Chinese start-up brand Qoros has brought its new 3 City SUV to the Geneva motor show.
First unveiled at the Guangzhou motor show in China last year, the 3 City SUV is based on the company’s 3 hatchback, though gets larger wheels, more ground clearance and more rugged styling. The engine is Qoros's familiar 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol unit in 154bhp form.
Qoros describes the 3 City SUV as "the pinnacle of the range" and says the new model is aimed at "a more premium metropolitan lifestyle." The car is already on sale in China, with prices starting from RMB 140,000 (equivalent to about £15,000).
Autocar understands no firm European launch date for the City SUV has yet been set, though it's likely to take a number of years for the brand to reach the UK fully.
A high-riding version of the standard 3 hatchback, the 3 City SUV is 1504mm high, has a wheelbase of 2694mm, is 1854mm wide and features a short rear overhang of 815mm.
Compared with the standard car, the tracks are increased by 9mm at the front and 2mm at the rear, while the wheelbase is 5mm longer.
The hip-point of the front seats is raised by 10mm, so the driver’s eye-level is 67mm higher than in the 3 Hatch.
There's additional body cladding, front and rear skid-plates, more pronounced wheel arches and a deeper rear bumper.
As standard, 17in alloys are fitted on most models, although the range-topper gets 18in wheels.
The City SUV is manufactured in the brand’s assembly plant in Changshu, 50 miles north-west of Shanghai, on the same production line as the 3 saloon and hatchback models.
The rear bench can be split 60:40, or folded completely to increase the boot capacity to a maximum of 1105 litres.
Depending on the variant, the engine is paired with either a six-speed manual transmission or a dual-clutch automatic with the same amount of speeds. The manual-equipped City SUV can cover 0-62mph in 10.1secs, with the automatic taking 0.7sec longer.
Fuel economy for the slightly more frugal manual version is 42mpg, according to the manufacturer's claims.
Like the other Qoros 3 variants, the City SUV’s suspension features MacPherson struts at the front and an twist beam rear axle. Several chassis modifications have been made to ensure that the City SUV has similar ride and handling characteristics to the hatchback, despite its higher centre of gravity.
Autocar understands that a full-on Qoros SUV is also well on the way to the showrooms. Although launch sales have been slow for the brand in its Chinese home market, the company has opened a new design studio in central Munich as part of its expansion plans.
Qoros was created in a joint-venture between Chinese carmaker Chery and investment fund Israel Corporation. Reports in the Chinese media have suggested that the Israel Corporation might withdraw from the partnership. This has been denied, despite figures that show that Qoros lost £87m in the first half of 2014.
Chinese media reports say that the Israel Corporation has invested a total of £383m into the Qoros project so far, although that is a relatively small sum as far as automotive investments go, the sum has resulted in two new cars (the Qoros 3 hatch and saloon) and a new factory and a medium-size SUV, which is in the late stages of development. Qoros is not expected to reach profitability before 2016.