Chery J5 1.6 Review
Chinese delight?

Story by M.H Sim, pictures by Azfar Hashim
27 May 2008

If you're a firm believer of "you get what you pay for", congratulations - this is the perfect car for you. If not, go look elsewhere. Like the Koreans...

Outside story

Between love and hate, there’s a little grey area called “disappointment”. The sort of feeling you get from soggy fries, damp burgers, un-chilled Coke, or a lifetime spent being dumped by the fairer sex.

Ok, that might sound irrelevant to the automotive kind, but you get the idea of “disappointment”.

Now, back to the original plot.

You’re in the market for your first set of wheels, and with that very tight budget, the choices are very limited. You need a car that’s spacious enough to ferry five, and unfortunately what you’re willing to fork out for, can only buy you as much as a Kia Rio hatch. But that won’t cut it, as ultimately, you need lots of space for the cabin and the boot - like a sedan’s.

Before you get all disappointed with the proposition of having to look at those used cars, fret not. Well, the Koreans were the obvious answers back then when it comes to cheap transportation, but now there’s somewhere else to look, in case you haven’t been noticing - the Chinese.

And the J5 from Chery looks very much like a solution.

It won’t win any sort of award, that’s for sure, but at least it blends in well enough in a HDB car park. Chery has clearly taken a long, hard look at others first, and true to form, the J5 has the conservative, tried and tested look – had this car been launched in the late-90s, it would have caused a storm.

As you can see, the J5 is nicely proportionate, and has flowy lines from the front to the rear with minimal gaps, going well with the “executive car” theme that Chery is trying hard to market it as - the extensive use of chrome on its front grill and door guards is a good start. On a separate note, it’s just a pity that the 15-inch alloys wrapped in 195/55 R-15 tyres looks somewhat undersized in the J5’s wheel well.

Since we’re at the topic of “looks”, a closer look (no pun intended) will surely give away the J5’s styling cues, which uncannily resembles both the Japanese and the American. It has strong cues of Nissan’s Sunny upfront, while for the rear, there are hints of Cadillac’s DTS. Good attempt, but it could’ve been done better.


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Engine Capacity 1597cc
Engine Type Inline 4
Power 109bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque 144Nm @ 4500rpm
Power to Weight 84.5 bhp per ton


Acceleration 16s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 180 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 14.5 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 5 -speed Manual
Drive Type FF


Body Type Sedan
(L x W x H)
(4552 x 1750 x 1483) mm
Wheelbase 2600 mm
Kerb Weight 1290 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity 52 L


Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs