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  • Space for the cash; standard equipment; tractable engine; relationship between throttle and clutch; full-size spare wheel; surprisingly decent steering, ride and handling
  • Poor fit and finish, even for the price; lacks dynamic finesse; no stability control (yet); engine missing refinement, efficiency and outright urge; average packaging

5 / 10

Chery J3 Review
Chery J3 Review
Chery J3 Review
by Daniel DeGasperi

It would be easy to take cheap pot shots at the Chery J3, one of the most recent Chinese-made vehicles to enter the Australian market.

It may be an understatement to say Chinese brands are continuing to find their way on the quality and safety front.

But while it would be a gross exaggeration to suggest this Corolla-sized hatchback signals the start of a four-wheeled ‘invasion’ of top-notch models from the world’s most populous nation, the Chery J3 is a landmark car, a learning curve, and also a surprise.

The J3’s external dimensions measure up slightly beyond that of the 11th-generation Toyota Corolla that recently launched at $19,990 plus on road costs, or about $23,000 driveaway.

It isn’t as well packaged as the ‘big T’ product, but the Chery J3 costs $12,990 driveaway – or about 33 per cent less. That’s also around the same price as the significantly smaller Suzuki Alto, Mitsubishi Mirage, Nissan Micra and Holden Barina Spark.

For that sub-light price the Australian importer of Chery products, Ateco Automotive, says it has ticked every box available to bring a single-specification, regular-small-sized J3 to our market.

Electronic stability control (already mandatory in Victoria) is promised next year, but standard now are power steering and windows, remote central locking with alarm, trip computer, rear parking sensors, a CD player with USB connectivity, semi-automatic air conditioning, auto lights and wipers, 16-inch alloy wheels, foglights, ‘leather’ trim, six airbags, rear map lights and an illuminated passenger vanity mirror.

Chery J3 Review
Chery J3 Review
Chery J3 Review
Chery J3 Review

First impressions are not positive, however. Despite the equipment, the Chery J3 has poor fit and finish. The gap between the headlights and front bumper is large, yet uneven, and the paint appears thin.

Expectedly for the price, the dashboard plastics are hard and the surfacing a mish-mash of texures. But the way the panels join together is merely approximate. The storage bins have uneven joins, the lids are flimsy, and every control rotates with either a stickiness or looseness, depending on which one is being turned. The seats feel overstuffed, the stereo unit looks wrenched from the 1990s, and rear headroom is limited.

Look closer and there are promising signs, however. The roof grab handles are damped, flicking back with a soft-close mechanism, and the A-pillars appear thick and therefore at least appear strong (althought crash test results aren’t yet available).

The boot is large – although Chery doesn’t quote volume – and a full-size alloy spare wheel resides under a nicely finished carpet. The boot gets a small light, as do the front doors, the passenger vanity mirror, and the roof above the back seat.

On the 30-degree test day, the air-conditioning worked with unfailing force, even with the engine working hard.

A genuine sense of solidity elevates the Chery J3 beyond some members of the sub-light class, such as the Holden Barina Spark. The Chery isn’t noisy or tinny, and its suspension provides a greater level of compliance around town. The 205mm-wide, 16-inch Maxxis tyres skim over small irregularities in road surfacing, and only larger potholes make their presence felt.

Chery J3 Review
Chery J3 Review
Chery J3 Review
Chery J3 Review

The 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine, borrowed from Mitsubishi, makes decent numbers – 87kW of power at 6150rpm, and 147Nm of torque at 4300rpm. It’s an old workhorse, this engine, feeling more like a diesel in the way it provides a bit of oomph right down low in the rev range and is strained through the middle band of the tachometer. Unlike an oiler, it at least delivers some degree of outright urge towards its 6500rpm cut-out.

Most modern four-cylinders have valve actuators that alter their phasing to – literally – ‘lift’ the performance of a regular four cylinder through the middle part of the rev band. But the Chery is cardboard-flat through its middle rev range, and its slow off-the-mark response is below average even by the standards of the sub-light-car segment.

At least the five-speed manual, the only gearbox available, is generally positive in its shifts, with the rubbery, stiff and long-throw action not inhibiting the overall experience. Even the pedals are well spaced, and the brakes strong.

The whole powertrain isn’t helped by a 1350kg kerb weight, though, which makes the Chery J3 by far the heaviest car in its class. The Chery J3 will pull fifth gear at 60km/h revving at 1900rpm, which makes it more tractable and less stressed than a 1.8-litre Hyundai i30 at low revs, but it’s also by far the thirstiest car in the class. Although rated at 8.9L/100km combined officially, we saw 12.2L/100km on test.

Chery J3 Review
Chery J3 Review
Chery J3 Review
Chery J3 Review

Perhaps most surprisingly, the Chery J3 is a decent car to hustle in the bends. There are a few asterisks that follow that statement – like the fact the Chery lacks any dynamic polish or sophistication. But it does the basics surprisingly well.

The steering is light yet accurate; not particularly sharp but at least pleasingly consistent. The body sits reasonably flat in corners, particularly given the good around-town ride comfort delivered in some rivals at the expense of handling.

Even control over larger bumps is more than acceptable, although mid-corner bumps shiver through the steering wheel and make an awful thump through the suspension that sounds like a strut tearing out of its tower.

