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by Tim Beissmann

The 2011 Chery J11, already the cheapest compact SUV in Australia, is now even cheaper, with a $2000 cash back offer bringing the price down to a bargain basement $17,990 drive away.

The front-wheel drive Chery J11 launched in Australia in February alongside the Chery J1 light car – the outright cheapest new car in the country at $10,990 drive away (after $1000 cash back).

The Chery J11 is powered by a 102kW/182Nm 2.0-litre engine and features 16-inch alloy wheels, leather trim, air conditioning, power windows and a four-speaker stereo. Safety equipment includes dual front airbags and ABS, although as electronic stability control (ESC) is not available, the vehicle cannot be sold in Victoria.

Chery Automotive Australia has set an end date of August 31 on the J11 cash back offer, although if exchange rates remain favourable, the offer is likely to be extended. According to consumer laws, Chery is required is put an end date to its offers.

Chery Automotive Australia general manager, Dinesh Chinnappa, said he planned to continue to pass on the benefits of the strong Australian dollar to local car buyers.

“The strong Aussie dollar combined with the massive economies of scale derived by the Chinese auto industry is presenting the Australian car buying public with some genuinely compelling options,” Mr Chinnappa said.

“Why would you buy a small car when you can have an SUV for the same or less money?”

It’s an interesting question. Let’s have a look at what small cars you can buy for under $18,000 drive away.

Holden is offering its entry-level car, the Holden Barina Spark CD manual, for $13,990 drive away – $4000 less than the J11. It includes six airbags and ESC, alloy wheels, USB audio connectivity and front fog lamps. Its combined cycle fuel consumption is just 5.6 litres/100km.

Nissan is offering the top-spec Nissan Micra Ti manual for $17,990 drive away. It comes with six airbags and ESC, climate control, alloy wheels, reverse parking sensors, Bluetooth hands-free phone system, and uses 6.5 litres/100km on the combined cycle.

Meanwhile, if you’re after an SUV, you’ll need to be shopping in the used car market.

According to Australian pricing guide Redbook, you can get a 2003 Mercedes-Benz ML 270 CDI Luxury automatic with around 200,000km on the clock for as little as $16,600. It comes with six airbags, ESC, alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, full leather upholstery and much more. It uses 9.1 litres/100km of diesel on the combined cycle.

If the Merc’s a little over the top for you, how about a 2007 Subaru Forester X manual? Redbook says you should expect to pay no more than $17,900 for one with just 60,000km under its belt. The Forester includes four airbags, ABS, cruise control, and plenty more, and uses 9.6 litres/100km.

There are plenty of other deals out there too. What do you think? Would you go for the Chery J11, a brand new light car or a used SUV? Let us know in the comments section below.




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