Johannesburg - It might take a while before SA’s newest Chinese brand BAIC is rolling off the average car buyer’s tongue (it’s actually pronounced ‘bike’), but this company is certainly taking our market seriously, having committed to investing R11-billion in establishing a factory near Port Elizabeth.
While its local manufacturing chapter is only expected to commence in 2018, BAIC has already entered our market as an importer and following the launch of its Polo-Vivo-rivalling D20 sedan and hatch range back in April, the carmaker is entering the rapidly growing compact crossover market with the X25, which was launched at the SA Motoring Experience at Kyalami on Friday.
The X25,which will be built in SA once the factory is up and running, shares its basic bodyshell with the D20 but gets its own, and far more adventurous-looking, sheetmetal. It won’t necessarily stand out from the crowd, but the X25 is a decent looking vehicle which fits the trendy crossover mould that’s proving to be such a big formula for success these days.
The front-wheel-drive crossover is powered by a normally aspirated 1.5-litre petrol engine that produces 84kW and 148Nm, which is about on par with an entry-level Ford EcoSport. It doesn’t undercut its rivals by too much of a margin however, with the range starting at R219 900.
BAIC offers two trim grades, Comfort and Fashion, and each is offered with a choice between five-speed manual and four-speed automatic transmission.