Chinese cars in Australia: Which should you consider?

Chinese cars guide

Chinese cars are experiencing a surge in popularity. Which ones should you consider?

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China is an industrial powerhouse. For many years, it's produced many of the gadgets you rely on every day or at least some of the components making up those devices.

However, Chinese cars haven't experienced the same level of demand, until recently.

Chinese cars sales boom

The last VFACTS, from April 2019, demonstrates just how much China's car builders are growing. Compared with the same month in 2018, MG sold 126% more vehicles, Great Wall had 114.9% additional orders and Haval saw a ridiculous 263.6% spike in sales.

Chinese car makers

Here are the Chinese car manufacturers operating in Australia as of May 2019.

MG

MG sold the most cars of any Chinese manufacturer in April this year. Currently, the company sells three models in Australia: the MG3 small hatch, the MG ZS SUV and the GS "fun-sized" SUV. Next year, the company plans on launching what could be the most affordable electric car in Australia, with the MG eZS.

Picture not described: MG3_supplied_738x410.jpg

The MG3 hatch looks marvellous, a bit like a Suzuki Swift but with a crisper profile. The base model has a 1.5-litre petrol engine, 4-speed automatic gearbox, 15" alloy wheels and an 8" touchscreen with Apple CarPlay (even some established automotive giants like Toyota don't have this in all their cars yet). You can currently purchase an MG3 from $15,990 driveway, with free metallic paint.

The MG3 was received fairly positively by motoring journalists who liked the design, build quality, long warranty, sporty interior and connectivity, but it was universally knocked down for a lack of an official ANCAP crash rating.

MG ZS SUV

For those in the market for a modern looking compact SUV, MG makes the ZS. The ZS gives buyers the choice of either a 1.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol or 1.0L turbocharged engine (also petrol) and every model as standard comes with:

  • 8" touchscreen with Apple CarPlay
  • 17" two-tone alloys
  • Bluetooth phone connectivity
  • Six-speaker audio system by Yahama
  • Cruise control
  • Rear parking sensors and camera
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Roof rails
  • Air-conditioning
  • Automatic headlamps
  • Full grain leather steering wheel
  • Synthetic leather trim
  • Tyre pressure monitoring

In short, it's quite a lot for your money. The ZS currently is on offer from $22,990, with free metallic paint. Car reviewers said with the ZS, you can expect a high quality and well equipped interior. The design is also pretty contemporary; the front end appears to be inspired by Mazda and Jaguar.

MG GS SUV

The MG GS is the largest SUV MG Motors builds. It's a mid-size SUV that sells for around $25,490 driveway on an end-of-year sale promotion. The car comes with free metallic paint and the choice of a 1.5L petrol engine and seven-speed automatic transmission, or a 2.0-litre with a six-speed dual clutch auto. It also features a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, cruise control, climate control, a 6.1" touchscreen, Bluetooth phone connectivity and 17" rims. That's quite a lot for the money and the Excite and Essence X trims add even more equipment for a reasonable fee.

MG: Seven-year, unlimited KM warranty

MG gives buyers of all their new models a seven-year warranty, with no kilometre restrictions. They also include roadside assistance. Commercial buyers are restricted to seven years or 150,000km, whichever comes first.

Find a Deal

on Georgie's website

LDV

LDV is another British brand hoovered up by the Chinese automotive giant SAIC (who also own MG). LDV stands for Leyland DAF Vans, after a merger between the former British Leyland brand and DAF trucks in 1987.

LDV focuses more on commercial vehicles, with the exception of its D90 SUV and the G10 People Mover.

LDV D90 SUV

The five-star ANCAP-rated D90 SUV features an ultra-modern design and is built atop the company's ute chassis. LDV gives buyers a 2.0-litre 165kW/350NM turbocharged petrol engine, a six-speed automatic gearbox and on higher-end models, selectable 4WD, terrain control modes and a high-low transfer box. The entry-level D90 has 18" rims, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, tyre pressure display and monitoring, rain-sensing wipers, one 220V plug socket (plus three 12V USB outlets), adaptive cruise, multi-zone climate control, seven seats and a 12" touchscreen infotainment system with six speakers and smartphone connectivity. This model has a five-year/130,000km warranty (whichever elapses first) plus breakdown cover with the same terms.

