This Chinese hybrid four-wheel drive is gunning for the Toyota Prado

Chinese automotive giant Changan is taking its Deepal brand global, and the new G318 range-extender SUV could be coming to Australia.

Car News China reports the new SUV has been approved for sale in China, with a Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) filing revealing some key specifications.

The G318 features a range-extender powertrain, with a 1.5-litre 110kW petrol engine that supplies power to the battery pack instead of sending power directly to the wheels.

It’ll be available with either a single 185kW electric motor, or dual electric motors: one with 131kW, the other with 185kW.

The battery is a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) unit and, though the filing doesn’t note a capacity, Car News China reports it’ll offer a choice of 18.4kWh or 35.1kWh batteries.

It measures 4915mm long (4998mm including the external spare wheel), 1985mm wide and 1885mm tall on a 2880mm wheelbase, with approach and departure angles of 27 and 31 degrees, respectively.

It’ll be available with either 18- or 20-inch wheels.

It’s also understood to feature more rugged body-on-frame construction, like the Toyota Prado and Ford Everest.

Named for a highway on the China-Nepal border, the G318 is only the third model from the fledgling Deepal brand, introduced in 2022, which produces only electric vehicles (EVs), plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and range-extender electric vehicles.

Parent Changan is spending A$379 million to construct a plant in Rayong, Thailand, with the aim of producing 100,000 Deepal vehicles annually there in 2025.

The plant will produce EVs, PHEVs and range-extender electric vehicles, and the company has confirmed it will export vehicles to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the UK.

It’s unclear when an Australian launch for Deepal will take place. Changan trademarked the brand name here in November 2022.

The company plans to build 450,000 Deepal vehicles across all its production facilities in 2024.

Parent company Changan already sells vehicles in various left-hand drive markets including Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, and unlike many other Chinese carmakers it sells most of its vehicles under the one brand name.

Changan is one of China’s oldest carmakers, originally producing military hardware from the late 1860s. The company’s first car was a Willys Jeep-like military off-roader for the Chinese Government in 1959.

The company has since accumulated 35 years of experience building passenger cars. It also has joint ventures with Ford and Mazda.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *