Toyota Camry or Kia Optima: who is trying to emulate Lifan Murman for a million?

The large Chinese sedan is much cheaper than conventional competitors. We experienced “Murman” in the Irkutsk region, and now it’s time to tell the whole truth.

Why is the flagship of the Chinese brand so cheap, does it have a basic engine, is it worth saving? We will understand everything.

For the most economical?

I bet you’ll see Murman on the road and want to look back? It looks modern and even original. Which is not typical for Chinese cars. The auto industry of the Middle Kingdom often goes for unscrupulous copying of models of famous brands, but for this “Chinese” will not be ashamed. A light touch of German style from Audi and BMW is visible only from the front, perhaps because the design of the car was done by the designers of the famous European studio. Although it’s not a secret: when designing a car, the Chinese focused on “Japanese” and “Koreans”.

By the way, Murman – the model is not exactly new. This sedan is known in China under the name Lifan 820, and the car in the current body appeared on the market two years ago.

Our car was named “Murman” – in honor of the city of Murmansk. Associations with the Russian North, according to the Lifanovites, should emphasize adaptation to harsh operating conditions. Before launching in Russia, the car underwent additional tests in mountainous areas on the territory of our country and in the extreme conditions of the hot climate in the Middle East. The next point of adaptation was the ground clearance, which in the 820th was 121 mm. Russian machines were lifted above the road to 145 mm.

Formally, the model belongs to the middle-sized overgrown class D, dominated by Camry, Mondeo and Optima. In terms of its overall dimensions and space in the cabin, “Murman” is commensurate with each of these triads, however, according to the Chinese, it will compete only with the “Korean”. And that’s why. Up to Russia, Murman reached the base Elegance with mechanics, close in content with the initial version of Optima.

If you translate a beautiful name into a common language, something like “a version for the economical” will come out. That is, for those who are not accustomed to pay extra for options that increase the price of the machine. In the base “Murman” you will not find any electrical adjustments to the seats, no xenon, or even cruise control. And instead of a separate “climate” will have to settle for air conditioning. And what all the same is? What are the criteria for reasonable practicality in Chinese? Here is the list: audio system with USB, power windows, electric folding mirrors, two-level heated front seats, cast 16-inch wheels, rear parking sensors. And also ESP, front and side airbags, keyless access to the salon and the engine start button.

Not thick, if the “Chinese” has decided to be equal to the budget, but still a business class. However, there is an explanation for this. Before launching sales of Murman in Russia, marketers made up a portrait of their buyer. And found out that it is not so important additional options. In the priority for him – the price factor. For this reason, at the start of the sedan is offered only with one 128-horsepower 1.8-liter engine, combined with a five-speed manual. The price of such a car is 949 thousand rubles. That is, at the level of “bare” European and Korean sedan compact class, which “Murman” surpasses in size. In the future plans – versions with a top 2.4-liter engine paired with a variator.

Size matters

In the spacious salon of Murman there is enough space for everyone. Drivers will appreciate the driver’s seat, which is tuned to a rider of any size. Here you and lumbar support, and a comfortable profiled back – the back after a long road does not become numb. Checked. The steering wheel is adjustable in two planes, and the range of settings is considerable.

And behind it is quite spacious, almost like in the favorite officials for decent “Camry” comfort. We also found two colleagues, outwardly reminiscent of civil servants of the average hand, who would not prevent to lose a kilogram of 20-30 excess weight. These gentlemen, even in the “Mondeo” closely. But on the broad couch of the Murman our “officials” easily settled down, and if it were necessary, the third one would also sit down. Free space from the back of the front seat to the cushion of the rear sofa so much that at least one foot on the leg throw. Is not it a machine for a regional bureaucrat?

However, the impression of the interior remained ambiguous. On the one hand, we were pleased with the precise fit of the panels and the rather high-quality finishing materials. Eco-leather does not count, as for me – it’s better fabric than a cheap imitation of real leather with a stitching rhombus.

And on the other – the salon surprised by his ill-conceived. For example, there were no cup holders in the front. So if you love coffee, be prepared for a difficult choice: to steer one left, and in the right to hold a glass or to refuse an invigorating drink. And how did you come up with the USB port in a deep niche under the “radio tape recorder”? It is hidden so deep that it will not be possible to get into it with a USB stick at the first attempt. And not even the second. And the rear passengers will be forced to wait a long time for coolness in the absence of ventilation deflectors. There are neither under the seats, nor on the back of the central armrest. At this place, an ashtray was prescribed. If the mother-in-law is such a disadvantage, perhaps, it will be forgiven, then what will officials say that are guided by the Camry ?

But the rear passengers can safely drink coffee (or something stronger), because they have cupholders. And a very convenient folding armrest, adapted to the heaviest elbows. Due to the fact that it fits snugly against the sofa, you can lean on it with all bureaucratic weight, without fear of damage.

It is obvious that the 1.8-liter engine, with which Murman is still offered, is rather weak for him. Some 128 forces and the first hundred – in 15.8 seconds. These figures are like a car from the last century. Yes, the torque (162 Nm) is enough for a leisurely ride around the city. But it’s worth going to the track, as the lack of power immediately makes itself felt. Of course, if you are not used to driving like a pensioner.

But the “Murman” tenacious brakes and a good smooth running. The front MacPherson and the rear multi-lever system gently and silently swallowed small hummocks and joints of the Irkutsk roads. And with the “lying policemen” at 30 km / h straightened playfully, which contributed to high-profile tires and a large amplitude of the shock absorbers.

Sound insulation, meanwhile, is not bad. The noise breaks only when the overtaking is overtaken, when the voiced engine changes to a higher tone. And with normal traffic, you can talk to the rear passengers in a low voice at speeds up to 120 km / h.

Amazing thing: the Chinese flagship refuses to overclock. Similarly, “Murman” behaves at the entrance to the hill, in the fourth transfer with gas in the floor – does not go and even slows down. At such times, both Optima and Camry seem to be perfect.

And what about the expense? In suburban mode – 10.3 liters per 100 kilometers. Well, the appetite! This is about the same as shown by the Ford Mondeo in our winter test with a powerful 2.0-liter turbo-unit, which already has 71 “horse” more! But the “Murman” can be filled not only with 95th gasoline, but also with the profitable 92nd.

Million? Who will buy it?

There are such. With the price tag at the level of the cost of “bare” versions of popular compact-class sedans, such a large car is likely to attract attention primarily from buyers from regions.

In Lifan do not doubt: the sedan will be interested as the current customers of the Chinese brand, decided to change seats for a larger car after Solano and Smiley. So those who look closer to the basic version of “Optima”, but does not have in his pocket 230 thousand rubles in excess of the amount in which a large “Chinaman” is valued.

Ruslan Buslov, photo of the author and Grigory Merlin

Technical specifications Lifan Murman


Overall dimensions, mm

486.5 / 183.5 / 148.0

Wheelbase, mm

277.5

The equipped weight, kg

1433

Cargo space, l

510

Ground clearance

145 mm

Engine

4-cylinder, gasoline, 1794 cu. cm

Power

128 hp / 6000 rpm

Torque

162 Nm / 4200 – 4400 rpm

Transmission

5-st., Mechanical

type of drive

front

Maximum speed, km / h

179

Acceleration from 0-100 km / h, from

15.8

Fuel capacity, l

63


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