The 'Mode' 2WD D90 SUV starts at a highly affordable $38,990. Automotive experts appreciated the interior cabin design, the driveway price and the inclusion of safety and tech.

LDV T60 Trailrider

LDV's T60 ute was pronounced as a big step forward for Chinese-produced utes. The pick-up comes with tonnes of features, including a massive 10" touchscreen, 17" alloys and a reasonably grunty 2.8-litre turbo diesel donk that makes 110kW and 360Nm. This engine is built to a licensed design from VM Motori, which has deals with Hyundai, Jeep, Isuzu, Holden and other big-name car brands. The cost-effective ute starts from $28,411 as a chassis cab 4x4 with a manual transmission.

Find a Deal

on Georgie's website

Haval

Haval positions itself as a maker of premium SUVs and is a subsidiary of Great Wall. Currently, it sells three SUVs in Australia: the Haval H2, Haval H6 and the Haval H9.

Haval H2 SUV

Haval's H2 is a compact cross-over SUV, penned by Belgian car designer Pierre Leclercq (who can list Ford, BMW, Kia and Mini on his resume). Seemingly following the blueprint laid down by fellow Chinese automotive marques, Haval drops in a 1.5-litre turbocharged 4-pot petrol engine and heaps of goodies. The base-trim H2 runs on 18" alloys, has a keyless entry system, rear parking sensors, a push-button start system, privacy glass and Bluetooth for audio streaming. The slightly more expensive Premium and Lux models add things like a 7" high-definition touchscreen, auto-dimming rearview mirror and other high-end touches. Haval's H2 also has a maximum five-star ANCAP rating. You can pick up an H2 from $19,990 driveway.

Motoring journalists praised the H2 for having a well-presented cabin, a comfortable ride and a long warranty/roadside assistance scheme.

Haval H6 SUV

The H6 is a compact SUV, available from $28,990 driveway. It's well equipped, has a long seven-year/unlimited KM warranty and was reasonably well received by motoring journalists. However, they did say it had a loud engine, unusual steering feeling and a tendency to lose traction.

Haval H9 4x4 SUV

Then, there's the full cream Haval H9 large SUV. The H9 has seven seats, a 4-star ANCAP crash rating and a battery of safety technology, such as:

    • Autonomous emergency braking
    • Adaptive cruise control
    • Blind spot monitoring
    • Forward collision warning
    • Lane departure warning
    • Rear cross-traffic alert

It also possesses 18" alloy wheels, a tri-zone climate control system, a digital instrument cluster, a torquey engine making 350Nm and 180kW, plus an eight-speed automatic transmission from ZF Friedrichshafen AG (the company that many automotive giants turn to for gearbox fulfilment).

Starting at $41,990 driveaway, this thing massively undercuts a Toyota Prado or Ford Everest.

Find a Deal

on Georgie's website

Great Wall

Great Wall Steed ute

Next up, we have Great Wall (the owners of Haval) which says its utes are built to work. Appropriately named the Steed, the ute is available as a 4x2 single-cab pick-up from $19,990 driveway with a free tray, 16" alloy wheels and a decent 1,198kg payload. The Steed 4x2 diesel has 100kW and produces 310Nm.

There's a 4x4 single cab Steed, which retails for $21,990 (with a free aluminium tray). In addition, Great Wall sells a 4x2 petrol dual cab pick-up. This model boasts 100kW of power, 205Nm of torque, a 1,010kg payload, 16" rims, a cargo bed liner, daytime running lights and a stainless steel sports bar. It costs just $19,990 driveway.

There's also a diesel RWD dual cab pick-up for those who prefer it, complete with a tyre pressure monitoring system, a stainless sports bar, side steps and a 1,022kg payload. The 4x4 version of the Great Wall Steed ute can carry 1,020kg and has intelligent 4WD. The transfer case is supplied by renowned transmission maker BorgWarner. This is one of the cheapest dual cab utes on sale right now at $25,990.

