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Something sweet from Chery - the J2


CHERY has been fighting, for some time, to build its market share in South Africa. And after a few tough years, the leading Chinese passenger-vehicle exporter is ready to grab a piece of the A-segment pie with its new model, the J2.

Powered by a nifty 1.5-litre petrol engine, this hatchback can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 15.1 seconds and has a claimed top speed of 171km/h. Admittedly, it won’t throw you back in your seat with rampant acceleration, but the spacious interior does mean you will have loads of room, as the vehicle measures in at 4 139mm in length and 1 686mm wide.

Hopping between the front and rear seats, there is plenty of legroom and despite the Chery’s relatively small-looking physique, it does offer a roomy drive.

Equipped with 72kW of power and 140Nm of torque, power is transferred to the front wheels via a five-speed manual transmission. The J2 does feel like it could do with a few extra horses under the hood, but it makes for a perfect city car. The claimed fuel consumption is 7.4 litres/100km and has an emissions rating of 176g/km.

Tasked with challenging the most hotly contested car segment in SA, the guys at Chery have packed as many standard features and niceties into the J2 as possible as they try to make the car even more alluring to buyers.

With one model (TX) in the line-up, the J2 boasts electric windows and mirrors, air conditioning, a front-loader CD player and USB, as well as fog lamps at the front and rear.

On the safety front, this hatchback houses driver and passenger airbags, side-impact protection bars and anti-skid brakes with electronic brake distribution.

From a styling perspective, the car certainly does standout. Its design traits, however, and lines might not be to everyone’s liking and while the interior is well equipped, the fit and finish isn’t quite on par with its competitors yet. The Chinese are working hard to constantly improve their products though, so it is just a matter of time.

Chery has shown how commited it is to South Africa, as we are the first right-hand-drive market in the world to receive the new J2.

But it is still going to have a tough time in our market and this is why pricing is so crucial and and Chery thinks it has gotten it right.

“In size the J2 competes against established, popular models such as the Hyundai i20,  Volkswagen Polo, Ford Fiesta and Toyota Yaris, to name a few, but from a pricing perspective, significantly undercuts these competitors. This value-for-money price positioning puts the J2 squarely up against smaller A-segment cars such as the Volkswagen Polo Vivo, Ford Figo and Toyota Etios,” says Brett Soso, managing director of Chery SA.
Whether this new offering will help grow Chery’s market share, only time will tell. But with a price of R129 900, it can’t be ignored.

Pricing of the J2 also includes a 5-year/120 000km factory warranty and a 2-year/30 000km service plan.

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