Chery began producing vehicles in 1999, with their first export leaving the factory in Wuhu China in 2001; they have continued to spread the Chery love worldwide and in a developing country like South Africa, the sales are going to cook – especially now with their latest protégé, the J2 SWAG – which sounds more like a R&B rapper’s A.K.A.
In a nutshell it is a J2, but with more SWAG. So quickly let’s define the urban-term swag. It means, Something We Asians Got – no not quite! It implies a person or object who has style and is cool.
The J2 SWAG is what it is, a well spec’d entry level small hatchback, donned with a set of sporty 17” rims, low profile tyres, a F1-X shiny bit on the exhaust tip, but without the sports exhaust – damn! Clothed in a stylish and sporty exterior, with similar design cues here-and-there to that of a Kia Rio or a Ford Figo – which I think is what helps it to ‘blend in.’
Now before you go-on about what you could buy for R154 900, like a Toyota……., Tata,………. Or something on the second hand market – shame on you! The J2 Swag comes standard with Sat-Nav, Bluetooth, USB/AUX/SD functions, a front-loader CD player – because not every millennial car buyer uses their iPhone to listen to music – and a six-speaker ‘not bad’ audio system. The touch screen is a bit faint and glary under ambient light conditions – so night time is the dead giveaway of how easy it is to operate the infotainment system. Still, the missing volume and radio/music control switches on the steering wheel is quite noticeable – and hopefully will be a standard feature in later models.
The 72kw,1.5L engine has some pep, locating the sweet spot at 3500rpm requires some throttle-control, but with an easy shifting five speed manual transmission, 140nm of torque, the little engine makes every kilowatt count when manoeuvring through congested highway traffic, like you’re swimming upstream – during salmon season. The ride quality is relative to road conditions – and if you enter a corner a little too hot, there is going to be body-roll, a necessary evil of understeer, some jaw clenching, but besides that the J2 SWAG keeps its swagger – even when you have to dart for the brake pedal. Along with driver/passenger airbags and ABS/EBD – the SWAG is a safe car.
Chery are aiming their sights with the J2 SWAG on the younger, active-lifestyle car-buyer, but with an attractive price and stylish appeal, this prediction might just be a scientific – wild – a$$ – guess. SWAG is for everyone.