China Car Times gets up close and personal with the Little Aristocrat
We finally got a chance to get up close and personal with the Little Aristocrat from Double Ring, also known in Chinese as Shuan Huang. We first saw this bubbly little car in Shanghai, but didnÃ¢t get a chance to get up close due to the huge crowds that were swarming the Shuan Huang stand and largely ignoring the other Shuan Huang vehicles. In China, Shuan Huang is quite possibly onto a winner with this car. We caught up with Shuan Huang motors at the Qingdao auto show, not the biggest auto show in China, but not the smallest either. It seemed Shuan Huang decided to go w
To find out what China Car Times thinks of the Little Aristocrat, click continue reading.
The Shuan Huang caused a bit of an internet stir when it first made it on to China Car Times Ã¢? other automobile websites were quick to pick up on the story and ran with it on their own respective websites, usually with a headline along the lines of Ã¢China copies the Smart car!!!Ã¢
In certain respects, the Little Aristocrat is a copy of the Smart car, the concept for one is the same Ã¢? a super mini car that almost seems as high as it is but not donÃ¢t let that Ã¢super miniÃ¢ label confuse you, both the Smart and the Little Aristocrat are light and roomy. In other respects, the Little Aristocrat takes the Smart car concept and improves on it the Little Aristocrat has a transparent glass roof (picture on the left was taken from in the car, looking up through the clear roof) which gives the Little Aristocrat massive amounts of cabin light, other improvements would include small aesthetics such as the beefier looking wheels, and twin exhausts located in at the middle of the rear bumper. Not forgetting the nicer lights on both the front and rear of the car. Shuan Huang have also managed to squash a rear seat into their model, probably wont fit your 6ft 8 friends, but would most certainly fit your girly friends no problem, or even your kid(s) Ã¢? and under that rear seat, youÃ¢ll find a spare wheel! There is still a tiny, and we mean tiny trunk in the back of the Little Aristocrat, you couldnÃ¢t fit much in it, a pair of shoes or something but its probably better than nothing. The Little Aristocrat only comes in manual transmission, there is no automatic alternative unlike the Smart car which comes with its futuristic manual but with no clutch transmission.
So whatÃ¢s the same?
The dashboards between the two cars, are pretty much the same. (Little Aristocat on the left) The Smart cars speedometer, odometer and rev counter are all separate, the latter sitting on stalks on top of the dash, the Little Aristocrat dashboard is the same as any Ã¢regular carÃ¢ speedometer, odometer, rev counter etc are all together behind the steering wheel. The air con/heating vents are in the same place on both cars, and the over all dash is pretty much the same shape. The interior dÂ©cor follows the same funky style as the Smart car, bright colors that go together well to win over the younger audience that the car is clearly aimed at. The color scheme of the Little Aristocrat follows the two color standard of the Smart car, which just adds to the cries of the copyright infringement from international auto websites and car bloggers.
China Car Times View
Yes, the Little Aristocrat does take the Smart idea, and builds on it. It is better in several areas, but the fact that the Smart is nearly 7,000GBP (thatÃ¢s 105,850rmb) for the cheapest model, the cheapest Little Aristocrat weighs in at a featherweight 30,690rmb (thatÃ¢s 2,029.39GBP) although its not exactly fair to compare the two cars via the exchange rate, but obviously the Little Aristocrat is a quarter the cost of the Smart car, and it really shows. The Little Aristocrats quality is actually quite poor Ã¢? the first time we saw the vehicle in Shanghai we were playing around with it and managed to pull the plastic rim of the dashboard, we couldnÃ¢t get it back on either. Perhaps the poor quality could have been down to the car being a show model that Shuan Huang had rushed into production to be able to show eager crowds that they are making funky cars and not just plain old SUVÃ¢s based off old pick up trucks. The model we saw today clearly wasnÃ¢t a rush job for showing off to the crowds, it was a model they planned on selling to the crowds and the poor quality dashboard, the absolutely shocking quality of the sun visor that really did feel like it was from a toy car.
Still, at the prices that Shuan Huang are asking, the Little Aristocrat would is most definitely going to be a hit in China, we might just actually buy one ourselves if the Shuan Huang quality issues with the dashboard were addressed. It would be a truly great car for the inner city China shopping run and for going to the office and back, especially as an alternative to the grey market Smart cars that are available in China those babies are nearly 170,000rmb !