Computer-crafted images of cars are always so nice, aren’t they. Panels are perfectly aligned, the finish is perfect and the interior materials appear to be of the finest grade.
The reality is often far from the rendering, though, and with models originating out of China – still a distant challenger for brand acceptance in western markets, still prone to treating a registered copyright like roadside carrion – it’s been the norm.
Things are changing, though. Offerings from LDV and Haval and MG might still look like they lack any original thought, but the quality is improving and it appears likely that each will rise to a competitive level in a far smaller window than it took any of their Japanese and Korean rivals.
Now there’s this, the Exeed TX, by Chery – a brand that came to Australia as one of China’s early salvos, but has been quickly forgotten as newer offerings from the aforementioned brands begin to trickle in.
TX is the model name, and Exeed, courtesy of a new awareness that the Chery name won’t cut it, is the brand.
“In just a few years we intend to start selling a family of vehicles in European markets across multiple segments, with power supplied by a range of electrified powertrains,” says Chery CEO Dr Anning Chen.
“Our brand will target open-minded, relatively younger customers in particular, with a product rollout strategy that focuses on quality, low- and zero-emissions powertrains, and emotional engagement with customers.
“All Chery vehicles that are intended to be sold in Europe will feature class-leading connectivity, be fun to drive, offer flexible and spacious interiors and will provide comprehensive personalisation, all of which are aligned with our high standards of product quality and aftersales support,” Chen said.
Although not endowed with an entirely unique design, the TX has the looks of an SUV that could do well in the west, thanks to the pens of former GM designers James Hope, Steven Eum – and a team of around 100 designers of various specialty, working under their guidance.
Likewise, what little has been revealed of the TX SUV’s tech suggests it could follow through on the promise of its styling.
There’s an all-new platform developed specifically for Europe and an eventual broader range, with accommodations for hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full-electric powertrains.
The TX will debut as a plug-in hybrid, with power delivered by a 110kW 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine mated to an 85kW electric motor. Underneath, there’s an all-wheel drive system developed by Dana and BorgWarner, with six-speed manual and seven-speed dual-clutch auto transmissions from Getrag.
Parts from German component and tech giants Continental and Bosch are also featured, including safety systems like collision avoidance and lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring and driver fatigue detection.
There’s also a 10.1-inch display in the cabin, 7-inch instrument display, touchscreen displays in the air-conditioning rotary controllers, keyless start, a panoramic glass roof… all the usual mod-cons.
Chery claims, boldly, the Exeed TX will hit 100km/h from a standing start in six seconds, with a top speed of 200km/h.
As a plug-in hybrid, the TX also claims an all-electric driving range of 70 kilometres – neatly outdoing the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV’s claim of 54km.
Time will tell if the Exeed brand can stand up to the demands of the western market, but Chery says it has put the TX SUV through “brutally rigorous international development programme” to prove it.
“Europe is one of the most mature automotive marketplaces in the world, and is home to the most demanding and sophisticated customers,” says Chery product development chief Ray Bierzynski.
“We are leaving nothing to chance to ensure our new model line is engineered to meet and even exceed expectations.”
Despite this, Chery has not actually confirmed a launch window for the TX. Bierzynski told press in Frankfurt the new SUV will be on sale in Europe “in a matter of years”, but a specific launch date was not offered.
As for Australia, then, we perhaps shouldn’t expect to see the TX here anytime soon – if at all.
What do you think of this new Chery pick?