The Chery J11 compact SUV has been updated for 2014, with a new look, more equipment, a new more efficient engine and revised pricing.
The Chinese-made Chery compact SUV boasts a more modern front-end design with revised headlights including integrated LEDs, a new chrome-lined grille and a more streamlined front bumper. The styling of the rest of the car remains largely unchanged, though it does receive larger 17-inch alloy wheels with a full-size spare.
There are big changes underneath, with the new J11 receiving an all-new 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine producing 93kW of power at 6150rpm and 160Nm of torque at 3900rpm. That puts it down on power compared with the car it replaces: that model had a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with 102kW and 182Nm. Chery claims it is the first engine to be developed in China with direct variable valve timing.
The new engine is more efficient: in five-speed manual guise it uses 7.4 litres per 100km, down from 8.9L/100km in the previous car. There's also a new CVT automatic with seven preset gear ratios, which takes the place of the four-speed automatic: it uses 8.6L/100km, down from 8.9L in the old car, but that figure is still significantly higher than similarly sized SUVs like the Mazda CX-5 (6.4L/100km in 2.0-litre guise). To make matters worse, the Chery's engine insists upon unleaded fuel rated at 92-octane or higher, which means you'll need to fill it with premium fuel as most regular unleaded is 91-octane.
Chery claims the J11's suspension has been tuned by Lotus, stating that the J11 "ensures ample mobility whilst maintaining a high level of comfort".
Standard gear inside the cabin includes leather trim, electric adjustment for the driver's seat, a four-speaker stereo with USB input and steering wheel audio controls, cruise control, power windows, power mirrors and automatic wipers. Bluetooth is not standard, but is available as a dealer-fit option.
Safety gets an upgrade, with electronic stability control now standard across the J11 range (it was previously unavailable), while it retains dual front airbags only. Rear parking sensors with a distance display screen now comes standard.
The Chery J11 comes with a three-year/100,000km warranty and roadside assistance.
The existing 2.0-litre Chery J11 was originally priced at $17,990 driveaway for the manual or $19,990 driveaway for the automatic. It's currently in runout from $16,990.
Due to the additional equipment, the new model increases by $1000, with the manual now $18,990 drive-away and the CVT version now $20,990 driveaway.