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Good looker, moving in the right direction, but never likely to excite

The new Qoros SUV still needs some tweaking before being Europe ready

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 July, 2016, 4:59pm
UPDATED : Friday, 29 July, 2016, 10:00pm

Qoros originally talked of full-blown European sales by this year – currently its cars are only on sale outside China in the Slovakia test market. While sales in the company’s Chinese home market have been increasing it is no secret they are much lower than expected.

Unlike the Qoros 3 City SUV this is a proper SUV style vehicle, albeit currently front-wheel drive only, rather than a crossover dressing up of a hatchback.

They do, however, share the same drivetrain and the Qoros 5 SUV is built on the scalable platform which has been increased by all of 9mm in wheelbase length.

Looks wise, the 5 is a much more attractive proposition than any of the more staid 3 body styles.

Is the Qoros 5 the joker in the pack or is the car itself the joke?

The Israeli-financed Chinese joint venture uses many people formerly from top European manufacturers to attempt a German level of quality in a car made in China.

Compared with the Chinese specification MG GS, the 5 is far superior when it comes to interior quality but the company has not upped its game from the 3 and Chinese competitors such as Geely now offer similar levels in their best models.

Materials may be similar to German competitors, but the attention to detail is not.

The under-passenger-seat container for shoes is not smooth to open and similarly the centre tunnel compartment’s action is stiff.

While the centre tunnel has been redesigned and now features an electric parking brake and auto hold the dashboard is largely a carry over from the 3.

Mainly it is built around the 8-inch touchscreen which looks similar to an iPad and is operated by swipes.

It is not the car to bring Qoros any closer to being anything but a Chinese novelty

Qoros Qloud is now in its third generation and has more built in social connectivity allowing Qoros drivers to connect with other Qoros cars on the road – assuming they can find any.

The ability to plan a journey on your smartphone or PC and then sync it with the car is a definite advantage.

In the back there is plenty of leg and head space for all but the tallest of passengers but it can only comfortably seat two adults. The doors open all the way down to the wheelbase which makes the cabin easy to egress and the electric tailgate with memory makes it easy to deal with the high-opening hatch.

There is a very solid feeling to the floor of the boot and the seats fold flat but do not reach the front seats. Under the boot floor is an ingenious but overly fiddly design which means there is a rubber mat, cover, two interlocking polystyrene like trays which all need to be removed to get to the spare space saver wheel onto which the Bose woofer is attached.

The car is only offered with a 1.6 turbo engine coupled to either a six-speed manual or in the case of our Luxury trim version, a six-speed dual clutch unit.

On paper the engine seems underpowered for the size and weight increase over the 3, but actually proves adequate, due to an increase in torque.

Where the package breaks down more is the gearbox. At lower ratios the changes are not very smooth. Couple this with turbo lag and considerable noise when accelerating it is not the most engaging car to drive. There is also discernable body roll when making sharp steering inputs under acceleration – perhaps not unexpected for an SUV.

While the most visually appealing Qoros to date, the car does not seem as polished as the 3.

Our test car came with saddle brown coloured leather seats a colour option new to the 5 – black and beige are also offered.

Equipment levels are good with items like electric seats, keyless entry, a panoramic sunroof and cornering lights. However, you would also expect equipment such as adaptive cruise control or a blind spot warning indicator to be features of the top of the range version.

At the Beijing Auto Show in April, Qoros announced its QamFree engine developed in collaboration with Koenigsegg. This should reach production next year and the expected power increase and reduction in fuel usage would make this an obvious candidate for this model.

Throw in an all wheel drive system and then this car would be Europe ready, but as it stands it still needs some tweaking.

Such changes also will make the car a better proposition in a sector of the Chinese market which is both growing and highly competitive.

Currently the 5, while not a bad car, seems lacking partly due to only offering the one engine and being front-wheel drive. While cheaper, at 194,900 yuan, than the similarly sized locally produced Volkswagen Tiguan without the well known brand name and with its short comings, it is not as an appealing package.

It seems it is not the car to bring Qoros any closer to being anything but a Chinese novelty.