Wheels24

SA's cheapest car launched

2008-05-09 10:35

To read more about Chery in South Africa, and aftersales and servicing for the new range, click here.

South Africa has a new "cheapest car" - the Chery QQ3 costs R59 900, and it's not as bare as you may think...

Of the ten models currently in production at Chery's Wuhu plant, three - the QQ3, J5 and Tiggo - are now available in South Africa.

McCarthy Limited executives at the launch of its new affordable range also noted that two additional models are a possibility for the local market by the end of 2008.

For now, there are three models to appeal to quite a wide range of buyers.

The entry-level QQ3 is a tiny hatchback perfect for the student, one level up is the J5 family-sized sedan, while the Tiggo compact SUV completes the range.

On Thursday's launch to the local media, those present were allowed to sample a section of the available range.

Plenty to choose from

The QQ3 range is offered with a choice of two powerplants - a 0.8- and a four-cylinder 1.1-litre unit.

Outputs for these units are quoted at 38 kW at 6 000 r/min and 70 Nm between 3 500 and 4 000 r/min for the triple and 50 kW at 6 000 r/min and 90 Nm also between 3 500 and 4 000 r/min for the bigger unit.

J5 and Tiggo are powered by the same 2.0-litre four-cylinder 16-valve with DOHC producing 95 kW at 5 500 r/min and 178 Nm at 4 500 r/min.

All engines drive the front wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox.

Based on the relatively short stints spent behind the wheel, I am able to report that the vehicles were all fairly capable along the launch route.

Given the range's price positioning, the quality is not expected to be top-notch. A definite flimsiness to surfaces was noted with a fair amount of panels flexing under pressure. However, the materials used, although hard to the touch, appear to be tough and durable.

Chery draws its components from a lengthy list of notable global suppliers, so the real test perhaps would be to judge how its products stand up to everyday, "real world" tests.

On the road

The QQ3 is perhaps the model that most impressed in our time together. Ride quality on both the 0.8- and 1.1-litre models was fair, aided by the use of McPherson struts up front and a torsion beam and coil spring arrangement at the rear.

The only real concern - and this was common for all models driven - was that the power steering that was perhaps a bit too light for my liking.

Indeed all Chery models are fitted standard with power steering and an extensive range of nice-to-haves previously unheard of as standard in this segment.

Standard equipment on the base model include a rear spoiler, body-coloured side mirrors and door mouldings, power steering, high-mounted brake light, side impact protection bars and child-locking rear doors.

And the performance of these little cars was a pleasant surprise too. While the 0.8-litre was understandably asthmatic up at the reef, the 1.1-litre was exceptionally peppy, allowing the car to be whizzed about a whole range of back roads with seemingly little concern for the performance-sapping qualities of altitude.

The 2.0-litre in the sedan and the SUV was another marvel. Although a bit loud when moving on a bit, it nevertheless offered smooth power delivery.

And ride quality and road holding were equally good, with both making use of a McPherson strut up front and trailing arms at the rear. Standard equipment on the J5 includes power steering with adjustable steering columns, dual front airbags, central locking, front and rear armrests, air conditioning, electric windows at the front and rear, trip computer and electric mirrors.

The Tiggo adds a front-loading CD player, ABS and EBD, and a few more worthwhile features.

One problem...

The only big niggle was a common problem on all models - the five-speed gearbox. Positioning, on the QQ in particular where it was located too far forward and the gearshift was too short, was perhaps the biggest gripe.

Also shift action, on all the models, was desperate at times. It could best be described as "squishy" and numb, and Tiggo, where third and fifth gears could easily have shared a slot, was especially concerning. However, these "problems" could become a lot more bearable given time and a bit of patience.

All cars offer exceptional value with a whole of kit for not too much money. But whether it will be succeed in stealing sales from the used car market and convince those currently planning to "buy down" remains to be seen. All cars are sold with a three-year/100 000 km warrranty and a three-year anti-corrosion warranty. Service intervals are 15 000 km and a service plan will be available from the end of May.

PRICES

QQ3
0.8 TE - R59 900
0.8 TX - R65 900
1.1 TE - R73 900
1.1 TXE - R79 900

J5
2.0 TE - R139 900
2.0 TX - R149 900

Tiggo
2.0 TX - R159 900
2.0 TXE - R169 900

To read more about Chery in South Africa, and aftersales and servicing for the new range, click here.

Wheels24

Comments
  • Geert - 2008-05-09 10:20

    Lijkt interessant en evengoed een warranty for 100 000 km! d

  • Eddie - 2008-05-09 11:08

    95kW and 178Nm!! Not bad! Better than my lazy 85kW/172Nm GolfV 2.0! But it's still a Chinese car my China!!

  • Play it safe - 2008-05-09 11:18

    I noticed that no safety features were mentioned (road holding doesn't count). If we are going to be seeing a lot more of these on the road I'd love to know just how safe they are for both the passengers and pedestrians. Keeping in mind that the same market buying these will probably be the ones with bottom of the range health insurance/short term insurance...what are the long term implications?

  • Sascha - 2008-05-09 11:35

    I can't believe that they are allowed to sell cars like this on the SA market. My main criticism is safety. ABS, EBD and Airbags are very misleading, sure these are proven systems and they do work. But have you ever seen a chery crash test. If you haven't just have a look on youtube. These cars are not safe at all... what does an airbag help if the steering severs your head because the entire steering column and dashboard ends up on the drivers lap.

  • Sascha - 2008-05-09 11:36

    I can't believe that they are allowed to sell cars like this on the SA market. My main criticism is safety. ABS, EBD and Airbags are very misleading, sure these are proven systems and they do work. But have you ever seen a chery crash test. If you haven't just have a look on youtube. These cars are not safe at all... what does an airbag help if the steering severs your head because the entire steering column and dashboard ends up on the drivers lap.

  • wolf - 2008-05-09 11:59

    More cheap junk clogging up our roads. Have these things been crash tested?

  • HVR - 2008-05-09 12:01

    Test drove a Benni last week, what a horrible car. It feels if the front part of the cabin is made of mesh wire. Suspect the Chery will be similiar and pretty much only the side impact bars and the power steering is standerd extra's the rest is just crap. Will rather go for a Corsa Lite for a few thousand more or second hand. Parts will probably also be a problem.

  • Living in China - 2008-05-09 12:05

    You can walk into a showroom and buy, a QQ in China for under R30 000, same as the Chana , as usual we are being ripped off in SA

  • Johan - 2008-05-09 12:37

    I see it sells for about $5,000 = R38,000 overseas.

  • cheapies - 2008-05-09 12:43

    Why would someone buy this junk, buy a bike if you want to save money.

  • Poseidon - 2008-05-09 12:46

    Hey, the same goes to citigolf, they have never done a crash test and we still buy it, i think those chinese product will be better than the very very old Citigolf! People think! 1970 German technology and 2000 Chinese technology, hard to choose!

  • Plastic Who - 2008-05-09 12:57

    South Africans really have no clue do they. You can sell them any crap! But they will buy it - unsafe or not, because most of them are poor yes! Abject poverty all over...

  • Erik - 2008-05-09 12:58

    Why?...dont we have enough of these small cars on the road with affordable prices (Picanto,Cherade ect).Im just gonna run these things off the highway because their dog ugly!!!As safe as lung cancer i presume!

  • Dr. No. - 2008-05-09 12:59

    If I'm going to buy a budget car with no safety (track record). I'd rather buy the baseline Citi Golf for a few grand more. No worse than a Chery in this regard, but far superiour in general build & mechanical quality. I doubt you'll get to 150 000 KMS in one of these crud mobiles, before it falls apart...

  • Bob - 2008-05-09 13:03

    I quite agree, i thought these were going to be cheap vehicles..as usual we pay double for our imports and double for our local manufactured units as well. I would never buy one, not for the price or for the safely.. sure if it was 30k or 35k and i was a student.. but i would never let my wife and kids loose in something like that.

  • W - 2008-05-09 13:22

    What is South Africa's problem? I can understand if this car was really cheap but at R60 000 for a 800cc and as much as R80 000 for a 1100cc this is a complete rip off. Many other countries are not allowing these unsafe cars to be sold in their countries so why are we. I would much rather get a 5 year old car for the same price and will still come far better equipped and be safer and at least it wont depreciate as much.

