2017 Shanghai motor show: Hits and misses

The opening press days of the 2017 Shanghai motor show have now wrapped up, with the biggest motor show in the region - and indeed, one of the biggest in the world - now open to the public.
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This year's show brought us a host of new production models and concepts - some weirder than others - and more than a few hints at what we can expect to see on the road in the years ahead.

Among them, the three-row Jeep Yuntu concept, Toyota's Fun car (which looked a little like it should've debuted before the new Camry, not after), Geely's stylish people-mover concept, the slick but very un-MG MG E-Motion, and a number of others.

Which offerings impressed and upset the CarAdvice crew most? Catch our thoughts on the hits and misses of the 2017 Shanghai motor show below.

James Wong, in Shanghai


Best Production Car: LDV D90

One of the few reveals actually relevant to our market, the D90 looks to be something of a game-changer for not just LDV but Chinese brands in general.

We've already seen it revealed on Australian soil, but the D90 could potentially offer class-leading Infotainment and connectivity, while also being one of the most affordable large seven sweaters you can buy.

At the Shanghai show I was able to have a quick look at the interior, and the fit-and-finish looks pretty damn good. While the petrol-only thing may make it a fuel guzzler, if parent company SAIC can make it ride and handle as well a Kia Sorento or a Mazda CX-9, they'll be onto a winner.


Best Concept: MG E-Motion

Since the British carmaker relaunched under Chinese ownership we've been waiting for them to launch an actual sports car, rather than their recent hatchbacks and SUVs.

The E-Motion may be merely a concept for now, but MG and the SAIC group in general are committed to creating a new generation of vehicles powered by "new energy" electrified powertrains and equipped with industry-leading inter-connected technologies.

A production version is very much on the cards, and the concept itself is just plain pretty to look at - even if it styling appears a mix of several different offerings.


Biggest Miss: German Concepts

Nothing amazing came from the German brands and their concept cars this year, namely Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen. Audi's e-tron and Volkswagen's ID Crozz continue the (in my opinion) silly coupe-styled SUV trend, and neither really look very good.

Meanwhile, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class sedan concept is just the CLA concept from years ago with the 'Panamericana' front grille, and in red. Generally these brands are the guys setting trends, now it looks like they're just following them instead.

Mike Costello, in Munich


Best Production Car: LDV D90

The D90 impressed me when we saw it revealed last week in Australia, and continues to do so, despite the present lack of a diesel option (a 165kW turbo petrol carries the can).

If it can tame the rugged commercial underpinnings to offer decent handling, and bring all its stylish cabin tech at a reasonable price, LDV will have a genuinely interesting Hyundai Santa Fe rival on its hands.

The fact LDV's Australian head says that "competitive [pricing] means priced beneath the status quo of vehicles by at least 15 to 20 per cent" indicates the company is switched-on to what is required to actually sell here. Good luck to it.


Best Concept: MG E-Motion

That MG E-Motion coupe concept may be derivative as all get-out, but it's very handsome. And moreover, it shows that the China-owned company with a famous British heritage is looking to return to the sports car market.

I won't be happy until it lobs a proper Mazda MX-5 rival, however. It can always hit up a little battler such as Suzuki to organise a joint-venture if it wants to reduce costs.

In many ways MG's and LDV's umbrella, SAIC Motor, is the Chinese conglomerate to watch, alongside Volvo Car parent Geely and its subsidiaries. These to me are the two that'll break through first.


Biggest Miss: Skoda Vision E

The Vision E is certainly not unappealing. It's got great EV tech, partial autonomy and shows where the Czech marque is heading.

My issue isn't the car, it's the conception. Simply put, Volkswagen and Audi showed their own sporty EV crossover things (the e-tron Sportback and ID Crozz) in Shanghai, which means Skoda should have done something different.

Skoda stands for practicality, simple design and unpretentious-ness. The Vision E does none of these things, and I worry that the brand is losing its identity within the VW Group.

