Chery light hatch touches down

The Chery J1 light hatch will be available from an eye-catching $11,990 drive away, making it the joint cheapest car available in Australia today alongside the Proton S16 and Geely MK.
The Chery J1 light hatch will be available from an eye-catching $11,990 drive away, making it the joint cheapest car available in Australia today alongside the Proton S16 and Geely MK. Contributed

CHERY Motors has just launched its first assault on the Australian market, with the cut-price Chinese manufacturer offering its Chery J1 light hatch and Chery J11 compact SUV through its 45 national dealers.

The little J1 hatch will be available from an eye-catching $11,990 drive away, making it the joint cheapest car available in Australia today alongside the Proton S16 and Geely MK, which is available only in Western Australia.

Neither the J1 nor J11 are offered with electronic stability control as standard or as an option, meaning they won't be available for sale in Victoria with its tough motor vehicle safety rules.

The Cherys will be on-sale in every other state, however, including Queensland.

You also don't get side airbags in the J1 or J11 when they're reasonably expected these days, but there are plenty of positives to take from the new Chinese offerings, besides their bargain price tags.

The 62kW 1.3-litre five-door hatchback J1 incorporates dual airbags, ABS, EBD, MP3 player, air-conditioning and power steering, as well as plenty of electric functions.

Just a few years ago, these would have been seen as very generous standard inclusions.

The J1's economy figure of 6.7litres/100km is reasonable if hardly impressive from a modern petrol engine in a car roughly the size of a Nissan Micra.

The J11 SUV has similar specifications to the J1 but includes leather seats and alloy wheels, and is powered by a 2.0-litre four cylinder engine good for 102kW and 182Nm of torque.

The SUV Chery starts at $19,990 for the manual variant, or you can step into an automatic version featuring cruise control for an extra $2000.

The Chinese company is no newbie to the automotive world and has proved very successful in its homeland.

Chery produced more than 680,000 cars in 2010, and has been the biggest seller among the independent Chinese car brands for nine years in a row.

All Chery vehicles sold in Australia are covered by a three-year, 100,000km warranty which includes 24/7 roadside assistance, with the J1s and J11s going on sale from Tuesday.

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