Walking the halls of the Shanghai motor show, you will spot a curious mix of the familiar and strange.
There are a lot of names that are well-known all over the world. However, dig deeper and you'll find new models from manufacturers who are scarcely known at all outside of China.
Our man Mark Andrews went looking for some of the most interesting Chinese cars, which you're unlikely to see outside of the People's Republic.
Red Flag, once the producer of China’s state cars, seems to have a new-found confidence. This is its first stab at an SUV and is based on the same platform as the L5 limousine – China’s answer to Bentley and Rolls Royce. Hongqi is fairly tight-lipped about the brutal LS5, but we know it has a wheelbase of 3.06m and is nearly 5.2 metres long. Power comes from a twin-turbo V8 engine, while the interior is near production-ready.
While this SUV looks the part, it is let down by poor interior materials. It's powered by a 145bhp 1.5-litre turbocharged engine coupled to a five-speed manual gearbox. It measures 4.2m long with a 2.5m wheelbase.
Chery Alpha 5
This concept previews a new car in the Arrizo range. It is 4.53m long with a wheelbase of 2.64m. Chery has yet to confirm the engine, but suggests it may feature a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol unit when launched.
Back in 2011, a number of joint ventures started China-only brands. Baojun from General Motors has been one of the most successful. This is its SUV and measures 4.62m long with a 2.75m wheelbase. Power comes from a 133bhp 1.8-litre petrol engine mated to five-speed manual transmission. It features an electrically adjustable driver’s seat and reversing camera.
This car was first launched in Guangzhou in 2013, but problems with the transmission led to it being withdrawn from sale. The Shanghai show marks its relaunch, slotting in under the even bigger H9. It's powered by a 211bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged motor, which propels the 4.8m long and 1.9m wide SUV. Ground clearance of 210mm shows it is designed for serious off-road usage.
Haval H6 Coupe
While it might be called a coupe, this is actually Haval’s answer to the Range Rover Evoque. Powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine with 191bhp, it is available with either a six-speed manual or dual-clutch automatic transmission. It is also available with a 152bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel unit, paired with a six-speed manual gearbox.
Haval H7 and H7L
These two models are geared towards life in the city. The engine is a 218bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged unit coupled to a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. The L version is 188mm longer than the H7’s 4.71m. While width remains 1.92m, height is raised by 70mm to 1.78m. The added space allows for an additional two passengers to be carried in the fold down seats in the boot.
This sporty compact SUV is the hybrid version of the BYD S3. Power comes from a 149bhp 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine, coupled with two 110kW electric motors. Power is sent to the front and rear axles, giving four-wheel-drive capability. Claimed acceleration is 0-62mph in 4.9sec, but top speed is restricted to 112mph. It has a pure electric range of around 43 miles.
The Yuan is smaller than its Song sibling but features similar performance. The hybrid unit is a normally aspirated 107bhp 1.5-litre engine, mated to an electric motor on each axle. Claimed acceleration for the Yuan is 0-62mph in 4.9sec and it reportedly has a pure electric range of 43 miles. The car is similar in size to the Ford Ecosport.
Geely Emgrand Concept
This near-production-ready concept previews the replacement to the popular EC7. It has been penned by a team headed up by former Volvo designer Peter Horbury, it shows the bolder, more contemporary styling the company is now introducing. Production is likely within the next 18 months and the car should feature a new generation of turbocharged engines.
Qoros 2 SUV PHEV Concept
This concept was designed by teams in Munich and Shanghai. It features new design language that will likely be seen in future models, plus the introduction of hybrid drivetrains. The aims is for it to turn around Qoros sales, which have been poor so far because of a widely accepted view that its designs aren't bold enough.
This is the production version of a concept first shown last year. Engine choices include ones developed from Saab’s old turbocharged 2.0-litre and 2.3 units along with BAIC’s own 1.8 turbo motor. Wheelbase is 2.8m with an overall length of 4.9m. The D80 majors on interior quality, featuring a huge Tesla-like touchscreen, along with extra screens for rear passengers.
Trumpchi started out by basing a car on the old Alfa Romeo 166 but has since come a long way. This is its largest car yet, measuring in at around five metres long. It builds on the stylish design seen on the GA6 which appeared at the Guangzhou motor show last year. The engine is likely to be Guangqi’s 177bhp 1.8T unit.
Lifan X70 Concept
This near-production-ready concept previews a new medium-sized SUV that has strong design influences from the Toyota FJ Cruiser and Jeep Grand Cherokee. Details of the car are thin on the ground but it is said to be powered by a 150bhp 1.8-litre engine.
Changan Raeton CC Coupe Concept
This striking electric four-dour coupe concept is based on the platform of the Raeton saloon.
Dongfeng Number 1
While the front may look like a Passat the platform is from the old Citroen C6. With a luxurious interior and a self-developed 204bhp 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol engine, it might just give Dongfeng’s lacklustre own brand offerings a boost.
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