Herald Sun - Motoring - - Special Report -

THIS looks like a Suzuki Swift with a Toy­ota Yaris grille. It’s a pretty and well-made five-door car that places sense be­fore style, though it still man­ages to carry a bit of of the lat­ter.

The in­te­rior is well put to­gether with good plas­tic-panel fit on the dash­board. Only some mi­nor cleanups of the punch-out sec­tions would be re­quired to make it per­fect.

GWM al­lowed us to go on a sprint around its banked test track and a run through the esses and ramps as a passenger in the Florid. When it came for my run, the course was short­ened, be­cause of the weather, and there wasn’t a chance for a re­run.

The car is sur­pris­ingly taut with a firm chas­sis and well-damp­ened sus­pen­sion. This solid feel was ex­plained as be­ing nec­es­sary for some of China’s less-than-per­fect roads.

The steer­ing felt like any other small Asian car and the five-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion was pos­i­tive, though the gear­ing was tall.

The 77kW/138Nm 1.5-litre vari­able-valve tim­ing en­gine was un­der its ri­vals’ abil­ity in power and re­sponse. The weak ac­cel­er­a­tion was ex­plained as be­ing caused by the fresh en­gine.

In its favour, the Florid was very quiet and seemed un­fussed by a cou­ple of Aussies try­ing to run it past 6000 revs in ev­ery gear. GWM claims it will av­er­age 5.9 litres/ 100km.

The hatch is about 3900mm long and weighs only 1117kg as a man­ual.

The Florid will wear an­other name — as yet un­de­cided— for Aus­tralia, and that can only be good.

It will come with at least two airbags, anti-skid brakes with elec­tronic brake­force dis­tri­bu­tion and a CD player.

Ateco manag­ing di­rec­tor Ric Hull says they may de­lay the Florid’s launch un­til the con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion is avail­able next year.

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