Matt Campbell, in Sydney


Best Production Car: Citroen C5 Aircross

If Citroen has any hope of remaining a viable offering in markets like Australia, it needs an SUV like this to be priced right and positioned favourably against mainstream rivals.

It's a decent looking thing, with strong design and not as much quirky detailing as the C4 Cactus. Wonder if it'll be sold here?


Best Concept: Chevrolet FNR-X

If this is what Chevrolet is planning to do with its next-generation of SUV models, then they'd better be sure to be offering them with Holden badges.

It has great angles and plenty of presence, with a low-slung crossover wagon look to it that just nails the brief brilliantly. Yes please.


Biggest Miss: Audi e-tron Sportback concept

Nah. We've seen enough SUV-style coupes from Audi in concept guise now, and this is just another one to add to the list.

It isn't ugly, and nor is it really a miss as a precursor to something that could be in the pipeline, but I for one am sick of the sight of similarly-styled 'SUVs' like this.

James Ward, in Melbourne


Best Production Car: Citroen C5 Aircross

I'll mention but ultimately gloss over the BMW M4 CS as it doesn't really count as being a 'gee whiz' show stopping release (as awesome as it is), and give my production car gong to the Citroen C5 Aircross.

Okay, it's not quite as cool as the 2015 show car, but it still brings plenty of French funk to a relatively pedestrian mid-size SUV segment. It's just a pity that even if it came to Australia, no one would buy one.


Best Concept: Geely MPV

Honourable mention to the MG E-Motion AutosalonMazdaJag for being pretty cool, but the Geely MPV is one good looking rectangle!

To me, it reverts the handsome Chrysler Pacifica back to a show-car form. It's not groundbreaking in any way, but if this is the type of car the Chinese brands are wanting to strive for, then I am really supportive.


Biggest Miss: Jeep Yuntu

For me, the biggest letdown was the Yuntu. Aside from the stupid name, its as lazy a concept as you can get. Suicide doors that will never make it to production, three rows that have no practical luggage room, hybrid drivetrain 'plans' with no details - it's just a 3D-printed box to take up space on the stand.

It's not new, or exciting, or ambitious, or even realistic. It's an 'oh crap, we have nothing new, how quickly can we make something up' car. Be better, Jeep.

Derek Fung, in New York


Best Production Car: BMW M4 CS

Yes, it's faster, lighter and, presumably, better than the regular M4, but its those OLED tail-lights that really close the deal.

Maybe I should get out more.


Best Concept: Geely MPV

Sadly this is my stage in life, but if I'm going to fritter away my hard earned pesos on something practical, it might as well be on a conveyance that's attractive.

Why should beauty be reserved for sports cars? Sadly that interior won't survive the journey to production.


Biggest Miss: 'Coupe' SUVs

Anything that's a 'coupe' SUV. I'm still waiting for someone to rehash the Suzuki X-90. Surely we can't be that far away now.

Tegan Lawson, in Sydney


Best Production Car: 2018 Lexus NX

There's just something about that huge grille coupled with slightly smoother lines that makes this look really sharp.

It remains aggressive looking, but some of the (almost excessive) ridges and angles of previous Lexus models have been softened which draws more attention to the acute corners that remain - like the tick layout of the DRLs under the headlights.


Best Concept: Mercedes-Benz Concept A sedan

If this is a true glimpse at the future styling of A-Class models then I'm excited. I can't get over how sleek and smooth it looks. The best bit though is the technology used in the headlights - coated in UV paint, exposed to ultraviolet light so that it's able to change colours.


Biggest Miss: Lynk & Co 03 concept

Concepts are supposed to be cool and futuristic, inspiring a sense of excitement for what's to come.

This screams '80s, the vertical headlights are naff, the deep grooves cutting around the corners from the grille create an unbalanced side profile, and what's with the tail light layout? Ew.