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25 Jan 2008 | Text by Phillip Chan, Photos by Amery Reuben

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A hotpot that fills the stomach

China cars have been ridiculed for blatantly copying other makes in their designs and providing shoddy workmanship. So the Chery V5 was expected to be yet another cheap, short term tin can. Something is boiling beneath the surface though...



If you have tasted Beijing cuisine, you will realize the Chinese love a dish known as 'hotpot,' or also known in Singapore as 'steamboat', basically a huge array of ingredients, such as beef, chicken, fish, vegetables, and seafood thrown into a boiling broth, usually chicken stock or the famously spicy Sichuan stock.

This hodgepodge meal seems to be reflected in the way the Chinese design their vehicles, unfortunately. Many of these vehicles appear to be designs of Japanese and European makes chucked in together but with a touch of cheap materials and ill fitting panels everywhere. And it was with that thought in mind that the sgcarmart team took in one deep breath, looked up to the sky for divine protection, and then, walked towards our test car™

Presentation

Our signature dish - the Chery V5 crossover - complete with foreign ingredients that were already brewing in that fondue. Hyundai Avante-like front, Honda Stream-like body and the Toyota Estima-like dashboard. Talk about Déjà vu.

We gave the door a nice resounding tap, followed by a hollow sound. Didn't sound too good.

Forcing a smile at the salesgirl, we collected the car keys.

The first surprise morsel that popped out from within the bubbling mixture was a classy flip key with a remote alarm! Call us bumpkins, but we would never have expected such a classy looking device to come with a China-made automobile. After fiddling with the switch-blade style flip key, it was time to savor the first bite.

Texture

Some people, when feeling depressed, resort to comfort food such as ice cream or deep-fried chicken wings. In this case, the seats fulfill such said function. We looked at each other and smiled as we set our butts down, where the white leather hugged snugly.

While the steering angle and seating position was a lot more MPV-oriented, you can't deny the Full leather treatment and sporty, luxurious touch. It came with volume controls, so you can "let your fingers do the walking" instead.

Alas, not every piece of meat in a hotpot can be thoroughly cooked, and this form of rawness was apparent in the choice of leather seats. White (or was it beige?) leathers stain easily, and a few off-coloured patches caught our hawk eyes. The dashboard and steering wheel's lacquer finish did not blend well with the cheap, silver trimmings of the gear lever, the leather wrapped handbrake and door panels.

The dash boxes were apparently pieced together by some worker eager to rush home for his reunion dinner. Shutting them tight was an immense challenge. The power windows did not have a one touch auto-up or down feature, leaving a rather frustrated yours truly to hold it 'till the cows come home.
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Car Information

This model is no longer being sold by local distributors

Price

: -

Engine Type

:

4-cylinders in-line 16-valves DOHC

Engine Cap

:

2350cc

Horsepower

:

97kW (130 bhp)

Torque

:

198 Nm

Transmission

:

4-speed (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

15sec

Top Speed

:

178km/h

Fuel consumption

:

11.3 km/L

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Tags :  

chery  chery v5 crossover  chery v5  mpv  china car  chinese car