  • Mono - 2008-05-09 13:30

    Googles this car on the Web and results show there is no official website for this car. Even Mcarthy does not even have details on their website, embarassed about these cars...are they? You wont see me rushnig down to my nearest dealership....wonder what they call their red colour option in a Cherry:)

  • Justin A. - 2008-05-09 13:41

    here's a fantastic example of the Chery's safety in a EuroNcap test. http://images.paultan.org/uploads/2006/02/cheryqq_10.jpg

  • Justin A. - 2008-05-09 13:42

    here's a fantastic example of the Chery's safety in a EuroNcap test. http://images.paultan.org/uploads/2006/02/cheryqq_10.jpg

  • James - 2008-05-09 13:44

    How long will it last? I would rather buy a good used car for less money.

  • James - 2008-05-09 13:52

    Have you seen this crash test on YouTube? The whole front half of the car collapsed! This is at a relatively low speed as well. It is quite disturbing to think of being in an accident in one of these things. Even my Uno is a haven of safety compared to the Amulet.

  • Heinrich - 2008-05-09 13:58

    Why do you care about the crash tests and safety? It only becomes an issue when you buy one of these QQ's and surely then you take it into account? No-one's forcing us to buy it as far as I know?

  • Tata Lover - 2008-05-09 13:59

    If you want a cheap car that will meet all your safety requirements,economical,3YEAR FACTORY WARRANTY with an already established infrastructure and back up, 2YEAR SERVICE PLAN. Then buy a TATA INDICA. It has more space, power steering, the engine will not land on your lap and it does not have a "MADE IN CHINA" sticker.Besides all this, for a few rand more you can buy a 1400 i, not a 800cc motor bike with 4 wheels. Just make sure that you buy it from Mowbray - they are the best dealership in SA

  • g - 2008-05-09 14:02

    everyone's worried about safety, but it can't be any worse than a brand new 30 year old CitiGolf now can it?

  • Artur - 2008-05-09 14:11

    Well The biggest problem is not the car manufectuers but our government try to import a vehicle - the amount of tax they add doubles a car price - another problem we have here comparing to other countries like europe. Car that are sold have vat on them each time they are sold to someone in europe this only applies to the first time a vehicle is sold ie new - when it becomes second hand it does not get taxed or vated anymore. So sadly its not always the car industry but our own government.

  • Johan - 2008-05-09 14:13

    Ok, I agree re safety...but...surely better to buy this than a scooter or 200 km/hr bike(getting more popular by the day). Remember this is (I suppose) a "town car"). "Living in China"...why worry?! Bob Mugabe will buy the factory and smuggle the cars into SA.

  • Anthony - 2008-05-09 14:24

    Aren't these cars made in China? Thus the cheaper prices there? You should take into account import costs.

  • Johan - 2008-05-09 14:49

    I cannot phantom why you'd want to buy a brand new minute car for R60 000 just for the sake of having a new car, when, for the same or less than that price, you could buy a mid to top of the range older car with a lot more power, features and comfort. Who would want to ride in a toy car when you could ride in for example a BMW 318 for less? People should do their homework and first look at what they can get in the second hand market for the same value.

  • BMW MAN - 2008-05-09 15:05

    but now just with the Chery on Top. LOL

  • Gareth - 2008-05-09 15:20

    Oh no not more of this trash on our roads.Its enuff we have so many new slow cars driving in the fast lane.Only stupid people will buy a car like this.As for using it in a town car,what stupidity as most people buy cars to travel to work and they do not work in their own towns.Just another scheme by rich people to let poor people kill themselves quickly.The other question is if you are poor how in hell can u afford the price of 69k and 139k???????

  • DeeIsCool - 2008-05-09 15:25

    Just when I thought the Tatas were the last of the breed of road snails ... now this!!! Enough!!!

  • john - 2008-05-09 15:37

    An 2.0 8-valve Opel engine from the 80s makes 95kw and 190nm. How is it possible for a 2 litre engine with 16 valves and DOHC to make just 95kw and 178nm in 2008? I mean I'm not overly concerned about a car's power anyway but this is just silly.

  • Marius - 2008-05-09 15:49

    Beware my china, beware!!!

  • tman - 2008-05-09 15:59

    citi is the best car so moron don't compare the citi with junk so if you have nothing good to say about citi shout your as# up for the love of people cars :-)

  • RB - 2008-05-09 16:54

    Sure you can get a much better car for similar money in the second hand market - but taking your example - a BMW 318i , at this price, the motorplan will be over so servicing and parts will be incredibly expensive, and the warranty will probably also be over.

