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I have no idea what the roads are like in China for a typical motorist but there seem to be a lot of SUVs so I guess it is not good?

So is the ride on a Chinese car very soft for bumpy roads or is it more like a UK car or maybe like an USA car :confused:

Started wondering about handling after watching this:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=UONxEPb6TrE&search=rover%20

Can Chinese cars do this?
 

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on average you will experience a worse set of road surfaces than uk. having said that it's ok in big cities and main highways.

chinese cars are mostly based on european or jap/korean models, not so many yank barges (only GM have these). typically I think the chinese cars may have a slightly higher ride height (about 20-30mm) but not always.

I have slammed my car using a bilstein setup that puts it 40mm below eu ride height. I do have some problems and have to be careful in some places.

also, I make some trips out to the sticks - places like wuhu - and as you come across potholes in the dark at high speed I am always glad I went for a 15 inch rim which is an OE part from another car rather than some super lightweight aftermarket 17 inch option.
 

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Chinese road quality is bad with lots of unpaved roads so vehicles localized for China have a higher ground clearance and a soft suspension setting.

Chinese consumers do not demand handling quality from cars because most are first time buyers and a quality like handling is an acquired taste that first time buyers do not understand.

Expect Chinese cars to have bad handling.
 

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however good the design, there is always a trade off between high performance handling and a smooth ride, although of course high tech solutions on modern high spec cars can go a long way to close this gap.

rough roads tend to require a compromise further in favour of a supple ride at the expense of handling.

it is true, chinese consumers generally don't know about high performance cornering characteristics of cars yet.

having said that, Korea and USA are two other countries where the people don't get much chance or don't seem too interested to thread the bends out on the open road, and consequently the handling of cars from those two nations have yet to impress me.

china hater has yet to disclose what he drives. it might be a finely balanced sportscar, it might not. I'm sure it has a 500million dollar chassis though!
 

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yes indeed , but I hope he actualy drives anything :D apparently his on his computer seat all day ( no i dont mean seat toledo stolen chasis , PLZ I didnt trigger that ! )
 

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I'd imagine that the handling and ride quality of many of the cars produced in China is directly related to how they rode and handled when they were produced under their original manufacturers.

About 60% of Chinese production is modified versions of older western designs - in some cases designs are shared over many manufacturers, as is the case with designs based on the old Citroën ZX and the old Daihatsu Charade.

ZX-based cars likely have an advantage over all of the other old-style products because the ZX was an excellent handler when new and later formed the basis of the well-regarded Peugeot 306. In fact, the ZX did so well for Citroën in Europe that it was still on sale there until very recently as the restyled Xsara - the wagon version of which is still for sale in French showrooms.

The other 40% of China's cars are made from platforms developed in China and these are more of a crapshoot. It's hard to tell what they're like because they are not available outside of China for journalists and enthusiasts to sample. My guess is that China's chassis development isn't particularly good yet - but I would also wager to say that it's worlds better than where the average Japanese car was, contextually speaking, in 1965.
 

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I dont know where this perception that China has bad roads come from. At least in urban areas, the city streets and highways are just as good or superior to the West. You wouldn't encounter any problems that you wouldn't encounter in the West.

Only in the most backward rural areas will you find really decrepit roads. But Chinese roads on a whole are very good and comparable to developed nations.
 

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not bad, but even in urban areas they are not as good as in, for example UK. I have just driven to my office in Shanghai, there are some poor surfaces even here.

the 306, that was a great motor. much better than the 307 in terms of handling. lift off oversteer particularly impressive, I remember spinning one on a roundabout once.......... didn't hit anything though. worth every penny of the 500M USD it must have cost to develop the CHASSIS.
 

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fightingtorque said:
not bad, but even in urban areas they are not as good as in, for example UK. I have just driven to my office in Shanghai, there are some poor surfaces even here.

the 306, that was a great motor. much better than the 307 in terms of handling. lift off oversteer particularly impressive, I remember spinning one on a roundabout once.......... didn't hit anything though. worth every penny of the 500M USD it must have cost to develop the CHASSIS.

Perhaps if you are driving in the backstreets, but the regular roads and major roads are all up to developed standards, they are comparable to any developed country. I have been to everywhere in China, and one of the things that never fail to impress me is the excellent road conditions and infrastructure, especially in comparison to other developing countries.
 

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compared to other developing countries........ absolutely! Infrastructure and roads, very good.

I would still say though that the average range of surfaces you come across is not as good as UK and that is why a lot of the cars have increased ground clearance/ longer travel on the suspension.

I drive my Lotus all around the UK. It could cover 95% of what I do in China as well. But the last 5% would wreck it. It's that last 5% that means you need to run a different specification, unless you want to get out and adjust the suspension once every couple of days.

the lowered suspension setup I am running on my Chery would be fine in the UK, here it is generally ok but I have done a few bits of damage to the underside of the precious CHASSIS and I have also had quite a few impacts to the exhaust system which hasn't helped. luckily the exhaust does not cost 500M USD.

if you take the Nanjing ring road round from where you join it coming from Shanghai and then head down towards Wuhu you will see what I'm talking about. It's a 500km journey between Shanghai and Wuhu, with about 40km of bad roads. so it's fine, but the car needs to be able to cover those 40km as well. and in my opinion it needs to be able to cover it all at minimum 100mph even in the dark!
 

