Chery on bottom
SO, THE Chery J1 has been kicked out ofAustralia because it’s not safe enough.
Good riddance, Carsguide says.
It’s been outed by the latest regulations on compulsory electronic stability control, which also netted and rejected the GreatWall X240 and Suzuki Jimny.
The bottomline is that electronic stability control— breakthrough tech that uses computerised control of a car’s braking system to maintain control in a potential emergency— is now fitted to every car in Australian showrooms.
Because ESC is linked to the anti-lock brakes, basically working it in reverse to pull a car straight if it wobbles out of line, it means we also get the benefit of ABS to prevent wheels locking and enable us to steer around a potential disaster.
Victoria went early on compulsory ESC but now the whole country has joined the latest safety party.
My only outing in a J1 took place one morning in Sydney. The Chinese cheapie had promise but the reality of life with the $9990 new comer was not good.
Itwas slow away fromthe lights, had wonky brakes and wobbly cornering.
I compiled a list of 18 flaws in the assembly work, from body parts that were only undercoated to a dashboard that appeared to have been made using parts fromat least four companies who had never spoken to each other.
Chery changed the gearing of the J1 within aweek, but that was about it. There are still some stocks of J1s in dealerships, and Suzuki says it has enough Jimnys untilMarch of 2014. But those cars belong to the past, a fact emphasised this week with vehicles as diverse as Kia’s Rondo, the Mazda 6 and Renault’s Clio each winning five ANCAP stars.
Carsguide’s rule is simple: if a car does not score at least a four-star ANCAP safety rating, then it is not tested.
It’s partly about protecting the test team— but mostly it’s because the bottomline for any Carsguide verdict is whether we would recommend a car to family or friends. We won’t tell you to buy a two-star car. The same goes on the second-hand front.
We also take a huge interest in any safety development work that could make our roads a better place to drive. Feedback fromthe Carsguide crew alerted Mercedes-Benz to a flawin a safety feature that uses the next development of ESC to keep a car in its lane.
We wore big smiles when the latest S-Class and E-Class cars arrived with a tweak that’s directly linked to our driving and writing. But we’re smiling for a very different reason when we reflect on the J1.