  • no thanx - 2008-05-09 17:38

    I saw some of the test models in Krugersdorp during Desember. Its just another piece of chinese copy's. I think even a 30 old year city golf has a better safety rating. go have a look on Youtube....

  • Daantjie Badenhorst - 2008-05-09 18:10

    I am totally in favour of the introduction of the QQ in South Acfrica, even though it looks a lot like my Chevrolet Spark. I suggest that nobody judge this car until they have driven it. I intend taking one for a test drive soon (probably a TXE, because it comares with my Spark LS), and only once I have done that, I will comment. The fact that Mc Carthy imports it, counts in its favour. I must also add tht I believe that the J 5 will become popular, because it is modern and well-priced.

  • dale - 2008-05-09 19:06

    Vat Does get added to second hand cars

  • Daantjie Badenhorst - 2008-05-09 19:35

    I cannot agree with Johan's opinion. Two ye4ars ago i was in that kind of situation; I had R 80 000 to spend on a car, and I could also have looked at something like a used BMW. However, I refused to be tempted, simply because I knew I would not be able to maintain a car like that. When something goes wrong, you need to fork out BIG BUCKS, and I refused to do that. I bought a Spark LS, and I believe that prospective Chery QQ owners will feel the same way. No thanks, keep your BMW!

  • Nick Meyer - 2008-05-09 20:08

    I cannot believe that you can import shit that you cannot support in the whole of the country. R60 000.00 plus interrest is a lot of money. You are puting people in a lot off problems with a burden that we cannot afford at this time you cannot drive a car that is not supported in the whole of the country. Please rather support South African made vehicles and help to create jobs for our people. Thanks please help to build our country rather to import cars that cannot be supported. Nick Meyer

  • WF - 2008-05-09 20:28

    And now we have comments about the trash, stupid people buying Chinese cars etc. At least the Chinese are using the best engineers in the world to catch up with the West. We buy City Golfs, Corsa Lights, 1400 Nissan bakkies, all of which have ? star NCap ratings and no modern engineering. Better alternatives????

  • Dave Paterson - 2008-05-09 20:32

    Remember when Toyota came to this country. We called it "Jap Crap". Watch out for the Chinese. Cars and Bakkies from China are more affordable!!!!!

  • Simba - 2008-05-09 20:56

    I'd recommend a quick search for CHINESE CAR SAFETY in YouTube; the results of the tests are horrendous. In a crash, these cars will make an Uno look like a tank. These things are cheap for a very good reason. I hope South Africans boycott these crap Chinese cars.

  • sick of being ripped off - 2008-05-10 01:24

    These cars should be banned as they are so unsafe! This type of car won't last long in SA with the distances, speed and road conditions we have to endure. Also we are being treated as the most gullible and desperate market in the world where any crap sells!

  • sick of being ripped off - 2008-05-10 01:25

    These cars should be banned as they are so unsafe! This type of car won't last long in SA with the distances, speed and road conditions we have to endure. Also we are being treated as the most gullible and desperate market in the world where any crap sells!

  • Ronnie Rampers - 2008-05-10 02:26

    Dont be stupid buy this car our governement is still stealing the import tax.Imagine if there was no or samll import taxes.how cheap would this car be,then we could buy each one his own car in the family.Give China half a chance remember what they said about 'Jap Scrap", who wants the Lexus and Pajeros,Hondas today ha.ha

  • :-) - 2008-05-10 11:04

    and the breakdown

  • Wing nut - 2008-05-10 15:09

    I read with interest the arrogant and mostly puerile comments of many who dont even KNOW these cars nor their fantastic engineering LET me just say .. your comments are noted .. Give this awesome brand a chance Wait and see and give Mc carthys who back it, a fair chance.. Excellent value and such fun to drive . Its a new world brand even in China bt dont be so judgemental and make comparisons with a Mack truck instead. 2010 lets see Naamsa postings

  • Pissed off - 2008-05-10 22:24

    more cheap more unemployment for SA, Govt please stop SA from being a dumping ground for cheap imports.

  • Sevendust - 2008-05-11 12:40

    ... Isn't just for people in 300 grand luxury cars. We know you live on credit cards anyways, so how wealthy are you really?

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