China has every appearance of being the next big car-producing giant. We’re getting Honda Fits built from China these days, and it’s only a matter of time before Chinese cars become mainstream here. It will be the same story we had with Korean cars, and Japanese cars before them and European cars before them.
We had to leave a few good cars off of this list. First of all, there is the Luxgen company, which makes very good cars, but they’re actually from Taiwan and we won’t count them as mainland Chinese.
Then we had to leave off the excellent Geely GE, JAC S11, and BAW C71 because they haven’t gone into production yet.
10.) Brilliance BS6
You all know the Briliance BS6 from its old and terrifying one-star crash test video. The car has since been modified and gets all of three stars! Not so bad, right?
9.) Geely Beauty Leopard
The Geely Meirenbao (aka Beauty Leopard) was China’s first home-market sports car. It looks like somebody squished a Mazda MX-6, but it’s better than most Chinese cars. It debuted in 2003 with an 85 horsepower Toyota-based 1.3-liter engine. Weight is a light 2,160 lbs.
8.) Xialong Fierce Dragon
China is known for having a few Hummer clones, most notably the Dongfeng. While the Dongfeng is actually a licensed copy of the H1, complete with a Hummer chassis and even an optional US-built V8, the Xialong XL2060L has a bit of its own Chinese character. For one, the Xialong is even bigger than a Hummer. It’s nearly 17 feet long and weighs 7,937 lbs. Under the hood is a Steyr-designed, China-built 3.2 liter diesel straight-six with 184 horsepower.
7.) Great Wall V240
We love compact pickups here at Jalopnik and while they’re dead to the American market, they still make them in China. The Great Wall Wingle (sold in Australia as the V-Series) is basically a ripoff of an Isuzu, but with flimsier construction. It’s got a 2.4-liter Mitsubishi engine, a very low price, and that’s about it.
6.) Beijing Auto Works Knight S12
The Knight S12 started out as a Jeep, built in the Beijing-Jeep group venture starting in ’84. Chrysler pulled out in 2009 and now the Jeep is made with a redesigned Chinese interior and new Chinese engines. Did we say Chinese engines? We mean old Nissan 2.0- and 2.2-liter motors.
5.) Shanghai VW Santana
Mass production of these VWs started in China back in 1985 and they’re only going out of production at the end of this year! They are the standard Chinese taxi, and have been gradually updated over the years. If you’re looking to buy a simple old car, you can still find them new in China.
4.) BYD E6
BYD’s electric minivan went on sale last year and it’s only caught fire and killed three people one time! Great track record for an otherwise handsome ride.
3.) BYD F6
The BYD F6 are not terrible cars, and are pretty common on the ground over in China. It comes with wheezy 2.0- and 2.4-liter engines, but will soon be replaced by an upmarket version the Si Rui, which may be remote-controlled.
2.) Geely Panda
Look at this thing. It’s China’s first five-star crash rating car and it is, as you can see, freaking adorable. As of 2010 they’ve even been selling them online. The engine is only a 1.3-liter, but who cares when the car is so cute?
1.) FAW Red Flag
It’s good to be the king. These things are the cars for heads of state and you typically see them in parade regalia. Under the hood you get a 5.9-liter V12 and there’s plenty of space in the back in the civilian version, The whole thing isn’t cheap, at about a half million Euros, but it is one damn fine automobile.
We’d take one over an Audi any day.