China. Not exactly the by word for car excellence, however there is now quite the steady stream coming from the people’s republic. Their latest offering is the GWM C10, launched the other day to the South African press and is the latest small city hatchback to compete in an already crowded market.

So what exactly is GWM hoping will set the C10 apart from all the others? Well of course you be forgiven for making a beeline to the price, as in the past price was the only selling point any Chinese manufactured car had to offer. However at R134990 you’ll be in for quite the shock as let’s face it, you can get a Toyota Yaris for less than that. What you have to remember is that a Yaris for that price will be equipped slightly worse than solitary confinement in Pollsmoor prison. The C10 on the other hand for a car in its segment comes with more toys than a rich kid’s birthday and Christmas all rolled into one. With air con, electric windows all round, electric mirrors, power steering, airbags and best of all, park distance control, there’s not much more you could want.

Other nifty features include a cunning boot spacing solution, which when rearranged gives you just that little bit extra space to cram in a few more shopping bags. In practice, it’s really only a removable board from the bottom of the boot, which while is very useful, I’m not entirely sure what GWM imagine you do with the panel of hardboard you’ve just removed and is now discarded on the floor next to you.

On the quality side of things, while you can clearly tell the materials have been made on the cheap, everything feels well put together and on a brief test drive there were no discernable rattles from the trim nor did I need to say a prayer every time I changed the air con dial for fear of it coming off in my hands. To be honest, it felt exactly like sitting in a Toyota Yaris, nothing fancy, just there to do its job.

Now as I’ve mentioned I only had a brief test drive, and at some stage we’ll bring you a full review, however I should shatter the hopes of anyone hoping for a fun little run around. All you can realistically hope for is a car that’ll get you from A to B, which is perfectly fine, but with a 1.5l engine under the bonnet you’d really expect it to go with a little more gusto than it delivers.

So is the GMW something to look out for? Well while the driving purist in me is very much asleep at the prospect of it, I have to give it the thumbs up as a city run around. It’s relatively cheap, well equipped, feels solid and to be honest if you’re looking for a car in this segment you’re not really interested in performance anyway. Just don’t take it on a long journey if you ever plan on arriving…

Nick Hodgson

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