The Chery J3 can raise a smile on the driver’s face. Perverse fun is derived from flogging the engine, but also the basic balance of the chassis is rather good.

It’s a determined understeerer – pushing at the front early in a corner – but it also grips better than its no-name rubber might suggest and is responsive to a lift of the throttle to tighten its line.

For some buyers, a return to basic values won’t be seen as a bad thing. Technically, the car is about two decades adrift of the small car standard, but then it’s important to remind ourselves that it costs about a third less than similarly sized rivals.

Chery J3 Review
Chery J3 Review
Chery J3 Review
Chery J3 Review

Compared with sub-light-sized price point rivals it actually compares favourably with the likes of the Barina Spark and Suzuki Alto, if not the Mirage and Micra, in every way except fit and finish.

The J3 also does some things better than big-name, more expensive cars. It feels gruntier around the suburbs than a petrol Hyundai i30, offers a better relationship between throttle and clutch than a Kia Cerato Koup, and keeps occupants cooler in summer than a Honda Jazz.

A full 20 million cars were sold in China last year, compared with just one million in Australia. With epic growth seen in the Chinese market, which for years kept its lower-middle classes on scooters, cars like the Chery J3 are shifting the home population into safer, more comfortable four-wheeled transportation in increasing numbers.

Limited quality and various key unknown factors – crash worthiness, reliability and resale value – means the Chery J3 can’t find a place on our ‘recommended’ list.

But in global terms this is a sort of ‘people’s car’ of China. And just like the original Volkswagen Beetle and Citroen 2CV, it too is endearingly basic.

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    This is of Korean standard, but not yet of Japanese level.

    • Golfmother

      Probably better than Daewoo quality , mind you the flatpacks are improving .

      • $29896495

        looks better for sure

      • Igomi Watabi


    • bd


      The Koreans usually beat the Japanese in European reviews.

      • Sumpguard

          DAVIDZ is part of the trio of  fools which includes Zaccy and Flogmother .They ride billycarts together.  Don’t expect anything remotely intelligent out of the three of them.

        • ~~

          And…. you know better? What do you drive? K-rubbish?

          • Sumpguard

              Those two little lines (–) you used to sign in with rather than repost as DAVIDZ are an accurate representation of the size of your nads.

      • Galaxy

        Hyundai has already won more car awards in Australia than Toyota ever has.

    • 451

      you still in the 1980’s?

    • ~~

      yes, I agree Hyundai/Kia cannot do any better!

    • Andy

      Actually is quite an impressive leap for a Chinese made car, if the safety turns out OK, the only poor factor that would stop me buying at that cheap proce is the monstorous petrol bill, you have to be kidding 12l/100 in real world is the same as a Falcon that will go forever

      • $29896495

        I seriously would cross check that. I don’t trust it. I think it’s a maximum figure with out enough testing in varied conditions to give a range. A Falcon or Commodore though, that is the claimed figure, those cars can get much worst in traffic, or suburban conditions.

      • HSV>CHERY

        lol 12L? That’s absolutely nothing. No power in this thing. Give me a proper 6L V8 and 25L/100km every day of the week.

  • Galaxy

    I know we said similar things about Japanese cars and Korean cars in their early days, but honestly this is garbage and we no longer need to put up with this type of unsafe (if not doctored specs etc… remember the asbestos declaration?)  The Australian market already has too many brands servicing a small population. Anyone who even thinks this could be a good car is better off with a 1985 corolla for $500. Keep our young drivers safe and stop them buying this cr*p

    • $29896495

      You can’t be serious. Didn’t you read the story, and it was tough, but the J3 faired quite well. It would be much safer than an 85 Corolla for sure, has much more room than the Micros for the same price or less, and is a good handler, and a good drive around the suburbs. There are a lot of people out there stuck in old clunker that this would be fine for.

      If you are worried about your precious big cars I don’t see an issue. The biggies can drop their prices and stop ripping Australians a new one. 

      There are a lot of people who just might be able to squeeze into this car and I think it would be good for them to have it. 

      • Zaccy16

        it would be definitely safer than a 85 crapolla but for $13,000 their are much safer, better driving, more refined used cars eg. mazda 3 

        • $29896495

          Come on, there isn’t a brand new Mazda 3 available on road for 13K. You have to go for quite a few years old and a lot of kilometres before you get close to that pricing. At which point you’re better off in the Chinese car, with warranty and you aren’t paying for faults.

          The way I see this car is that it gives people a reasonable to good car with good safety measures BRAND NEW for very little money. It might give some people their first chance to own a BRAND NEW car that isn’t the size of a matchbox toy.

          • Zaccy16

            Have a look at carsales, lots of sp23 Mazda 3’s and maxx sports for 13,000, also second hand focuses of the same era are better choices

          • $29896495

            what year is the SP23? Secondly what state? thirdly, if the price is that low, are you sure it’s not a repaired write off, flood damaged or any number of other things. Clock wound back. Any rust? Anything could be wrong with that car. This Cherry isn’t a Proton you know. It’s priced right for what it is and has warranty. Full leather and all the bits and it handles well, which is the first level of safety.

