Chinese carmaker Chery has launched its J3 small hatch in Australia, going on sale in all states except for Victoria, where the absence of electronic stability control has kept the J3 from sale.
Priced at $14,990 drive-away, the J3 becomes Australia's most affordable small car - and it offers a comfort and convenience list that more than stacks up against its pricier rivals.
The J3 is powered by a 1.6 litre petrol engine producing 87kW and 147Nm of torque, making it one of the lower-powered models in the segment.
A five-speed manual transmission is the only gearbox on offer, and fuel consumption figures are listed at 8.9 l/100km on the combined cycled.
Suspension is managed by MacPherson-type struts up front, and a semi-independent trailing arm with track bar at the rear.
The front brakes are ventilated discs and the rear gets solid discs, although sizes have not been released.
The J3 rides on a 2550mm wheelbase - 50mm shorter than the Corolla, but its 4352mm length and 1794mm width make it wider and longer than the Corolla hatch (4245mm/1760mm). At 1464mm tall, it doesn't offer the same head clearance as the Corolla (1515mm).
Standard features for the J3 include leather seats all-round, climate control, 60/40 split-folding rear seats and steering-mounted audio controls.
There are also electric windows all-round, electric side mirrors, remote central locking, rain-sensing wipers and dusk-sensing headlights.
Standard safety features include reversing sensors, six airbags (front, side and curtain), anti-lock braking and electronic brakeforce distribution.
Crucially, the J3 is not equipped with electronic stability control, ruling the new hatch out for sale in Victoria.
Similar laws go into affect across Australia from November, however models released before November can be sold without ESC until 2013.
Chery is planning to fit the Australian-delivered J3 with ESC in the future, but specific timing has not been confirmed.
The Chery J3 is offered in one trim grade, priced at $14,990 drive-away.
- Interested in buying CHERY J3? Visit our CHERY J3 showroom for more information.