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This is the new Zotye T500, and it is surprisingly original for the infamous ripoff automaker. Sure there are some influences visible here and there, Skoda comes to mind, but overall it is almost as if the Zotye designers had a real idea of their own. And it didn’t turn out that bad… Handsome side profile with a high bonnet, a thick roof, black wheel arches, and a blacked-out D-pillar. That thick-roof design is something we are seeing a lot recently on new Chinese SUVs. New trend! The T500 will be positioned between the Zotye T300 and the Zotye T600. There really isn’t much space there. T300: 56.800 to 93.800 yuan. T600: 79.800 yuan to 149.800 yuan. But Zotye won’t be Zotye if they wouldn’t squeeze the T500 right in the middle, and I bet they will do a T400 too. So price for the T500 will likely start around 70.000 and end around 110.000 yuan. Engine? What do you think?!? No need to guess. The T500 will get the same 1.5 turbo as all the other Zotye’s, including, yes really, the T300 and the T600. Same engine; in all of ‘m. It has 156 hp and can be had with a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic. Horses go to the front wheels. The interior is nice with alcantara seats and a clean layout. 8.8 inch touch screen is on the small side for a new Zotye. Steering wheel is very sporty and the instrument panel is fully digital. Screen stands atop the center stack. Below the stack are the vents, and below that what seems to be another screen or touch screen, likely to control the air conditioning. The T500 will be equipped with a PM2.5 clean-air filter to keep the evil air pollution particles out of the cabin. The safety equipment is impressive; the top end models will get: body stability system, traction control, automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and a night vision system. Chinese car makers are starting to take safety very serious. The new Zotye T500. An encouraging design direction, or too much of a Skoda..?
A seven-seat family SUV that could be part of an export drive to the UK by Chinese company Changan, the CS95 is the bigger sister to the crossover-sized CS55. Technically, the CS95 and CS55 are related only by being made by the same company – they use different chassis platforms, despite being launched within 12 months of each other. Getting under the Changan CS95’s skin The roomy CS95 went on sale in China in late 2016, based on an all-new monocoque platform designed and developed in-house by a team featuring European engineering talent based at Changan’s engineering centres in Chongqing, central China. There’s a more direct British link – the all-new Blue Core 233bhp 2.0-litre turbo direct-injection four-cylinder petrol engine that powers the CS95 was designed and developed in Birmingham at Changan’s UK engineering centre. And a styling studio in Italy’s car design capital, Turin, helped create the CS95’s wholesome, Land Rover-influenced styling. The transmission on our test car was a six-speed Aisin Warner automatic, driving all four wheels via the transversely mounted four-pot petrol. Suspension is front struts and a rear twist beam for front-drive variants and a multi-link rear for all-wheel drive – the latter built around BorgWarner components to shift drive rearwards via an in-line driveshaft. Steering is electrically assisted and a suite of electronic safety aids is either standard or on the options list. Automatic emergency braking, for example, is available as part of the intelligent cruise control package on the top-spec model being tested here – an indication that Chinese own-brand cars are catching up with the West. At 4.9 metres long and sitting on a 2.8m wheelbase, the CS95 is sized just about halfway between the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Discovery, but its price range is resolutely more affordable. In the home market, it starts from £20,780 – that’s Nissan Qashqai money – and the top-spec all-wheel-drive CS95 extends to just £28k, although UK pricing is a long way from being finalised. Chinese brands are also making progress in interior design quality in leaps and bounds. There are hard plastics and a few inelegant design details, but the overall ambience inside the CS95 is attractive. Highlights include a polished chrome trim, robust switchgear and a crystal-clear infotainment system, which can be displayed in English. It fits the bill as a comfy family hauler, with a well-planted cruise, good cabin refinement and a fair balance of body control and ride quality. At its best, the CS95 is a motorway hauler that moves its occupants in comfort and keeps noise levels supressed, bar wind noise from the side mirrors. A pair of hefty front and rear subframes no doubt help isolate noise paths from the front and rear suspension and, in China’s choking city traffic, the CS95 rides quietly. Changan’s engineers say they have tried hard to ensure braking and transmission refinement in stop/start traffic, and they have succeeded – the CS95 has easily modulated brakes, making smooth stops in traffic easy to achieve. On Changan’s own smoothly surfaced handling test track, the CS95 is also surprisingly agile and can be hustled through corners with reasonable speed, albeit accompanied by a fair degree of body roll, despite front and rear anti-roll bars. Changan’s British chassis engineers accept that cornering could be better-controlled by thicker anti-roll bars, but the deterioration in ride wouldn’t fit the CS95’s role as a comfortable family cruiser. China’s roads are very mixed in surface quality and frequently vary between undulations and potholes that demand rugged and compliant suspension. The British-designed 2.0-litre turbo delivers a smooth and cultured accelerative push, but the choice of gear ratios in the Aisin Warner six-speeder doesn’t match the engine as well as it could. We had no chance to measure fuel economy and official figures were not provided, but we were told a combined figure of 30mpg was typical. Acceleration off the line is strangely muted, the calibration seemingly holding back the power delivery until the speed moves through the 30mph mark. And the CS95 is a hefty lump to get up to speed, loading the scales to a two-tonne kerb weight. A Discovery Sport, for example, is featherweight in comparison, weighing around 200kg lighter. The chance may not come for a number of years yet, as Changan is eyeing up the UK market but won’t commit to a launch date. The company is most likely to wait until the next-generation model to further hone engineering and design to Western tastes. If a CS95 went on sale in the UK now, it would offer a competitive alternative to Korean and European rivals, albeit with its appeal focused on comfort and refinement rather than dynamic prowess.
