As Jaguar debuts its E-Pace SUV at Frankfurt, two halls down the IAA exhibition centre there’s a portent of doom for European mid-sized SUV makers which fail to make an impact.
Wey is Chinese manufacturer Great Wall’s luxury marque which at present sells exclusively in its home market, although the size of its Frankfurt stand indicates it doesn’t plan on maintaining that situation for long.
The snappily titled VV5S is a mid-sized E-Pace/BMW X3 competitor and while it looks depressingly similar to everyone else’s mid-sized SUV, it’s a design that won’t scare the horses, though the leather-upholstered interior pongs of that peculiar solvent so loved by Chinese manufacturers.
The VV5S comes with a pure petrol or a mild-hybrid driveline, the latter with a 197bhp/262lb ft, 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine plus a small 1.16kWh lithium-ion battery and little assistance motors in the front and rear axles. It does 0-62mph in 8.7sec and delivers an average fuel consumption of 42.2mpg.
There’s no price for that, but the pure petrol-engined version would translate to a sticker price of about €18,000 or about £16,500.
As if that future threat weren’t enough, two aisles away from Wey is the Chery stand containing another E-Pace-sized SUV, the ExeedTX, which is says it will definitely be importing to Europe, although it won’t say exactly when.
Chery is one of China’s biggest car makers and it has ambitious plans for the M3X platform which underpins the ExeedTX. With a range of 1.5- and 1.6-litre petrol engines, the vehicle is capable of being produced in front- and all-wheel drive, and in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric forms.
Again the ExeedTX is generic in the extreme, but there’s only so much you can do differently in this overheated market, and at least the upholstery doesn’t make you wrinkle your nose.
cars jaguar e-pace in pictures puff
There’s probably a debate to be had about vehicle design disappearing down a depressingly similar SUV hole until they all resemble each other, like four-wheeled, go-anywhere refrigerators, but the preponderance of Chinese car makers sniffing at a European market in which electrification and the banning of petrol and diesel engines is reducing the barriers to entry must represent a nightmare for established manufacturers.
For all Jaguar’s attention-grabbing launch stunts, the E-Pace is a highly conventional vehicle and if Wey’s pricing is any indication, there will be a lot of folk willing to put up with the pong for a mid-sized SUV which costs half as much.
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