Chinese cars: Europe suitable for?

Guangzhou (China), 27. December 2017

Someday, Yes, someday I will get used to it, to test in China cars. At some point. I'm sure of it. But now, as the smoke turn of the diesel bus of a narrow concrete road on a narrow, muddy road, I am light years away from a typical driving event from what I know from my world.

A race track, surrounded by duck farms

The Bus stops at a small race track called Haoting Fugang Race Track. No one and a half kilometres long, this track is not that much different than many of the smaller racecourses in the home. However, the total Lack of safety barriers, as well as the duck farms in the surroundings do not remind me that I'm home. The six foreign-looking (and definitely circuit disabled) vehicles, the advertising on here under a huge banner with Chinese characters, make this clear. Okay, including a small BMW and an E class that looks more or less like us. But the other four cars from Chinese manufacturers are totally new for me.

China cars are really so lame?

But these four are the reason that I'm here. Long the question is on me, as Chinese cars go. The poor build quality and lack of dynamics are often criticized. But I want to look at here is the reality, and a few driving impressions. Before I get to that a few remarks on the disclaimer: All of the trips were driven on a very short, flat stretch or on a "Handling course" (an area with pylons) – not exactly ideal for SUVs and Minivans, I'm going here. In addition, some technical information was missing, so I had to use for the data below, in part, About values.

WEY VV7: The data

2.0-litre turbo petrol engine, four cylinder, approximately 230 PS / 360 Newton meters, a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, front-wheel drive. Price in China: about 21,000 to 25,000 euros

The most promising of the car

After a fascinating conversation with the CEO of Wey me of the VV7 excited when Driving on the most. Wey, the luxury division of Great Wall is, and it currently offers two SUVs with front-wheel drive. And Wey has been the most credible product for the USA and/or Europe.

Outdoor chic and the interior is sufficiently large

From the outside, I find the VV7 quite modern and attractive. Instinctively, one looks for the Design-models – observations range from the Mazda CX-7 to the Maserati Levante, but this is true for most vehicles of this type. The tiny disk in the swashbuckling tail, together with the high belt line in poor visibility. However, the five-seater offers a similar amount of space as other vehicles of this size (for example, the Ford Edge or Toyota Highlander). Although I am very tall, I have no problems to find a comfortable Seating position. And in the rear there is enough space for two medium-sized adults – three, it would be close.

In China, for luxury, rather for us to be below average

The Ford Edge is also in terms of interior trim and Finish a good comparison. Wey steps up in China in the luxury segment, but in North America or Europe, the brand would belong to the lower volume segment. This is not to say that there is a lot wrong with materials or equipment, but compared with the new Mazda CX-9 or a VW Atlas, the car feels old.

Good Turbo, but strange transmission

Different on the track. First the good news: The engine provides pretty much everything I would expect a new mid-size SUV in the United States. The turbocharged 2.0-Liter four-cylinder will bring to 234 HP and 360 Newton meters. These Numbers match my impressions on the short test drive. But the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox is ... strange. The first and the second gear are way too long, so that a collision results in weakness, – even if I unlock manually. This is probably due to the preferences of the Chinese market, because the same disease of the Borgward BX7 and the Baojun 730 have – but to these two later.

Soft and wavering

For ride comfort I can't speak to that, the biggest RUB I have with the Test, are the low Curbs of the track. But if I show the VV7 through the curves hunt, a soft suspension with a strong body to shake. The soft Setup on all the vehicles, here is a far cry from the Balance between comfort and sporty Handling, as we know from European and American manufacturers.

Aggressive ESP

The biggest Problem at the tepid dynamics of the Wey, the aggressive Intervention of the ESP. On the Handling course, each procedure of the system leads to the fact that the vehicle comes almost to a standstill. This is not an electric child girl, but an electric Dominatrix, and she does look quite sexy. On the normal route, I have to flog the car pretty hard into the curve to get the same reaction, but the surgery is so brutal that I think it would be on a public road is very unsafe. In short, basically, this vehicle would be for Western car buyers interesting. The problems in the case of suspension, ESP and transmission you could easily fix. But the devil is in the Details, and the count, if it is to create a vehicle out of China to us.

