China’s Qoros Auto Company has begun sales of its second model, the Qoros 3 Hatch, and it appears to be one of the more promising offerings from China’s nascent auto industry.
The five-door Qoros 3 Hatch hews closely to the concept version that was shown at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year. The company followed a similar Geneva-concept-to-summer-debut schedule in 2013 when launching its first model, the Qoros 3 Sedan.
On paper, the Qoros 3 Hatch is rather middling. Its size falls within a centimeters of the Mazda bearing the same model name, but there is absolutely no fear of getting the two confused. Propulsion comes from a DOHC 16-valve 1.6-liter inline-four with variable valve timing, a setup generating 124hp and 114 pound feet of torque. Buyers will have their option of having a 6-speed rower or automatic.
A turbocharged variant makes 154hp and 155 lb-ft, but is, disappointingly, offered only with the 6-speed dual-clutch automatic. According to the company, its 0-62 time clocks in at a prehistoric 9.7 seconds while its top speed is a more reasonable 130 mph. Clearly Qoros has prioritized fuel economy over performance, with turbo models achieving 36 mpg.
However, what sets the Qoros apart is that it’s the first Chinese car to receive a five-star safety rating in European NCAP crash tests. Export to Europe is definitely part of the Qoros plan, and as such it also boasts a comparatively handsome design not derived from established automakers.
The 3 isn’t a de-contented econobox, either. It comes standard with an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment unit complete with Bluetooth and music streaming services, traction and stability control, and daytime running lights. All but the lowest trim levels have a rear parking camera, heated door mirrors, cloud-based dynamic traffic and parking info, and tire pressure indicators.
Though Qoros has only sells a few hundred units per month at this point, the joint venture — established between Chery and an Israeli holding company in 2007 — is just getting started. Prices start at $19,277 for the naturally aspirated motor and $25,387 for the turbo.