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August 2, 2013

Rising Star

Filed under: solar lighting — Tags: , — solaroutdoorlight @ 2:40 am

FILIPINO-owned Dreamco Automobile Co. Inc., exclusive distributor of Jiangling Motor Co. (JMC) in the country, is confident that China-made cars are slowly gaining public acceptance in the Philippine market, so much so that it has announced the arrival of its newest mid-size SUV, the all-new JMC Orion.

Known as the JMC Yusheng in other countries, the all-new Orion is one of JMC’s frontliners in the SUV segment. Launched at last year’s Philippine International Motor Show (Pims), the seven-seater Orion is poised to go toe-to-toe with its Japanese- and Korean-made rivals.

Currently, the JMC Orion is the only mid-size, locally assembled SUV in the country. Its dimensions of 4,740mm x 1,895mm x 1,862mm (length x width x height), bring it close to the size of the Mitsubishi Montero and Hyundai Veracruz.

From the outside, it actually doesn’t look like a China-made car.

The muscular flanks and curvy tail lamps of the Orion create a fresh balance of aggression and sophistication.

Inside the cabin, occupants will delight in the soft, plush seats and comfort features. The instrument panel is easy to read with its straightforwardly simple but functional rotating round dials and knobs. The high ceiling and large windows accentuate the interior space, which is really generous. Able to accommodate seven passengers, the Orion is perfect for long journeys. The second and third rows provide ample legroom and headroom. Luggage space is more than adequate and the back seats can be configured as needed.

JMC collaborated with American carmaker Ford to refine the Orion’s 2.4-liter Duratorq TDCI engine, which sings to the tune of 140 hp—the vibration was adequately suppressed without compromising power.

During my test on highways, I was totally astonished at how smooth the five-speed manual tranny changed gears. Since the engine doesn’t need to reach higher revs in achieving optimum power-to-torque ratios, fuel mileage readings of 10 to 11 km per liter on mixed city driving can be expected.

Some of the Orion’s new features are 17-inch alloy wheels, leather seats, HID projector and fog lamps, keyless entry and alarm, three-point seatbelt, automatic door lock system and backing up radar system. There’s also an audio system with AM/FM/CD/MP3/Aux modes. Standard ABS with brake force distribution and dual front airbags add value to the package.

Despite its heavy curb weight, the Orion is surprisingly light on its feet with good traction and stability control that keeps the suspension well balanced, thanks to double wishbones in front and multi-link suspension in the rear.

The best thing about this vehicle is that you won’t feel that it’s “Made in China.” There is one good question, though: Would I buy this vehicle for P1.130 million? My answer: Why not? If your priority is practicality and functionality, it’s worth it.

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