This writer is going to die poor. In a life full of uncertainties, that fact cannot be denied. Barring winning the Lotto, I will forever remain in the bottom half of the middle class – we who sponsor the entire government with our taxes and get only contempt in return.
My pauper status is, of course, nobody’s fault but my own. Falling in love with my job, and staying on as a motoring scribe with the same newspaper for 38 years, was not financially wise.
Neither was a propensity to get married and divorced – three times, at the last count. I have tried to change the status quo, but without success. I tried to sell my soul to the Devil, but he said he was up to his armpits in souls, and mine was too boring to purchase, anyway.
I also recently tried to dodge my burial costs by offering to donate my entire body to the medical profession, but they declined. Said they could not, in good faith, give my parts to people who are already sick. Which brings us to the new JMC Boarding 4×2 LX bakkie.
It is, you see, remarkably reasonably priced. Until the end of April this year, you can buy it for less than R200 000 – half the price of other bakkies with comparable engine size.
Which means that one day, when this bakkie starts becoming available on the fourth-hand used market, I might just be able to purchase one as the very last vehicle before I die poor. The JMC Boarding goes back to basics – something few offerings on the current local motoring market can boast. It is a no-nonsense work vehicle, with very little in the line of expensive luxuries.
It uses a four-cylinder, 2 771cc, normally aspirated diesel engine, a five-speed manual gearbox, rear-wheel drive and single cab accommodation. The engine produces 88 kW of power at 3 600 rpm and 345 Nm of torque at 2 000 rpm.
This does not make it fast. But what the mechanicals do produce is steady, comfortable transportation, amid the reassurance that a large, low-revving, under-stressed diesel powerplant is bound to last for a long time.
The vehicle looks and feels solid, with chunky bodywork and spoked alloy wheels in LT215/75R15 rubberware. The load base of the bakkie is rubber-lined, which points to the fact that it is intended as a workhorse and not a fashion accessory.
Inside, everything is simple and sensibly arranged. The only concessions to luxury are electrically operated windows, a surprisingly effective air-conditioner, a centre console, a radio with a single-disc CD player and what the brochure calls “fauxlLeather” seats. It does not have fancy electronic stuff – you turn the key in the door lock to open it, adjust the side mirrors by hand, and pull up a good, old-fashioned handbrake.
The Boarding is easy to drive, with lots of low-down torque allowing it to burble along in fourth gear in traffic. It will also happily drone along at the legal speed limit in fifth gear, with just over 2 000 rpm on the clock.
The gear changes are smooth, the brakes more than adequate and the fuel consumption reasonable – we averaged a usage figure of 9,4 l/100 km over the duration of the test.
It comes at a price of R194 880, which also includes a three-year/100 000km warranty.