Jaecoo J6 EV Off-Roader Confirmed For Imminent Local Launch

This all-electric shrunken Defender from Jaecoo will first be showcased locally at the upcoming Malaysian Auto Show. 

For anyone who wanted a more affordable Land Rover Defender or more usable Suzuki Jimny, Jaecoo may soon have the answer for you. Such is because the Chinese automaker has since confirmed that its J6 is soon to officially arrive in Malaysia, with the first official look of this all-electric boxy off-roader set to take place at the upcoming 2024 Malaysian Auto Show. 

To those who couldn’t wait that long though, yours truly has fortunately managed to snag quite the detailed look around this e-4×4 during the recent Chery Global Dealer Conference. And not only that too, Jaecoo Malaysia has been kind enough to furnish a few more tid-bits of information as to what could be expected with this J6 when it eventually arrives over here. 

But just before getting to that, let’s clear the air for the pedants first and clarify for this Jaecoo J6 to in essence be a rebadge of the iCar 03. Not to be confused as a product from the Cupertino-based tech giant too, iCar is instead to yet be another one of Chery’s numerous sub-brands under its vast corporate umbrella, and this Defender-esque e-4×4 is to be its first production model.

There is nevertheless surprisingly little hint up front of the aforementioned British 4×4, with the face of this J6 featuring a rather modern set of vertically-oriented LED headlights (with futuristic slashes integrated within it) flanking a blanked-off front fascia. Jaecoo Malaysia has however since stated that this clean face on this China-spec example seen here will be an optional retrofit on Malaysian models, with a different (read: slatted) grille panel to come as standard when it arrives on our shores instead.  

As for the side of the J6, there are to be pop-out door handles and a two tone roof to add some chic to its boxy profile. A set of 18-inch alloys on some thick (albeit road-biased) rubber tucked beneath its chunky black plastic fender flares on the other hand brings some off-roading macho-ness to the proceedings.

Round its rump now, a similarly vertical set of taillights and side-hinged tailgate is almost a carbon copy of what currently exists on a Defender. Though in place of a spare wheel in the British 4×4 (or the blank panel observed on this particular example pictured here), Malaysian-spec J6s will be getting a rear auxiliary utility box for that little bit of extra cargo capacity. 

Moving onto what powers this boxy off-roader, this first all-electric 4×4 in Malaysia is hinted to be available in both single rear- or twin motor configurations when eventually lands on our shores. The former though will likely be the trim that this Jaecoo will launch locally first, in keeping with the off-roading vibe this Chinese upstart intends to present. 

Further official details provided regarding the Malaysian-spec J6s is for it to have an estimated driving range that is similar to the Omoda E5 (so about 400-ish km perhaps). This is backed up by Chinese specs of the iCar 03 that states for it to be capable of up to 501 km on the optimistic CLTC test cycle, using the largest-available 69.8 kWh CATL-supplied LFP battery option.

A deeper dive into the specs of the iCar 03 in China has also detailed for the dual motor version to be rated at 279 PS, which in turn yields a century sprint time of 6.5 seconds before maxing out at 150 km/h. An approach angle of 26º and a departure angle of 29º was to be listed for this all-electric off-roader as well, in addition to having approximately 170 mm of ground clearance when unloaded. 

In terms of dimensions, taking a tape measure to the Jaecoo J6 shows for it to be 4,406 mm long, 1,910 mm wide and 1,715 mm tall, with a wheelbase 2,715 mm. These figures therefore put this mid-sized off-roader right between the Land Rover Defender and Suzuki Jimny in terms of exterior dimensions. 

Having personally been in it however, it is worth highlighting that space within this boxy 4×4 is to be somewhat at a premium than what its exterior dimensions may suggest. Space within for passengers is about the same as what a Perodua Kembara (if anyone can remember that far back), with its boot space being similarly titchy, especially for a car of its size. 

What is nevertheless big within the J6 is its 15.6-inch floating central infotainment touchscreen, which dominates its boxy dashboard. Other interior highlights meanwhile includes Tesla-esque scroll wheels on its squircle steering wheel that lie ahead of a digital instrument cluster, in addition to a crystal drive mode selector and twin chunky grab handles on either side of its floating centre console to further accentuate its chic yet rugged vibe. 

Rather unfortunately here however, it has since been made clear that the Malaysian-spec Jaecoo J6s will not be getting this rather nice muted green interior hue with its burnished bronze accents seen here. Though the Chinese automaker has said that it will be listening to customer demands for the local configuration of this lifestyle off-roader, so do give them a shout then if this green is to be preferred over the more boring black cabin that will likely be featured with the local examples of this lifestyle off-roader.

Back on the tech front meanwhile, among the cooler toys with the J6 is its (albeit purely visual) Level 2+ smart driving capabilities using technology from DJI. Another bit of kit worth mentioning as well is that this all-electric 4×4 is to be available (in China at least) with a set of roof mounted solar panels, which could certainly make use of the blazing Malaysian sun to trickle charge its battery pack. 

Oh, and if the looks of this Tonka Toy off-roader just isn’t macho enough too, Jaecoo has showcased a set of factory refitting upgrades that includes a faux hood bulge and bolt-on widened box fenders to toughen up the frontal aesthetic of its J6. The Chinese automaker had also previewed a roof box (+ awning) and a complimenting set of branded lifestyle camping accessories to go with this lifestyle 4×4, but it remains to be seen if any of these will be offered over here. 

Jaecoo Malaysia has yet to detail exactly how much this J6 will cost when it eventually lands in Malaysia, but the local Chinese prices of this all-electric shrunken Defender is currently to be in the region of RMB 109,800 (RM 72,000) and RMB 169,800 (RM 112,000). So it could well be aiming for the BYD Atto 3 and Honda HR-V price point of presumably RM 150k+ when it eventually arrives on our shores sometime in the very near future. Tempted?

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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