Journalists said the engine was a little underpowered when overtaking, but explained the Steed isn't a weighty ute so performance was otherwise satisfactory. They were also pleasantly surprised by the fit and finish of the Steed's interior. It's also worth noting that Great Wall only certifies the Steed to haul 2,000kg, versus the 3,500kg benchmark of most other utes.

Other Chinese car brands

In addition to MG, Haval, Great Wall and LDV, there are other less popular Chinese brands. Foton makes a Cummins diesel-engined ute called the Tunland, retailing for $27,990 driveway. It also makes a seven-seater 4WD SUV, the Sauvana, that costs $37,990.

Find a Deal

on Georgie's website

Upsides and downsides of buying a Chinese car

What are the advantages and disadvantages of buying a car designed and produced in China?

ProsCons
Price – Almost all of the cars sold under a Chinese car brand offer serious value. In some cases, for example one of the Chinese utes, you could purchase two vehicles for the price of a HiLux.Resale value – Toyota has a reputation for producing reliable and long-lasting cars, so they tend to hold their value well. The Chinese car manufacturers are still new to the average Australian car buyer and this may be reflected in vehicle depreciation.
Competitive deals – Not only are Chinese car brands selling their vehicles at low prices, they also tend to do aggressive deals including free trays on utes or metallic paint on their passenger cars.Safety ratings – Some of the Chinese models have scored 5 stars with ANCAP in crash tests. Others haven't fared as well, or don't have one at all.
Good quality components – Many of the car reviews we analysed to produce this guide showed surprise at the quality and finish of the models on offer. Often, we're taught to believe that you get what you pay for, but a lot of the Chinese brands either licence or directly work with established mechanical component producers and car designers.Dealership network – Being relative newcomers to the Aussie car market, these fledgling brands don't have the same network of dealerships that bigger companies operate. Also, like in the case of Chery, JMC, Geely and ZX Auto, they can pause or close up their operations at any time.
Styling – All of the cars in our list have excellent styling and offer an alternative to some of the common designs we've become accustomed to.Brand name – For some people this will be a big thing; they like to have a well-known badge on their car. The Chinese carmakers haven't carved out that kind of following yet.
Long warranty – This isn't true in all cases, but some of the Chinese car brands offer unlimited kilometre and 7-year warranties.

Compare your car loan options

If you're considering buying a Chinese car, you can compare your car loan options below.

Data updated regularly
$
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comparison Rate (p.a.) Monthly Repayment View Details CTA
Loans.com.au - New and Dealer Used Car Loan
From
4.67%
(fixed)
5.22%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.67% p.a. based on your risk profile
Finance a new car and benefit from features such as fast approval, no ongoing fees and an optional balloon payment. Settle the loan before 30 November 2021 and enter the draw to win a $1,000 fuel gift voucher. T&Cs apply.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.67% p.a. based on your risk profile
Finance a new car and benefit from features such as fast approval, no ongoing fees and an optional balloon payment. Settle the loan before 30 November 2021 and enter the draw to win a $1,000 fuel gift voucher. T&Cs apply.
Plenti Car Loan
From
4.89%
(fixed)
5.44%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.89% p.a.
Borrow up to $100,000 with a Plenti Car Loan and benefit from no early repayment or exit fees.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.89% p.a.
Borrow up to $100,000 with a Plenti Car Loan and benefit from no early repayment or exit fees.
IMB New Car Loan
4.99%
(fixed)
5.34%
You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.99% p.a.
A low minimum borrowing amount of $2,000 that you can use to purchase a new car or one that's up to two years old.
You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.99% p.a.
A low minimum borrowing amount of $2,000 that you can use to purchase a new car or one that's up to two years old.
NRMA New Car Loan
From
4.99%
(fixed)
5.69%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.99% p.a.
Purchase a new or used car up to 2 years old and benefit from a fixed rate and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.99% p.a.
Purchase a new or used car up to 2 years old and benefit from a fixed rate and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.
Credit Concierge Car Loan
From
3.85%
(fixed)
4.91%
You'll receive a fixed rate of 3.85% p.a. with a comparison rate of 4.91% p.a.
Get access to over 20 providers to fund a new or used car.

