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New models - Chery - J11

Cheapest SUV on the market gets update

Chery picked: Australia's most affordable SUV now has more equipment, refreshed styling and powertrain upgrades, but a heftier price tag too.

Chery J11 SUV gets ESC, new powertrain and price hike to $18,990 drive-away

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Chery logo14 Apr 2014

AUSTRALIA’S cheapest SUV, the Chinese-made Chery J11, has copped a $1000 price hike in exchange for now-mandatory electronic stability control (ESC), a downsized and more frugal 1.6-litre petrol engine, new transmissions, refreshed styling and additional equipment.

The revised model, which remains Australia’s most affordable SUV at $18,990 drive-away with a five-speed manual gearbox (or $20,990 with a new seven-speed CVT auto in place of the old four-speeder) is one of two Chery models on sale, the other being the J3 small-car.

The J1, which at $9990 drive-away was Australia’s cheapest car while it was on sale, was axed last year due to its lack of ESC.

Chery importer Ateco has sold only 1999 units of the J11 since launch in February 2011. Sales have diminished each year since it arrived, reflective of a wider decline in the sale of Chinese vehicles over the past two years. Only 53 J11s have found homes this year.

Visually differentiating the updated J11 from its predecessor is a freshened chrome grille and headlight design (with LED daytime runners), a new bumper and new 17-inch alloy wheels (a full-sized alloy spare is standard).

Under the bonnet is a new 1.6-litre DVVT four-cylinder with 93kW at 6150rpm and 160Nm at 3900rpm – a reduction from the old 102kW/182Nm 2.0-litre engine it replaces – sending power to the front wheels (no AWD option) via a five-speed manual gearbox or a new seven-speed CVT.

On the upside the revised J11 uses less fuel: 7.4L/100km (8.6L/100km for the auto), down from 8.9L/100km.This is still thirstier than most small SUVs, however, and its need for 92 RON fuel means you’ll have to pump in Premium here.

Standard equipment includes rear parking sensors with a distance display, LED daylight running lights, hill hold assist (manual versions), electronic stability control (ESC), ABS brakes with EBD, and remote audio controls on the steering wheel.

There are, however, only two airbags. At launch, the J11 scored a below-par two ANCAP safety stars. In addition, Bluetooth is a dealer fit option, and not standard.

Additional standard equipment includes leather trim, a powered driver’s seat, four-speaker audio with USB input and steering wheel audio controls, cruise control (on the CVT only), power windows/mirrors and automatic wipers.

The vehicle chassis was, oddly, tuned by Lotus. The front suspension comprises MacPherson struts, while at the rear is a multi-link arrangement (rather than the torsion beam found on many budget cars).

The rear 60:40 rear split seats offer a practical solution for varied use of the vehicle and storage requirements. Once the seats are folded down the volume capacity increases to 790L.

2014 Chery J11 driveaway pricing
J11 $18,990
J11 (a) $20,990

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