          • Tex

            Huwtm, I think you’ll lose this battle. The Mazda6 in a 2006-2008 model in Manual (as the J3 is) will set you back about $11,000 – $13,000 … for a Maxx or Maxx Sport. Even a used i30 would be a better proposition than the J3. Plus you need not worry too much about resale too, as the previous owner has lost most of the $$$. Yet, the J3 won’t be worth $8k on the used market the moment you drive out the door.

            I also highly doubt ALL those used cars are flood damaged or repaired write offs. There are plenty to choose from.

            I know which one I would put my family in – and it isn’t the J3.

            The J3 makes a compelling case as their first entrant into our market… but it doesn’t mean it is the sensible purchase.

          • Tex

            Sorry, I meant Mazda3

          • $29896495

            Yeah look I know, I make the same argument regarding Proton (which is over priced for what it is)but we’re car guys. I’m saying I believe there is a market out there for this car, if a person really desires a new car at least once in their life and the alternatives are match box cars, (I’m not including the over priced Protons) they have a car they could be happy in. At the very least it has a proven motor, it’s reasonable and reasonably equipped  They might only keep for a couple of years or they might be old and keep it till they die. These aren’t car people, but by the same token ride and handling aren’t an issue, it has leather and all the bits as well as air bags etc, none of those cars you mentioned would have the same equipment level. 

            Remember I’m not talking car guy(or person), I’m talking about people who might be at the lower level of the economic scale who want some thing new or can’t get financed on an seven year old car. Where it’s getting border line.

          • Tex


            The simple answer is – I don’t think I’m wanting these death traps on our roads. Not yet, anyway. They’ll get there in a few generation (Let’s be honest, the Chinese already manufacture Audi and BMWs).

            The best alternative would be to purchase a Mazda3 or Focus used.
            To purchase the Chery JUST because you want a new car feel is ridiculous. It’ll also soon wear off when you need to get warranty issues resolved… or when you need to sell it with unproven resale.

            OH, and you want to talk about finance? I think you would be better off financing a Mazda3/Focus/Pulsar/Corolla at around $20,000 with a residual at the end – you know it’ll be worth that in 3-5 years.

            What will a Chery be worth in 3-5 years? Hmmmm.

          • $29896495

            I think I answered most of this in other posts. 

            Couple of points though, we don’t know it’s a death trap and we don’t know what will happen with warranty. We like any one else (Not saying you or I would buy the car) have the protection of consumer law, so refusal to fix things that “might” break, is only speculation with out proof. But of course even in the more expensive cars you can get that.

            “Death trap” I thin is unfounded till we see crash test evidence. I does have 6 airbags and four wheel discs with ABS, so it’s not a bad start.

            I view this as the Hyundai Excel of our age and there are still a lot of those around.

            OK no stability control, but none of the second hand cars mentioned would have that, or 6 airbags. So lets wait and see what happens.

          • Zaccy16

            Look on car sales, lots of maxx sport and onwards Mazda 3’s for about 10,000 and they do have 6 airbags, I know that because I owned a 2004 model Mazda 3 maxx sport auto in winning blue, fantastic little car but kids got to big so had to upgrade

          • __

            Mazdas are a load of Cräp.

            Here in EU they have 10 new car warranty and still no one buys them.

          • $29896495

            I just want to point something out to you zaccy, what you are saying is demonstrating what bad value  and resale the Mazda 3 has. Which is why a lot of people wouldn’t be able to finance them

          • TheRealThomas

            And what Cherry dealer do you work for huwtm? That speil is exactly what Atecco was trying to teach new Cherry dealers when they launched. The fact that there are faults with these vehicles in the pre delivery stage and Ateco refuse to fix them until the fault is picked up by the customer explains alot..

            Secondly, god help you if you do try to claim a warranty issue with this vehicle because unless it effects the safety of drivability of the vehicle, Atecco doesn’t want to know about it. You could have a panel barely hanging on and unless it is illegal for it not to be there, it won’t get fixed.

          • $29896495

            I don’t work for Cherry or Ateco, just being logical. Look at all the people who purchased those Hyundai Excels stripped bare by comparison to this car, poorly built with a gasping 1.3. Yet they sold a bucket load. You have to look at this car not as an enthusiast, but as some one with little money who wants something they can get financed and will do the job and not look half bad. Speaking of the Excels, look at how many are still on the road, heaps. For something that was rubbish, it’s just kept going.

            By the way, where’s your proof of such damming warranty issues?

          • TheRealThomas

            I used to sell them and the dealership I worked for handed the brand back as did so many others due to trying to deal with Atecco and the warranty issues.

          • $29896495

            Really? How long ago was that? Without getting intoa rave what specific issues?

          • Tex


            You are fighting a lost case.

            I too work in the Automotive Industry… do you? I can tell you that warranty is fantastic, but better when Manufacturer backed. I’d love to know if an issue is identified and can’t be rectified locally how long it’ll take to escalate passed Ateco and to Chery in China?

            Consumer Law gives the dealer every right to ‘try’ and fix the issue, but they don’t need to give you a loan car or anything BY LAW. We also don’t have lemon laws yet.

            So, law or no law… I wouldn’t buy a Chery just because it has warranty.

            Even if they did fix the issues, would purposely put myself in a situation where I might be seeing the dealership even more often than just to complete a service? Nah, I think not.