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Not as bad as you think.........

In response to the question regarding handling of chinese cars........


Recently I have been "test driving" various models of economy chinese cars (those in the sub-100,000rmb range) in consideration for purchase. Since I am living here for the "long term" now and am a american with almost 30 years of driving experience, I think I can speak with some experience.

So far I have tested models from Hafei, Xiali and Geely (I am not considering the Chery QQ - it is TOO small for my needs and the BYD Flyer is just too ugly for me to be seen in it :lol:). I am also not testing any of the microvans - not my style. Anyway, here is what I have discovered......

Xiali - I drove both the A series and the N3. Typical understeer for a small front wheel drive car, fairly soft suspension (but not bad) and a transmission that has long throws (i.e. not short, tight shifts) and somewhat "loose". The N3 had adequate power (at least the 1.3 version) but I found the interior to be ill fitting and somewhat "cheap looking".

Hafei - I drove the 1.1 version of the Lubao. EXTREMLY long shift points and a very loose transmission. Brakes were somewhat "mushy" which did not give me much confidence and the fact that the car is built somewhat tall (for interior room) didn't help the handling much. Also, very small tires which also degraded handling. I was overall really dissapointed with the Lubao - it LOOKS good (design by pinanfarina of Italy) but the driveability is another issue.

Geely - I drove two models - the Haoqing 203A and the new Merrie. Both cars were remarkably "tight", especially the Merrie. Also, the 1.3 Merrie REALLY had a powerful engine, even with the air conditioner on. Good short shift throws (at least compared to the other cars I drove) and the tightest suspension of the all the cars I drove. Interior was also decent (as far as quality is concerned) with good room. Hands down, the Geely was the winner as far as how the car DROVE. Geely needs to improve on style somwhat, but compared to their cars from 3-4 years ago, they are learning fast!

As far as chinese roads..........for the most part, quite good. Highways in particular seem to be of great quality (I regularly travel from Nanning to Liuzhou or Guilin and the highway is smooth, comfortable and with plenty of rest stops) and are a pleasure to drive on. It can be different in the cities though......in Nanning they are working hard to make the roads better, but in other smaller cities it can still be pretty jarring to deal with the roads. For me, it seems to be the quality of materials - the older roads used some pretty poor concrete, whereas the new roads seem to be using a higher quality mix......creating a better road surface. I've driven on roads just as bad in Los Angeles, so the difference is pretty minor to me.

Since China is just now developing a "car culture", everything that comes along with that is also developing - and very fast. Aftermarket shops are opening up all the time (at least in Nanning) and I see a growing number of cars that are heavily customized. It's easy now to get quality engine and oil treatments (Slick 50 and things like that are easily available at Wal Mart) and as the "car culture" grows and matures, so will the awareness of proper care and maintinence. THIS will in turn help to create a better used car market.....which will then open the doors for even MORE chinese people to be able to afford to drive a car. The critical question - can China keep up with the infrastructure needed to support all of this? I'm talking about more roads, more parking areas, better repair facilities, better driver education, better enforcement of traffic laws, etc.? The quality (or lack of) chinese roads today is directly affected by the number of cars using them now......a lot of older roads were never meant to handle the amount of traffic currently common nowadays. Nanning is building new roads, bridges, repaving older roads, etc. at a feverish pace - is it the same in other chinese cities as well? I'm also starting to see more traffic police enforce the laws, giving traffic tickets, etc. - which helps to create a safer driving environment. Anyone else want to add to this? I AM curious about other chinese cities and what is happening there!
 

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great post.

in my view the level of development of the city is always reflected in the roads and the way the people use them. in shanghai and beijing the driving is very cut and thrust - to the point of being aggressive, but basically people follow the rules in terms of using the correct lanes, and not making illegal turns etc. there is heavy police enforcement.

as you go to smaller and smaller cities, the roads get worse, and the driving habits become more of a free for all, and there tends to be less heavy policing. it is also here that you come across more comedy vehicles and ridiculous overloading etc.

the overloading of trucks has been substantially corrected since about 2004, and this will show in less degradation of the roads. previously it was normal to run a truck with double the rated load. by modification of springs and CHASSIS the trucks could generally survive, apart from a safety issue, but it was killing the roads. now there is heavy enforcement at toll points and overloading is much less common.

be interesting to know what sort of motor you end up going for. obviously you don't want to worry too much about the tyres, shifter etc as you will be modifying all that anyway right?
 

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1.5 or smaller..........