BORGWARD BX7: The data

2.0-litre turbo petrol engine, four cylinder, approximately 220 PS / 300 nm, seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, all-wheel drive, the price in China: approx. 22,000 to 30,000 euros

Ancient and yet new

Borgward in its present Form is only a year old and will soon come to Europe. However, the company stressed that the brand was already founded in the 1920s. History and ancestry mean for the Chinese consumers a lot. The BX7 in China is a direct competitor of the Wey VV7 – he is a medium-large SUV, up-to-date in the people's Republic in the luxury class. Size and price are also practically the same, although the all-wheel drive, the Wey does not offer currently, it costs a small fee.

Little bit of luxury in the Cockpit

In spite of Sitting, the aping with its diamond pattern Audi, and a really large Central Infotainment screen in the Inside of the BX7 little, what you might call luxurious. The processing in the Cockpit is good. But the strange surface of the plastics and the gloomy Design more reminiscent of Dodge and Chrysler vehicles in the early 2000s than the current German cars.

Less Power, but better

As the Wey VV7 the Borgward by a 2.0-Liter powered Turbo, which is associated with a seven-speed dual-clutch. The best sources I can find, to speak to the BX7 slightly less Power (221 HP and 300 Newton-meters) as the Wey. However, on the test track, the heading feels better--thanks to the all-wheel drive and, thank God, shorter Translation of the first two gears. Also positive: The ESP does not intervene in the case of this vehicle, so brutal. The appropriate light flashes occasionally, if I accelerate heavily from a curve out, or after Eight on the handling course on a straight course schwenke. But this is nothing compared with the behavior of the preceding car.

Mushy Suspension

Unfortunately, this is the Only one where the Setup of the Borgward is the Wey superior. The suspension is so soft that it feels almost squishy, and even in very wide curves, the car shakes heavily. The steering is really slow and totally without feeling, what is the advantage of the AWD almost completely disappear, except for the behavior from the start.

SGMW BAOJUN 730: The data

1.8-Liter gasoline, four-cylinder, with around 135 HP / 185 Newton-meter, five-speed automatic, front-wheel drive, the price in China: about 9,000 to € 11,000

Underpowered, tired and indisposed

Here I'm going to keep it short, as it's pretty silly to test a Minivan without the sliding doors on a track and on a Handling course. Suffice it to say that the Baojun 730 (from SGMW, a Joint Venture between SAIC, General Motors and Wuling) under these test conditions, underpowered, tired, and totally indisposed is, when I try to chase him around the corner. But I was told that the 730 for the equivalent of 9,000 to 11,000 euros, which, together with the seven most Seats, if not all, of the sins of the actuator and the Packaging makes up for it.

Just over 3,000 tours to go

The 1.8-Liter four-cylinder comes to Kicking, if I'm foolish to turn it over 3,000 rpm. Fortunately, the rotten holds five-speed automatic the engine most of the time under this number. The performance numbers (135 HP and 185 Newton meters) are a bit poor, even if the Baojun is a size smaller than the Minivans in the US, and even if performance in the crazy Chinese is one of big city traffic little. The interior is quite practical, far more practical than I would have expected from a Chinese car. The Highlight of the cockpit is a large touch screen with a Software, similar to that of a Windows tablet is amazing. But otherwise, we talk about rough plastics, flat seats with no side support, and an overall design that looks like it would be a decade old or older.

Only ten Grand

I have no Problem to be critical here, but it is fair to repeat: It only costs ten Grand. Also in North America or Europe would sell something like this at this price, although it is likely to be difficult to make large transactions.


Of the other three cars offered me the Changan has thrilled CS15 EV at the most. Unfortunately, the vehicle was the electric pretty early in the day the juice, so that I could put into it. Visually, the Inner Bolt is a pretty mix of Toyota Prius and Chevrolet: shiny white plastic accents and some of the large digital display. For some reason my host had also brought a Mercedes E320L with a long wheelbase and a BMW 2 series with front wheel drive (called the "1 Series sedan"), both Made in China. The 2 series feels different, but not overwhelming. He reminds me of a slightly more upmarket Version of the Mazda 3 sedan. And the E-class is, well ... long. But apart from the limousine-like atmosphere in the back seat of the car is not really remarkable.

The time is near ...

The conclusion is a little surprising: The two newest vehicles, from brands pushing to Europe and the USA, are the most impressive. If you look at the SUVs of the Wey and Borgward, is not the way to Chinese vehicles appear on our roads. So could it be that I will in the coming years, more often after a trip to China. A far-away world approaches ours.(Seyth Miersma)