I have never seen the diminutive made-in-China Chery QQ3 city car up close, despite being sold in the Philippine market for over a year now. So I decided to visit the Chery dealer over at Fort Bonifacio to take a closer look at what is the cheapest brand-new set of wheels you can buy today, at least in this country.
The Chery QQ, produced since 2003 by the Wuhu, Anhui province-based Chery Automobile is not without controversy, as General Motors in 2005 accused its manufacturer of blatantly copying the Chevrolet Spark/Daewoo Matiz. Apparently GM did file suit but decided to drop the case in order to further its Chinese business interests after its copyright complaint failed to gain any headway in the Chinese courts.
The Chery QQ comes in two models: the QQ 308 with a 12-valve 800 cc. double-overhead cam (DOHC) ACTECO gasoline engine with a maximum power of 52 hp. at 6,000 rpm., and the QQ 311 with a 16-valve, 1,100 cc DOHC ACTECO gasoline engine with a maximum power of 68 hp. at 6,000 rpm.
Both the Chery QQ 308 and the QQ 311 basically share the same amenities: airconditioning, power windows, a cassette radio with two speakers [But without a CD player; thanks to Ganns for the observation - Ed.]. The Chery QQ 311, however, is fitted with such exterior trim details like a spoiler, side skirts, and roof rack rails which the QQ 308 goes without.
The Chery QQ 308 is sold with either manual or and automated manual [Better known by the trade name Tiptronic - Ed.] transmission, but oddly enough, the QQ 311 is only sold with a manual gearbox. How come?
Let’s take a look at the Chery QQ’s driver’s position and the front seats. I noticed that the steering wheel column is fixed. I also observed that the Chery QQ’s sold in the Philippines are not equipped with airbags.
The rear passenger seats can fit in two medium-sized adults. Yes, the space is tight and without much legroom to speak of but what can you expect from a small car?
Note the seatbelts installed for the safety of the passengers seated at the rear.
The Chery QQ with its hatchback open, exposing its cargo compartment. The available space can be enlarged by stowing the double-folding rear seats.
Singaporean car website OneMotoring was fairly scathing at what they saw inside the Chery QQ test model they inspected:
“The other part of the problem is again, quality, or the lack of it. The materials used in the QQ’s cabin aren’t disastrously bad but the slipshod way everything’s been put together is pretty inexcusable.
“You don’t need to take a close look at the dashboard and other bits of trim to notice that nothing fits properly, the panel for the air-conditioning controls sits awkwardly askew, as does the factory-fitted cassette player. In our test car, where the lower part of the centre console and dashboard meet, you get a smooth, flush interface on one side, and a gaping, uneven gap large enough to poke your hand through on the other. Comical.”
Then again, Singaporeans can be quite finicky, unlike cash-strapped Third Worlders who just want a car.
As for the Chery QQ’s safety, Paul Tan has photos of a Chery QQ crash test.
Ah, lets get to the Chery QQ’s fuel economy rating. Autobloggreen says according to the manufacturer’s stats, that the Chery QQ gets anywhere from 5 and 6 liters per 100 km. but which is not clear about the specific model from which the figures were derived. On the other hand, Ganns in a comment on his Chery QQ post says that a QQ owner he met disclosed that his car only gets 8 km. per liter. A used Chery QQ seller over at the Motorcycle Philippines forums also cites the same performance. Which is which?
As for available Chery QQ colors, those I’ve seen in the Chery showroom were yellow, green, and silver. Red Chery QQ’s were once sold to the public but I was told that ever since the Philippines’ Coca-cola bottler purchased Chery QQ’s for its fleet, this particular color has been reserved for them alone.
As for price, the Chery QQ 308 with manual transmission carries a PHP 319,000.00 tag while the Chery QQ 308 with the automated manual box goes for PHP 373,000. On the other hand, the Chery QQ 311 with the manual gearbox carries a PHP 349,000 price tag. I was told that all of the Chery QQ models came with a 5-year/120,000 km. warranty but it was unclear whether this offer was a standard or an option.