WUL­ING MA­JOR­ITY

Autocar - - INSIGHT -

Front-en­gined, rear-wheel drive – and seven seats… Ladies and gentle­men, I give you the Wul­ing Hong­guang, con­sis­tently China’s best-sell­ing ve­hi­cle.

This com­pact MPV, which sold nearly three mil­lion units in China be­tween Jan­uary and Au­gust just this year alone, was born from a joint ven­ture be­tween Gen­eral Mo­tors and Chi­nese man­u­fac­tur­ers SAIC and Wul­ing.

Pretty it is not, with odd pro­por­tions, tacky de­tails and an over­all look of sad­ness. An ab­so­lute nail to drive it must be. Surely?

Well, no, ac­tu­ally. It weighs noth­ing so it turns in nicely to corners and has de­cent body con­trol. The man­ual gearshift is slick and the en­gine is sur­pris­ingly strong and tractable.

The phrase cheap and cheer­ful was in­vented for such a cre­ation, the Hong­guang’s £4800 start­ing price pro­vid­ing spa­cious trans­port to the mil­lions now en­ter­ing China’s boom­ing lower-mid­dle classes. It’s a sim­ple cre­ation that is ab­so­lutely fit for pur­pose.

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