Chinese car maker Zotye Auto has unveiled the production version of its controversial SR9, revealing a five-door SUV that closely resembles the Porsche Macan. On sale in China at a price around £12,300, the Zotye SR9 will initially be sold with just one engine – a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol unit sourced from Mitsubishi developing 187bhp and 184lb ft of torque. It drives through a standard five speed manual or optional six-speed dual clutch gearbox. A smaller turbocharger 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine delivering 148bhp and 104lb ft is planned to be added to the SR9 line-up in 2017. Despite threatening legal action when the new Zotye was shown as a concept back in 2014, Porsche is yet to officially sue for copyright infringement, according to officials at its German headquarters in Stuttgart. Autocar’s exclusive comparison pictures reveal the extent of Zotye’s plagiarism. As well as copying the overall proportions and silhouette of the Porsche Macan, the SR9 also features similar shut lines and exterior detailing. The interior of the SR9 also bears close similarities to that of the Macan. At 4744mm in length, 1929mm in width and 1647mm in height, the Zotye SR9 is 63mm longer 6mm wider and 23mm higher than the Porsche Macan. It also rides on a 43mm longer wheel base than the car from which it is clearly inspired at 2850mm. Zotye is well known for its plagiarism of successful car designs. The Yongkang-based car maker current sells the SR7, which is heavily reminiscent of the Audi Q3 and the T600, which is styled to resemble the Audi Q5. Other copycat models within its range include the Damai X5, a close take on the Volkswagen Tiguan, and the recently unveiled Damai X7, a clone of the Volkswagen Crossblue Coupe concept. Zotye Auto was founded in 2005. Its first model was the RX6400, a compact SUV bearing a close resemblance to the Daihatsu Terios R.
The 2018 Kia Sportage has typically been an "alternative" choice for a compact crossover SUV. Prior versions weren't as well-rounded as other, more popular crossovers, but a lower price, plentiful standard features and lengthy warranty helped get people into the driver's seat. Well, those value-oriented attributes are still present, but the 2018 Kia Sportage, coming off last year's full redesign, is improved to the point that it deserves to be among those SUVs you consider first rather than the one you settle on after looking at the price tag. For starters, it's a more refined and comfortable vehicle than previous versions. Its ride quality is impressively comfortable, even with bigger wheels, and its cabin stays nice and quiet on the highway. Interior quality is also better than most, and it looks good, too. Other advantages include a big back seat and large doors that make it easy to get in and out. If you are looking for lots of utility, the Sportage probably isn't the right choice. You get 30.7 cubic feet of space behind the rear seatbacks, which trails class leaders by about 4 to 6 cubic feet, while folding down those seatbacks opens up a similarly modest 60.1 cubic feet. The Sportage's fuel economy is also disappointing compared to rival SUVs. Still, you don't need to spend a lot of money to get an appealing Sportage. Even the base trim level is well equipped, and unlike some rivals, you don't have to step up to an upper trim to get desirable things such as advanced safety tech and Apple or Android smartphone control. So, yes, the Sportage is just as much of a value-packed alternative as always, but it's also good enough now to be in the big leagues. For 2018, the base LX gets new stain-resistant cloth upholstery and a greater variety of optional equipment. The EX trim gains standard equipment, including blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alert systems. There's also a new EX Sport Appearance package and the SX Turbo includes an electronic parking brake. The 2018 Kia Sportage is a five-passenger compact crossover SUV available in LX, EX and SX Turbo trim levels. Front-wheel drive is standard on all of them, but all-wheel drive is an option. The LX and EX have a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 181 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. The SX Turbo has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 240 hp (237 hp with all-wheel drive) and 260 lb-ft of torque. Standard equipment on the LX includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, rear privacy glass, driver-selectable driving modes, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40-split folding and reclining back seat, a rearview camera, a 5-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth, and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio, a