          • $29896495

            Again it’s just opinion. No fact. Until then it is a viable proposition for this that are into this type of car. This extract is fropm whirlpool.
            – 6 Airbags… yes 6, you heard me- LEATHER SEATS- Auto Sensing Headlights- Auto Sensing Wipers- Reversing Sensors – Power Steering- ABS and EBD- Electric Windows- Remote Keyless Entry- Central Locking- Security Indicator Light- Internal Fuel Door Release- Rear Seat Split 60/40- Climate Control Air Conditioning- Reversing Sensors- Fog Lights- Electric Side Mirrors

            I have looked for fault reports and customer complaints and can’t find any. So at this point, this is one of the better Chinese Korean offerings.

            Till we know the Crash results which at worst by the look of it will be a 3 to 4 equivalent to an aged Mazda 3 this has to be some thing worth considering for the cheap end of the market.

            Designed by none other than Pininfarina

          • Tex

            I’d still go for the Mazda3 or Focus for the assurance that it’ll work.
            Geely recall –
            There are two defects to be remedied:(1) The left side of the driver’s side seat slide mechanism may not lock as intended and may allow the driver’s seat to move forward in a severe accident.(2) The rear door may become unlatched in the event of a severe side impact.

            Great Wall recall –
            On some X240 vehicles, it is possible that the lower section of the steering column may come into contact with the front-right hydraulic brake pipe due to the small clearance between the two.
            The steering column may rub against the brake pipe during operation, resulting in a leak in the hydraulic brake pipe and loss of braking.

            There may be a manufacturing tolerance affecting the operation of the retracting mechanism in the Tianjin Yizhong front seat belts. Although no failures have been identified under normal operating conditions, we will replace all seat belts identified by the manufacturer, Tianjin Yizhong, with belts manufactured by Autolive.
            What are the hazards?
            Failure of the seat belt may cause serious injury or death.

            SO, if the Chery J3 is still too new to be tested for safety and still too new to have any known faults… I wouldn’t take my chances. The J1 is a 3 star car, and the J11 a 2 star car.

          • $29896495

            BMW had a massive recall, so did Toyota, Hyundai, Holden, Nissan, Ford, Honda and on and on it goes. That of course means you’ll never buy a car. Those recalls you mention are for different brands. This car was design by a professional, the odds are in it’s favour. 

            You don’t want to buy it, don’t. No worries. I don’t want it, it’s not my sort of car. But out there in the cold cruel world, there are going to be people that this car will suit down to the ground. It’s cheap as s–t has a proven if ordinary engine and a lot of kit. 

            So Tex, don’t buy it, but I see a lot of Great Walls on the road and they have 1 star rating. Holden’s Barina had 2, the J1 shoe box got 3. Odds are on this is at least safer than a 20 year old Mazda Holden Nissan Toyota. Let them have it if they want it. There have been no issues reported so far. So lets see.

          • Tex

            Recalls are a well known and documents issue at the moment, but I don’t think their recalls could have been as serious or blatently putting people at risk as the Geely and Great Wall product.

            Designed does not mean engineered or built by. Pininfarina is a designer – they don’t build, engineer or give strict criteria as to safety and fit/finish.

            And I’d love to know what 20 year old Nissan/Ford/Honda/Mazda that is in the J3’s class costs $13,000…

          • Zaccy16

            It may be designed by pinafarina but also the daewoo Tacuma was designed by them too!! Also at the moment the vw up is 12,990 drive away, I know what new car I would be buying for that money! The 3cyl engine in the up is more refined, gruntier and uses a lot less fuel than the j3

          • $29896495

            Well Zaccy I expect you would, but the up is a third smaller than this car so like I wrote, it’s a reasonable size car at a micro price. I personally think Pinafarina designs nice looking cars. And the J3 has some elbow room the Utra reliable VW doesn’t. I also wrote this car isn’t for everyone, but it does give people the chance to stick their 4 kids in relative comfort and still have room for the bong. 

            Just on the Up, I’d get a Rio over one of those. I’m not  a fan.

          • nugsdad

             Why are you always wrong? What part of the word USED cant you read

          • $29896495

            Aren’t you intelligent enough to see that I am making a point.

      • Amlohac

        You wouldnt happen to sell the Cherry would you? haha.

        In all honesty its not a very nice car. Its cheap, but thats about all it has going for it. You could probably look at it as a $20,000 warranty.

        Soon the Chinese might give us something worth while. Just not yet.

      • Galaxy

        $500 well spent vs $10000 for this crap. It might be a new car, but I’d rather be in a 1985 corolla (rust and all) than in a Cherry if I had a smash. They can say whatever they like in a car review, because it’s impossible to predict the durability of this rubbish.  Just like Japan and Korea, the Chinese need about 20 years of exporting to realise that most countries actually have safety standards.

        • Ridermitch

          not all japanese cars are like that excuse me! i drive a mazda 121 which would’ve met safety standards in qld untill 2011 when the mandatory esc came in place. and for the time the mazda 121 had the highest quality interior for its era. i cant find a fault 21 years later. all the gaps are accurate and everything fits perfectly where it is meant to. the exterior fit and finish is very good too and most gaps are spaced the same apart from the panels which have been repaired/replaced.

          it did not take the japs 20 years to make a quality car.

          • Bris Vegas

            @The Japanese started building cars in the 1920s. It took them nearly 50 years to produce export quality cars (Corona) and almost 70 years to make world class cars (Lexus).