You'll receive a fixed rate of 3.85% p.a. with a comparison rate of 4.91% p.a.
Get access to over 20 providers to fund a new or used car.

Wisr Secured Car Loan
From
4.74%
(fixed)
5.01%
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 4.74% p.a. to 16.01% p.a. based on your risk profile
A flexible car loan from $5,000 - $63,000 with personalised rates and rewards for strong credit customers.

You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 4.74% p.a. to 16.01% p.a. based on your risk profile
A flexible car loan from $5,000 - $63,000 with personalised rates and rewards for strong credit customers.

NAB Personal Loan Unsecured Fixed
From
6.99%
(fixed)
7.91%
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 18.99% p.a. ( 7.91% p.a. to 19.83% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
An unsecured loan up to $55,000 you can use for a range of purposes and pay off over up to 7 years. Note: Majority of customers will get the headline rate of 12.69% (13.56% comparison rate) or less. See Comparison rate warning in (i) above.
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 18.99% p.a. ( 7.91% p.a. to 19.83% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
An unsecured loan up to $55,000 you can use for a range of purposes and pay off over up to 7 years. Note: Majority of customers will get the headline rate of 12.69% (13.56% comparison rate) or less. See Comparison rate warning in (i) above.
OurMoneyMarket Car Loan
From
5.35%
(fixed)
5.65%
You'll receive a fixed interest rate from 5.35% p.a. to 14.99% p.a. based on your risk profile.
Borrow between $2,001 and $75,000 to finance a new or used car up to 10 years.
You'll receive a fixed interest rate from 5.35% p.a. to 14.99% p.a. based on your risk profile.
Borrow between $2,001 and $75,000 to finance a new or used car up to 10 years.
MoneyForJam Car Loan
From
3.25%
(fixed)
5.82%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 3.25% p.a. based on your risk profile
Borrow between $5,000 and $120,000 with loan terms up to 7 years to finance a new or used car. Get access to more than 40 providers.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 3.25% p.a. based on your risk profile
Borrow between $5,000 and $120,000 with loan terms up to 7 years to finance a new or used car. Get access to more than 40 providers.
CUA Secured Fixed Car Loan
6.79%
(fixed)
7.16%
You'll receive a fixed rate of 6.79% p.a.
A secured loan with a high maximum borrowing amount up to $100,000. Redraw facility and no monthly fees.
You'll receive a fixed rate of 6.79% p.a.
A secured loan with a high maximum borrowing amount up to $100,000. Redraw facility and no monthly fees.
Latitude Personal Loan (Secured)
From
5.99%
(fixed)
7.26%
You'll receive a fixed rate between 5.99% p.a. and 21.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Lock in a competitive fixed rate when you offer security. Loan can be used for any purpose and repayments are flexible. You can check your interest rate before applying with no impact to your credit score.
You'll receive a fixed rate between 5.99% p.a. and 21.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Lock in a competitive fixed rate when you offer security. Loan can be used for any purpose and repayments are flexible. You can check your interest rate before applying with no impact to your credit score.
Stratton Finance New Car Loan
From
4.05%
(fixed)
5.63%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.05% p.a. depending on the lender you are approved with
Apply for up to $250,000 and use cash or trade in a vehicle to use as a deposit. Optional balloon payment available.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.05% p.a. depending on the lender you are approved with
Apply for up to $250,000 and use cash or trade in a vehicle to use as a deposit. Optional balloon payment available.
SocietyOne Car Loan
From
6.99%
(fixed)
6.99%
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 20.49% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $5,000 to use for a range of purposes. Benefit from no ongoing fees and no early repayment fee.
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 20.49% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $5,000 to use for a range of purposes. Benefit from no ongoing fees and no early repayment fee.
RACV New Car Loans
From
4.99%
(fixed)
5.69%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.99% p.a.
A larger loan of $5,000 or more to help you buy a new or used car. 5-hour pre approval available and no ongoing fees.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.99% p.a.
A larger loan of $5,000 or more to help you buy a new or used car. 5-hour pre approval available and no ongoing fees.
People's Choice CU Discounted Personal Loan (Car Loan)
From
4.65%
(fixed)
4.99%
Borrow over $20,000 and secure with a new or used car less than 2 years (manufacture year 2018).
Pre-approval, no monthly fees and fixed rate for 5 years.
Borrow over $20,000 and secure with a new or used car less than 2 years (manufacture year 2018).
Pre-approval, no monthly fees and fixed rate for 5 years.
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Compare car insurance providers

