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.