver's seat is also placed rather high in the car, which provides a perfect overview of what's happening on the road. For the driver there is an electric length and height adjustment of the seat, the front passenger has to do without an electric adjustment completely. But the E-JS4 also has to do without a few other things. For example, there is no built-in navigation system, which is only displayed on the central 10.25-inch screen via the connected cell phone using Apple Carplay or Android Auto. However, it will be hard to criticize this as a cheap feature; after all, the 400,000 franc Ferrari Purosangue relies on the same concept. Otherwise, the operation of the various infotainment functions is not always entirely intuitive, and the German designations are not very comprehensible. Furthermore, the touchscreen reacts slowly to inputs and switches independently between different menus. The air conditioning is operated via touch buttons below the screen.
Various details detract from the quality impression, for example the excess of low-grade plastic. The assistance systems have also been cut back considerably, which means that the adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning, lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition systems have to be dispensed with. In return, however, the compact SUV has a lot to offer. There are leather seats, heated seats and a panoramic glass roof. A 360-degree camera is also included. And everything is included in the price as standard - the only option available for the E-JS4 is a choice of five different paint finishes. And they don't cost extra, either. The price of 35,989 francs is a fixed price.
With a battery size of 65.7 kWh, JAC promises a range of 410 kilometers, which is quite respectable in the segment in which the E-JS4 operates. In reality, it is usually a bit less, but the 300 kilometers at pure highway driving is still a good value. On the AR standard lap, the SUV achieved a consumption of 19.7 kWh/100 km at summer temperatures and activated air conditioning, which corresponds to a range of 330 kilometers. In city traffic, the 410 kilometers of the factory specification are thus quite achievable. With a total consumption of 18.2 kWh/100 km over the entire test period, the Chinese is in the good midfield and can also be used for somewhat longer highway trips without any problems. The E-JS4 is not made for quick charging over long distances. JAC specifies a maximum charging power of 60 kW, which is rather weak. However, it also reached up to 70 kW under good conditions in the test.
The high-legged SUV is softly tuned and attracts attention with strong body movements. Whether you like that is a matter of taste. The same goes for the less direct and numb steering, which makes cornering less pleasant. In addition, the ESP seems to intervene randomly - sometimes the car is noticeably braked when accelerating out of a bend, sometimes the wheels spin uncontrollably, especially on wet asphalt. However, those who really drive very decently and well-dosed in the city will usually not be bothered by this. With 142 kW (193 hp) the E-JS4 is reasonably powered, the 9.4 seconds for acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h are not sporty, but sufficient for everyday driving. The exceptionally long reaction time when starting up is striking. The rolling back when stationary even on a minimal incline is also unusual for an electric car, as are the poorly controllable accelerator and brake pedals when maneuvering. There is no reason to criticize the power delivery: Once the car is in motion, it responds directly to gas pedal strokes, and the 340 Nm of torque are sufficient for dynamic intermediate spurts. The sluggish starting behavior can be somewhat mitigated by switching off the eco mode, which is active by default. However, this does not happen at the push of a button, but is hidden in a menu in the vehicle settings. Two recuperation levels can also be selected there.
The small SUV segment is popular - but the density of electric vehicles is surprisingly low. The available range of Hyundai Kona Electric, Opel Mokka Electric and DS3 is thin on the ground. These are priced somewhat higher, are also of a much higher quality and better equipped, and are safer to drive. However, none of them can hold a candle to the JAC in terms of range in this segment. Those who have the largest possible operating range as their highest priority and can do without technology should consider the E-JS4.