The unveiling of Qoros at the Geneva motor show caused quite a stir. Based in China but with a multinational staff poached from some of Europe’s top manufacturers, the firm has big plans.
So far it has continued to milk the PR gravy train with stories such as its car gaining the top score for 2013 in the Euro NCAP test. The question is, how does the 3 Saloon actually stack up?
While cutting a smart look the saloon lacks anything distinctive to make it really stand out. Currently only on sale in China and Slovakia, it was designed to compete with the Volkswagen Jetta and Ford Focus while also bringing new premium features to the sector.
Qoros’s three watchwords are design, safety and connectivity - and the brand is targeted at young metropolitan drivers.
One of the first things you notice inside is how uncluttered it looks. Very much aimed at the iGeneration, the central dashboard is dominated by the touchscreen infotainment system.
This is controlled by one and two finger swipes and has four functional groups - each with a further control screen off them. Navigation uses real time traffic information and can show points of interest such as restaurants and parking spaces, and you can send pre-programmed routes to it using a phone app.
It is also connected to social media outlets such as Facebook, allowing you to ‘check in’ based on your location.
Build quality is good with a decent use of premium materials. There is an impressive attention to detail with items such as the under passenger seat storage compartment and the fully adjustable rear headrests.
The bonnet is supported by a gas strut yet the boot gets cheaper goose neck hinges and also suffers from flimsy feeling sides and floor.
Currently new petrol, diesel, and hybrid powertrains are under development for the full European launch in 2016, but there is a choice in China now between a 1.6-litre DVVT petrol in both naturally aspirated and turbocharged forms.
Coupled to a dual-clutch automatic transmission the turbo proves responsive enough for normal driving. While adequate for China and returning good fuel economy it is lacking in power compared to the latest European offerings. We averaged an impressive 38mpg over the duration of our test.