You can also compare car insurance side-by-side and get quotes. To compare these car insurance providers, simply check the 'Compare' box on the left-hand side. This will bring up features that you can then compare with other providers. When you're ready to get a quote, just click the green 'Get Quote' button.

Name Product Roadside Assistance Accidental Damage Storm Choice of Repairer Agreed or Market Value
Budget Direct Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Awarded the 2019 Finder Award for the Best Value Car Insurance, this policy offers solid coverage at a low cost plus you will get 15% discount on first year's premium when you take out a policy online. Budget Direct’s claims service has received a 4.2/5 based on nearly 5,000 customer reviews.

Who it might be good for: People who want a comprehensive policy without breaking the bank.
QBE Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: QBE is a sustainable insurance company and also Finder's Green Insurer of the Year 2020 Award winner. This policy offers the highest level of protection available from QBE including three-year new car replacement. You can also save $75 when you purchase a new comprehensive policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Those that are looking for a more environmentally friendly insurance choice.
Bingle Comprehensive
Market
Finder's summary:Bingle consistently comes up as one of the cheaper insurers out there. It only covers the basics, so you don't get to choose your own repairer, you're not covered for personal items in the car and unless you add it as an option, you won't get a hire car if your car is stolen. But this keeps its premiums low.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a low-cost option that covers them for the basics.
Coles Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Coles have two-tiers of comprehensive car insurance to choose from. You'll earn double flybuys points at Coles supermarkets and you can get $10 off your Coles grocery bill every time you redeem 2,000 Flybuys points. If you're over 30, you can get roadside assistance free for a year.

Who it might be good for: Coles customers and Flybuys collectors.
Poncho Comprehensive
Agreed
Finder's summary: Poncho works like a monthly subscription – you pay monthly and can cancel and leave at any time. You can also list multiple cars and drivers under one policy, making it ideal for families and groups living together under one household.

Who it might be good for: People who want their car insurance month to month.
Qantas Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: You'll be able to choose how comprehensive you want your cover to be with optional extras like choice of repairer and the option of agreed or market value. Plus earn Qantas Points for joining and paying your premium. Sign up by 2 May 2021, you can earn up to 30,000 Qantas Points (points awarded will be based on your premium). T&Cs and eligibility apply.
ahm Comprehensive
Optional
Both
Finder's summary: ahm comprehensive car insurance lets you choose higher excess to reduce your premiums plus you can get up to 15% off when you purchase a new car insurance policy. T&Cs apply. Additionally, their Fixed Kilometre Plan can save you up to 30% compared to their standard comprehensive cover.

Who it might be good for: People who drive less than 15,000 km per year.
Virgin Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Finalists for the 2019 Finder Awards for Best Value Car Insurance, Virgin Comprehensive provides a good level of cover for a decent price. Get 15% off on your first year’s premium when you purchase a new eligible comprehensive car insurance online. T&Cs Apply.
Stella Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Stella’s a female-focused insurer. It'll cover you if your car is damaged as a result of domestic violence. It offers higher cover for baby gear than most, with up to $2,000 cover for prams, strollers and child seats. Get $50 cash back when you purchase online between 1 April – 30 June 2021 using the code STELLA50. T&C apply.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a female-centred car insurance policy (it will cover men too).
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