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Tianjin Xia Li Wei Le – Xiali Vela Test Drive Review

In 2018 China Car Times was acquired by Autowise. This article originally appeared on ChinaCarTimes.com.

This is for the those that say we dont post good things about Chinese cars

First things first, this car was a rental car, it was approximately six months old and had only done 10,000km so it was reasonably new when we got our hands on it. Further understanding of Xia Li is required before we go further. Xia Li is a subsidery of automobile giant FAW First Automobile Works in Tianjin city, China. FAW has some mighty connections, and deep pockets. They have joint ventures with several Japanese and Western manufacturers in China, Toyota and VW are their biggest partners. It would come as no surprise for anyone to learn that the Xiali Wei Le (English name is Xiali Vela) is a legal carbon copy of the 2006 Toyota Vios, a model that only seems to be available in Asia. Xia Li really have come along way from their boxy autos of the late 90?s, they seem to heading into automobile foray with quite a stride in their new range of Toyota aided cars. Click continue reading to find out more.

At the time of writing the Xiali Vela/Wei Le starting price is an astonishing 70,000RMB, certainly a lot of car for your money I dont think there are many other Japanese cars on the road at Chinese prices. Just for comparrison, the original Toyota Vios that this Vela is based off is retailing at 100,000RMB in China, quite a saving for the end consumer! Everything in this car was designed by Toyota and manufactured by FAW, the engine is Toyotas own, and thus will probably last forever. The model we had for the day was a 1.5 manual engine, although FAW do make a 1.6 automatic version for extra cash. It provided plenty of zip in the city, and the Vela also proved itself on the highway.

The Interior:
The interior of the Xiali Vela isnt that bad for a car in this price tag. The rear seats had enough leg room for short journeys, although I woudnt like to sit in the back of one for a long period of time. The front seats are fine, quite comfy in fact. The seating position makes you feel quite high on the roads almost like youre in a crossover car and not a small hatchback, the Vela is also quite wide, yet short I think this makes for a better ride in the city where you can see more of the road, and potential hazards. We like the way the instrument display is inside its own little hood to the center of the car dashboard, but in a way it is angled towards the driver, a nice idea. The dashboard itself is nothing overly exciting, its a lot of plastic, but with lots of places to store tapes, loose change etc. The Toyota Vios has a nicer dashboard, but that comes at 30,000RMB more for the basic Vios. Our Vela came with aircon and electric windows and mirrors, all good.
The Exterior:
The Xiali Vela, like its Vios counterpart is nothing special on the eye, in fact we prefer the smaller Xiali Wei Zhi over this saloon. However, Im sure it appeals to some.

The Ride:
As we have already mentioned, in the city this car goes great, on the highway its got good accelaration but quickly tops out, weaving in and out of lanes on the highway this car does not have any problems. One thing we must note is that the suspension seems very hard, if theres a slight divot in the road then you will feel it coming back through the car. When we got out of the car and shut the door it made a loud clanging noise, the sound thats assosiated with cheaply built cars. We like a nice heavy click when we close a door, not a tinny rattle like sound of cheap steel on steel. The breaks are quite good, they give very good feedback, they are not tight nor are they too soft they are somewhere in between, quite comfortable.
Overall
We would give this car 8/10 for its overall performance, yes there is issues with the rock hard suspension and the plastic mountain dashboard, but all in all, I liked it a lot! For 70,000RMB the average family is getting a great Toyota engine and Toyota car for 30,000RMB less than the proper Toyota costs. That is a considerable saving! We really like this car, great value, great performance. Excellent car. Go buy one today, our car came with Chinese and Arabic warnings on the sun visor, so perhaps you can get one in Arabic speaking lands too.

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