MG goes upmarket with SUV and Great Wall gets adventurous
HOMETOWN heroes came to the fore at Shanghai motor show this week.
Taking the spotlight were China's automotive powerhouse, SAIC - which has MG and LDV brands in Australia - and Great Wall Motors.
Some local manufacturers presented vehicles that used other major brands as "design inspiration". That is, almost identical panel for panel - Land Wind's cryptically named X2 could pass for a Range Rover Evoque.
The big players showed models with vastly improved build quality and innovation.
Raising the bar
MG is promising a dynamic SUV duo over the next year. Leading the way is a replacement for the GS, a mid-sizer that competes against the Mazda CX-5 and Nissan X-Trail.
Looking high-end in range-topping "Trophy" specification, the updated HS comes with completely new sheetmetal. Tweaked transmissions are fitted to carryover 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engines.
Inside and out the vehicle looks a class above what's previously worn the Chinese manufacturer's badge.
MG's Pavel Meck said MG wasn't looking to move upmarket "but the product offering will be considerably evolutionary". The new model will arrive in Australia late this year or early 2020.
LDV took the wraps off its D60 SUV which has seating options for two, six or seven. It's not yet confirmed for right-hand drive markets, yet spokesman Edward Rowe said the local arm would certainly be interested as it would fall into the mid or lower segment of the market.
Joining the rapidly expanding electric party next year will be the fully electric MG eZS. It's based on Australia's biggest selling MG, the ZS, and has a range of 335km. MG says the battery can be recharged to 80 per cent capacity within 30 minutes using a fast charger. The eZS outputs are 110kW/350Nm and it can sprint from standstill to 50km/h in 3.1 seconds. It will be equipped with an eight-inch colour touchscreen, a full suite of safety kit (including radar cruise control and emergency braking with pedestrian protection) and a function that gets close to autonomous driving in city traffic.
Driving is overrated in China. Most buyers don't get behind the wheel, they're chauffeured. That's why BMW revealed a long-wheelbase version of the new 3 Series Sedan exclusively for the local market. It's been extended to 4650mm and is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo.
All the dual-cab big guns have brought out hardcore models, now Great Wall is joining in. Expected to arrive Down Under next year, the Adventure adopts the company's "tough truck" design philosophy. There is also an urban specification release.
The Adventure comes with built-in winch, triple diff locks, off-road selector with seven settings and Great Wall claims 900mm wading depth. It will also come with LED headlights and black wheel arches. The tailgate is designed to ease loading of trail bikes.
Wraps also came off an all-electric version of the dual cab that has a range of 500km.
SAIC's workhorse and off-roader marque LDV revealed what it calls a game-changer for the brand - the V90 van. Inside, the V90 has an enticing cabin design with a large central tablet on the dash. It aims to build on the reputation of the V80, a watershed vehicle for the brand in Australia.
Its new 2.0-litre diesel, the first to be completely built in-house, will also feature in the D90 large SUV with twin turbos and outputs of 130kW/400Nm. Fitted with a single turbocharger, it will power the T60 dual-cab ute and V80.