It’s a sour Chery

2010-05-07 09:04

It’s going to take the Chinese a long time to gain the trust of

South Africans when it comes to their cars. Maybe it’s got something to do with

the way they look, but Chinese cars don’t ­inspire confidence.

Driving the Chery 1.3 TX model didn’t change my mind. The alarm

buttons on the remote would not work and I had to unlock the car manually –

which made the alarm go off for an embarrassingly long time. I had to drive with

the thing screeching! Not good.

Despite that, the J1 is an improvement on the Chery models first

introduced locally in 2008.

The styling is better looking than the QQ3; but the interior is

still cheap plastic.

The blue illumination of the instrument cluster barely makes up for

the boring interior while the handbrake lever is a flat panel between the front

seats and left me fumbling.

The seat belt is not adjustable and kept slicing my neck.

Standard goodies include dual airbags, anti-lock brakes with

electronic brake-force distribution, power-steering and electric mirrors and


But don’t count on getting ­anywhere in a hurry – the 1.3 litre

engine only spurts out 61kW and 114Nm of torque. Pushing a trolley during the

month-end shopping rush would probably feel faster. This is, after all, a budget

car under R120 000.

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