    • Jkgh

       I don’t doubt this is a fairly crappy car, but what makes you think it’s so dangerous? I think it’s highly unlikely it’s worse than a 1985 Crapolla for safety considering it’s 400kgs heavier & has 6 airbags and ABS.

      • Galaxy

        It might be a new car, but I’d rather be in a 1985 corolla (rust and all) than in a Cherry.

  • The Real Wile E

    Cheap and nasty.
    The origins of Japanese success.

    • ;)


      • The Real Wile E

        Japan was first

        • matt

          no i think the uk and america started capitalism, trading “garbage” for money

  • MisterZed

    rofl – tacho goes up to 8k RPM. wtf? This is a 1.6L right?

    • $29896495

      What’s your issue, most tach go to 8 or 10, the red line if you look closely is around 6000

    • Jkgh

       Your beloved i45 has a 8K tacho even though the redline is 6500 and some reviews say the auto changes 500rpm below that at full throttle anyway. You must be even more amused by the 260kmh speedo in the i45 even though it has a top speed of 210kmh.

      • MisterZed

        Mine is a 2.4L with direct injection and a class leading 148 kW, though. A Chery 1.6? Totally different story.

        • F1orce

          Yeah probably and remember I said ‘probably’ 148kW at the crank

          If it makes 148kW of power and weighs a light 1500Kg and has a very short 1st gear, then the 0-100km/h should be no later then 7 seconds..

          Yet it takes over 9 seconds to get from 0-100km/h
          Probably slowest in the segment LMAO

          Also not to mention the unbearable noise that 2.4L GDI engine makes. So loud and unrefined.

          All this means that either Hyundai lies about the power figures or they don’t know how to get the power from the crank to the ground.

          • MisterZed

            Actually, the 0-100 time is around 8 seconds. The engine is loud, however I drove the 2013 Sonata in the US, and they seem to have added more soundproofing material to the cabin so it’s less noticable than on our version.

          • Jkgh

             Ummm, what difference does the engine size, fuel injection and power output have to do with ambitious speed readings? Are you saying that the bigger the car, the bigger the exageration should be? You i45 does not rev any harder than this $12,990 Chinese car.
            The 0-100kmh time is not 8 secs in the i45. Wheels magazine tested it in the Sep 2010 edition and it took 9.2 secs. Meanwhile the bigger and heavier Skoda Superb with just 118KW did 8.6 secs in their July 2011 edition.

          • Henry Toussaint

            It’s faster than the Camry..

          • F1orce

            No it’s not..

            The Camry with the 2.5L engine is faster, more efficient and much more refined

  • Don Quay

    Sumpguard seems to be happy with his.

    • Golfmother

      Rofl, i wondered what he replaced the sportage with when the slum family fell on hard times .

      • TheRealThomas

        Probably a J11

      • matt

        CA… you mod the most stupid things but let this crap above slip? grrrrrrrrr CLEAN IT UP! i miss reading what past people had to say on this site, (but alas, thanks to the above, i dont see them anymore) for pete’s sake get rid of this clown??? 

        • Poison_Eagle


  • Zaccy16

    That interior! its as basic as basic can get, but shows how rubbish hyundais 1.8 is if this has more low down grunt! it would be hard choice this or a barina spark, this might be a better option, the j3 would be awful at highway speeds, if its pulling 1900 rpms at 60 in top gear is going to pulling over 3000 at 100! my polo in top gear is pulling 1900 rpms at 100 right in the middle of its torque band!

    • $29896495

      But Zaccy, a lot of cars do that with out a worry, 3K, is about average and right in the middle of the rev band. You have to remember this is using a Mitsubishi engine so will be well proven and smooth.

    • $29896495

      By the way, 13K right? What’s basic about the interior? Full leather? CD with USB etc, AIR which is strong, unlike a lot of euros. I own a euro so I know what they are like.

      • Amlohac

        Basic build quality? Its not leather its “leather”. Cd players are old hat now, its expected a car has air con in this day and age. Id call that rather basic.

        • Xzrty

          It’s has leather seats, power windows (front and rear) and mirrors, climate control, door and boot lights, CD/MP3 and USB input, and reverse sensors! A lot of the used Japanese base model cars don’t even have half those features! The base model previous generation Corolla had wind up windows and no ABS yet people were/are happy to buy those! I suggest you do some research before bagging a car you haven’t even seen or driven! And no, I don’t sell these cars, I’m just a bloke who’s done his research and have actually driven one!

          • Amlohac

            I have driven one. It is crap. But all car companies first slog at designing a car are generally sub-par. I’m sure the next few gens will catch up to everyone else. But for now, not worth ya hard earned dollars.

        • Henry Toussaint

          Its Leather is probably only part full leather and most part fake leather

          • Brayden Cresswell

            Like a Toyota camery?

  • Robj

    and this seems to be the best car from China, at least in our market. Yes, a second hand quality car can be had for far less….

    • batman

      You clearly haven’t seen the new Qoros yet.

  • Mitchell T Jordan

    The thing that surprises me most is why bother with that fuel economy? Most large Australian sedans would return better than that. Whilst offering safety, power, styling, etc. 

    I know its the new v used market. But with economy like that a good condition VZ or VE SV6 / BF FG XR6 would be well ahead on my list. It kind of defeats the point.

    • $29896495

      Judging by what was written, I’d say they were flogging it pretty hard in city conditions. Doesn’t matter what it is, a car will drink like a a fish under those conditions.  In fact your big sixes and V8s will be much worse. Most of those second hand cars aren’t going to have 6 air bags, at the very least. This thing has four wheel discs and abs, you’ll probably find that’s at least 4 stars worth as opposed to the big cars around 2. The other thing you aren’t taking into account is that’s your list, there are people and families out there that would like a reasonable sized car which is brand new at least once in their lives, and this gives them that opportunity.

      • Karl Sass

        What large car has a 2 star rating? 15 yo base model Commodore has 3 stars and you could buy one with change from 5k. Of course a V8 will use more, that’s not in question, Mitchell was looking at V6s. That fuel economy is terrible, even for a car that size being pushed. There are so many low km better built and safer small cars around for that $$

        • $29896495

          Even the J1 which is structural rubbish gets 3 stars, Commodore current shell gets 4 stars, no test before. The Daewoo Kalos/Barina got 3 it got 2 stars as a Barina. The Proton Jumbuck got ONE star and people are still buying that. The S16 got 3! How can you say a 15 year old car got 3 stars when it hasn’t been tested?

          • Karl Sass

            Crash safety has progressed hugely in 15 years. Getting the same result as a 15 yo vehicle is terrible. The MY10 Commodore onwards is 5 star, 2002 (VX) onwards is 4 star. It’s all on the ANCAP site, assessed by UCSR program.
            The Jumbuck gets one star, that doesn’t make it okay. I’ve also just realised that this thing needs premium fuel, making those economy figures even worse. 

          • $29896495

            What are you talking about? You brought up the 15 year thing. There are no figures for 15 year old Commodores on ANCAP. You didn’t mention the 2 stars for the BARINA, that was 05. Earliest Commodore is  02 and 4 star.
            Zaccy the 3 you are mentioning only has 4 star. I doubt it has 6 airbags to be honest. I compared them to the Astra SRI before I bought it and they didn’t have them in 04.

    • Ridermitch

      my step dad owns a vz commodore 2005 executive. we have owned the car since it was 2 and a half years old. the fuel economy is awful.

  • Glenn59

    The Chinese are perfectly capable of producing high quality product.  They already build a wide variety of top quality products from iPhones to Giant Bicylces and all sorts of other well regarded products.   The currenlty have little expereince in car building but do not doubt for a moment that they will elearn quickly.  The pseed of their improvement will mo doubt be boosed as they start to purchase Western car companies and take on their technology.  The iIndians are doing the same thing and within 10 years both will beserious rivals to the Japanese.  

    • F1orce

      China doesn’t make IPhones.

      They assemble the iPhones, with mostly sophisticated automation machines from countries such as Japan & Germany

      • Jkgh

         That means Made in China. Where the “mostly sophisticated automation machines” come from has no bearing on where the actual end product is made.

        It’s made in China, it’s made in China. Simple as that.

      • Glenn59

        The point I was making was about them being able to ‘do’ high technology with quality.  The point you made that the idea came from overseas is irrelevant – Both the Japanese and Koreans copied most of their technology for a very long time and still do to a lesser extent.

        The bottom line is that they have the financial clout to buy out any Western company that they want and to build on their know how.  The Japanese caught up with the West, the Koreans did – why not the Chinese?

        • Amlohac

          Its not the assembly. Its the design and engineering that gets people worried.

          That and the lack of quality control a lot of chinese manufacturers embrace with their in country products.

        • Pro346

          I remember reading a story about china wanting to build jet engines for its Russian made fighter jets but it didn’t know how it could match the quality needed to produce them……….in the end the Russians had to supply the engines . My point slapping together consumer electronics isn’t high tech .

          • Golfmother

            And the russian engines would have been dodge too , shocking record in  aircraft manufacturing .

          • Pro346

            Not when its military fighter aircraft.

        • Tex

          I think I agree with you there Glenn – they have the capabilities.

          China already assembles high end products such as BMW, Audi etc for local sale.

          They’ll catch up much quicker than any other nation for the above reason that they are already making higher end vehicles and can learn from this.

          However my case has simply been about the J3 and I’ll continue with my above previous comment; The J3 makes a compelling case as their first entrant into our market… but it doesn’t mean it is the sensible purchase.

      • matt

        but they make HTC’s…. the same thing riight??

    • TheRealThomas

      Giant bicycles are made in Taiwan, not china. If you knew anything about bikes you would know the two biggest manufacturers (Giant and Merida) are both based in Taiwan.

  • F1orce

    A full 20 million cars were sold in China last year, compared with just one million in Australia.

    Haha China with a population of over 1 billion only sold 20X as much as Oz with a population of just over 20 million

    Just shows that Australia punches well above its weight.

    • $29896495

      Gees what do you want? They only been driving cars a couple of years. Still the more they make the more materials they buy of us. The more money the country makes. You should embrace them.

    • Glenn59

      What is the point of comparing a developing nation to a developed one? 

    • –

      So can you explain why aussies are being ripped off if we buy so many cars and have a huge market?

  • Mac

    Wheres the rear door handles ?? .  . I guess thats what we expect for the price !! . .Now everyone can rave on about how pricey and unaffordable the koreans garbage brands are !! , only because theres something cheaper available  , the quality issues being totally irrelevant . This is just another step to further cheapening the australian car fleet on our way to third  world levels !!

    • Sam

      The rear door handles are up high next to the rear pillar, a fool could see them. These sort of door handles are found on many cars.

    • $29896495

      So you would rather pay over inflated prices for cars and in fact everything? You must be well off and of questionable level of intelligence. Not  to mention you comment on something after clearly not reading the whole story or is that because you are blind? Which would explain the door handle comment.

    • Brayden Cresswell

      That has to be the biggest fail on this site right there.

  • mo

    Probably worth mentioning that this car requires Premium and owners would not be able to sell this car in Victoria.  

    • Xztvy

      These can’t be sold brand new in Victoria, but can be sold on the used market.

      Imagine if all cars without ESC couldn’t be sold by their owners on the used market! LOL

  • Kampfer

    This car somehow remained me the first Hyundai Excel from late 80s. Took Hyundai ~20 years for a car that general public consider OK (1st gen i30). See how long will the Chinese take…

    • TheRealThomas

      I would dare say that it will be far quicker than the Koreans simply because of technology these days compared to when the Koreans were in the same position. I say give them 5 years.

      • $29896495

        Chinese automaker Chery wants to style its cars like the Germans and hopes former Porsche  designer Hakan Saracoglu will be able to help.
        One of several designers from European car companies to be wooed in recent years, 
        Saracoglu helped design Porsche models including the 918 Spyder, Boxster and Cayman. Before that, he worked with Ford and helped design models including the Focus and Mondeo. Saracoglu joined Chery as design director in October.

        “Chery is not just QQ (The Micro J1), we’re going to change that. The company is redefining itself. Chery is standing for value, for design and gaining customer confidence. That’s where we want to go,” he said to Bloomberg.
        Outside its name brand, Chery also has a 50-50 joint venture to produce models in China for Jaguar Land Rover, as well as owning startup Qoros Auto Co(Autonews)

  • TG

    Is the leather derived from cat and dog skin?

    • Amlohac

      Think Soylent Green.


      Either that or just plastic.

  • Ibcnew

    What do you guys expect for $13k? Yes its old tech (like the first Korean cars) and the quality is sub-par (also like the first Koreans) but will it be any less durable than a Barina Spark? Not happy – simply pay extra and buy something more expensive and let the welfare mums use your taxes to buy a cheap runabout.

  • 03sprintrs

    At least Victorians can breath easy. Chery is not sold here.

  • Captain Nemo®™

    Reliability of this J3 will probably be better than VeeDud’s.  Having said that it’s not hard to make a car more reliable than VeeDud. 

    • Golfmother

      Grinding like an old granny nemo, sitting in your bogan VK , no one listens any more , sales just keep climbing ,VAG off to another record year , holden well who knows the VF is on the nose in the USA .

      • Captain Nemo®™

         No grinding Bungel & no VK. Just the honest truth Veedud always down the bottom of reliability surveys.  

  • Deutsch

    If it’s good enough for billions of Chinese…. Let’s face it, if you are smashed in the drivers side in a Golf, Polo, Yaris, Getz going 60km/h you are stuffed either way. Chery is a new wave coming into Australia, and once it fixes up Electronic Stability etc it will be on it’s way… remember when Hyundai bought out the Excel in the 90’s? we all bagged it. We also bagged the Kia Rio in the early 2000’s….what goes around comes around

    • John

       “Let’s face it, if you are smashed in the drivers side in a Golf, Polo, Yaris, Getz going 60km/h you are stuffed either way”

      True enough, but you don’t get to pick the sort of accident you have. I’d rather have the safest car I can afford, thanks. Which is not to say this Chery is a death-trap – I don’t know and don’t really care as I wouldn’t buy one, for reasons unrelated to safety.

      • Deutsch

        Yet for some people, this may be the safest car they can afford….

  • ketut

    It couldn’t be less reliable or have a lower build quality than a Volkswagen Polo/Golf !
    $12,990- isn’t that the price VeeWee charges for a replacement Golf Air conditioning compressor?

    • Golfmother

      You have been i the sun tooo long tuk tuk boyo

      • –

        You have been with oma tooo long.

  • Info

    Whoever took those photos should be fired.

    • –

      LOL! thought the same myself! who want to see blurry moving car images?

    • Fotoeditor

      Give the poor work experience boy a break, it was his first day!

  • Poison_Eagle

    Thank you Car Advice, glad someone could finally drive the Chinese cars.  Very interesting and informative article.

  • guest

    Yuk!!!  What a piece of garbage that is.  The seats and interior plastics  are absolutely revolting, and it is true,  you could drive a truck through the outside panel gaps. I;ve seen it.  This is sub standard transport with questionable safety credentials.  How they let this abomination into the country is just beyond comprehension.  And of course, as we all know, under the present distributor Ateco,  there are bound to be price drops around the corner in an attempt to stimulate demand. Just look what happened to Fiat, Alfa and Citroen recently. A new distributor immediately slashed the old prices.  I would not feel comfortable shelling out hard earned bucks on this brand

    • –

      what do you expect at this low price?? It’s like buying stuff from Big W, things are crap but cheap so people still buy them.

  • Iggy

    Daniel, you know you have written a good article when you get 100+ comments in a day…Very honest and informative article. 