CD player and one USB port. The LX's Popular package adds roof rails, UV-reducing glass for the front windows and windshield, a windshield wiper de-icer, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat (with power lumbar), heated front seats, and Kia's 7-inch Uvo touchscreen interface that includes Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Kia's eServices remote and emergency services. The EX includes all of the above items plus 18-inch wheels, foglights, heated mirrors, upgraded exterior and interior trim, keyless ignition and entry, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, leather upholstery and a rear USB charging port. The EX's Premium package adds a panoramic sunroof, a heated steering wheel and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The Sport Appearance package adds LED foglights, special exterior trim and a flat-bottom steering wheel. It is not available with the Premium or Technology (see below) packages. The LX Technology package adds forward collision warning and automatic braking, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning systems, lane departure warning, automatic high-beam control and power-folding mirrors. The EX Technology package adds those items plus a hands-free liftgate, front and rear parking sensors, a spare tire, an eight-way power-adjustable passenger seat, an 8-inch touchscreen, a navigation system and an eight-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. This package includes heated rear seats with all-wheel-drive Sportages. The SX gets a more powerful engine plus a sport-tuned suspension, 19-inch wheels, xenon headlights, LED foglights, an electronic parking brake, special exterior trim, the flat-bottom steering wheel, a larger gauge display, and the contents of the EX Technology and Premium packages.
We can finally confirm that Nissan is building a new SUV, and it's called the Terra. The Japanese carmaker made the announcement earlier this morning. The Terra is set to make its global debut in China (which will also be the first market to get it) later this year, and will be the first vehicle from Nissan's frame and light commercial vehicle (LCV) division. Division vice president Ashwani Gupta describes the Terra as a rugged, practical and 'authentic' SUV designed to get anywhere. "Nissan's frame and LCV business is seeing steady growth, and with our ambitious midterm plan and growing product lineup, we're confident that this growth will continue. It is an exciting time for Nissan. We have the Nissan Terra arriving soon, the award-winning Nissan Navara is now in 133 markets worldwide, and more drivers are purchasing our LCVs around the world," Gupta added. Official photos reveal a front endowed with large fenders and a muscular fascia, typical midsize SUV proportions, and an overall aesthetic similar to that of the Nissan Navara. The same goes for the interior. Actually, if we're being honest this thing looks a lot like Nissan's popular pickup truck offering--not a bad thing. The company also released a short teaser video on YouTube (see below) showing off the Terra taking on some dirt, mountain twisties, and snow. Nice. Frankly, the Terra has been an open secret since last year. Photographs of the vehicle have been circulating online for quite some time already, including alleged photos of a Terra unit being tested right here in the Philippines. Considering our market's strong passion for the midsize SUV segment, we wouldn't be surprised at all if Nissan Philippines brought it over to compete with the likes of the Toyota Fortuner, Mitsubishi Montero Sport, Isuzu MU-X and Ford Everest. So, is a new contender joining the battle? We hope so.
Time now for some careful praise for Zotye; they just launched their new 2018 Zotye T500 SUV and it is not really a copy of any other car. And for Zotye that is progress. Good work guys!
Whether the resulting result is pretty is of course another matter, but I think it doesn’t look bad.
The rear is a bit busy and the ‘pipe tips’ in the bumper are too obviously fake, as you can actually see the real pipe.
Power comes from a 1.5 turbo with 156 hp, mated to a five-speed manual. This is the same engine that powers basically every other compact Zotye SUV. Size wise it is very close to its sibling too: 4632/1850/1695, and wheelbase is 2700.
Zotye also tried to ‘style’ the dashboard, and it somewhat works. Materials look good and I especially like the racy steering wheel.
A very small and subtle Zotye badge on the grille. The whole car is rather subtle for Zotye’s standards.
The new Zotye T500 for China. Is it the dawn of an era with original design? ..? No, probably not.