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by Tim Beissmann

Taiwan’s first passenger car brand, Luxgen (pronounced luck-jean), has just released its second all-new vehicle: the Luxgen7 SUV.

The Luxgen7 SUV follows the unprecedented success of the brand’s first model, the Luxgen7 MPV, which was launched last year and outsold the entire Hyundai brand in Taiwan and became the first car to ever win the prestigious Taiwan Excellence Award.

Comparing standard versus non-standard equipment in the Luxgen reveals the manufacturer’s emphasis on gadgets over safety.

For example, the intelligent powered tailgate is standard. It is intelligent because it can be configured to partially open automatically, which Luxgen says will help “prevent collision when parking in confined spaces such as an underground parking lot”.

The anti-theft sport seat (yes, you read correctly) is standard. When the driver presses a button on the seat for three seconds before leaving the car and locking it with the remote, the anti-theft system slides the seat forward to lean against the steering wheel, making the car impossible to steal without breaking the driver’s seat.

Staying with the seats, they’re electrically heated, ventilated, lumbar-supported and massage-ready and feature “airline first class style surrounding head restraints”.

The enormous centre console-mounted onboard computer system is not unlike something you may find in a first class jet, and brings together four top-spec visual assistance systems generally reserved for vehicles well above the Luxgen’s price range: Eagle View+ (a 360 degree surveillance), Side View+ (blind spot monitor), LDWS+ (lane departure warning system) and Night Vision+.

But while its standard tech may be five to 10 years ahead of its time, standard safety is about 10 years behind, comprising little more than dual airbags and ABS. Side and curtain airbags, stability control and traction control are all optional extras.

The big Luxgen – at 4.8m long, 1.93m wide and 1.76m tall – is powered by a 129kW 2.2-litre turbocharged inline-four teamed with a five-speed automatic transmission and a three-mode four-wheel drive system.

Luxgen is offering the Luxgen7 SUV in five specification levels with prices ranging from a remarkably low NTD 838,000 ($30,740) to NTD 1,148,000 ($42,110).

The bad news for interested Australians is that Luxgen is only available in Taiwan, with plans to expand into China this year.

For those of you whose day won’t be complete without a truly inspirational Luxgen7 SUV experience however, check out its website (http://www.luxgen-motor.com.tw/cars/suv/) and keep the music turned on.




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