Even though FAW might not be an established brand in South Africa in terms of trustworthy and recognised brands yet, the company is looking at massive expansions in Africa while using South Africa as a stepping stone.
For starters, FAW is constructing a factory in the new Coega industrial zone near Port Elizabeth and while it will initially churn out trucks, passenger and light commercial vehicles are part of the long-term manufacturing plan.
At first glance, one can’t help but think that there is something very familiar to this car. That is due to it being based on the previous-generation Toyota Avanza.
Is it the same car though? FAW has lent some of its own flavour to the Sirius, particularly at the front end. Now they’ve added a 1.5-litre petrol-engine option. While the existing 1.3-litre unit - which delivers 67kW and 120Nm - remains, the new 1.5 serves as a brawnier alternative with 75kW and 140Nm on command. Be careful not do judge these small numbers too quickly; they afford the Sirius a pretty relaxing and comfortable drive.
Like the Avanza, the Sirius offers seating for seven, although there’s not too much boot space when the third row is in place.
As is the norm with Chinese contenders, standard specification is generous and the list includes air conditioning, remote central locking, USB/MP3 audio player, alarm, dual front airbags, ABS and alloy wheels. The range-topping 1.5 Comfortable model adds roof-mounted air conditioning and a protection shield beneath the engine. Add everything up and what you get is a pretty well-rounded people carrier, ideal for the young family.
All this, including being cheaper than the Avanza, leads FAW to believe that it can start off with a 10% market share in the segment, with sales estimated to be around 40 units per month.
All models are covered by a three-year/100 000km warranty and four-year/60 000km service plan. FAW boasts 20 dealerships across the country.
Even though the pricing is pretty reasonable in light of the amount of space you’re getting, as well as the standard-features count, the Sirius’ biggest challenge will be the presence of the latest-generation Avanza, which retails between R165 600 and R207 500.
1.3 Panel Van R149 995
1.3 Comfort R159 995
1.5 Standard R179 995
1.5 Comfort R189 995