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.