    • –

      it’s not that he has written a great article, it is people bagging about CHN cars.

    • $29896495

      Seriously Iggy, you totally missed what’s going on just to suck up. I can tell you as a writer that the article was in fact bias. If kissing the guy’s posteriora is your thing, go for it. 

  • klowik

    The price is not cheap for such a low quality cars when you can buy a second hand toyota or honda for the same price. unless this is around $13k on the road then some people might consider it.

    • $29896495

      13K on road isn’t cheap? Where do you buy cars? What’s it got to have to be high quality and 13K?

    • Shaun

       It’s advertised everywhere as being $12,990 driveaway…

  • Lovethatcar

    Their prices are very reasonable. The look is OK. I wouldn’t mind having one if they were equipped with Electronic stability control. 

  • Brayden Cresswell

    If you think the Australian public wont buy this then your fooling yourself not everyone picks up on panel gaps and the noise of the engine or even a harsh ride a price can do many things to people look at retailers they rely on price alone to get people into there doors to buy from them so this car already has a head start for the minimum wage public.

    Its a perfect car for someone who does not care about style etc and just wants a car and there are 1000s of people like this in Australia.

  • AJ

    Is asbestos included or do we have to pay extra for that?

    • $29896495

      Extra – but I don’t know why you’d get down and sniff your brakes any how?

  • Michael

    It is an old post but just wanted to share , I have had this car for a while now, I am sure most f you guys here haven’t driven it yet, for last 20 years until couple of months ago, I always had BMW and a few Japanese ( Nissan Pulsar, Mirage, Corolla), I must admit, this car is very impressive and it is understandable that you guys maybe scared of trying something new, but this car will take the market in 2 years time. Please do not compare it with 20 years Corolla, or i30 , create a list of same size cars which cost $13k and then compare bits and pieces. The only thing that I don’t like much about it is a bit low powered engine, in fact it is not the engine power but it is the heavy weight of this vehicle which may come handy in crash.Consider this that I only paid half the price so far and the next half is due next year.
    Please at least test drive the car before making any comment.

  • David Mathews

    we have a Chery J3 and it has now done 97000 klms since march 2012 it goes from Wollongong to Sydney 5 sometimes 6 days a week for work and has never missed a beat, never had a day off the road ,no warranty issues, no repair or replacements apart from regular servicing and we get 650 klms from the 57 l tank (better than our other car Navara 600klm from 75 l) using 95 octane (above 93 required) ,has no problem climbing Mt Ousley and comfortably does the 110 kph speed limit on the freeway with still plenty of power to spare so for under $15000 ,with the standard things like auto lights/wipers, leather seats, 6 air bags , try getting that in any other marque ,I tried and most of the others in the same size class started at $18-20000 plus extras some even up to $28000 for the same level of extras( standard on the Chery J3) that were all at a extra cost ie leather seats auto lights/wipers and 6 airbags (most only 2 or maybe 4) extremely happy with our cheap little Chinese car :)

  • MatthewG

    I’m a proud owner of a white Chery J3. When I bought the car for $3000 in April, I was on welfare benefits, there was no way I was going to be able to get a car anywhere near as new as the J3 for $3K, I saved for 6 months. The J3 may not look much to some, but to me, just owning a almost new car with less than 12 thousand kilometres was like a dream. In June of this year, I was involved in a noise to tail accident, and let me tell you, it’s not a death trap, airbags went off, front of the car was a bit bent, I walked away from the crash that night. I was so impressed with the strength level of safety. As a owner I can already dismiss claims that the J3 is thirsty. I drove the car from Brisbane where I bought it to Melbourne via Sydney using premium 98 RON fuel and I managed 7.5/100 km. Anyway I love my little white J3, you don’t have to but I do, looking forward to the release of the Chery J4 in 2015 :)

  • A Golf Owner

    Baah! Baah!

  • Ace

     I don’t think New Zealand want to import them, they want them for themselves 😉

  • –

    really nice automobile!

Chery J3 Specs

Car Details
Body Type
New Price
Private Sale
$7,590 - $8,630
Dealer Retail
$8,970 - $10,670
Dealer Trade
$5,900 - $6,900
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
Engine Size
Max. Torque
147Nm @  4300rpm
Max. Power
87kW @  6150rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
Bore & Stroke
Compression Ratio
Valve Gear
Drivetrain Specifications
Drive Type
Final Drive Ratio
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
Fuel Tank Capacity
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
8.9L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Ground Clearance
Towing Capacity
Brake:2300  Unbrake:720
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
Turning Circle
Front Rim Size
Rear Rim Size
Front Tyres
205/55 R16
Rear Tyres
205/55 R16
Wheel Base
Front Track
Rear Track
Front Brakes
Rear Brakes
Front Suspension
MacPherson strut, Coil Spring, Hydraulic double acting shock absorber
Rear Suspension
Trailing arm, Coil Spring, Hydraulic double acting shock absorber
Standard Features
Air Conditioning
Control & Handling
16 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution
Parking Distance Control, Power Steering
Radio CD with 6 Speakers
Fog Lights - Front, Power Mirrors
Leather Upholstery, Power Windows
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags, Side Airbags
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Service Interval
12 months /  15,000 kms
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Centre Top Scuttle
Country of Origin