} ;

Chery A3

28 April 2008 | by Unknown

Chery A3 0361
Chery A3 0366
Chery A3 0394
Chery A3 0374

This is Chery's second big launch of the show, also with Italian design input, but here from Pininfarina rather than Torino Design. The A3 is a compact C-segment model available in four-door or five-door bodystyles and the co-ordinated presentation of the cars - all in silver - was very good and gave a sophisticated impression to the booth.

The exterior design picks up a number of current design cues that are typical of current Chinese car design: the DLO kicks up at the rear, similar to the new Roewe 550 or the GAIG 4-Door Coupe concept. The bodyside is sculpted and there is a hidden rear door handle, like the old Alfa 156. The wide clamshell hood has a character line from the A-pillar that drops down into the front mask and the upper grille has an interesting wave section, with a hexagonal mesh. The five-door feels fresher than the four-door, due partly to the taillamp graphic, with its outer ring of red LEDs. But the hi-mount stop lamp at the top of the tailgate is very old-fashioned, as is the wide bumper and bodyside protector with side repeater in the front edge.

Likewise, the interior is orthodox and initial impressions are good: a NAVI screen with controls on either side, a leather steering wheel and side curtain airbags. But dig deeper and the attention to tactile quality and ergonomics is zero. The door linings are all hard plastic, there's a cheap finish to storage lids and the rotary HVAC controls have a flimsy, gritty feeling to them. Then there's the coin tray and cupholder in the center stack: both slide out at right angles to the center stack, not horizontally, so are completely unusable.

It's clear this program development has been over-long or has been postponed by Chery. While the design is competent, it all feels a bit stale and much of the detailing and quality is already outdated, especially when compared to its chief rival, the new Roewe 550.