Hey fightingtorque -


First, thanks for the kind words regarding my post! I HAVE been to Beijing, and I do agree with you - the driving IS aggressive, but for the most part orderly and civilized. I suppose it also helps that motorcycles are not allowed in the center of the city anymore! Nanning will be doing that within 3-5 years.........but for right now it is still a "free for all" sometimes between cars, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians! However, compared to a city like Changchun (in the Jilin province), Nanning is absolutely civilized!!

Great comment, by the way regarding the overloading of chinese trucks - I completely forgot about that and I HAVE seen things like that as well. You are right - it is getting better and that DOES save the excessive wear and tear on the roads.

As far as what I will buy (as far as a car), it will be a small car with a engine under 1.5 liters in size. Two reasons - the new tax laws will save me money, and I want a car that is very good with gasoline consumption. I really do like the new Geely Merrie - powerful engine (for a small car), surprisingly well made and pretty comfortable! Is it the same quality as a japanese, korean or even a american car? No - but I am well aware of that and I do believe that with some regular maintience (you know, regular oil changes, tune ups, etc...) it CAN be a reliable car. I think some of the quality problems with chinese cars are simple lack of maintience...........again, the maturing of the "car culture" in China!! As far as customizing it..........I will probably add some bigger tires (for better grip and handling) and possibly stiffer shocks/springs. Other than that, the gear ratios seem to be OK and the power steering is pretty good too! I also want to check out the new Xiali C1 when it finally goes on sale in the summer, it looks good but I'll wait to see how it drives!! You're probably asking the question "why not consider a japanese or korean car?" Simple - there are very few cars in the sub-100,000rmb range......and since I LIVE in China (and happen to love it here), I would rather contribute to a chinese company! I am NOT a Japan hater or a American hater.......I just think that chinese cars are a great value for the money. Besides, even though I AM a experienced driver, I am still somewhat new on chinese roads - I don't to risk getting in a accident with a expensive car right now. Once I am more comfortable on chinese roads, THEN I will move up to a more "upscale" vehicle.

I am surprised that "china hater" hasn't added his usual insulting or demeaning comments yet..............it would be nice if he actually CAME to China and SAW and DROVE a chinese car, don't you think? Yes, he IS free to voice his opinion - but usually a opinion is based on some kind of experience, and he has NO expereince (yet) with chinese cars. In any case, I AM glad there are intelligent, open minded posters such as yourself on this forum.....thanks and keep on adding to this great china car website!!
 

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jmsteiny said:
... I am surprised that "china hater" hasn't added his usual insulting or demeaning comments yet..............it would be nice if he actually CAME to China and SAW and DROVE a chinese car, don't you think? Yes, he IS free to voice his opinion - but usually a opinion is based on some kind of experience, and he has NO expereince (yet) with chinese cars. In any case, I AM glad there are intelligent, open minded posters such as yourself on this forum.....thanks and keep on adding to this great china car website!!
I don't think he actauly owns a car anyways , As for me , I am not chinese or born in china , But i've test drove some of these chinese cars here in my country , cairo , Egypt and I try to collect more information from here ,
The Merrie you mentioned , well a friend of mine WON It at some sorta supermarket contest ( Carrefour Supermarket , a french market franchise )

anyways he spent almost a year in it ,
Pros :
* very good fuel econom
* its Engine is more than enough for it
* very cheap spare parts ( compared to korean/japaneese )
* FREEZING A/C :) ( it gets to 42 c here in summer )
* one of the cheapest cars in Egypt .

cons :
* Engine noise is gradualy increasing
* interior quality/materials is not good at all
* it feels very soft on the OFF-ROAD like streets we have in Egypt ( very bad streets , except maybe for the highways )
* electric mirros stopped working after 10,000kms , but he fixed them

overall he's very pleased with a FREE car :) compared to his aging rusty Fiat 128 , this is a jaguar !

anyways , the most loved chinese car , and the best selling ones here are from Chery , the QQ and the A11 ( Windcloud )

the QQ is becoming girls choice number 1 , and old ppl as well as its the CHEAPEST car with Automatic Transmission in Egypt ,which is prefered by some OLD people ( easier to drive ? )

the A11 is collecting alot of good reputation from owners and dealers , and alot of distributors started enlisting them next to thier Hyundais and Kias as a Family Sedane , not just anohter chinese car .

American cars are very very few here and all of them are not even made in the US ,

We have the Jeep Cherokee / Grand Cherokee ( the new shape ) they are put together here at GM motors EGYPT factory ( not built , just put together or compiled )

few more Imports , Chrysler 300M - Chrysler 300C
Ford Focus , Ford Escort and the Chrysler PT Cruiser .

all of these except the escort are above $25,000 of course ( sale price here )

I am currently very confused between the A11 and a world-car from Fiat known as the Palio ( 1.3 hatchback )

And I hope I will make my mind soon :)
excuse my english/grammar mistakes .
 

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good comments gents. the only thing I am concerned about is that once everyone starts looking at the windcloud as a serious alternative to a FERRARI, they might put the price up a bit.
 

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so now the QUOTE of the week is FERRARI insted of $500 Million or CHASIS ? :D
 

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lol

it cracked me up again when I saw the word "serious".
 

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