Test drive of the new Lifan Solano: how the “Chinese” decided to conquer Europe

So this is what the car looks like, which Lifan was going to bring to the European markets. The new Solano has been adjusted to Euro-5 environmental standards, and the safety of the sedan has four stars (ChinaNCAP). And the filling has become much more modern.

In Europe, the path lies through Russia, where Solano-2 has already begun to sell. From popular budget workers Lada Vesta, Renault Logan, Hyundai Solaris, Kia Rio, Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo, the Chinese sedan used to lag far behind. Will he now be able to press his competitors in the market, which have densely occupied the subcompact segment? To find out, I went to the test car in the Crimea.

The first impression, of course, about appearance. “Solano” looks modern. From the former similarity with the “Corolla” fifteen years ago, there is no trace. The sedan is made in a new laconic design Lifan. Swift silhouette, sloping roof, massive falshradiatornaya grille, elegant lensed lights with LEDs – these are its main features.

In the interior, too, a dramatic change and a clear desire for developers to make the car as modern as possible. The archaic radio tape recorder with mp-3 player and monochrome display was replaced by a modern multimedia center with a seven-inch touchscreen, Navitel navigator, rear view camera, Bluetooth and even video viewing from external devices via USB.

On the dashboard – an improved information screen that will show even the temperature overboard, and the trunk can now be unlocked remotely from the key. Folding mirrors with the electric drive, heating of front seats, electric drives of all glasses with closers, working only on descent, – all this is also available now. And next year, the Lifanites promise an even more stuffed package, in which it will be possible to find also the engine start from the button and the hatch.

However, despite the metamorphosis, the feeling of a budget car does not leave me yet. Perhaps because the plastic is everywhere oak, and the doors close only after a strong clap.

Picturesque Crimean roads, despite insanely beautiful views outside the window – an excellent opportunity to check the budgetary in the case, in the realities of broken roads. A comfortable fit for yourself in this sedan can not be adjusted by everyone. The range of the helmsman on the height is very limited, there is no setting for departure. But the rear riders will be satisfied with the reserve of free space in front of and above the head.

The former “Solano” was often scolded for its rigid suspension and low ground clearance, so the issue of adapting the new model to our roads came up seriously. The suspension configuration remained the same: at the front of the MacPherson, rear – a semi-independent suspension with longitudinal levers. The settings have changed, thanks to which the “struts” of “Solano” are endowed with American softness. “Trifle”, which we saw serpentine, the suspension smoothed perfectly. And on serious hummocks worked wonders, practicing them without breakdowns. In addition to reconfigured suspension, the Russian adaptation brought the car an increased to 165 mm clearance. So you can move into the pits safely, without fear for the bottom of the body and the front bumper. He at “Solano” is tall!

Paying for the comfort of steel rolls in turns, reinforced by high-profile tires on 15-inch wheels. And, however, “Solano” is a family sedan for people who do not have speed, but practicality in priority. It is ideal to go shopping in the store, pick up children from school, go to nature.

The only available motor for the model so far remains a new 1.5-liter sixteen-valve, bribing its quiet and barely noticeable vibration. This engine – the own development of Lifan – came to replace the engine 1.6 liters and was created with a focus on European markets. The use of a different block head, a variable valve timing system and a plastic intake manifold instead of a steel one should ensure a reduction in the emission of harmful substances and the appetite of the motor immediately per liter from 100 km compared with its predecessor. But the figure on the display of the tripcomputer spoke about the opposite – 10.2 l / 100 km. Perhaps the reason is that the car that participated in the test did not pass the break-in test.

The engine delivers 100 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 129 newton meters of torque in the range of 4000 to 5000 rpm. It works in conjunction with a five-speed manual. The power range is shifted to the high-speed zone, so Solano accelerates very reluctantly, although the noise from the wheel arches creates a deceptive illusion that speed is simply crazy. In the fifth gear, the car refuses to overtake at all, and when moving to an inoffensive lift, the engine slips into a hibernation. The arrows of the speedometer and tachometer stop at the mark of 120 km / h and 3000 rpm, respectively.

“Solano” is good. Equipped with an electric booster, the steering wheel is informative and easy to turn. Tight engine – that’s what the Chinese sedan lacks.

Engine 1.8 liters from Solano will be available next year. It will be borrowed from the X60 crossover, a modernized variator will be attached to it. Details of refinement in “Lifane” are not disclosed, they say only that they will help reduce fuel consumption. If on the X60 this motor consumes about 8.2 liters per 100 km of run in a mixed cycle, then on Solano its appetite should decrease to 7.2 l / 100 km.

As for the plans to conquer the European and Russian markets, in favor of the “Chinese” they say the acceptable price and the saturation of the complete sets. The cost of the new Solano, which already in the “base” comes with ABS, front airbags and air conditioning, after a generation change has grown (from 499 thousand rubles.). But even after that, it remains much lower compared to Hyundai Solaris, Lada Vesta and other popular budget sedans. And this is in conditions when the consumer began to take a more balanced view of purchases, a good bid to delay the bestsellers of some buyers.

Brief specification

** Lifan Solano II **

Overall dimensions, cm 462.0 x 170.5 x 149.5
Wheelbase, cm 260,5
Cargo space, 650 l
Curb weight / gross weight, 1155 / 1530kg
The engine 1,5 l I-VVT, belt drive
Power 100 hp
The twisting moment 129 Nanometers
The average fuel consumption is 6.5 l / 100 km
Gearbox, 5-st. mechanical.
Maximum speed, km / h 180
Acceleration of 0-100 km / h, with –
Fuel capacity, l 55